These days artists face the reality of having to market their work. Gone are the days of all encompassing gallery representation. If you are part of the few that still enjoy this relationship with exclusive galleries you will not be reading this. For the rest of us the path is clear. We need to make our own way. A blog will help you achieve this.
In this article I am going to show you how to start and launch an amazing blog. One that will help establish your brand and define your position in the art world. Ready?
But first you may be thinking Blogging? really?
Doubts About Blogging?
So you have doubts about blogging. That is fine. I confess that I had blogged about other topics and lost motivation. But when I started on my artist's blog in 2012 I found the right topic for me. What had changed?
If you are not sure about any of these for your blogging plans then take a look at your strategy. Your Why? and How? questions.
Why Blogs are Still Important for Artists: Blogging has two main benefits.
Let us take a look at each of these.
1. Be Discovered
The importance of standing out is search engine results is still undisputed. Some may argue that all you need is social media fame and then you are set. Sure a viral post is fun, but as you know a social media post disappears fast. By tomorrow or next week you are yesterday's news. Adios.
I would not be too comfortable running a business that way and nor would you. But if you turn up on page one of a Google search on a particular topic you will get plenty of traffic. This will continue over a long period of time. Even years depending on the topic.
Another plus is that this traffic is qualified. This means they are solid leads because they came looking for you to help them. Now if you deliver the help on your blog you stand a good chance of them subscribing to you list. Sweet!
2. Build Your Brand
As the author of helpful and quality content on your blog you get to determine how people perceive you. What those sharp politicos call controlling the narrative. But you are not one of those, because you are producing solid and helpful content. This includes stories about you, your art, your creative process, how to live creatively and much more. All authentic and real.
This is how people get to know you professionally and grow to trust your and your work. You share what you want and at the same time find your true audience. It's a beautiful thing.
Grow a Business
What's that you say? What about sales? Here is the thing. You are always selling your art even when you aren't. Huh? What I mean is that how you come across, share content and interact with the world is part of selling too. Nobody wants to receive the hard-sell tactics of the past.
Instead give before you expect to receive. Give advice, lessons, digital products or anything else you are comfortable giving away. Your blog makes this the perfect online venue for your generosity. Trust me on this. Giving is important and it will make you happy too.
When you fans are ready they will buy from you. Yes your blog will help you explain the benefits of your products. But most of your sales will come from fans that subscribe to your mailing list via your blog. Why is this?
Have a Strategy for Short to Long Term
Besides your brand and search benefits your blog must encourage visitors to join your mailing list. Why is this key? Because you own the list. You do not own social media sites. You also own your domain name and blog. But it is the list that represents real people interested in you and your work.
Each time you publish something to your blog you will include reference to the benefits of joining your list. This instant benefit could be a free gift. A book, short course or unique content of some sort. Not a discount. Something fun and helpful instead.
Always try to deliver more thatn you promise. This is a key to genrosity and postive growth.
Start the Blog Already!
I dive into strategy, creating content and distributing it in much more detail in my book. I call it The Art of Content Marketing. Snappy I know. You can find it online at Amazon and Kobo.
Step One: Decide on a Platform for Your Blog
The platform refer to the software and the host for your blog. You will need these so it comes down to selecting a stable platform from the outset.
The leading blogging platform is Wordpress. Fans claim that there are many advantages to Wordpress and this will stand you in good stead for the future. How to start your Wordpress blog? The easiest option is to use a dedicated host like Bluehost.
Why Bluehost? This hosting service is stable and has a low monthly fee that includes a free domain. Plus it has a one-click Wordpress installation feature. To help you along you can watch my Bluehost and Wordpress installation video.
Alternatives to Wordpress?
What if you want an online shopfront or gallery from which you can sell your art? Plus incorporate a blog and a sales page on Facebook. Sounds like a plan and you can find this solution with Selz.
Selz offers a beautiful platform with plenty of options to market and sell your art. Start with a free option and if you like it there are reasonably priced options too.
You will need your own domain name. Preferably a .com but if you a focused on local then a local domain will do. I would still register a .com in your own name too. If you are building a brand around your unique art then you are the brand. A domain in your name will last and grow with you.
Prepare Content in Advance
Once you have your blog and domain processed I would suggest having some content ready. Even before you hit publish on your shiny new blog. Hold off until you have several items of content on you site. You want to look like you have some meat on the bone so to speak.
At least three articles on your blog to get things rolling. Tell us a little about yourself and what we expect in the future. Once that is done put up some problem solving articles. The How To theme is a solid place to start. You are reading a version of that right now.
Is it a struggle to think of topics? Did you know that Google, YouTube and Amazon amongst others suggest topics automatically. Add a keyword in the search bar and see what comes up. A list of suggestions drops down for you. These are popular search phrases and words people are looking for. Use them to inspire content.
Stay the Course
I will not kid you on this. After three weeks you will want to quit. Enough already. You write but nobody writes back. No comments. No follows except a few friends and your Mom. Stay strong. Keep researching and working on those keywords and suggested topics.
Keep distributing your work on social media too.
There are many ways to put it all out there and I will go into those in the future. But one thing - keep working it. Once you have momentum you will not look back.
When is the Best Time to Start Blogging?
In a word. Now. Are you ready for the ride?
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Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa