image courtesy hubspot Some artist blogs attract hundreds of comments, shares, and tons of attention for the artist. Other artist blogs languish in obscurity. Why? In my blog post Content Marketing for Artists, I outline how important it is to build content that attracts collectors to your work. The biggest reason most artist blogs languish is this: no one ever told them how to build an effective blog. Here’s what you need to start to build a successful blog.
A Focus on the Ideal Collector
The biggest mistake that I see art bloggers make is doing a lot of writing about art theory, art history, and specific painting techniques. This is fine if you are a teacher and your audience is other artists. If you are an art collector, however, you may not have as much of an interest toward in-depth tutorials on color theory. Think about who your ideal collectors are. What do they like to read? What are they interested in? Why do they like art? Keep those things in mind when you are creating content. Now, in some cases, this is completely wrong. I know a number of artists who lead workshops as a way of generating interest in their own art. They publish instructional videos and how-to content that gets people interested. The key here is not to go into too much detail, or you lose them. Try testing out some content and seeing what people are interested in, and what gets them excited about your art. A good example of someone who sell art through teaching is Linda Germain. Below is a video of her teaching her gelatin screen printing technique. This works because 1) it’s unique and 2) she shows a very basic way of doing what she does. Obviously her process can be far more complex, with many layers and containing her artistic vision, but Linda does a good job of breaking it down for her audience.
Infuse Your Content with Artistic Passion
You should be approaching your marketing content with the same zeal and passion you approach your art. There’s nothing worse than seeing an artist whose work I really admire, clicking through to their website, and seeing a boring, stale, bland representation of that artist. As an artist, YOU are your brand. Like it or not, who you are is inextricably linked to how people perceive your art. Your probably heard this from your art teacher in college: stop playing it safe! It doesn’t work in your art, and it doesn’t work in your marketing either. If you are a bleeding heart liberal, let that come out in your art and in the way that you communicate. If you are a far-right conservative Tea-Party activist, take that stand and be that person! If you are a sweet stay at home mother, be that person! So many artists tell me that they don’t know what to say on their blog or in their marketing content. My opinion is that 90% of the artists who don’t know what to say are stifling what they truly want to say! This serves no one. Your marketing content should be an extension of your artistic voice. You may be wondering how you can write for your audience when you also need to put yourself into your content. They key is to talk about the things that you want to talk about, but think about how it will be received by your target collector. Ideally, you will be gathering a tribe of people who like your work and your style. By putting your self in your content, your audience will identify with you and with your content, building a solid relationship for the long term! Check out these 7 Inspiring Artists Who Blog for some good ideas on which artists do well online.
Take a Stand with Pillar Content
In Internet Marketing parlance, Pillar Content refers to the content that is the core of your blog. For most big-time bloggers, their first 3 – 5 blog posts are what make up their pillar content. Generally, these posts are 2 – 3x longer than their standard blog posts, because they are packed full of content. Quite often they are instructional in nature, and they are about the core topic of the blog. For artists, this is going to consist of two things: your art, and your point of view. If, like Gwenn Seemel, you are interested in the way animals deviate from sexual norms, then write blog posts exploring those topics. Create videos where you talk about these things. Bring experts on animal sexual activity to your blog and interview them or quote them. Make it about more than just selling your art – make it about expressing the ideas of your art in as many ways as possible.
Use Great Pictures of Your Art
You would think it goes without saying, but yes, you need professional, high quality images of your art. This is an absolute necessity when selling your art online. There are too many other artists out there doing this well. If you have crappy images, your work won’t sell, and when it does, collectors might feel like they didn’t get what they thought they were getting. Be sure to include pictures of your art in every blog post. Even if that particular post isn’t necessarily about your art, including a picture of your art is a great way to show off without having to constantly talk about how great you are.
It’s All in the Timing & Promotion
There’s a lot of advice out there that says you should daily, weekly, or three times per week, or … something. The truth is that while blogging on a schedule works for helping your readers know when you’ll have new content, it’s not absolutely a necessity. It’s just one more tactic. If you can blog regularly, it will help. The thing that will grow your blog faster than blogging daily is promoting your content. I’m not just talking about sharing your content on Facebook and Twitter. There are literally hundreds of places you can post your content online. Here are a few good ways to promote your blog posts after publishing them.
- Share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Stumbleupon and other social networks – experiment to see which ones work well for your site
- Make friends with other artists and bloggers, help them share their content and ask them to share yours
- Find web forums where people talk about subjects related to your art, and share your blog posts there as appropriate
- Occasionally email your blog posts to local reporters – this works especially well if you learn how to pitch
- Participate on other blogs by leaving comments, and then link back to your own blog posts
Email is Soooo Important
Don’t focus on building blog subscribers – focus on gaining email subscribers. Sharing your blog posts to your readers via email is probably the most effective way to make sure they come back. Also, once you have their email address, you can let them know you have new art for sale, which is the end goal after all! Email marketing is so important that we are planning on doing an entire series just on how to do email marketing successfully. In the mean while, just remember to use a professional email marketing tool (we often recommend getting started with Mailchimp), ask people to opt-in, develop a lead magnet (something you can give people for joining your mailing list), and then experiment to see what works.
Go Out and Do It!
The most important thing that you can do is just that – go out and do! Write your blog posts, even if it’s just one, and see what happens. Don’t give up. Keep learning. Try writing guest posts for other blogs to increase your traffic. What other questions do you have about blogging?
Check out the Content Marketing Class for Artists
Want to learn in-depth steps to effective blogging? Want to understand how to tie it together with your other efforts to turn into an art-marketing master? Check out the Content Marketing for Artists Course.