I’m often amazed that artists don’t blog more than they do. Some of my favorite artists, artists who I would love to follow or read about, don’t have a web presence of any kind.
And that’s a shame, because it’s more important than ever for artists to have some kind of “home” on the internet. After all, that’s where all the collectors, fans, and potential students are.
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“I don’t have the time to blog.”
That’s usually the first objection. You may already be thinking it. Or saying it out loud.
There already aren’t enough hours in a day, or days in a week, to create art AND do all the other things necessary to keep an art-based business going. Why try to plug something else into that schedule?
Well, you’re right. After a fashion.
Artists don’t have the time to blog full-time or every day. If you’re an artist, your job is to make art; not talk about it. BUT. . . maintaining a blog doesn’t have to be a full-time job. It doesn’t even need to take more than an hour or two a week to post a weekly update.
That’s doable, right?
And if you’re still wondering why you need a blog, here are 6 reasons:
1. A blog puts your art out there
No art sells without first being seen by someone other than the artist. Typically, the place that happens is at a gallery, where good art and potential buyers get together. Your blog won’t replace a good gallery with a solid presence in their community and a topnotch mailing list.
But having an online gallery—even if it’s part of your art blog—is the foot in the door, so to speak. You can showcase as many or as few pieces as you wish and people from all over the world are able to see those works. Some may even be willing to buy directly from your website.
The more readers you have, the more chances for eyes and art to come together. Regular blog posts will keep your website fresh and up-to-date (again, taking just an hour or two each week).
Your blog will be the most cost-effective and constant source of views for your art. But you’ve got to start blogging to make that happen.
2. A blog allows you to promote your art
A lot of people think that just by putting artwork online, they’re promoting it. But if you aren’t actively doing something to let people know your work is for sale, it’s really just a bunch of pretty pictures—that may or may not get seen.
Announcing newly-finished artwork on your blog is the first step in actually promoting your art. But don’t stop there!
People love the stories behind art. What prompted you to create a certain piece in a certain way? Why that particular subject? Why that particular medium or style?
If a reader makes a deep-down, emotional connection with your work, they’re more likely to make a purchase. That’s something a lot of gallery owners have observed in person.
Blogging about your work as you create it, or after it’s finished, is ideal for providing context (AKA, a story) for each piece. And the story is what sells.
3. A blog connects you with potential buyers
This is especially important for portrait artists, but it applies to any artist who wants to sell artwork. Here’s how it works:
Most portrait clients know someone who has purchased a portrait. They see the portrait in person and they like it. So what do they do? They ask their friend or associate where they got the portrait.
Typically that person will at least be able to share the artist’s name. They may also have a business card or postcard to hand out, which includes the artist’s name, address, telephone number, and website.
Enter, the artist’s blog.
The potential client visits the artist’s blog and sees other portraits and artwork for sale. If they like what they see, there’s a good chance they’ll will contact the artist for more information.
So if you’re a portrait artist, your blog should be your first line of marketing. Almost like a receptionist able to answer all the initial questions while you’re in the studio.
That’s exactly how a well-designed blog should function, by giving potential clients enough information to decide whether or not to proceed, and how to contact the artist if they want to take the next step.
My portrait blog includes a page detailing the materials and techniques I use, the process in general, payment plans, and information on using reference photos. All of this is there for potential clients, and it makes the process of turning a “potential” client into an actual client much faster.
4. A blog is your “official” online presence
With the prevalence of social media, a lot of people think a blog is no longer necessary. It’s a lot easier—and often more fun—to post tweets, updates, pins or whatever else to your favorite social media.
But what happens if a person wants to know more about you? Where do they go to get that information?
Answer: your blog.
Besides being a source of information for potential clients, your blog is also a great base of operations. It’s where you’ll send social media followers who want to see more of your work, learn about your creative processes, or get to know you better than is possible in 140-character word-bites or short updates.
At the very least, your blog should give readers the opportunity to add their name to your email mailing list.
Because anybody interested enough in your art to give you their name and email address are much more likely to make a purchase than anyone else.
5. A blog will help you teach
Not every artist is cut out to teach, but for those who are, maintaining a blog is a great way to stay in touch with current students while reaching out to future prospects as well.
You can present short lessons in a single post, or offer tutorials that require two or three posts to complete. New artists love reading how-to articles and if they like what you’re presenting, they may also be willing to pay to attend a workshop, buy your books, or do online lessons with you.
6. A blog connects you to other artists
Creating art is often a solitary process, and you may find that blogging helps ease that burden.
Reading other art blogs can bring encouragement and offer solutions to a problem you’re experiencing. You can also be a source of help and inspiration for other artists.
Just being able to share what you’ve learned over the years is a great reason for having a blog, even if you’re not making a living at art. There’s always someone behind you on the Artist’s Journey. Why not help them out?
There are certainly many more reasons to blog, and your reasons will probably be different from the next artist. But if you’re trying to grow your art business, or gain stability and traction for your art online—my FIRST suggestion is to start an art blog.