Should artists start a blog? This may seem like a simple question to answer. But there are good reasons why some artists should not blog either. I will get to that too. In this podcast I state the case for artists starting a blog. It can make a BIG difference to an artist's career. Listen to the podcast below or read the transcript.
To blog or not to blog? That is a good question. First off what is a blog? Okay you know that it is an article of some form and published on a website. If you browse the internet at all you have no doubt read a few blogs. Maybe you have subscribed to a few.
Usually a blog has these characteristics:
But why blog at all? Listen to the podcast or read the transcript to find out.
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Podcast Transcript: Should Artists Start a Blog?
Hi, welcome to “An Artist’s Journey”, the podcast about creating and thriving as an artist. I am your host, Malcolm Dewey. I am an artist and writer and I’m living the artist’s life. So let's get started...
This podcast is all about why artists should be blogging. Maybe you think that it's not necessary to blog at all and all you have to do is produce your fantastic art. Well, it sure does help to produce great art, but everybody needs to get more eyeballs on their art and promoting your art through your website is, currently, probably the best way for new artists to be found.
So the question is this: Is blogging still relevant today?
We are talking about 2017 and we are looking at changes in the marketing industry, the growth of video, for instance. Is writing a blog still going to do good things for your business?
I just want to recount, perhaps, a little bit about my experience with blogging. I really started blogging with serious intention from about 2012. With hindsight, I am so relieved that I did start blogging back then and all the mistakes I made (and I pretty much made every possible mistake you could come up with) was all work in progress for me. Blogging was not my greatest focus right from the start; producing quality art was and is still my number one focus.
What has blogging done for me over the past five or so years? I think number one is that it has helped to raise my profile so that other artists and collectors have found my website, and found my art, through my blog. It is a very simple thing to check through your analytics on whatever platform you are going to be using. You will be able to see what articles people are coming back to, what key words they have used to find your website.
Obviously, some articles are more popular than others. For instance, an article I wrote about three years ago is still producing some of my biggest visits on my blog and I can quite easily see that from my analytics. You do not grasp, when you are writing out your article and, sweating over it, the impact that one single good article could make for your future.
This is a way of getting Google, and other search engines, to give you more attention. If you have written a good article covering several topics, or a key topic, that people are looking for, there is a good chance that your article will be found and read. If it is a good one, and it’s shared, and it is getting more visits, it is going to be bumped up by Google all the time. Obviously, it is not just as simple as writing an article and publishing it, but it is the critical start.
In future podcasts I will go into ways to optimize your articles so that are found through search engines, but right now the consideration of should you start writing a blog or not, is what we are going to look at.
Another important factor, which you will hear about, is raising your profile as an expert in your field. If you are an oil painter, or a landscape painter or you want to drill down a specific niche, blogging is a great way to do that, because you will write articles on that niche topic. Your expertise will improve and people will view you as somebody who knows what they are talking about, and you can prove it through your articles and in your work that you are producing - the two complement each other.
Okay, you've decided that a blog would be a good idea and it's going to help your business. What would be the number one mistake? In my view, the number one mistake is deciding to start blogging without the passion for that subject. It might be an idea to find a trending topic in your field and devote your blog to that, but trends come and go very quickly. You need to approach your blog for the long haul.
It is a long-term project. And why do I say that, when some people are churning out blogs through ghost-writers and various other ways, and getting a massive content right at the start, and putting that out there and they seem to be doing well from that? Well, when I look at those approaches of trying to game the system, I take it with a pinch of salt.
Look, the thing with being an artist is that it is not a fly-by-night operation. If you really are an artist, and devoted to your work, you are going to be doing this for a long time - the rest of your life, hopefully. So keep on with a blogging strategy that is looking ahead and is going to grow with you as your art career develops.
There is perhaps nothing worse than visiting a website and seeing an abandoned blog - it is now in 2017 and you see that the last blog article is dated somewhere in 2015. You're going to realize that this person has abandoned their blog and that reflects badly on the person's entire approach to their business. You do not want to do that. If you do decide to abandon your blog and you just cannot justify it any longer, rather remove the page entirely so that it is not pulling down the rest of your website.
