Blogging for Artists
So let's start with blogging otherwise known as why I love blogging for artists um the first aspect of promotions we're going talk about is blogging there are many aspects to promoting your work and blogging is just one of them used to be that blogging in and of itself and this is really before social media took off was the place um that people got their information how many of you at one point some of you still may do this although this is much less common how many of you used tio or still do follow like an r s s feed or or our have a list of logs that you read daily any of you like a handful okay, so you have your favorite blog's you have that the places maybe their news blocks they might be art and culture blog's it might be political blog's they might be designed blog's but you've got your blog's that you like where you get your information and you used to be that you would check in with those regularly. It was like, uh I don't even remember there's like blawg basically blogged rea...
der web sites that you could go to but nowadays most people don't use those most people linc get to other people's blog's by looking at twitter for example um or facebook this is how most, um the entry point to most blog's including mine are just people who happen to click on a share link that I put on my facebook fan page or a link that I might post on twitter a couple times a day and so blogging is really for me it's not alone gonna lead to promotion unless you've got some diehard fans who check your block every day for the most part it's just the place this place where you put your content and then you need to use social media to share it because that's nowadays how people are going to find you the thing I love about blogging is that it's current it's really time especially if you do it fairly often and it's not static so your website again is this place where you have a portfolio you might have a news reel that you update but again people unless you're linking to it everyday people aren't necessarily going to go there and your block is this wonderful place where you can on a daily basis write about what's inspiring you share a picture of something that you made the day before show a picture of your sketchbook write an essay about your perspective on something um even post pictures of your home or your life outside your studio we're also going to talk about instagram is a powerful tool for that um the thing I love about blogging and instagram is they're both visual in a way that twitter and facebook are not as much I feel like twitter and facebook are more sharing tools we'll talk about that a minute, but blogging is current it's ever evolving it's fresh stuff it's in really time, you can link to it from multiple places and it's much more likely that people will share it and stumble on it than your website, and I'll show you screenshots of my blogged in a few minutes and all of the ways that content gets shared and the way the internet works now through social media is that I share something and it gets shared in two ways. My facebook fan page people can share their through their own facebook page, so you just press that share button. Um, on my block, I have both a twitter and facebook share button excuse me, some people have intrest also, um, I haven't gotten that into penn arrest, which we'll talk about in a minute, although after listening to carry talk about how she as a curator uses interest yesterday, I'm thinking twice about it, um, but there are lots of ways for people to share. People can retweet your tweets when you're linking to your block through twitter. So many possibilities for more and more and more people to see what you d'oh julie yeah, um, do you use the blogger that's on your website, or do you use a mother blogging software? We'll talk a little bit about how you can set up a blocking a minute my block is a word plus press blogged that I have a friend of mine who's a designer designed for me we designed it together and when I say design I don't just mean the visual elements I mean how it's set up everything from what people get to see and don't get to see on the block and um wordpress is a great format um if you can you can use you can learn too build it build a wordpress block yourself although lots of designers use it now there are other blogging formats like type pad and and others where you could just literally go in there pretty formatted and you make a header and you can sort of customize it where wordpress blog's air really customizable I think square space and others are similar so there's so many options now on but this is not your area of expertise hire someone to make one for you and learn the back end so that you know on your blood you've got to figure out how to update it. Your designer can't do that for you every day where your designer might be need to be the one who updates your website um you need to be ableto update your block because it's personal and you're gonna be doing it more often so your block is a place which is the home base for all your content you're ever evolving content it's this place where you can continually share what you're up to and continually generate interest in you and your work that your your website can't offer it allows people to get to know you in a deeper way as we were talking about in the branding segment but you get to choose what to share in what not to share everything about your blog's that you have ultimate control over it actually that's true and in any case on any social media form of social media okay um so I love this quote by just dostoyevsky um remember