Why Blogging Matters (for Self Promotion)
July 16, 2011 in For Artists
When you work in the visual art world, it’s easy to neglect other forms of media. Especially the language of the web – writing.
Let’s face it – painting and sculpture are pretty difficult to represent well online. Instant problems arise when you consider converting large-scale artwork to a webpage, as well as colour accuracy, let alone working out how on earth to convey texture on-screen.
But let’s assume you’ve overcome this. You’ve published some nice photos of your work online, maybe you’ve joined some social networks for artists like Saatchi Online too. But it hasn’t generated any new enquiries, and the number of visitors to your site each month is low? Advertising isn’t the only way to get your work out there.
So… Why write?
Think about the way you use the internet each day. Most of your interactions involve text, from the web address that you type in, to the search results on Google, to an article that keeps you absorbed for a while.
In comparison, it’s hard for people to describe visual media, and it’s also hard for computer systems to accurately make it searchable.
So text is a big part of the internet. It’s an opportunity to get your work out there and to help people understand each piece. If you’re currently self-promoting, then you’re simply going to have to get good at creating written content in order to attract visitors to your site, your portfolio, and ultimately – make a purchase!
Rather than creating an online book or catalogue, a blog can be a nice way of organising your thoughts. A blog is just a way of publishing content in a chronological order – think of it as diary or journal format.
But unlike a diary, a blog used for self-promotion is going to be public-facing, which means that you don’t need to say what you ate for dinner – instead, stick to subjects that are relevant to your art practice, art theory, or the concepts behind your particular work.
Don’t be afraid to be human, this is a rare opportunity in which you can actually engage with your viewers, buyers, collectors, gallery owners and who knows who else. Learn to interact with your online audience and open a conversation about your work. Learn to thrive on feedback!
Post to your blog regularly, but not too often, as it can easily become a big distraction from your creative work, so find a good balance between the two.
And don’t worry, blogging doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. You don’t have to hire a web designer to get one set up, there are plenty of free, hosted solutions out there. We really love WordPress because it’s very flexible and easy to scale up when you want to expand, but something like Blogger would be super-easy to get started with too.
The great thing about tools like WordPress and Blogger, is that they’re built to work well with search engines like Google. They manage search engine submission for you and let them know when you’ve added a new article. This can make life simple if you want to be seen by a wider audience of people searching for all sorts of subjects.
The other great opportunity a blog presents is a chance to involve your audience in your work itself. Viewers who post comments on your writing will leave both positive and negative feedback that you can (if you wish) take onboard. This could be a great opportunity to get an early opinion on an idea, or show people something you’ve been working on before it goes out to a gallery perhaps.