I know, I know. You’re an artist, not a businessperson. But you already know that in today’s economy, if you want to achieve any degree of success as an artist, you have to sometimes think and act like a businessperson. This includes borrowing and adapting some of the strategies and tactics that businesspeople use to promote themselves.
One of the most popular self-promotional tactics businesspeople use—simply because it works—is to create opportunities to show off their expertise. Not only are these actions a great way to build credibility, they allow businesspeople to meet lots of people who just might need their services.
So how can we, as artists, practice this same tactic? The great news is that we don’t have to wait for opportunities to come to us—we can go out and get them. There are many ways we can showcase our expertise in art, and they tend to happen in two general venues: in person and in the media.
In the online media world, the easiest way to show off your art knowledge is through social media, both your own posts and by participating in group conversations. Just showing and talking about your own work automatically labels you as an expert with a voice.
You can also consider writing a blog about your art, or you could offer to write guest posts on other people’s blogs. Look for popular blogs that are followed by members of your target audience, and then think of some angle for your blog post that would interest those followers. Many blog writers welcome guest posts from experts like you.
Traditional media, such as news outlets and magazines, provide another great chance to highlight what you do. Cultivate relationships with editors and producers, and offer to lend your expertise whenever they need it. They might even opt to do a whole story on you.
In my opinion, however, face-to-face opportunities where you can talk to live people in real time are the best. There are probably half a dozen or more clubs and organizations wherever you live that would love to schedule you in for a presentation to the group. For example, I know one portrait artist who routinely lands speaking engagements to women’s organizations, business groups, and even retirement homes simply by offering to speak for free. These are all places brimming with people who might want to commission portraits from a professional artist, so its well worth her time and effort. If doing a live demo seems a little daunting at first, start small with a lecture that includes images of your work and process.
Writing and speaking as an expert are great ways to help yourself connect with people who are interested in what you do but want to be reassured that they can trust you because you're an expert. And even those people who might only see these activities listed on your resume will be impressed with your credibility. What other ways can you think of to highlight your knowledge and skills? Let’s connect!