yesterday in segment for we talked about figuring out how to tell your story so people can begin to understand who you are and the personally out personality of your business and I believe that your blawg is the best tool in your branding tool kit sometimes when I talk to other artists about telling their story and some of you may be feeling this right now you'll say I have no story or my story's boring my life is boring my art is boring um and I believe that everyone has a story and everyone's story is interesting it's sort of getting in touch with what your story is do you think your art is boring? Of course not you wouldn't be taking this course um and if you d'oh that's a whole other course that you probably need to take. So what parts of your story you choose to tell and not tell are up to you? What parts of yourself and your art and your process you want to share are up to you? A lot of people, I do share a lot a lot of people think they know everything about me because of my instagram feed and blogged, but that is not true. There are lots of things people don't know about me, lots of things I keep personal and but I share enough that people feel like they sort of know a little bit about my life and a lot about how I work and where I work. I post a lot of pictures of my studio, both on instagram, in my block and a lot about my approach to so what I do or the projects that I'm working on. So this is, uh, a screenshot of my block, which is called today is going to be awesome. I came up with that name like one day I had several other blocks before this one, and then I took a break from blogging because I found that blogging was exhausting for me, and I also realized that I wasn't drawing enough people into what I was doing. Without a blogged and I sort of went through this little bit of a of a slump when I didn't have a book for about a year so I decided to start one again and there are a few things I decided one was that I was not gonna have comments so comments are a great way for people to engage with your content if you're comfortable with um but what we also know about comments uh internet trolls yes so or just mean people um for me it was less that I hadn't had a lot of negative experiences but that is absolutely true and might be more truth for me today because my block has a much larger readership than it did at the time um but another thing we deal with is just that people are asking questions and commenting and what we often feel like when people ask questions and comments you have to respond you know and what does that do take your time and again if this is something that you enjoy and this is how you want to engage people in conversation that's great I have a lot of friends who are artists and designers and keep logs and have comments and really love that engagement for me it felt overwhelming and I also didn't like that I cared too much about what people thought or what people were saying even the positive stuff I cared too much about it and so I just said, I'm not going to comment on this block if people really want to tell me something they'll email email me and because I use my facebook fan page and twitter as sharing tools for my block post on a daily basis, people still get to comment the comment on my facebook fan page when I post the block post or they respond to me on twitter and that's ends up being fewer people and I kind of like it that way so my block is everything that is new in my world. Um and I also used my instant instagram account for that sort of visual so daily for lack of a better word self promotion because ultimately that's what you're doing um or promoting of your artwork, I, um this is actually a screenshot of uh, the front page of my blogged from I think last week or the week before, and this is ah sketchbook entry that I had done so that's a lot of what you'll see there's a whole category of my block where I just take pictures of my doodles and random drawings and my sketchbook and I also have a link to my portfolio. So what is this link back to my right? My website drives more traffic back to my website that is actually connected to my website, so lisa condon, dot com slash blawg both my block and my website or both inward press I haven't about page my about paige that it comes from my block is mohr comprehensive than the one on my website. It talks about, you know, other things about me that I'm an athlete and that I'm a home body, and I liketo stay at home and read and spend time with my family and there's an faa que, um, which has frequently asked questions, um, and contact information and then below that are categories and other, um, links to I don't have advertising on my block either. Um, that was another thing that was really important to me. I make one hundred percent of my income from my artwork and then also teaching and speaking and s o I don't I didn't want to have to manage just another income stream, although I think advertising on your bog is fine it's it's much harder to make money from it these days. Any blogger will tell you that then it was ten years ago because there's more people blogging, uh, but I advertise my own things like the classes, the books, all the other things, my etsy shop, the iphone cases that I design, and those are all listed below on on this right hand side and then there's a sort of feet of posts so you get to set the rules for what your block is and what you share and don't share these are the categories on my block I had to take to screen shots because they're drop down menus and couldn't fit them all in one one box, but there's categories of work that I make