We previously wrote 10 ways that an artist can market and brand their artwork. In an ongoing series, we are providing additional ways in which an artist can promote and develop their brand. Today, a lot of individuals and businesses get marketing and branding mixed up. Simply put, marketing is how an artist reaches their target market with advertising, promotions and public relations. Branding defines the artist and defines what their target market thinks they are. Every time a prospect or a potential customer makes contact with the artist in person, print, virally or by other means, they are forming an opinion of the artist and the artist as a brand.
The following is a list of 10 additional ideas and ways in which an artist can use to promote, market and brand their art. This and the prior list of suggestions is forever changing as technology and the public’s tastes shift from one popular media or marketing vehicle to another. This list is in no particular order of importance for an artist to use to when developing their brand.
1. Book publishing is a medium which allows the artist to present their artwork to prospects in a memorable form. Today, book publishing is being used more and more by artists as a marketing tool. There are many POD (Print on Demand) websites that will allow an artist to design, print and publish their “Art Book”. This can then be used by the artist for marketing and presentation purposes. Most POD websites also allow for the books to be available for sale to the general public, if the artist is so inclined to do so. Presenting their work in this manner is a nice thing for an artist to have as a give away to prospects and gallery owners. There are even some art reps that want to keep an artist’s art book on file or be able to show their clients the artists work. Suggested publishers that seem to specialize in this type of self-publishing are www.blurb.com, www.lulu.com. www.createspace.com.
2. Document and Slide websites allow the artist to showcase their work in PowerPoint demonstrations and PDF presentations. These sites also provide the artist with a profile space and links back to their website. Keywords and tags are a part of each file that is uploaded and these files will also show up on all of the major search engines. It is one more way for an artist to get out there and to promote themselves, their art and their website. www.slideshare.net, www.calameo.com, http://issuu.com
3. Art licensing is an area where artists can supplement their regular artwork and generate additional income from their art. Art licensing companies are very specific as to what type of art that they are looking for and they will let you know what their creative parameters are. Most art licensing firms are always looking for new artists and they will provide ways for an artist to submit artwork for consideration, right on their website. www.porterfieldsfineart.com, www.millpondlicensing.com, www.comlicensinginfo.com
4. Podcasts are becoming a very effective tool for anyone that wants to get their message out. Think of podcasts as YouTube, without the video. A podcast can be used as a specialty message or a rehash of an old article or art tips for other artists. Whatever it is, it is another media in which the artist can connect to their target market and stay current with their prospects and customers. Links can be added to the artist’s blog or website for prospects to subscribe to. Podcasts are a great branding tool for an artist. Here is more information on creating podcasts; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcast
5. Blogs are an effective means for an artist to not only brand themselves but it also provides another way in which to drive traffic to the artist’s website. There is free software such as WordPress, Blogger and Typepad that an artist can use to develop and publish their blog. These are content driven publications that people will read in order to be informed on subjects that interest them. Keywords, title tags, and meta tags are all a very important part of blogging as this is a way in which when people are searching certain words, that they will find the artist. It is almost like article marketing, but the artist is using their own website to achieve this. http://wordpress.org, www.blogger.com, www.typepad.com.
6. Art and business directory sites can be used to help build traffic to the artist’s website. A directory site can also help to build brand awareness. Directory sites are also an important link building tool for artists as well. The artist should try to get listed in as many directory sites as possible. Also, Google, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing and others have local business directories that artists should be in as well. See our Article 10 Free Directories to Drive Traffic to Your Website.
7. Newsletter publishing is another way in which to build and maintain an author’s brand. A newsletter can be a printed publication or it can be a part of an artist’s main website. If properly formatted and tagged, these articles will also show up on major search engines and drive traffic to the artist’s website. These are content driven publications that people want to read and learn about certain information. From the articles and content that is used and written about in the artist newsletter, those articles can then be used for articles sites, blogs and press releases. There are literally 100’s of newsletter software and newsletter templates on the Internet to use, follow or be inspired by. No matter what the artist chooses to use, the newsletter should speak directly to their target market, inform them of relevant issues and solve their problems.
