This is a revisiting and updating of an old post I wrote way back in 2012, Why You Shouldn’t Have A Blog. It’s a bit out of date so I hope you’ll love today’s version as a current perspective on the topic.
You shouldn’t have a blog.
Yes, I’m probably talking to you.
Blogging is a way to connect with your fans. But artists don’t usually do well when they set out to grow their fanbase with their blog. You likely won’t find success and won’t even enjoy the process if you want new people to be finding and reading your blog in droves so you sell more art.
There are a few reasons why.
Blogging requires desire and dedication, decent writing skills, the ability to recognize what aspects of your life will captivate other people, photography skills, and time to put into marketing the blog. And most of all, it takes a long time to build up the audience for your blog to see success.
BLOGGING LOOKS EASY.
But it’s really only easy when you’re meant to blog. When you love delivering this wonderful content to your readers on a consistent schedule, when you can’t wait to talk to your followers in the comments section, and when you enjoy creating photo sessions (at least weekly) specifically for that next post that’s on your mind – that’s when it’s magic.
But if instead you can’t wait to add “just one more” widget to your sidebar because you’re hoping that’s the one that will bring you thousands of readers overnight and hundreds of sales out of nowhere… well you’re going to be disappointed.
And when you get disappointed with your blog, you resent it, you neglect, and subsequently it sits there looking abandoned and making people think you are a flaky, unreliable artist.
Getting your blog to work requires tons of work!
You have to build up a following by constantly marketing your blog. And when you’re marketing your blog, you’re not marketing your art (directly), so it’s lots of marketing juju drawing a less-direct line to selling your art.
(That’s what I sound like when I let out a cry of frustration and confusion.)
(This is what I look like.)
But imagine you’ve done that, you’re marketing the blog well and lots of new people are reading it every time you post.
You have to find a way to keep them around.
Then you have to make sure you are writing new blog posts on schedule, which is often once a week or, at minimum, once a month.
And then you have to prod those blog readers to interact with you in a different way, by buying your art.
Making that leap from reading a blog post to buying something is tough.
You have to strategize and match the topic of the blog post very clearly to the art you suggest they buy and then you have to -gulp- actually ask them to go buy it.
Ok, ok. I’m going on for a long time about how hard it is to run a blog.
But what I need to tell you most is what you can do instead.
First, real quick, here’s a quiz to decide if you should be blogging.
O Am I willing to post a few times a month, no matter what?
O Do I enjoy connecting with people online?
O Will I be able to take lots of photographs for every post?
O Will I know how to identify aspects of my life or art practice that I not only want to share, but that will also be interesting to my potential customers?
O Am I prepared to spend hours working on my blog and not make a dime from it?
O Do I have the intuition to match my blog design & images to its content?
O Can I write with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation?
O Do I want to spend the time on a blog?
If you check off every one of these – you’re golden! Keep your blog (or start one if you don’t have one yet). If you have most of them, but a couple are eluding you, be really aware of the boxes you didn’t check and try to take steps to eliminate the potential problem.
For example, if you have trouble with spelling and grammar, perhaps hire a copyeditor and have them look over your posts before they go live. Or maybe you just decide that isn’t where you’re going to shine and you will put up with the mean trolls in the comments who complain and you won’t let it bother you if someone doesn’t buy your art because they think you aren’t professional.
NOW, WHAT DO YOU DO INSTEAD OF BLOGGING…?
My favorite thing to tell artists after dropping the bomb that they should delete their blog is:
Borrow other people’s blogs.
Public Relations is the fancy business term for getting the media to talk about you. And I highly encourage you to explore PR because someone else is doing all that work for you instead of you starting a blog. They’re keeping up with posts, marketing it like crazy, taking all the photographs, feeling hemmed in by the need for consistency, etc.
And all you do is get them to talk about your art on their blog, in their magazine, on their podcast, etc.
Want to learn how to get the media to talk about your art?
I’ve got a course for that, of course. (A course of course!)
It’s called Press Bootcamp and you can start the course today if you want! It’s only $17 and you’ll get the first lesson right away. If you’d rather have my eyes on your work, you can wait until I do another live version where I’ll help you with each step. Just sign up for the interest list (you’ll also get my regular emails with new articles and such) and I’ll let you know when I run Bootcamp live again.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO INSTEAD OF BLOG?
Well the great thing about blog content is that it’s just ‘content’.
It can live somewhere other than a blog.
There’s no reason that you can only share your creative exploits, new pieces, sketchbook pages, studio shots, trip photos, etc on a blog. Why not share that stuff on social media (but as a relationship-building tool, remember)… or better yet! Why not share that stuff through emails.
I looooove email marketing for this stuff because it’s exactly what people want to hear from you when they sign up for your “newsletter”. And your fans are already in their inboxes, so it’s way easier for them than trying to remember to check your Instagram feed or find your blog again. Learn how over here.
Let me know what you think in the comments and go ahead and sign up for Bootcamp if you want to learn how to get the media talking about your art!