and sometimes inward press you can set it up so that you can a tag post with different categories, so if people are looking to see all the repeat patterns you've ever made or all the drawings that you've done or pictures of paintings or paintings that you've made, I've got mine, you know, repeat patterns, and I have this category called life outside the studio, so if I'm writing about a vacation that I took or just something that I did, that was sort of different from my regular working life as an artist, I'll add that category kids are occasionally make art for kids that I sell through land of nod and other places inspiration that includes interviews with other artists, blogged posts where I just write about other artists who I admire like rachel, I like to do that a lot show who I find whose work I find interesting, um press that I've gotten, um, pictures of my studio illustration projects anytime I complete a job and it's okay for me to post it publicly. Like for the client, because sometimes you have to keep things a secret for a while until the product is really easter than whatever I'll usually write about it on here and add it to my portfolio. Of course, on my website, um, I wrote about my wedding quite a bit when I got married and so there's a whole category that are about the post I wrote about my marriage and getting getting engaged in planning the wedding. I love to travel. Um, I like to go at least once a year on a big adventure, and so I have a travel and adventure category from the vault that's just old stuff that I'm bringing back to show, like old work or things that I've worked on, or even pictures from my childhood books I'm in, so I'm sometimes in other people's books, not just my own, um hand lettering, my website norick adventure siri's, which is a syriza personal project siri's that I did my sketchbooks interviews with people admire, which is a regular siri's on my block that I'm trying to bring back to life, sewing it up cycling. I love to sew my own clothes, and this year I've been trying to do that more concertedly, so I have ah, right about it books that I'm in our ink creative class collaborations with my partner phone cases block printing podcast giveaway so you get an idea of things that I'm interested in and the things that I d'oh by looking at my block categories all right making blogging manageable it can feel overwhelming to a lot of people I've just shared all this with you but I guarantee once you get the system down it's great um find a format that works for you um so there are these kinds of traditional blog's where you have the posts going to feed and you've got some categories over to the right or to the left or however you organize it you got your head or at the top there's just sort of a general bloch format right? And I think I mentioned wordpress and square space but then there are also those where you can it doesn't have you can't necessarily use your own earl but it's like you know lisa condon dot typepad dot com or whatever could use type pad um others and those are great there's also tumbler which is also a form of social media but tumbler is like short form blogging you could do a little bit of writing and post pictures and people exponentially share too which is wonderful thing about tumbler things similar to pinter us sometimes things end up getting shared so much that they lose their original source and so you don't always necessarily things don't always necessarily linked back to you but temblors a great sight for you know for blogging too if you just wanted post pictures in particular so you also want to decide on a realistic posting frequency and make it a habit so in already and I talk about this a lot so you know that's where you need to goto read more if you're interested in blogging but you want oh figure out how often you think you can write and I think in the best case scenario you're blocking every day and the way to make that manageable is on the days when you're working a lot or you don't have a lot of time just post one picture of something you drew and right one sentence or a photograph that you took or a pot that you threw or whatever it is that you make um and I'm gonna tell you what you're going to do to get people to look at the stuff that you post on your block in a second and so you want to make a reasonable schedule and you want to stick to it so that the people who visit your blogged know what to expect and you also want to think about what you can post on days when you're suddenly in a hurry and have no time so how many have you read my blogger have read my block before okay you know that I have this serious called words for the day it's literally something that I hand lettered now I don't sit down that morning and hand letter that that thing that you see those are all things that are going into some books than in publishing and I'm sort of showing previews of them but I have the stockpile of artwork that's eventually gonna go into this book that I'm making with chronicle um and yes, you guessed it those get posted on days I don't really have time to do anything else it's a picture that already exists in my repertoire I sighs it down to six hundred wide I sometimes write copyright lisa condon on the bottom in my favorite font and I posted and I might say have a great monday and that's it and people love those are for the most part interesting or inspirational quotations that I've hand lettered and there's get shared a lot because people love inspirational quotes so it's this way that I found you know toe like post something on days I'm really busy that ends up getting