Before we even start to talk about Art Blogging we should probably be really clear that an Art Blog isn’t your answer to becoming known or selling you Art overnight. Nop. Sorry. Blogging is a long haul game of creativity and passion. Make no mistake about it … posting regularly to a blog takes time and that is time away from your Art. It will also take patience, persistence, commitment, effort, and passion. Why then would any Artists want to blog? Basically because, over time, the rewards can be incredible!
So what can an Art Blog do for you and your Art? Well here are a few things that you get to do with a blog that might make it sound juicy and worth your time:
- Share yourself, connect and interact with your fans and buyers
- Share the why, how and progress behind your art
- Develop a open channel to ask questions and get feedback and comments from your readers
- Improve your search engine rankings, drive traffic to your website and make it easier for people to find you online since search engines can’t read pictures
- Give back and express your generosity and appreciation for your audience
- Give readers the opportunity to be “insiders” and feel that they are getting special and exclusive information and knowledge from you
- Have the potential to go viral and can spread you and your Art far and wide.
- Indirectly increase sales as you draw attention and interest to your Art
- Get exposure
- Have a place to share your thoughts
- Make connections both in and out of the Art community (Locally as well as Globally)
- Have control over your opt-ins, names, emails, content, etc. from your blog vs Social Media where you have zero control or ownership
- Discover more about the meaning of your own Art and your purpose as you write about it for others and learn to articulate your work to others better.
- Brand you as an expert as you demonstrate your expertise and mastery in your Art
- Show that you are professionally connected
- Develop trust and familiarity with your collectors or potential collectors
And last but not least: BUILD A TRIBE!
I think that for Artists, in this day & age, building a tribe is critical. I constantly talk to my clients about how important it is to build a tribe. People connect with people! Your tribe will want to: get to know you and what matters to you, get into your world as an Artist, make an emotional connection, be told and shown what your Art and your process is like, know how you think, learn what makes you create what you create and know how your hands and your brain connect.
If you already have a blog or think that you should write a blog just because others do or they said/say you should – then stop now or don’t start. It just isn’t a good enough reason to do it because someone else does or says you “should”. You really need to want some of the benefits above and be passionate about it. Hating it or being burdened, but forcing yourself to do it anyhow, will show. Being committed, creative and passionate to it is the only way to have blogging succeed for you.
As a matter of a fact bringing the same passion to your blog that you bring to your art is the key. There is nothing worse than going to a blog by an artist I love and finding a really dull, boring, lame blog. As an Artist you are your brand. I know … I know … your art should stand alone … well perhaps it “should” BUT, you are connected to your art, for other people, like it or not.
And you need to know that people are not coming to read a blog because they want to buy your work or they want to see photo after photo with captions like “I like purple & pink”. If they wanted to buy your work, they would go to your on-line store and if they want to see nothing but images of your work they would go to the gallery or portfolio section of your website. A bog is written with words and it is a dialog or conversation with your readers.
They are reading your blog because they hope that you will:
- Inspire, intrigue, excite and/or challenge them
- Make them think deeper, raise their curiosity and question things
- Move them in new directions or forward their actions
- Resonate with them on a deep level
- Teach them something new
- Make them laugh/cry or have any range of emotional reactions
- Give them something positive
- Give them value
If you can do some or, even better all, of those things that might have them be interested enough in you to go look at your Art and if you keep it up consistently and they start following you, they might even buy your Art. But creating a relationship comes first and that is what you do through blogging. Thus building the tribe.
So how do you blog? What are the rules? Well there are tons of them … you can Google and find best blogging practices in lots of different places. I suggest you go do a little research and you read what I am giving you here in this blog but then you incorporate what you learn into your own way. Your blogging should represent YOU, the real YOU. Be You. Write like you. Blog about the things that matter to you and still think about the people who you want to be your readers and what they are hoping to get.
Your readers will be different because they are yours. Those people who come to you and stick – your tribe – can become your collectors. Your blog will build that relationship and it can keep it solid and keep it growing. Steady, solid growth, a step at a time.
So what do you put in your blog … well that is wide open. I suggest you decide what your audience is and what you want to accomplish first. That is because you need to create content with that in mind. You can create blogs to do just about anything such as to: learn, entertain, enlighten, create connections, promote yourself, display your personality, learn from yourself, and share opinions.
Successful Art blogs may contain art related topics and content, have guest art bloggers, include experts and contributed articles about specialties in the art field, allow and encourage comments from visitors and have art related links and websites that may be interesting to their blog readers. They will answer questions and provide fresh and timely information on art related subjects.
You want to make sure that you utilize what is appropriate for your audience. If your target market is only art collectors, then writing blog posts about art theory, art history, and specific painting techniques may be useless. Those would be great for other artists but the average collector has no interest in that at all.
A collector may be completely interested in how you create your art but not from a teaching-the-technique perspective. Likewise, if you also teach art and your target market is art students then you want to focus on techniques, how-to posts and learning resources. I, for example, am a coach for Artists so my blog posts are directed to Artists and Creatives like you not to Art Collectors.