8. An artist can become a guest author on other art “industry” blogs that are in the artist’s area of expertise. This not only provides the artist with a much larger audience in which to present their brand, but it will also help to get people to the artist’s website and their blog for additional traffic. Also, by an artists doing this, it will help the artist to convert more prospect email addresses for future promotions. Research the top 10 art blogs in your niche and approach them with idea of doing a guest article. Blog publishers are always looking for new content. The artist should make sure that the blogger’s guidelines are being adhered to and followed.
9. Become a timely commentator on relevant art forums and art blogs, which allow comments. When participating in discussions on a forum or on a blog, an artist will have an opportunity to promote their brand in their thread through their comments. This type of promotion is much like social networking and an artist should remember that their remarks are their forever and to think twice before they submit their comments. If the artist’s comments become a commercial or are self serving, a moderator will not allow them or may ban the contributor from participating. An artist should research the top 10 art forums and art blogs in their niche and join, get involved and become part of those communities. It is a great way for an artist to become known, network and expand their market.
10. Artists should join any available free online art galleries and art websites. These sites allow an artist to promote and show their work to thousands of people each day. In addition to showing their art an artist will also have the opportunity to have a profile, links to their website and in many cases a biography and artist statement as part of their presentation. Many of the newer free artist websites now have the ability for the artist to have a blog, post news items and upload press releases. In addition, some art websites have their own community forums for the artist to contribute to. An artist should have a fully developed and well written profile for any of these sites. They should make sure that everything is well written, spell checked and complete prior to uploading. An artist can get on to at least 30 to 40 of these free online art galleries. See our Article 20 Free Art Portfolio Websites to Market Your Art.
These are just a few additional ways in which an artist can promote their art and develop their brand. This may sound like a lot of work but once these different media are set up and functioning, it is then there for the artist to take advantage of these opportunities and to promote their art.
How many other artists do you know that are doing any of this? I am sure, not many and that is all the more the reason for an artist to take advantage of these low-cost opportunities and be ahead of the curve. Whether an artist will admit it, art is a business and a successful business will reach their target market in different ways. If done well and consistently over time the artist will see an increase in traffic, have a stronger brand and a resultant increase in their art sales.
Successful artists should always have a press kit available to hand out or mail. This kit should also be accessible on their website for interested parties.
Just what is a press kit and why should an artist have one? A press kit is just what it sounds like, as it is a group of documents presenting the artist’s background, education, experience, past exhibitions, publishing achievements, competition awards along the artist’s current and future shows, etc. Electronic press kits should be part of an artist’s marketing and branding program. In addition, a press kit should also be included and made a part of the artist’s printed collateral materials.
People who would have an interest in an artist’s press kit are editors of both print and online publications, gallery owners, art reps and prospects who may be considering purchasing your art. This may sound like a challenge to perform and extremely difficult to compile this information but in reality, I will show you that you probably have the bulk of the information already. This information just has to be compiled, formatted and packaged correctly.
Here are the main components of an artist’s press kit:
1. Biography – As part of any press kit, website or collateral materials, an artist should have a well-written biography and most artists already have this information. It should be updated and closely edited.
2. Artist Statement – An artist statement is necessary to allow any interested party to help them understand why you are creating your art and what you are trying to achieve with your art. See link below to our article on how to write an artist statement. How to Write the Perfect Artist Statement.
3. Exhibitions & Shows – All past group or solo exhibitions and shows should be listed from newest to oldest. What if you have not been accepted into any shows? Say so. Many artists without any exhibition experience skip all of this information as they are embarrassed that they do not have any exhibition experience to show. To me, by not presenting any information will say to the reader “I am inexperienced and I do not want anyone to know.” Remember, every artist had to start somewhere and if you are a good artist, that is more important than anything else to other people.
4. Exhibition Awards - All past awards (no matter how important or not) from any exhibitions should be displayed and shows should be listed from newest to oldest.
5. Past Publicity – Any brochures, exhibition postcards, news releases should be made a part of the kit and embedded into the package.
6. Current Shows – This would be a list of any shows or exhibitions that you are currently a part of, at the time that the press kit is being sent out. Have links to that gallery exhibit as part of this section. Make sure that this information is always up to date.