shared a lot because people enjoy the content even though I'm not writing anything so find your thing that you can do when you're in a hurry you want teo always post content that's meaningful to you people will know the way to keep blogging fun is to just write about stuff or post pictures of stuff that you find interesting yourself and talk about why it's interesting to you or why it's inspiring to you or why making this thing was really fun for you or why taking a class was a great experience you can really write about anything but important to also use your authentic voice so in art inc I talk about when you're writing a block this actually is making me think of something sylvie said yesterday that remember you said that you looked back on a lot of the communication on your website and you realize that you were or just the communication you were having with people about your work and that your you realize your voice sounded really robotic and that you realized you needed to be more authentic and vulnerable and casual right? Yeah um that's the voice you want on your block and in my book I say it's like sitting down at a cafe with somebody you really feel comfortable with and just having a conversation use a conversational voice um when you talk about your work other people's work one of the things that I've been wondering about you and that I most in an admiration of is how you managed to do all the things that you do and be so authentic and personable and I know that you've been saying which is probably true for a lot of artists I notes to for myself in some ways you know we tend to be introverted or at least extroverted introverts and I would love to hear how you manage you know, being the human that you are doing all these superhuman things because it's so much, right? Like I overwhelmed by social media because there's eighteen hundred different platforms and all these other things to do. Plus I'm finishing work and taking care of bunnies and, you know, it's like there's life and there's work, and I would just love to hear how you managed to do it all because you really do so much trust of all, they're not eighteen hundred social media. They're like three major ones that I'm talking about. Yeah, that's ever want talking? First of all, my livelihood depends on my doing all these things. I have figured out that consistently sharing what I d'oh brings me more opportunity and I don't I love doing what I do. I don't want the opportunity to end not that I don't take breaks, not that I don't go on vacations. Not that I don't go off the internet for weeks at a time because I d'oh when I travel in particular, but I guess there's this part of me that has begun to understand that promoting what I d'oh um in this, what I feel like is an authentic way for me, um, is justus much fun for me? Or I've made it I figured out a way to make it just a cz much fun for me as art making actually really enjoy writing on my block every day and part of that might be because I'm not a blogger, right? I don't make money from my block I get to write whatever I want in my blogged and if I want to skip it and blogged in two days because I've been here and I just haven't had time so you know, a lot of it is, um is about, um, the fact that I've sort of found this thing that I love to dio that's connected to my artwork enough and bring continually brings new people into the conversation about what I do, and now I have these books and so of course I want people to buy them and enjoy them, so I am also on the myers briggs scale test as an introvert close, I'm close to the cusp, so if you have never taken the myers briggs, you're either an introvert, extrovert and you, among other things that you test for, um and so I really do I get a lot of my energy from from being by myself and from from inside of me and from things I read and visual inspiration days than I have to spend the entire day with people I love people but you know, I will be really tired tonight because I've been talking all day and been on camera so these things don't necessarily come naturally I think that's what you meant when you said introverted are extroverted introverts yeah um we sort of have developed skills and we enjoy people around connecting with people and we enjoy people but it's still exhausting and a lot of artists I think fall into that category so I, um just because I enjoy blogging and sort of writing about my work and sharing my work doesn't mean everybody will, but I do think it's important to find some way even it's, even if it's just being an instagram power user um, we'll talk about instagram in a little bit um or toe like be somebody who really effectively uses their facebook fan page to start conversations or to interact with people you've got to find some way to connect with people on the internet where there's no going back, this is the future, this is it you know, this is the way we live now, so it's important to use it and to find somewhere out there that you can begin to feel comfortable on the internet and begin teo share atleast part of who you are and what you do with other people and figure out a way to do that regularly, maybe not every day um although the more often you do it the more effective it's going to be so I hope that answers your question it's still exhausting for me um but I figured out a way to enjoy it like I actually enjoy getting up and saying ok, what about a right on my block today? Because I make sure that whatever I write about is something I'm excited about even if it's I'm promoting a friend's class I've been promoting this pattern repeat pattern making