Welcome back to “The ABC’s of Art Marketing”—an alphabet guide to marketing your art, from A to Z.
In today’s article, I’ll be focusing on the letter “W” for Writing.
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Writing is a huge part of art marketing. Professional marketers call it “content marketing” because despite all the images online, words still matter—especially to search engines.
Here’s how to become a better writer (and better marketer) for your art:
First, start with the proper mindset
If you are new or nervous to art marketing, keep these three guidelines in mind:
1. You are a spokesperson for your art
One of the most persistent myths in the art world is that your art speaks for itself. That mistaken notion ONLY refers to obvious subject matter. If you want people to “get” you and your message on a deeper level, you need to give them something! You’re the greatest authority on your art—so don’t hesitate to write about it anytime you can.
2. Always write for your audience
This may seem obvious, but few of the emerging artists I work with can fully define the people who have bought or will buy their art. That makes marketing a hit and miss proposition. If you’ve read this series from the start, you know that everything you do in business starts with understanding your audience.
Do you know who your potential buyers are? Then write for them.
3. Writing is a four-part process: Think, Write, Edit and Check It’s rare that someone can just sit down and write a perfect message the very first time they try. I think first in post-it notes or mind maps. Then I write a draft, and rewrite the draft a few days later. Next comes several rounds of editing. Then I have someone else check everything.
Figure out what works for you, in order to “Think, Write, Edit, and Check.”
Second, get some words on paper
Often the hardest part is getting started and figuring out what to say. If you are feeling a bit flat or fearful about writing, try keeping a running log about your art, your dreams, and your accomplishments. Address the questions journalists use to write news:
• Why (should I care?)
• Who (else should care?)
• What (should they care about?)
• When (did I take action?)
• Where (did I take action?)
• How (do I take action?)
Don’t worry about grammar, syntax or spelling. You don’t even have to write whole sentences at this stage—words and phrases are a great start. Just “get it down” for now. You can “get it good” later.
Third, organize your thoughts into these 5 documents
Use the results of the previous exercise to get started:
1. Your artist’s statement
When you can’t be there in person, your written statement stands in for you. Make it engaging enough to grab a scanner’s attention so they come back for more. Ideally, a good artist’s statement should cover your inspirations, influences, and methods.
2. Your bio Your biography is a narrative version of your resume. Your bio contains some of the hard facts about your career; done in sentences and paragraphs, so it’s easy to read.
3. Your resume
Your resume lists your career accomplishments—your history as an artist in outline form, just like anyone else’s resume.
4. Your about statement
This is a blend of your biography and artist’s statement for an introduction of facts and personality. You can use this on your website, or anywhere else that requires a more “unofficial” introduction to you.
5. Your social media profiles
Every social media platform is a little bit different. You’ll probably need to write slightly different variations of your profile for each platform, depending on the nature of the social media conversations you have there, and how they connect you to others.
Lastly, get feedback
Unless you have a partner, an agent or a gallery dealer who’s taken a very strong interest in your career, you may not receive periodic, helpful observations from others. Ask artist friends to give you encouraging, uplifting feedback on your progress. When you work alone, a kind voice and fresh eye can do wonders to maintain your motivation and remind you how far you’ve come.
Follow the links below to read more articles in “The ABC’s of Art Marketing”—an alphabet guide to marketing your art, from A to Z: