This post is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner and founder of BoldBrush, known for FASO Artist Websites, the leading provider of professional artist websites, the $38,000+ BoldBrush Painting Competition and the free daily art marketing newsletter, FineArtViews. As a self-proclaimed "art fanatic", Clint delights that BoldBrush's downtown San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office which he shares with his two feline assistants Kiara and Lilly. You can connect with Clint on Twitter, Facebook or his personal blog at clintavo.com
My favorite Seinfeld episode is The Opposite. In it, George complains to Jerry that, "Every decision I've ever made in my life, has been wrong, every instinct I've ever had...was wrong. My life is the complete opposite of what I wanted it to be". And Jerry replies, "If every instinct you've ever had was wrong the the opposite would have to be right." So George immediately starts doing the opposite of his natural instincts. And in the course of a few days, he goes from being a "bald man, with no job, no money, who lives with his parents" to dating a beautiful woman, and landing his dream job with the New York Yankees.
In a warped, Seinfeldian kind of way, this is actually brilliant advice.
While I was working on another article, thinking about artist blogs and newsletters, I started wondering why most artist blogs fail. And, why many artists seem resistant to the idea of sending a newsletter, when we've shown over-and-over again how important newsletters are to art marketing. And I realized, many artists, regarding their blog and newsletter strategies, should, like George, simply do the opposite.
The Ideal Newsletter
It's no secret that I believe your number one marketing asset is a newsletter mailing list.
While most artists know (or have heard) this, many artists never actually send email newsletters. I often get push back from artists who avoid or procrastinate building or sending email newsletters because they either don’t think they have anything to say, or they don’t think they have the time to write, design and send a newsletter. These artists are making a mistake. If you're in this group, you probably feel that you can't create and send a newsletter because your mind is generating a mental picture of a "newsletter" that is polished, slick, professionally edited, designed with multiple sections & stories, and fairly long-form writing. These misconceptions lead artists to say, "I just don't have anything to say" or "I'm not a writer".
The "ideal" artist newsletter is the exact opposite: Most newsletters you send should be relatively short, about one topic, and written as if you're sending a personal email to friends.
Here's a starter list of the types of newsletters you should send:
1. An invitation to an upcoming exhibit
2. An update about your progress toward an upcoming exhibit
3. An announcement that you've completed a new artwork
4. An update on a work in progress
5. Your relatively short thoughts regarding inspiration about a particular piece
That sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? This form of communication is easier for you, the artist, to publish and send and easier for us, your fans, to receive and digest. Drip, drip, drip your information about your career to us a little bit each week and you'll stay top of mind. Yet many artists are resistant to send this type of newsletter for the reasons I mentioned above.
The Ideal Blog
Here's the epiphany that I had this week: A lot of artists are already publishing these small bits of information...on their blogs...where nobody ever sees it. They just publish it out into the ether because they heard, somewhere that "you need a blog", and they hope that it magically attracts a following. No wonder most artist blogs fail.
While it's OK to occasionally publish some short updates on a blog, that's not what builds a blog following. Building a blog the right way, takes a big commitment. A commitment to produce well-written, engaging, and compelling content on a regular basis, and a commitment to engage with your audience. In short, it's a commitment to hard work. To reap the benefits of a blog, you need well-written, well-edited, long form content that attracts people. You need to be telling an arching story about your journey that people want to follow. It's even better if the story is connected to some bigger idea that people can get behind. Yes, one of the benefits of blogs can be attracting new fans from search engine traffic...but only if you have the right kind of content. And the "right" kind of content, generally, means something much more compelling than exhibit announcements and photos of works in progress.
Do the opposite
So here's my Seinfeldian revelation: Lots of artists are approaching their blog and newsletter strategies backwards. Reverse your strategy. Do the opposite: Publish your most compelling, most polished, pillar content for your blog (if you have one) to attract and engage potential new fans. Send your short, personal, more raw updates to the people who already know and love you via your newsletter.
And if you only have the time or inclination to do one of the two, then do the newsletter and forget the blog.
Your newsletter should be relatively easy. It goes to existing fans and they want to hear from you. And these quick, personal updates will make them feel close to you. It will make them feel special that they have inside access into your life, and it will make them engaged with what you're doing and where your going next.
Sharing Art Enriches Life, so please, start sharing yours with your fans today
FASO Founder, Software Craftsman, Art Fanatic
PS - At FASO, we've spent the last decade becoming the leading provider of professional artist websites. FASO is the easiest way to build and maintain a professional artist website. Our platform includes both a blog and a newsletter with every website and makes following this strategy easy. We encourage you to give FASO a try.
Today's post is an updated version from a few years ago, but we're republishing it again today because it's still a timely and relevant message. Enjoy!
The Power of Newsletter Marketing
Email Newsletters - The Best Kept Secret for Growing Your Base of Collectors
The Perfect Sending Frequency for Artist Email Newsletters