class by my friend jessica swift on my block recently and it was so exciting for me to write this block post about this class and help her promotor class because I really think this class is going to be amazing and that a lot of people can learn from her so it's not always about me but it's about stuff that I'm excited about um yeah melanie like everywhere same melanie I'm a collage artist an illustrator and I'm curious about two things I'm curious about that balance of sharing, sharing and promoting and a sense of humility and appreciation for others I know austin clean talks briefly about that in his book, but I'm curious how you think about that and then also I'm curious about I know with facebook facebook has kind of become different than twitter and instagram and that the more you post actually the less people see unless you're now paying to promote it and so I know pieces of that but I'm curious especially with my fan page if I post on my fan page very few people see that that's actually in relationship to the extent to which people are interacting with your post so okay it doesn't matter how often you post but when you post on facebook if you post content that it in facebook sees that the people that they've chosen to shoot the small portion of your fan base that they've chosen to share it with interact with it I'd like it or comment they'll open it up to more people so writing posts that people that's going to resonate for other people or inviting people into conversations about whatever it is you're posting about is a great way too and that's also means that more people will share it which means more people will follow you facebook is not perfect and I don't to be honest with you completely understand their algorithm for how they determine who sees what and I mean because I'll notice sometimes I'll post something and it'll say I have like between fifty five and sixty thousand followers so um it'll say something like three thousand two hundred and twelve people have seen this post and that's maybe an hour after I posted it and I'll go back later that day and if there's been a lot of activity it's already upto like twenty thousand people and the most people that ever see something I post its on lee when it's gotten a lot of that, people seem to really be enjoying it and liking it and commenting and then it's maybe in the forty thousand range, so facebook's funky and the more followers you have, the more obviously more people are going to see. Yes, um, if you're involved, I have, like a couple of other businesses that are take up a lot of my time and I'm involved in, but, you know, would it to write about those wood in this art focus blogged, do you think that would be, you know, are you excited about those other things? Yeah, been right about them even write about whatever you want, very different then you are people to know that you're a person with a rich set of talents and that you do lots of different thing that that's, what is going to interest people in you and what you d'oh, and if they become more interested in the other things you do beside your art, it doesn't matter, right? They're all part of what you do and how you're trying to make a living um, one more point on this, and then we'll talk more about social media make it easy for people to share your content, okay, so if you don't have a facebook fan page already talk about this again in a second get one you don't have a twitter account get one because these are the ways that you're going to share your blogged content and it's also the way that other people can share your block content so here's another very small screen shot up my block now you can see this block post I took a screenshot from my friend grace bonnie's blogged designed sponge eye was on her radio show and she took this picture of me and put a quote on it so I took a screen shot of her blogged and put it on my block on dh melanie I want to address your question about humility in a minute I haven't forgot about you and I can see down here at the bottom there is a facebook share button and a twitter sure button some people have share buttons for other social media platforms like pinterest um but those are the ones that I like and that I like to use again I get to choose I don't have to use them all on dh this is a way for people to share so this post got shared well when I took this screen shot two hundred twenty three times from my blogged and that probably went to other people's facebook pages and then from there who knows how many times I got shared right so you can see how exponential it is, even if you only got five in the beginning, that's all I got was five facebook shares when I first started my blogged sometimes that twitter is much less for me. People don't share as much of my content on twitter, so these are authentic rial timeshare numbers, and then those get shared and retweeted in other places, which drives more traffic back to my sight. Oh, here's, some also you can see the screen shots of the, um advertisements I have for some of my products and things around the right. Um all right. So the next thing I wanna talk about this social media platforms, but, um, what you going to use to share whatever blog's post you've written, but I wanted to check in with the internet first to see if there were questions. Well, it's, great, because a lot of these questions that gets submitted, you cover them. You answered a lot of them, but I do want to get in one quick one here from ash, and we did have a couple people in the chat who said that they are afraid of writing. Writing is not their strong point, and