Ten years ago, I wrote a monthly newsletter, sent it to a graphic designer for layout, stuck labels and stamps on envelopes, went to the post office to mail them and hoped artists on my mailing list would read what I wrote.
Seven years ago, I wrote a monthly e-zine, did my best with layout, sent it to my subscribers through a bulk e-mail program and rejoiced when artists took the time to write back to say how they had used the information I shared about art marketing.
Since then I have added this weekly blog to the monthly e-zine, send it to my web wiz for layout, digitization and distribution via an e-mail service, and engage in e-mail and telephone conversations with artists and how they can make a better living from making art with our membership programs, e-books and services. I also write several guest posts each month and post on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+. My words now reach artists all over the world. Then there are workbooks for my online programs. Oh, and did I mention my book?
Some days, all I do is write, write, write. All of this writing is part of marketing. Marketing is a series of conversations, in various media, designed to build a bridge between you, your art and your audience.
But, you ask, "How do I keep up with all of this writing to market my art?" The short answer is "You start where you can, with the skills, time, money and energy you have and you grow from there." That's how you grew your art talents. You can develop your writing skills the same way - one step at a time.
The best way to learn how to write better is to write.
Here's a simple template to get started with all of this writing about your art:
Goals: Why do you want to communicate?
Audience: Who will read what you write? Why should they care?
Content: What do you have to say that will help your audience?
Voice: Are you speaking as a peer, role model or mentor?
Format: Is this an opinion piece, a how-to, or a dialogue?
Design: How can you make the text appealing and add images or graphics to
reflect your brand as an artist?
Frequency: How often will you write?
Channels: Where will you publish this writing?
Obviously there are more questions to ask yourself, and the answers to each question are related. Just start to get into the flow. You will get better as you write more.
A few words from the irreverent cartoonist Hugh McLeod to spur you on:
"... Most people are not reading your blog because they have an inherent love for purple dogs and green sofas. They're reading your blog because THE PERSON YOU ARE inspires them. They're not reading your blog because they're thinking of buying your paintings, they're reading your blog because the way you approach your work inspires them. It sets an example for them. It stands for something that resonates with them. IT LEADS THEM TO SOMEWHERE THAT THEY ALSO WANT TO GO. ... That's the REAL job of the artist: To be a leader, not to fill the space with pretty "stuff."
"Business Basics for Artist Entrepreneurs"
Tuesday, June 26, 6-7:30pm
SOMArts Cultural Center
934 Brannan St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
with Aletta de Wal, M.Ed., Artist Advisor and Art Marketing Strategist
Visualize being a successful artist entrepreneur. Enjoy and revel in the mastery. Sure beats dread and avoidance, doesn't it? It can be fun to rise to meet the challenges of an art business with confidence and competence. You do this when you run into a problem when you are making your art and you can apply the same response to the business side of your art. This workshop will cover the business basics of your art practice so you can avoid tax problems, conduct your business legally and efficiently, and get back to doing what you love - making art.