Artists, 10 Ways to Really Screw Up With Your Blog

Artists, 10 Ways to Really Screw Up With Your Blog

First, do you already have a blog? I know, I know…you’ve just barely got the website gig under control and now along come blogs. So much easier to just ignore the whole thing and go make more art, isn’t it?

Or maybe you’re one of those early adapters and bingo! in you dive. But I’m betting that’s about as far as you might have gotten. You’ve set up your blog, you already post now and then (or maybe a few times a week), but if someone asks how you’re increasing your SEO, you roll your eyes and order a third latte. This is not what gets you up in the morning.

But I’ll bet selling your art would wake you up

I know that a direct email list and galleries nevertheless keep up the traditional “all-time-high’ identify for selling art. Don’t give these up.

But blogs are racing past being the new kid on the block and are quickly overtaking websites for audience retention.

In fact, blogs can also be your website. (But that’s another post altogether.)

Mind you, there are blogs that generate traffic, with a listening and responding audience (responding is the meaningful here), and there are blogs that are dead in the water from day one.

When you want a blog that works, don’t do any of the following:

1. Not have a blog: oh, this is sooo obvious. But if you are hesitating because you think blogs are “diarys” (they are not), or a running commentary on your life (not unless you are a Dooce (http://www.dooce.com) and then you’re probably not reading this because you’re counting your money.), or a platform for venting, it’s a big fat “No” on all counts.

A blog is another way to connect with possible collectors. And you can’t have too many of those, right?

2. Care more about yourself than your audience:

Blogs are in the business of serving *you* to your audience because you care more about your audience than you do yourself.

Satisfy your ego with great art. Keep the connection to your possible collectors more altruistic: care about them. Write a blog that shows you care by giving them content they would be interested in.

It’s really not that hard to listen outside of the “yourself zone” and hear what’s boring, or too much an insider comment, or too personal, or simply dull.

3. Post too little, or too often

The industry recommendation is 3-4 times a week, max. People have so much to keep up with that posting too often feels pestering and bothersome, while posting too little gives people time to forget about you.

4. Create hokey content

Content is royalty (King or Queen). What you write about matters. If your cat is sick and you’re painting a series of “Cat In Pain”, then blogging about this makes sense. But if your cat is sick and you cannot make a single applicable art case for the cat, don’t write about it.

I know there are some artists who have made their personal lives part of their blog personalities, and it’s a good strategy as long as you keep the majority of your posts pointed to the questions of art.

Maybe your art subject or style lends itself to a more “a day in the life of” kind of blog. But be discriminating: think about your audience. Who are they? Will they really be interested?

Think about your art: what content will serve it best?

5. Try to write for everyone

What about the people who have bought your art: What is similar about them? Do they live in the same area? Have the same kind of hobbies? Are in a specific income bracket?

If it helps, write a fleeting “my collector’s profile.” Then, make sure your blog posts are focused on the interests of these people.

In other words, take the time to define your audience. Remember, on a web page of any kind, you are always and only speaking to one person at a time.

If you don’t speak to that person, they click off and do not return.

6. Post long articles on the home page

If you have a post that is more than 350 words, use what’s called an “extended post characterize.” You can see an example on my smARTist Career blog page.

People want the option to read the whole post or not. Honor that.

This also method you’ll have to create enough interest in the opening sentences to get them to click for more. Keeps your on your toes and serving your audience.

7. Throw a tarantula at your reader

Typos, poor grammar, and offbeat spelling will not make you seem more human. It only causes people to stop caring about what you are writing because you’ve just thrown a tarantula at them.

It’s not so much that this kind of carelessness garners you a risky reputation, but that it’s a distraction for your reader. It takes them off message, just when you want them to get your message.

8. Forget to post your pic

There’s something about virtual reality that is sooo virtual. It’s the opposite of looking someone in the eye and shaking their hand, or hugging them.

Photos where we can see you (eyes count, but so does action), especially at work, help your reader feel more connected to you.

And the more connected they feel, the longer they stick around. And the longer they stick around, the greater your chances that they’ll buy your art.

9. Fail to give people an easy way to come back

If you don’t offer your readers a subscription form so they can get blog updates by RSS or email, you can’t build a devoted audience.

10. Leave your readers out of the loop

The whole point of a blog is to generate alive, vs static, content. You absolutely need reader comments to generate a conversation with your audience and make the search engines happy with a constant stream of updated info.

So make sure that you have a way for readers to leave comments and create trackbacks to their sites/blogs.

Trackbacks should happen automatically when you use a blog comment form that includes the person’s name and website URL. If your blogging platform does not sustain this, get one that does. If the reader cannot leave a comment and a link back to her site, then the whole blogging relationship falls apart.

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