ash says our logs or video blog's a good substitute. If you are into writing, could you do video format? Absolutely. I know grace bonnie, who I was just referring to who writes design spun, she has a youtube channel two and sometimes she just gets on there and puts a camera in front of herself and talks about something that she's interested in or that she's concerned about or she'll posted d I y video, I think I haven't talked at all about the mayo or youtube, but if that's your thing use it, you know, again, I'm that would not feel comfortable to me, so I'm not going to use it. I've chosen the things that, you know, however let's say those become really popular ways of sharing at some point, I think for a lot of people they are already, um well, I give it a try, maybe sure, I don't have my own youtube channel, but if that's something you want to do, I think that's fantastic idea um, anything else? Yeah, let's, let's do one more here. This question comes from creative in the chat room. If you haven't posted on your block for an eternity because other things in your life have taken over, should you just chuck it and start a new one? Or do you dive in again and right a post explaining your absence, how do you deal with that if you'd taken a break? I think go for the latter especially if you already like your block for matt and you know you don't necessarily need to re branded a redesign it because it's been so long if that's also the case you might want to just start over but if you've got good content on there already and you're pretty happy with the format in the branding of your blogged just jump back in that this happens all the time where you'll see somebody post something on twitter or facebook and then I started blogging again it's been eighteen months you know and here's why and you know it's a great way to bring people back into the conversation about what you've been doing, what you've been working on I wanted to address melanie's question about this whole idea of humility and I think what you're asking is it can feel to a lot of people that if you are pimping yourself for lack of a better word shattered by the same question but on yeah okay on social media every day um is it going to feel like you're bragging and my answer is you have tio first of all, as an artist you have to be able to talk about your work and what you're doing in a way that it's positive I think it is at this and at the same time humble so you don't have to say look at this awesome thing I made iraq or I rule whatever that might sound a little bit like bragging, although if that's your subtle that's fine, what you can say is, I worked on this really great project with this client. I hope you'll take a look, you know, um, does that sound like bragging? No, I don't think so, like think about those artists and designers who you follow on the internet and you really like their work when they share links to what they've been working on. What does that feel like to you special, like sharing? Like you're interested occasionally there's going to be somebody who's tone makes it sound like they think they're the next big thing. Sometimes we get really excited about projects, you know? And we say, you guys, look what I just need. I'm so excited about this, but if you do it in your own voice, andi it's authentic, that you're excited about what you do other people are going to be excited to they're not going to take it as you know, that you think that you're better than everyone or that you're bragging. I really don't think that's true, and if you find if somebody does think you're being like that, they're not going to follow you. They're gonna follow you anyway, so just like you would on follow somebody who you thought was annoying, we're all gonna be annoying to some people. If you're on the internet, you're annoying somebody you got to get over it. Um, the key is not to be too annoying to too many people, and I'll talk about how to sort of, like, I don't know moderate and put boundaries around you're sharing so that you're not over sharing because we also don't want to do that. But the truth is that the more consistently you promote your work on several different channels at once and by channels, I mean social media platforms and blogging, the more people will end up knowing what you do and follow you and find you and hire you, and by your work and all these things that you want to happen and it's going to feel I think I said something about about this yesterday, it's going to feel like like every time you post something, everybody who follows you was going to see everything you post on the the fact of the matter is that's not true that not everybody is on the internet at the same time, even if you have, like I have, I don't know, sixteen thousand twitter followers, um when I post something, only a handful of my followers are actually to see it that's. Why I post something several times a day, even the same content worded differently, because different people are going to see it. So I want to post the same thing ten times in a day. No two or three spread out over twenty four hours is fine. It's actually good. You can't post something once and think that everybody is going to see it. Same with facebook, I think it's fine to post once a day in your fan page, at least to the same thing you know, wanna bombard people, so I hope that helped answer your question. Be authentic, be humble, be conscious about being humble while you're sharing your work, and you will come across this humble and also show your excitement. Other people get excited when you're excited about what you do.