by Carolyn Edlund
Many artist entrepreneurs are looking to gain attention and interact with a target audience. Content creation is a great way to start that engagement.
There is a steady increase in the number of artists selling online. Consequently there is also a huge amount of “noise” happening in an already crowded marketplace. To break through that noise, you need a concept and message that will resonate and be remembered by the audience you want to reach. Reinforce and expand on that message by publishing content that is consistent with your concept on an ongoing basis. Much of this will be in the form of storytelling, to flesh out your online presence and help you become perceived as an artist that is attention-worthy and interesting.
If you love to write, blog articles are great vehicles for that purpose (you are reading a blog now, which Artsy Shark has published regularly since 2009). If writing is not your thing, or if you are more comfortable with video, a vlog could be the answer (see this one with hundreds of thousands of subscribers.) Or, start a podcast on a platform like SoundCloud, and use the spoken word as your modality of choice.
A blog, podcast or vlog draws in your audience to be intrigued, informed or entertained. It creates the type of engagement that makes you memorable. Adding new content to your artist website in these ways enhances searchability and also increases site ranking.
Know Your Audience
When you make the decision to begin publishing or broadcasting, plan content that is suitable for your chosen audience. Get started by:
- Describing your ideal customer.
- Listing five things your customer truly cares about.
- Making a list of your customers’ biggest concerns.
- Naming five things your customer needs to know about your art.
- Understanding what your ideal customer’s life looks like. What do they do every day?
How can you learn these things? Do some research. Social media is a good place to start, because it contains conversations and threads that reveal information about people’s lives, likes and dislikes, goals, interests and challenges. Social platforms also host many niche groups, which could be a perfect fit for your work. Search for hashtags with relevant keywords and follow conversations. Look for Pinterest boards created by your target customers to see what they want and care about. Check out Reddit and Quora for discussions on topics that relate to what you do, and learn from them as well.
Plan Your Content
How can you provide content that intersects with what you have learned about your customers? Start by brainstorming, and create a mind map that shows possible subject matter for your blog and ideas to fuel future posts or broadcasts. Then, keep a file of subjects on hand to refer to for inspiration.
Write about topics that help your potential customer understand more about what you do, and help them imagine being a collector. Weave a connection between their interests, concerns and goals with what you provide through your work. You might create an article on how to light a sculpture or easily hang a picture perfectly. You may expound on the process of commissioning a work of art to make it less intimidating. Or share a video that shows a complex technique you use in the studio to increase their understanding or awareness. Relate these to their lives, and their appreciation for art.
As an artist you are an expert with specific knowledge that other people are curious about and find fascinating. Your content makes it easier to relate to you, know you, trust you, and buy from you.
And don’t forget visual content. Talking or writing about art and your passion for creating is wonderful; showing what you make brings it to life. Whether you share work in progress, show your art installed in an exhibition or convey the excitement of participating in an art fair, images and videos are perfect complements to your written or spoken content.
Develop a Calendar
The secret to getting traction with a blog, vlog or podcast is consistency. How often will you create a post—once, twice or more each month? Make a decision based on your available time and what is reasonable. Using a physical or digital calendar, build out a schedule to publish or broadcast. A regular schedule keeps you on track, helps people know what to expect, and enables them to look forward to hearing from you again.
When you publish, share a link to each new item of content with your social following and your email list. Marketing and promotion will help your content go further and reach more people. You can always share an older podcast episode or blog post too, since that content will still be relevant and remains on your website for consumption.