What benefits do you get with a blog article? Well, you have your article, hopefully something substantial (preferably in the region of about 700 to 1000 words is a good article size). It has a selection of key words around your topic. You've got a good headline based on those key words as well, a catchy headline that is not click-bait but is a genuine article. You have a good image, and maybe even a video to illustrate it, but at least a good header image and a well laid out article in short paragraphs with sub-headings. And, hopefully, you've got a call-to-action at the end for the reader to do something, even if it's to put out a comment, like or share, join your mailing list, check out a course you've produced or a book you've got. That would be a very rough outline, but in future podcasts will go into that structure.
I must emphasize that a consistent blog also lends credibility to you as an artist who is going to be producing art consistently and of good quality. It really does show that you are passionate about your topic, passionate about your art and that you have something to say.
Blogging Brings More Opportunities:
As things develop over time and you get to know your subjects even better through consistent blogging, you will be able to open other doors as well; teaching your art, turning selections of blog articles into short books (maybe a lengthy book), which you can market. I have had a few opportunities to create spin-off products from by blog including a book, courses and videos for my YouTube channel. They all inter-relate.
The brochure-type website is long gone. There is nothing worse than visiting a brochure-type website that is static - it's boring. There is too much text and there is really nothing to grab a visitor's attention. They are usually very quickly abandoned.
How do you get people to stick around on your website a little longer? Well, a blog is a great way to do that. One blog article has a lot more potential than just being a collection of sentences on a page. You can turn that article into a short video, and I recommend you check out a great service called Lumen5. They automatically create short videos through an RSS feed from your blog, and you can customize that video, download it and add it to your blog, upload it to YouTube, Facebook and so on. One article has a life of its own, and you may have created a video, which you can promote at a later stage.
You can create a podcast based on your article and create a slideshow (using Slideshare.net). It is a fantastic opportunity to create some excellent content with great potential. Turn that presentation into a video as well. You can screen-capture your slide-share and make a video on which you can do a voice-over.
Refresh Content Creatively to Benefit Your Audience:
Once you have used all of these potential ways to re-create one blog-post, you will realize you have material for an entire month. You can go back to old blog posts, once you have been blogging for a while, and do the same thing with them.
There is plenty of scope. You do not have to churn out a 1000 word blog-post once a week; you can just build on one pillar-post and develop that. If you see you are getting a lot of traction on a particular article, you can consider doing a short-course (a short 3-video course) on that topic and use that as a lead-magnet to build up your email list.
An email list is a critical part of any online presence. Your blog can be used as an introduction, or the top of the funnel, leading to generating more leads for your business.
Long Term Benefits of Blogging:
In the long-term you are going to be building up a solid amount of content that is going to be discovered through searches for years to come. Your profile in your art industry, and in your particular niche, will improve over time naturally and organically. Increased credibility and visibility online is something that you can continue to build on in years to come.
If you enjoy the idea of writing and you find that the other creative elements that blogging offers to you is attractive, then have a go at starting a blog. There are many platforms that you can use.
I go into this in more detail in a book I wrote on visual content marketing called "The Art of Content Marketing" and you can find it on Amazon or Kobo.
Just make a start! Commit to the next month. Write down a series of topics (you can use keyword searches to try to establish a topic). Right now, I would encourage you to make a start. Sit down with a pen and paper, jot ideas that appeal to you. What would you like to talk about? What do you want to know? Maybe you want to research something and get to know a topic a bit better and write an article about it e.g. how to's and reviews are always popular. Don't forget that people want to know a little bit more about you as an artist and your blog is a great way to do that without any real pressure. Do not get somebody to write the articles for you - do it yourself. You are speaking about yourself, speaking from the heart about something that is personal to you.
Write a few articles and next time we will look into how to publish and optimize these articles.
I hope that this has given you some inspiration to have a go with blogging and see that it can be relevant to you business. Get started; I think that is lesson for today. Go for it and have fun.
If you want to drop me a line and let me know how it goes, please do that. You can get more information and help on developing a blogging strategy on website at malcolmdeweyfineart.com (just look for "art marketing") and in my book, "The Art of Content Marketing", which you can find on Amazon and Kobo.
I hope you enjoyed this episode and if you did, please "like" and "share" it. Subscribe at Soundcloud.
I'll say cheers for now and see you soon.