This post is by guest contributing author Thea Fiore-Bloom, PhD. Thea is a humor-loving, award-winning journalist, artist and children's literacy volunteer. Come check out her new blog TheCharmedStudio. It's a sanctuary for creatives who care about soul. Her dream is to help creatives like you feel better, write better and sell better---by being yourself.
Do you ever have this sneaking suspicion your readers are not thrilled that they only hear from you when you’re promoting your art? Well, I say, your suspicions are right on the money.
If you’re like most of my readers, you’re what I call a heart-centered artist.
And that suspicion that you’re bugging people?
It might be the very thing that’s stopping you from sending out more blog posts and newsletters.
You may think to yourself, there has to be a better way to go.
And you’re right, there is.
Yes, marketing emails are necessary. But they’re at least two big reasons we don’t want to be all-marketing, all-the-time.
Relentless Marketing Can Be Bad for an Artist’s Sales
First, it’s actually bad for sales.
“Ironically, if someone is attracted to your kind of art, it’s not slick selling that will close the deal. It’s usually your quirky personal stories that make your average, modern collector feel like they know you and trust you enough to want to have a piece of you in their home,” said Emmy-award winning video marketing expert Gina Rubinstein.
Relentless Marketing Can Be Bad for an Artist’s Soul
Second, marketing all the time de-motivates heart-centered artists.
We know selling is part of being an artist. But we also know the reason we got up to join the dance of art in the first place was to inspire both ourselves and others via our work.
So, is there a solution for heart-centered folks like us?
Start Adding “Passion Posts” Into Your Blog Post Topics Mix
Yes. You could alternate every few marketing posts you send out with what I call a passion post.
A passion post tells a mini-story about something you’re passionate about. Choose something you’re geekishly fascinated by that has a connection to your art and that also serves your reader in some small way.
Fortune 100 digital marketing consultant Claire Diaz-Ortiz insists 80% of the material you put out online should be adding value to your reader’s life; only 20% should be promotional.
By sandwiching marketing posts between passion posts you gift yourself and your reader in 3 ways:
- First, you’ll add value to your reader’s lives by either telling them a story or inspiring them by letting them in on how creativity works.
- Second, you’ll feel better. I believe if creativity is at the center of every one of your mailings, you’ll send out more posts in 2020, become a better writer, and a stronger marketer.
- And third, as a result, you may skyrocket your chances of having more comments, sales, and fun than you’ve had in years.
Need some ideas of what kinds of topics might help you do that?
I got 51 of them that came to mind this morning.
Too much coffee?
But this is not from my caffeinated head alone.
51 Alternative Blog Post Topics for Artists
1. What was the most memorable live performance you ever saw and why did it connect all your dots? (My 12-year-old cranium opened up and stars flew in when I got to see Judith Jamison dance “Cry” in an Alvin Ailey performance.)
2. What’s your favorite urban place? Tell us about that restorative coffee shop, opera house, city park or book store you love.
3. Do you live in a rural area? Is there a seasonal natural happening you could let your readers in on? An annual bird migration? A wildflower bloom? How you love it when the wetlands start to freeze over?
4. What’s the first memory you have that involved being thrilled to make art?
5. Who is your favorite poet lately? Maybe share an excerpt with your readers. Do reflections of the themes your favorite poet touches upon in their work, ever appear in your paintings? Ask readers to leave their favorite poet in comments.
6. Got a crazy but true story that would make a good blog post topic? Savvy Painter Host, Antrese Wood’s most popular post wasn’t on art marketing. It was a story post. The first two lines were, “I punched a llama in the face today. I don’t feel bad about it either.” Get Wood’s wisdom on writing for collectors vs artists in my How Do I Write an Art Blog post.
7. Maybe let readers know about what you do/did for a living in the “real world,” and how it has informed your art practice. I interviewed a jeweler who learned precision from her service as a Navy helicopter mechanic. People would love to know what other worlds you inhabit, no matter how mundane, as long as you share the wisdom you gained from that work.
8. So many people in your audience suffer from chronic pain or other challenging health conditions. If you do too and you want to talk about it, I bet many folks will identify with you. Your readers will appreciate, not castigate you for sharing a story related to your own struggles. I talk about why this is so powerful in, Frida Kahlo: 7 Meaningful Tips for Artists.
9. You may choose to share stumbling blocks that come in other forms if it feels right. Shawn Marie Hardy and Vicki Knowles blaze the trail in this post on Artists and ADHD: Myths, Realities, True Stories, and Resources.
10. Tell readers about your all-time favorite museum, or museum store.
11. Share the book you loved most as a kid, or as a young adult. What in that book still rings true for you today?
12. Make a post that lists your favorite books on a topic you’re obsessed with. What are the 5 best reads (fiction or nonfiction) you recommend on say, dollhouse miniatures or Balinesian mythology? Maybe include images of the book covers.
13. Choose your current favorite painting by a famous artist. Tell your readers why it enchants you. Did you see it in person? If so where? Ask readers about their favorite paintings.
15. Talk about your favorite movie, why does it move you? What part of your personal philosophy does it reflect? Ask readers to tell you their favorite movie in the comments.
16. Do you use tea to companion you as make art? What’s your favorite? Do you have a little ritual? I was scared to publish my post on tea because I thought it might be too frivolous but my readers really responded to it. People need a break from heavy stuff sometimes.
17. If you feature any plants, flowers or trees in your work, devote posts to the history or mythology of plants you love. Include your own paintings but also consider illustrating posts with your own simple, fun drawings to accompany planting instructions.
