Art Marketing: Blogging Basics

Posted October 25 2012

 

[Author, Kelly Powers | 04-04-2012 | Original source: previous CCP Blog]

The world of art marketing can be a lot of fun, and an artist has to look no further than blogs to see why. Blogs can be incredibly creative, and they can help artists find a community of people who share their passions. Blogs allow artists to easily publish their work and their thoughts, and they give artists a platform for interacting with fans, potential buyers, workshop students, and other artists. From an art marketing standpoint, a blog is a great starting point because the most popular blog platforms are free, and an artist can set one up without having to design websites from scratch or write any code. Once you’re comfortable with basic blogging, you can improve and customize your site with HTML code and other intermediate tools, but you don’t have to learn any of that to get started, and you don’t ever have to dive into the technical aspects of the web if you don’t want to. Starting a simple art blog is quick, fun, and free, and that blog should be the foundation of your art marketing strategy.

If you’re not currently a blog reader, I suggest you search for some blogs that relate to your hobbies and interests right away. Make sure at least a couple of the blogs you read are about art, and make sure you check in on each blog at least once per week. This will start giving you a feel for blog culture. What you'll quickly notice is that almost all blogs have a similar look and feel. That's because while, yes, a blog is a website in the sense that is on the web, a blog is really a tool for categorizing the frequently updated content you see on a site. On a typical web page, images and content don't change much day to day. Blogs, on the other hand, are similar to a daily sketchbook or art journal. The most recent post always shows up first, and you can go back in time to see what that artist wrote yesterday, the day before, or any day since the blog started. Blogs are in constant motion.

Fabulous blogs exist on almost all subjects. Each day I read a half dozen blogs with subjects ranging from social media to cooking to art. There are blogs whose sole purpose is to simply post a new picture of a cute kitten each and every day. (I admit that I kind of love the kitten blogs.)

What you'll notice about my list of favorite blogs is that I can describe almost all of them with a word or two. They are blogs that have focus. Studies show that the most widely read blogs have a focus because blogs with a focus can build a loyal and dedicated audience. I read my friends’ personal blogs, but I do that because I know them. That's what draws me to their posts. What draws me to a blog about art isn't what the blogger had for lunch or how he feels about politics. What draws me is art. An art blogger might use the colors of the food he ate for lunch as inspiration to paint, or he might paint presidential primary candidates, but the attraction of his blog all comes back to art.

This leads us to the purpose of your blog. You don't have to use your first blog for marketing your art. You could open up a blog account today, write about 10 different topics, and really enjoy doing it. There is no problem with using a blog for fun or to share your thoughts with friends. How wonderful! But if you want to use blogging specifically for art marketing, you will need to focus your blog on art. Focusing can be hard, but if you really want to use your blog for marketing art, it's worth learning the discipline. That doesn't mean you never talk about something personal or something unrelated to art. But if you want to use a blog successfully for art marketing purposes, 90% of what you post should be art related.

Once you've decided to use a blog to market your art, decide how often you will post, and stick with that plan. Consistency is considerably more important than quantity; it’s better to post 200 words and one photo once per week than 1500 words and 10 photos once every three months. If you promise to post once a month on the first Monday, and every month on the that first Monday you get a post up, your readers won’t be on your blog every day, but they’ll know when to check in and what to expect. That is considerably better than posting 10 times a week for two weeks, then posting nothing for three weeks, and then posting five times in three days. You get the idea. And remember to start small. Posting a photo of your latest painting takes two seconds, but it takes time to paint that picture and then more time to photograph and prepare your image for upload. Get accustomed to how blogging fits into your art and life schedule, and start posting at a rate that you know you can maintain – say, once per week. Once you are completely comfortable posting consistently, you can consider increasing the frequency of your posts. If you start at a rate you can’t maintain – say, once per day – you’re likely to get fatigued and abandon the blog, and you won’t be able to maintain readership.

The great thing about blogging is that you can't mess up. Really: you can't mess up. The internet won't crash if you hit the wrong button, you can always delete a post you don’t like, and you won't be wasting your money if you don't like the free design template you chose. Blogging is a great way to enter the world of art marketing because you can move at your own pace. If you can't figure out how to accomplish something on your blog, Google it. There are many other beginners out there, and they've asked the same questions. Someone will know the answer.

Now that you know a little more about blogging, go to Wordpress.com or Blogger.com and sign up for an account. I found Blogger easier to use when I was first starting out. Give yourself a few weeks to just play around with colors and fonts. Upload a few pictures and learn what layouts you like. Look around online and take notes of what you like and don't like that others are doing. And once you get comfortable, pick how many times a week (or month) you'll post and begin.  

Great blogs:
Claudine Hellmuth's blog
http://claudinehellmuth.blogspot.com/
Claudine Hellmuth writes on everything from her pets to her new product lines. The majority of entries have something to do with her art career, and she posts lots of pictures of her work.

Donna Zagotta's blog
http://donnazagotta.com/blog/
Donna Zagotta's blog is a wonderful place to learn about how an artist thinks. She writes thoughtfully about her process and about art in general.

Popular and free blog platforms:
Blogger.com
Wordpress.com

Some of my weekly reads:
Print and Pattern
http://printpattern.blogspot.com/
A blog focusing on pattern.

Decor8
http://decor8blog.com/
A blog all about interior design.

Sara's Perfect Party
http://www.saraspartyperfect.com/
Parties for kids. Parties for adults.

What are your favorite art blogs?