I’m just going to say it: Blogging is probably not the ideal marketing method for the vast majority of visual artists. I mean, it’s kind of self-explanatory. We’re image people, not word people.
Personally, I think Facebook and Twitter are better platforms for most visual artists to use in developing a fan following. You can make short, intriguing statements and move on, and people will love it. Blogs, on the other hand, require introspection, and commitment, and time. Ah, time. That thing most of us artists would rather spend on making art.
Nevertheless, just in case you’re thinking of starting or restarting a blog, let’s talk about what makes for a sustainable blog and a good blog post. I have some general thoughts and some specific ideas:
1. A good art blogger knows who she’s writing for. From the get-go, you need to decide who you want to attract with your blog. If the underlying purpose of your blog is to promote your art, then you want to write posts that will be of interest to the average art enthusiast. That person wants to know more about art, specifically what makes you as an artist tick. That person probably doesn’t know a whole lot about the technical side of making art, so shy away from blog posts containing jargon-y terms like “value” and “juxtaposition” unless you plan to explain them in laymen’s terms. Lucy Chen and Abbey Ryan are both wonderful artists who excel at offering art enthusiasts an in-depth look at their art-making. (And while I’m at it, I have to give a shout-out to The Sankofa Review, a collaborative blog/magazine written by artists for all art enthusiasts. Yes, I’m proud to be a contributor.)
Then again, maybe you’re an artist who also teaches workshops or offers classes or has a couple of how-to DVDs to promote. Your audience is fellow artists, and they’re eager to learn more about your techniques for making your art, as well as your motivation. A blog designed to be read by other artists can and should be as technical, step-by-step, and how-to-y as you can make it. Empty Easel, which is a collaborative blog with content from a number of different artist-contributors, is chock full of great technical advice on art making as well as art marketing. I also really enjoy Dan Gerhartz’s Technical Insights blog (and would love to see more from this guy!).
2. A good art blogger looks for ways to reflect his brand through his blog posts. Flashback to Marketing 101: your brand is the sum total of the values and characteristics found in you and your work overall. Your brand is you, and you are your brand. Ultimately, the purpose of a blog is to reveal your brand. Your blog posts should let people know who you are, what you believe in, what you stand for, and what’s important to you. It should explain how you approach making art, what you’re thinking about when you’re working, and perhaps what you hope people will get from looking at/experiencing your work. That may sound like a lofty ideal, but it will actually happen quite naturally if you write from the heart.
3. A good art blogger isn’t afraid to reveal her feelings and emotions. And there it is: My number one requirement for a good blog post. I don’t want to know what’s on your easel unless you tell me why it’s important to you. I don’t want to read about you going to Paris to paint unless you tell me why you picked Paris, what you felt when you got there, what inspired you there. Your daily life as an artist is your most valuable source for blog post ideas. Just remember that emotions are way more interesting than facts, so engage your readers by opening yourself up to them as you invite them into your artist’s life.
And now, without further adieu, because you asked for it, here are 5 awesome ideas for blog posts:
- Describe one of your favorite subjects, and explain why you love it so
- Show us the piece you’ve just finished, and describe how you felt when you created it (challenges may be more interesting than accomplishments)
- Name one of your favorite artists, and what you’ve learned from that artist that you’ve applied to your own work
- Identify a place you’d like to go that’s related to your work, and explain why you’re dreaming of going there
- Describe your favorite medium, and how you feel when you're working with it
What are your thoughts on blogging? Any other ideas for blog posts you’d like to share? Let’s connect!