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Marketing Monday: Building your Mothership

After you have  a clear vision of your art business the next step is to build your basecamp, your mothership  your blog. I am not going into detail here on the mechanics of …

paper_typing_torn-400x171 Marketing Monday: Building your Mothership

After you have  a clear vision of your art business the next step is to build your basecamp, your mothership  your blog. I am not going into detail here on the mechanics of building and using a blog, that subject has been more than adequately covered by others many whom I have mentioned in previous posts. What I am going to do is discuss why a blog is the most important part of your marketing strategy,  how to go about finding the right platform, and how to use your blog as a customer magnet and grow it into the command post for your networking strategies.

Why a blog

I won’t go into the history and evolution of blogging except to say that using a blog to create web presence has far surpassed the use of static web pages. So here are a few reasons why you should build a blog.

  • Usability – Instead of requiring a PhD in computer science blogging platforms allow pretty much anyone to easily build a web presence and keep it current, all you need is a computer and an internet connection.
  • Visibility – By making it easy to keep a site current blogs allow the most Luddite among us to gain high visibility in the search engine world. It is no longer necessary to have a fancy schmancy developer cast a spell on your site to attract search engines, the mere act of posting regular content on a blog does this beyond the needs of most users.
  • Connection and Interactivity – Blogging allows businesses to talk with their customers instead at their customers. For artists a blog allows you to share your process, and work regularly making your readers feel more connected and hence more likely to buy from you because they “know” you. Your blog can be used as a way to gain insight into your buyers and their needs by allowing for two way conversations.

Choose your platform

  • For non-Geeks – For those who just want the basics, who don’t care about the back-end vs the front-end and just want to get moving. The simplest way to get started is to use a free service like Blogger, TypePad, or WordPress.com. These services provide easy set up, don’t require having a web host or your own domain name and most importantly, they are already optimized for search engines. Setting up an account and building your blog can be done in little time and if you ever want to move to self-hosted WordPress you can do so with little sweat. The downside of service hosted blogs is that you have no control over your content should their servers go down and they can change the backend, the place where you actually write and place your content, without notice. Services are also not particualarly easy when it comes to linking your blog up to your network.
  • For Geeks – For those of us who like to tweak and tinker there is but one choice…a self hosted WordPress blog. However, even non-geeks willing to hire a tech person to take care of some of the tweaking and tinkering, can use this free platform. Once set up the WordPress platform offers the most flexibility for publishing your content, whether it be images or video of your work or simply a couple hundred words talking about what you are making. WordPress also makes it extremely easy to connect your blog to Facebook and twitter.

Creating your content

  • Know why you are blogging – This is simple for artists your purpose should be to build and maintain a connection and on gong conversations with your network of buyers and potential buyers.
    Focus your content – More than anything else your ability to focus your content by giving your readers a reason to return, refer and to show up in your booth or gallery to buy. So your content should make your readers want to learn about you and your work do this by writing about what your work means to you, why you like working in the medium you are working in, and how that work reflects your values and vision. No it doesn’t have to deep navel gazing into the meaning of your work but it does need to express your passion which in turn reflects the value your work delivers to those who buy it.
  • Engage your followers – Invite your followers to participate by giving the chance to comment, you will be surprised how positive your readers will feel about your work and how much they honestly want to help you. Feature certain customers and let them describe how your work has added to their lives.

Make it a home

  • Have sections and categories – Build specific parts of your blog that specialize in different types of information think of them as rooms and fill them with the furnature that will make them a comfortable place for your network to visit.
  • Design it like your home – Design you blog so that it is not only comfortable and easy to navigate but also reflects you and who you are. Design it to reflect the way you like to entertain and live.
  • Showcase – Use it as a way to show your buyers all the ways your work can improve their lives and their homes or offices. Incorporate photos and testimonials of people who have your work and let them do the work for you.
  • Make it inviting – Combine all of the above to make your blog intersting, and unique the kind of place your readers and network will feel comfortable and most importantly want to come back to over and over.

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 Marketing Monday: Building your Mothership

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By TheArtistsCenter

Bill Weaver is an award winning photographer, visual artist and designer. Bill has worked as an artist, designer, teacher and photographer beginning at a very young age. His mother was a prolific painter and his father was an architect/engineer and inventor. Bill began photography at the ripe age of 8 when he successfully talked his father into letting him use one of his WWII “liberated” cameras from then on he has seldom put a camera down. He was recently informed by his 89 yr old father that the circa 1930 enlarger he used through college was still available! He also started drawing and painting at an early age using everything from watercolor to charcoal. He combined his visual awareness in graduate school where he first learned his love of design.

Bill Created The ARTISTScenter.com after 15 years as a working clay artist and photographer led him to question the standard ways artists market their work. In 2004 along with 3 other artists, Brenna Busse, Erika Mock,and Frank Barr, he explored ways to educate the public about the value of hand made work and fine art. Brenna and Erika are contributing writers to The ARTISTScenter.
He also can be found on his photography blog http://www.visual-conversations.com and his photography site http://www.billweaverphoto.com.