If you have a way with words, an expert knowledge about a certain music genre and a critical ear, you might have the makings of a music journalist.
Whether you dream of reviewing gigs for NME, critically analysing the latest music industry trends for MusicWeek or creating fun and engaging editorial for PopBuzz, you need a big vocabulary and passion for English.
We caught up with Alim Kheraj, Senior Editor, at PopBuzz and asked him for his advice on making it in the music editorial world!
What do you get up to day-to-day?
“In the morning, I check the website stats from the day before and look at social insights to help determine what type of content worked best. Then we have an editorial meeting to decide the content that we want to do throughout the day. We then create that content throughout the day and, depending on the day, there could be some social scheduling as well.”
How did you land your role at PopBuzz?
“I initially got into the music industry because of an internship at a magazine called Notion, which led to me working in music editorial on a freelance basis and helping artists with their social media channels. Then, I went on to work for LiveNation and helped launch their consumer-facing blog before I ended up here, with PopBuzz.”
What’s the best part of your job?
“It’s great getting to meet artists and talk to them about their music. It’s also really satisfying to see people engaging with something that you have written.”
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
“It’s a 24-hour, 7 days a week thing and doesn’t really stop. It’s really exciting but can also be difficult, but that’s the nature of online.”
What are the key skills you need to work in music editorial?
Good writing and editorial skills
The ability to analyse different types of content”
What advice would you give someone hoping to make it in music editorial?
“Write constantly and apply for everything! Don’t be afraid to do some bits for free, because everyone has to start out and build a reputation, but be selective. It’s really important to get out there and meet people and make sure you keep a portfolio!”
What sort of things should you include in your portfolio for an editorial position?
“The things that you should have in your arsenal are:
News stories, so that you can show potential employers that you understand how to report on a story, picking out the best bits of information and making sure you can create a unique angle on it.
You should also give feature writing a go, whether this is investigative pieces or think pieces. But be sure that your writing never swerves too negative. Most places, especially online, prefer an overall positive tone.
And, if you can, try giving interviews a go. Even if this is you interviewing your parents/brothers/teachers. It’s all great experience and shows whether you’re able to ask questions that might be different from other people.”
What’s your career highlight so far?
“I quite enjoyed interviewing Nicole Scherzinger. It was my first A-list celebrity interview and she was really fun.”
Sound like your type of job? Learn a little bit more by checking out this article on setting up your own blog.