18. Give a recipe. Illustrate it. Here’s a nice example of a heart-centered recipe post from artist Linda Shoults.
19. If you don’t cook but you enjoy eating, write about the culinary life of an artist you love. 7 Lush Beach Reads About Artists To Take on Vacation lists several books that focus on the fabulous food life of great artists like Proust and Monet.
20. If you’re a Plein air painter and you just stayed up till 3 a.m. last night reading The Hidden Life of Trees, or some other great book, tell us why you couldn’t put it down.
21. Did you have a favorite childhood tree? Do you have a current favorite tree? Any stories there?
22. What is your favorite formal or informal garden? Tell us about the moss-covered mermaid you saw in Bon Marzo, Italy. Or stay closer to home. Let us in on that patio window box you planted to help butterfly populations.
23. Do you have a favorite writer’s house or artist’s garden you’ve visited? Why is it inspiring to you? Share your own images. Or if you need copyright-free illustrations of gardens, museums, or anything else for your passion posts, visit 70+ Image Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Finding Awesome Images Online For Free.
24. What was the most amazing wild animal you’ve ever seen? (Or the pet you’re most partial to.)
25. What’s an example of a little thing in your life that brings you peace? For me, it’s hummingbirds. So I wrote a post on the best way to set up a hummingbird feeder and maintain it.
26. If you are environmentally conscious, a good blog post topic might be you sharing how you recycle in the studio or how you clean your brushes to go easy on the earth.
27. What’s one of your favorite travel memories? Can you share an image you drew, maybe from a travel journal about a special place? Ask your readers to share theirs in the comments. Or better yet set up a group for readers to share their travel journal images on your Facebook page.
28. Who is a hero of yours? Are they a singer, scientist, human rights advocate, UFC fighter or humble neighbor?
29. Are you like me– do you talk to strangers? Tell the story of a stranger you met and how they made you think about art or life in a new way.
30. If you went to art school share something you loved or hated about it.
31. What was one mistake that taught you something pivotal about making good art?
32. Write about how making art makes you feel on those days when it all clicks together.
33. Do you sell at art fairs? Artist and charming subscriber Rebecca E Bangs wrote a great little post that simply divulges the contents of her Art Fair Booth Packing List. What list could you share with your readers?
34. Consider interviewing someone. You can do it via email. It’s not as hard as you think and it will add depth to your blog. Limit yourself to five questions. Make the fifth question: “Is there anything you wish I’d asked about this topic?”
35. What is something that used to stress you out in your studio that you’ve now mastered? Could that story help other people too? Here’s an example from artist Laura den Hertog. Check out the comments/engagement den Hertog got on the practical, free videos she put together on how to ship your art so it never gets damaged.
36. What was the best idea you ever had?
37. How about the worst one?
39. Describe the best reaction someone ever had to your work. Why did it hit home for you? How did it relate to your unique mission as a creative?
40. Tell us the weirdest reaction someone had to your work. How did you deal with it? Do you have any advice for young artists on how to bounce back after rejection, criticism or encountering a troll?
41. Tell readers the 5 creatives you most look up to; be they fashion designers, classical musicians, graffiti artists, dancers, magicians, writers or actors. Go on Wikipedia to search for fair use or copyright-free images of each person to include in the post.
42. Do you take long walks often? So did many famous artists and writers. O’Keeffe and van Gogh for starters. What does walking do for you as a creative? This New Yorker article on how walking helps us think might give you more ideas.
43. Has your art helped you develop a nurturing community online? Art Marketing for Introverts, tells the story of how artist and subscriber Anvil Caitlin Williamson created valuable community offline as well.
44. Can you verbalize your wish for your readers and their relationship to their own creativity?
45. Symbols can be great blog post topics for artists. If your art contains spiritual or mythic symbols, tell us about them, maybe in a series of posts. Illustrate these posts with your own drawings.
46. Has your art helped you heal your life? How exactly?
47. Tell a story about one of your readers (with their permission of course.) Darren Rowse of Problogger tells bloggers, if you want more reader engagement, share your stage. Try to make your readers famous; it’s a heart-centered, win-win strategy that I live by.
48. Tell us a story of when your art helped someone else and what that meant to you.
49. If you love the art or art history of another culture share a tiny slice of it. I love this post written by artist Mickey Baxter Spade on the Japanese concept of Aichaku, which she explains is a term for the sense of attachment one can feel for an artifact.
50. What would you recommend your collectors do to take the first steps to begin writing or making art themselves? What realization helped you take the leap?
51. My dissertation examined the soulful importance of certain objects to artists. Think about a personal object you have in your studio or on your desk. Why is it important to you? What memories or meaning does it hold? Share a photo of it with readers.
Final Thoughts on Blog Post Topics: Being Yourself is Revolutionary
Some of these ideas may feel too revealing. I get that. Remember, only share up to your own limit.
But keep in mind, a lesson I’ve learned from writing The Charmed Studio blog. Your most popular posts aren’t the ones that make you sound smart or respectable. Your most popular posts share your heart.
You may fear your personal stories about your passions aren’t snazzy enough.
I say, they are plenty snazzy.
Because in our business, writing about what you love as opposed to what you sell — is revolutionary.
So, Viva La Revolucion!
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Letting Go of Approval: A Story for Artists (That Involves Underwear)
HOW TO GET TO THE �"HEART�" BEHIND YOUR ART