Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What Experts Say about Blogging as An Artist

Blogging has become the preferred way to communicate on line. And might be as popular and as useful as websites used to be for artists, small businesses or other initiatives.

Here’s what two recognized experts on blogging about art have to say. I think these basic principles apply to any products or services you want to market on line.

The original source for my recent enlightenment is from a podcast this past summer by Xanadu Gallery, who is recognized as a leader is art marketing. In that particular podcast its authors explained why and how artists should blog. 


Since this is a topic of high interest to me -- as a artist and blogger -- I carefully took notes. (I am also the blog master for the Orange County Artists Guild site, so I figured I better pay attention.) And there is always more for me to learn.
What follows is a composite based on what the two hosts -- Barney Davey of  ArtPrintIssues and Jason Horejs of Xanadu Gallery had to say about the way to go or not! So read on...
According to Barney, (cited above), first and foremost, the purpose of blogging about your artwork is to sell and sell and sell. The bottom line is in fact the bottom line. Barney says that many artists might cringe at the idea of commerce and feel they are selling out, but the truth is, to be appreciated you have to get the word out. And there is no better way to do that than with a blog.



And I agree with Barney. I find that some artists are afraid to blog because they think they have nothing to say. But there is plenty to talk about. Your personal history, your art process, the personal path and evolution of your art. Readers, followers and hopefully collectors enjoy seeing images of various new work or work in process.

Also, some artist are hesitant to blog because they worry that their spelling and grammar is rusty. One solution to that is to ask a friend to double check your work, or, did you know that there are proof-reading services available?
Barney suggests contacting gramlee.com. He says that this professional proof-reading service is incredibly cheap and can keep you from embarrassment.

My feeling is that this new media -- blogging -- is all about exchanging ideas and information in an informal, personal manner. It is about getting comments from others and hopefully starting a conversation on line. And when you build a blog you can decide how you want to communicate with others, or have them respond to you. And there are different widgets available for different purposes.

For instance, most all blogs have a widget available for an RSS feed -- an acronym for Real Simple Syndication. An RSS feed announces to self-select readers that you have posted a new article and a listing of the post will show up in someone's reader. According to Barney and Jason referenced above, a smarter way to keep track of who your potential collectors and customers might is to ask readers to subscribe to your email service and place that widget at the top right side of your blog. I have also done the same from the get go! 

Then Barney suggests that you capture all those emails from your blogs, from any other lists you have, such your gallery openings, and maintain an email service with something such as Mail Chimp. With them you can get 2 thousand subscribers for free and sent out a slew of emails per month for free!

Another issue that is particular concern to artists is whether or not to sell their art on line.  According  to Barney Davey, eCommerce is A-OK. He says it is particularly useful if you do not have an exclusive relationship with a gallery.

Here are a few tools that might be useful for analytics (courtesy of Barney and Jason cited above). Note why -- according to these very serious experts -- you would use them:

- sitemeter : helps you keep track of states and where they are from
- statcounter: overall statistics about your site
- enscribeseo: to find out more about your SEO rating.

And here are other tools to avoid SPAM clogging up your site:

- Wordpress uses Akismet
- Typepad has a Spam Blocker
- Blogger automatically tries to filter spam before it reaches your blog site

For my blogging and website I use three types of analytics. I use google analytics for my hand-coded website about media. I have used blogger dot com for my media blog; it has analytics built into the application without any extra work. And for my new art site which I created using Wordpress I use the plugin Akismet because it has stat features.

The last thing to address is how not to get burned out blogging. Using Social Media and blogging on a regular basis can be tedious and wreck your enthusiam for communicating with your readers.  Meghan Ward is an accomplished writer who also blogs regularly. This article of hers has useful suggestions about blogging and social media

PS. For those that are interested in a more detailed but less technical article about how to blog successfully, see this article I recently posted at the Orange County Artists Guild website blog. The article includes a simple Q and A that is will likely address your concerns.



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