An Outsider’s Guide To Guides For Musicians
Seeing "How To Win At The Music Game" is pretty enticing. And these "How-To" and "3 Easy Steps" headlines are everywhere. It's a little like walking in a casino because you already know, with a fair amount of certainty, that you're not leaving with as much as you hoped, but in the end you take the bait because you figure it can't hurt right?
The very first thing to keep in mind is where you're reading these articles. Are you at a site focused on what you're interested in, do you have a history reading the site, or did you just click through from someone else's link to a random site? This part is key to knowing whether the how-to or help guide is actually worth even thinking critically about and trying to follow, or if they were just writing it to fill a quota. Too often sites talk for the sake of talking or worse, for the sake of ads. Obviously I can't tell you which sites to trust and which not to, but as good habit if you aren't familiar with a site, look back through past headlines and see if anything seems off. Are the topics all over the place, everything from "A Beginner's Guide To Dub Step" all the way to "Knitting For The Blind"? This may be a warning sign.
Assuming you've found a site you trust, remember that "How You Too Can Break Into The Music Industry" is still going to be pretty broad and fairly generic. Unless step one is to click a link, followed by fill out a form and submit a resume, then the applicable results are still going to look different for everyone. Don't get discouraged that "1000 Followers For Your Band in a 1000 Seconds" didn't actually work as advertised, but don't throw all the information out over the end result. Learn to be skeptical over things like that, while still taking any helpful tips out along the way. Pick out the paragraph that you learned something new and implement that technique if it helps gain a few more followers.
I forgot what the next thing to keep in mind was, but I don't think it was that important.
And finally, be sure to read the comments. Trolls aside, the comments are where the real meat and potatoes usually are for these type of posts. People saying straight out that step 16 is just filler and step 4 is not the way it should be done really gives a more dimensional look at what's being said. From the writer's side it's hard to read people ripping things apart, but from a reader's side it can really help shine a light on what's really important.