Do I Really Have to Blog?

6 Jan

Ocean Spires by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

Faced with the flashing line on their computer screen, many artists who would prefer to be in the studio think about unloading the dishwasher, wonder if it’s garbage day already, check out the latest blog entry at This Woman Writes (wow — that was shameless self-marketing), or go sort socks.

“In marketing myself as an artist, do I really have to blog?”

No.

However, blogging is a tool — and a valuable one — in getting your name out there, beyond the mailbox at the end of the driveway.

For those who do not enjoy writing, blogging can be as simple as posting a photo of the latest work along with a brief description and a link back to the website. This is quick, painless, and minimal; however, since thousands of artists limit themselves to no more than this, it is also easy for one’s blog to be lost in the shuffle. Unless you have avid followers who kick down the doors of the studio before you finish putting on the final brushstrokes, there is not enough information and there are not enough words in the blog to attract the attention of searching people and search engines.

I regularly post updates on Steve Henderson’s work in one of our many WordPress blogs, The Norwegian Artist. Depending upon my mood, I will be whimsical (Is the Norwegian Artist Boldly Painting Star Trek Paintings? Will He Be Doing This for Five Years?) or serious (Dream Big), but my goal is to say something of enough interest that someone stops long enough to read it.

My ultimate goal is two-fold:

1) To acquire a regular reader through e-mail sign-up, bookmarking, RSS feed, or whatever options are available to let subscribers know that I’ve posted something new and

2) To direct people to Steve’s fine art website, where I hope that they will stay awhile, browse, sign up for updates and e-mail newsletters, contact one of Steve’s galleries for more information about his work, and contact us about purchasing a painting from the site.

To this end, I blog; I post updates on Facebook; I stumble around on StumbleUpon and I tweet on Twitter; I send press releases to our local and regional newspapers; I send Steve’s information and bio to both online and paper magazines.

It is very much a learning process, and I have time to explore it because, quite frankly, I don’t paint. Steve does.

It is possible, however, to fit blogging around the painting or sculpting schedule, and here are a few ideas:

1) If your website supports a blog, like Fine Art Studio Online, use it. At the very least, post an image of your work, give the blog a catchy title, and write a sentence or two on the piece.

2) Sign up at  WordPressBlogger, or any of the many free blog supporting sites out there (Google “Top Blog Sites” and wander through the list until you see something that you like) and send out a duplicate of what you’ve blogged on your website. Link back to your website.

3) Set up a Facebook page for your art business, and, every time you blog or post an image of your work, incorporate the link onto that day’s post.

4) Let’s go back to that “Catchy Title” part — I am far more willing to read an article with a headline that grabs me by the hair and yanks me into my seat. Just make sure that whatever your title refers to actually has something to do with the story. People feel cheated when they feel misled, as anyone who has looked up a YouTube video entitled, “Funniest Cats Ever!” to find an article about somebody’s product instead.

5) Whatever you write, use real words that sound like ones that real, living people — and not characters from a Jane Austen novel — would use. Consign “synergistic flow of organic ecstasy” to the nether regions, and just write as if you were speaking. (The only people who use the term “synergistic” in verbal speech are seminar charlatans.)

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