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There’s a particular kind of emotional attachment that I feel about my websites. I don’t know if other artists feel the same way, or if it’s just because I’ve spent so much time labouring over them; anyway, they’re more to me than just a shopfront or a way to make money from words.
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Pinterest is one of the essential marketing platforms that I’d recommend to visual artists. I’ve been using a manual pinning method for some time now, but I needed to upgrade to a scheduler to be able to manage my multiple accounts.
Tailwind is purpose-made for Pinterest, but I found it too expensive for what I wanted – managing three Pinterest accounts and Instagram as well.
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When I think about writing up my creative activities for this blog, it’s always focused on the visual art side, because that’s how I mainly see myself.
When I talk about my writing here, it’s always focused on the creative writing or maybe critical essays, and even when I mention the journals I’ve published so far I don’t link to them because they belong in a non-art genre.
But this week my other writing career got a major shot in the arm, and took me off on the crest of a wave that’ll probably last for at least another week and pay off hugely for a long time to come. So far this week I have:
Switched email newsletter providers
Created email autoresponders and new embedded forms and pop-ups
Bought a Socialbee lifetime subscription through AppSumo*
Joined several new affiliate programs
Refreshed and re-published several older articles
Often whilst balancing a cat on my lap. Oh, and I’ve experimented with copper-leafing a pair of shoes. Seriously.
What kicked it off?
Not entirely sure. Something started it – my guess would be finally committing to pay for Tailwind and accepting that I’d have to make some better images to make that investment worthwhile – and then I realised how very out-of-date a lot of my articles were, and how much better my entire publishing business could be if I just woke up and pulled my finger out.
Sometimes you just get into a rut with a creative business, and there’s nothing like parting with some money to create enough pain to snap you back into action!
So my big blog will get the benefit first, and then I’ll overhaul this one once that’s ticking over.
Copper leaf on shoes?
Well, it doesn’t hurt to try. I have a cat who particularly likes new shoes… he specifically likes to scratch them to bits.
I thought I might as well have a go at rescuing a pair that fell victim to his claws. Of course, being an art materials hoarder, I had one single sheet of metal leaf left from a sculpture I made in 2003, and the little bottle of leaf size to go with it.
Will it look good? That’s subjective, and high fashion doesn’t usually mind looking dreadful, if we’re telling the truth.
Will it stick? Now that’s something I’ll have to answer after the weekend.
When you run an online business – or even an offline business – being able to get your name out there and market yourself effectively is a huge part of everything you do.
If you’re not able to market yourself, then you’re going to find it really difficult to remain in business for any length of time and will soon find yourself burned out, not enjoying what you’re doing and not having any clients or money come in.
Many business owners make the mistake of believing that simply putting up a website and some social media pages is going to be enough to bring clients in, but that’s just the beginning – you have to be actively bringing people to those places so that you can show your expertise.
So, if you’ve never considered having a blog for your business before or you simply don’t know where to get started, then in this post we’re going to consider the importance of having one.
It builds authority:
When you have a blog for your business where you’re regularly posting content, then you’re going to be able to build authority around whichever topic you’re writing about, and being seen as an authority in business is ultimately what will help build trust with your audience and lead them to eventually buy from you, so having a blog for this reason is very important especially if you’re looking to make money from it in any way.
If you’re not sure if your business will be able to create a blog with enough content or what you should be writing about, then take a look online at other blogs such as those like https://www.templafy.com/contract-management/ for inspiration.
It drives traffic:
Although generating organic traffic from your blogging efforts will take a bit of time, the great thing about being consistent with the content you post is that you will start being able to rank higher in Google over time so as long as you’re creating original and useful content that’s targeting the right keywords that your audience are searching for, then you’re going to find that you’ll be driving traffic over time as people search for the terms used on your site.
You own the content:
As much as social media is a truly wonderful tool for growing your business and marketing yourself, the fact is that none of us own social media and the content on there technically belongs to the platform we’re posting it on.
This means that, for example if Facebook or Instagram were to go out of business tomorrow, not only would your audience go with them, but your content would as well, so it’s important that you have other places where you’re connecting with your audience, such as through your blog and email list.
You can repurpose the content:
Just because you’ve posted something once doesn’t mean that everyone has seen it, so as you grow your business and more people are coming into your audience it’s tempting to think that you need to be creating only new content, but if you think it’s useful then you can repurpose existing content to other formats such as podcasts, vlogs, and even e-books or courses that you can then sell for passive income.
Hopefully those points have convinced you that blogging is essential for your business – have a look at some of my other blogging-related articles for more helpful information.
Over the past few years I’ve built up an online publishing business by trial and error, and have ended up in the strange situation where I earn more from blogging than I do from my art!
There’s a lot of good, free advice out there, but unfortunately there’s just as much biased, low-quality information floating around as well.
It can be even more difficult to separate the general advice from the information that will be genuinely helpful to artists – specifically those working in a fine art practice.
There’s also the issue of several cognitive biases at play which means that the market becomes saturated with people barking the same things in the same space for the same reason, simultaneously creating the impression that blogging is something that everyone can do and should be doing, and that everyone who does becomes successful.
Neither of those statements is true.
You want to be a professional artist, not a professional blogger.
When taking in any advice, ask yourself how it will enhance your goal of promoting your art.
You may well find that professional art blogging actually is for you, but that should be a conscious decision. Lots of artists get overwhelmed at all of the technical aspects of blogging and digital marketing and decide that it’s too much for them. Just take the basics that will work for you and run with them, and leave the rest behind.
The benefits and pitfalls of blogging for artists
Search engine optimisation and link building can help your website get found
Blogging can build authority
A blog can provide an additional passive income stream
Blogging can consume your limited time and focus
Most blogging advice is geared towards different industries, and can appear out-of-place on a fine art blog
You may end up sounding like everyone else!
Should you start a blog for your art practice?
I do believe that you should.
The discipline of art blogging in itself can do a lot for your art practice, providing structure, motivation and a way to track processes.
Still, if it seems like too much right now, you should have a well-presented static website with the option to add blog posts at a later date.
Blogging can be exactly what you need to enable you to work from home or supplement your creative practice. I do wish I’d taken it up years ago. Yet, that doesn’t mean that everyone will be able to commit the time and energy to regular online publishing, and that’s ok.
For those who need an online presence but can’t commit to blogging, a static website is a good step.