Here are some different kinds of blog posts that you might incorporate:
- How-To & Teaching
- Lists and Resources
- To-Do, Process Diagrams, and Checklist
- Review and Critiques
- Image Memes
- Controversy and Hot Topics
- Blog Series
- Video (or Podcasts)
- Guest Posts
Your audience also determines if you place your blog on your Art website or create a separate Blog website. If you are focusing on attracting collectors, then it probably should be on your Art website so they can find everything pertaining to you and your Art all in one place.
However, if you want to focus on a wider range of Art topics for Artists, it is completely personal vs. about your Art, or you want to monetized it in the future then you might want a separate blog website. You can still point to your Art site but it won’t dilute traffic or confuse people like it would on you Art site.
A good rule of thumb, if you are placing your blog it on your professional Art site and want to include blog posts about your personal life, is that it be around an 80/20 split. 80% about you as an artist and your art and no more than 20% personal (about your life, family, travels, etc.). Remember that if it is a story about your art that is personal then that falls under the 80% because it has to do with your art. Under the 20% is a blog post that is about an interaction with a family member that has nothing to do with your Art but gives the reader an insight to your life.
Here are some questions to ask as you write your blog posts to make sure you stay aware of who your readers are:
- What do your ideal readers like to read?
- What are they interested in?
- What would entice & delight them?
- Why do they like Art?
- Why would they like you and your Art?
Think it out, or go find where they are paying attention already in Social media, etc. and watch them and figure it out from there.
Your blog content should invoke reactions and responses from your readers. That may take some practice … maybe even a lot of practice. And it may change with time as what they want today may not be what they want tomorrow. It is an adventure and a learning experience.
Ask me … I know … I get out here over and over again and practice, practice, practice. Some of my blog posts fly some of them sink. When they fly I ask WHY, when they sink I ask WHY. Then I adjust and go out here again.
Tell a story about your art and tell your story as an artist. Stories sell. Try to remind yourself that people buy the artist, not the art as you blog. Blogging is the perfect opportunity to promote YOU. Let your stories connect you with your readers. Your blog is working when your audience feels like they know you better and are more connected to you.
Beyond knowing who you are blogging for and delivering content specifically for them, here are some other basics that I find helpful that you can put to use:
- Be interesting, fascinating, amusing, stimulating (to your readers not just to you).
- Be honest
- Be clear
- Be passionate
- Share about your process
- Share about your progress
- Let YOU shine through
More than anything else think of your blog as a way to Give Things Away!!!!! Lots of things, tons of things … blogging is an act of giving. What do you give away? Give away information about you and your art, your thoughts, your techniques, your secrets, your stories, your knowledge, your reviews and critiques, where you are showing or exhibiting, what you are up to, etc. The more you give the more you get. Give to Get. Period – end of story.
Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking you must be a great writer to blog. You don’t. The bonus is that once you start blogging, your writing will improve. I promise. Creating a successful art blog has a lot more to do with planning and consistent work than with being a great writer.
If your blog is going to be successful it needs on-going attention. One that is rarely updated, with lots of comments not replied to and that looks disheveled won’t do the job. People need to know you are there, tending to the blog and to them. Set up a blogging schedule that works for you. Choosing to blog daily, weekly, monthly, etc. is not the big deal … keeping it consistent is. Consistency will keep people coming back.
One of my biggest suggestions is that you find a way to keep your blogging creative and fun for you. If you don’t you will end up slacking off or quitting. If you are dulling out, then change it up. Remember your audience knows if you have lost interest or zeal – they feel it.
Don’t forget to thank and appreciate and honor your readers. Do it for you because it makes it a lot more fun to write for people you appreciate. Do it publicly for your readers too, because they deserve it and deserve to hear it!
Never miss an opportunity to ask your readers to participate. One of the juiciest things about blogging is getting to interact with people. Encourage them to join in. Find out what they think and cheer them on for commenting even if they disagree with you (particularly if they disagree with you … because you get the opportunity to learn something from them). Find out what they want more of and less of. Then use all that you find out and incorporate it into your upcoming blogs. When your readers feel heard by you they will stick around.
Finally: Don’t forget … You are an artist! You may be a painter, a musician, a writer, a sculptor, a dancer, etc. but, no matter the medium, are an Artist. While I have suggested that you be creative with blogging and as passionate about blogging as your Art … IT IS NOT YOUR ART!!
Your Art is THE THING. Blogging is a tribe-building steppingstone for you… but it is not THE THING. Don’t let it take over your time from your Art too much. I see Artists who begin to spend more time on their blogs (and other marketing) than their Art. Everything has its place. Please, BALANCE your time to blog and time to make your Art. NO ART = NO ARTIST = NO need for a blog.
Are you already blogging?
If so what have you created for you to make it creative and enjoyable? Is your tribe growing?
If you aren’t blogging what benefit would it take for you to get excited about it and begin?
Thank you for being here! As always, I love hearing from you. Please feel free to comment and give me feedback. I LOVE when we all get to share with one another … each of us has such great contributions to make and I appreciate each unique one!