7. Future Shows – This information would be about any future shows or exhibits that you have been accepted in to, at the time that the press kit was sent out. Include links to that gallery show (if any or the current competition if any) as part of this section. Make sure that this information is always up to date.
8. Current Press Releases – These would be current press releases announcing your current shows, awards, appearances, sales, talks and any future shows. Again, same as 6 and 7 above should be kept up to date and current. See our article on how to write a press release. How to Write a Press Release for Art Events.
9. Contact Information – This information would include name, mailing address, telephone and email address or any other way that someone can contact you.
10. Website – Include a direct link to your website, portfolio, and blog. If you do not have a working website (Facebook, My Space, and Flickr do not count) I can direct to you several online artist websites that are free and very easy to upload to and to administer.
Now, all of this information should be compiled and formatted in a way that makes it easy to read and clear to understand. I suggest having headings for each page or section. Try to have each section one page in length only. Pick a plain text such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman. The idea is that you want this press kit very easy to read, such as an editor, gallery owner or art rep as they do not have a lot of time to read. However, a buyer of your art will take the time to read this information.
Finally, have someone (other than yourself) proofread your press kit very carefully for you. Save the press kit in a PDF file or at least a non-editable word.doc. In addition, have the press kit in printed form for any events and have the electronic version available online and part of your website too.
With a well-designed press kit, will make it easy for someone to learn more about you, your art and how to contact you quickly too. Good luck!
Today, press release marketing presents the artist with another low-cost opportunity to promote their artwork. If done properly, press release marketing will bring traffic to the artist’s website, help in building and be maintaining an artist’s brand and will eventually create incoming links to the artist’s website, thus, enhancing it’s SEO and gaining a higher page rank too.
There are myriad of free and paid press release and event news websites that an artist can use to market and promote their art. To locate these sites go to the Google and type in “Free Press Release” or “Free Event Listing” into their search feature. After obtaining this information research through Alexa.com to see what the traffic is of each website (type the URL into the Alexa Search to see what their traffic rank is). The lower the Alexa Rank number, the better this is, as this indicates that more readers will be exposed to your press release. Based on your research I would only submit to the top 4 or 5 free press release and event listing sites.
If you want to submit to more sites, I suggest that several of the press release sites have a service that will distribute your press release to other news outlets for a small fee as this is a more effective use of your time to let them do this. For instance, they may charge $10.00 to $30.00 to distribute your press release to another 50 to 70 news outlets! (This is something that could take you a day or two if you tried to post on your own).
Here are a couple of tips if you have never written or submitted a press release before. Many of the better-known press release sites will provide you guidelines on how to write a press release. I suggest that the artist study and follow their suggestions. Also, an artist may want to look at and study press release releases by other artists, art galleries, and other art organizations in order to see how they structured and wrote their releases. Choose to study the press releases of the successful artists and the larger and better-known art organizations. Read our article "Helpful Hints When Writing an Art Press Release"
Paid press release sites have art or entertainment categories that can be searched for this information. In addition, most press release sites have submission forms that will guide you when uploading a press release. Artists should submit press releases and promote themselves for any new exhibitions or competitions that they will be participating in, sales of any art, any new gallery representation, charity participation, any educational or lecture type events and also when they receive any awards or special recognition. All of these special events provide an opportunity to get and keep the artist’s name out to the artist’s target audience.
An artist’s press release should answer the following questions for the reader: who, what, when, where, why and how. To write about anything else will make an advertisement out of one’s work and the press release will either not be accepted for publishing and distribution or will simply not be read at all.
In all press releases, there should also be an “About the Artist” section and artist contact information contained at the end of the press release. In addition, there should always be links back to the artist’s website and blog contained in the press release. Most press release sites have restrictions on where and how many links are allowed in artist’s press releases. Be prepared to add or subtract links, depending on the press release sites, as they are all different.
Artists should begin to formulate and plan how they can take advantage of this low-cost form of self -promotion, and marketing. In future articles, I will discuss keywords, keyword density, title tags and links as all being very important elements of an artist’s press release marketing campaign.