Last week, I spent WAY too much time trying to figure out this new (old) functionality that Google offers called ‘Authorship.’ It kept popping up in blogs and emails that I read, and eventually my curiosity got the best of me. Especially when I realized how it could help Canadian musicians, artists and bands.
Google Authorship is that thing you may have noticed in Google searches recently, where among the blue and purple text links there’s suddenly a picture and some additional information alongside some of the results. It looks like this:
Hey! That’s me! Now…the what, why and how.
WHAT IS GOOGLE AUTHORSHIP
Google Authorship, and it’s oft-mentioned sister Author Rank are a way to personalize the written content that you create. It gives authors the attention they deserve by separating articles, columns and blogs from hacked up websites or untrusted sources.
Essentially, an author has to go through a few hoops to get this designation, and as a reward they get their pictures next to the blogs they write.
It also helps distinguish works by a single author across multiple sites. If you write for your own blog, a guest article on The Huffington Post, and a regular weekly column for Wired, search results will always identify them as you…with your picture and information.
That would be the Author Rank part of it. Authors are now identified, and you can see which authors get the most readers because they are ‘ranked’ in the search result as well.
That’s Google Authorship!
WHY SHOULD A CANADIAN MUSICIAN, ARTIST OR BAND CARE?
Years ago, the world was run by salesmen. They went door to door, ran shops, and everything was sold by a person with a briefcase or a cash till. Soon after, the world was run by marketers. You learned about a product before you even saw it, ads sold stuff and you went to the store to buy them.
Now…the world is run by content. People find you based on what they discover online: YouTube videos, embedded Soundcloud tracks…and also blogs, podcasts, videos that have nothing to do with music, photo galleries on Flickr or Tumblr, etc. etc.
The more content you make, the more likely people will find you. The more diverse content, the more diverse (and greater) the crowd will be.
All that stuff is great, but I want to focus on blogs, articles and other things you write.
THE CANADIAN MUSICIANS ARE ALSO AUTHORS
A blog can be anything:
- Biographical: Some artists write songwriting, recording sessions and tours. They document the fun moments that have happened, leak hints about upcoming releases, or share what they’ve learned.
- Opinion: It’s also possible to write opinion blogs, such as album or show reviews. In this case, keeping positive is a good idea even if an album sounded really, really bad. A blog like this could backfire, and the other band’s fans could turn on you!
- Educational: Which sounds boring, but you could write a blog that helps your fans learn the things you know. Maybe how to record in their own home, play guitar, or put together a self-made album and find people to listen.
- Anything: Or…a blog can be about something unrelated: baking cupcakes, bike repair, your own attempts to master chess…
Your existing fans will find it interesting because it’s you! Potential new fans will find you because they are interested in the same things you are.
Not to mention, it gives other bloggers, sites and even print publications more of your story and helps expand their knowledge of you beyond songs and pictures.
Finally, it’s fun and helpful. Writing two or three times a week gets thoughts out of your head, helps you connect those parts in your brain that bring ideas together, both of which can help with your songwriting too!
HOW DO I DO THIS AUTHORSHIP THING?
So, there’s this thing Google has that helps the stuff you write (writing that spreads information about you, builds your story, and even expands your writing skills) stand out among all the other searches. How do you do it?
I want to give you the simplest steps after I struggled myself. Some blogs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.) are different, but the basic process is always the same:
- You need a Google+ profile…which you should have anyway. I’ll write about that in future, though. For now, if you don’t want to use it, that’s OK, but it’s required for this to work.
- The profile picture for your Google+ page MUST to be of you, a recognizable headshot…this is for you as an AUTHOR remember, so no logos.
- If you have an email address that belongs to the site you’re linking (ie. email@example.com) then you can register in one easy step: go to the Google Authorship page and put your email address in the field in Step Four.
- If you don’t have an email address that belongs to the site you’re linking (ie. firstname.lastname@example.org) go to your Google+ profile and on the ‘About’ page is a section called ‘Contributor To’ – edit it and add the URL of the blog or website you’re writing on to the list (picture underneath point #5).
- Finally, make sure there’s a byline (that is, a line at the top or bottom of your article that says who wrote it…you know, like ‘by Awesome Singer’) that links to your Google+ profile. You’d put this in through the ‘code’ tab or option in the editing window (in WordPress it’s called the ‘Text’ tab). The [profile_URL] is your Google+ profile URL including all the numbers up to the first slash, and the ?rel=author part lets Google know you’re the author. Here’s a handy code to help:
<a href=”[profile_URL]?rel=author”>by Your Name</a>
It took less than a week for this to take effect but if you wanted to test it out and make sure you did it right, go to this handy Google-made Authorship tester page and put the URL of a blog you’ve tagged with your name once you have completed the other steps. If it’s all done right, it should look like this:
And you’re set! Soon your written word will stand out from the rest, readers will be more likely to click the link because the picture shows that you identify yourself as an author, and many people will seek out more of your writing.
I’d love to hear from any artists, musicians or bands who are writing blogs and interested in being identified as an author. There are so many benefits to writing a blog as a musician in Canada. All it takes is some time, creativity and a few simple steps to get the most out of it.
If you have ANY questions about this, have run into problems going through the Authorship process, or just want to chat, please leave a comment or contact me directly at roo [at] dalespeaking.com.
I’d also like to hear if you’d like to read more about writing blogs, or read more ‘Doing Stuff Online’ style articles…or even video tutorials!
~ by Roo Raymond
Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.