5 Recommendations for Online Success

It used to be that the only way artists knew to promote their art was to send 35-millimeter slide packets to galleries That was about $30 worth of slides with first-class postage and a return envelope with the same amount of postage.

It was expensive, and the packets often disappeared into the ether. Lots of money down the drain, and artists complained.

Now you can instantly promote your art through any number of online portals – for FREE!

Marcie Scudder's On This Very Day photograph
©Marcie Scudder, On This Very Day. Photograph. Used with permission.

Artists continue to complain because now there are too many options. You could spend all of your time online promoting your art instead of making it. Bad idea.

You’re an artist and artists make art. Without the art, you have nothing to promote and no way to earn income from your art.

Instead of wasting a lot of time online, learn to spend your time wisely so that your efforts are rewarded and not squandered. Dedicate your online time to creating the most valuable content you can possibly share with your admirers.

Quality over quantity.

Here are 5 recommendations for content creation success, which lead to online success.

1. Be you!

Don’t jump on the bandwagon because somebody said you should be doing it this way or that way. Share from your soul.

If it feels icky, you’re doing something wrong.

You’re going to be better at something if you enjoy doing it. You’ll do it more frequently, do it longer, and improve your approach if it’s fun for you.

To be your most authentic . . .

Dawn Petrill's Winter Birds
©Dawn Petrill, Winter Bird Wonderland. Acrylic and mixed medium on canvas, 32 x 28 inches. Used with permission.

2. Focus on your collectors, fans, and followers.

Stop worrying so much about what people think of you, and start thinking about why they have come into your life in the first place.

Fall deeply in love with the people who have friended and followed you. Fall even more deeply in love with those who have purchased your art. Send them love letters.

At the same time, don’t overly obsess with what they’re up to. You have a big life to live.

That’s why you need to . . .

3. Set boundaries around your online time.

Unless you have a whole team working for you, you can’t be active on all of the online sites and be effective. If you try doing it all, chances are good that you’ll just be mediocre across the board.

I’d rather you be amazing with your newsletter and one social media platform than to try to be everywhere.

Create a mission for each of the digital channels you use and a time schedule for when you will write, share, and participate in the online conversation.

To feed your channels effortlessly . . .

Turtle - Gentle Soul of the Sea
©Patrice Federspiel, Gentle Soul of the Sea. Watercolor, 8 x 11 inches. Used with permission.

4. Capture content ideas.

If you’re one of those artists who think you don’t have anything to say, or at least anything that anyone would want to see or hear, it’s probably because you’re not being present in your daily life. You’re zipping through life without paying attention to the conversation around you.

If you’d only listenreally listen – you’d realize that you have plenty to say and to share.

Once you start truly paying attention, you’re going to need a system for capturing all of your ideas. It makes no difference whether you keep your ideas on paper or on the computer. What matters is that you honor them before they disappear forever.

To put the ideas in order . . .

5. Use an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar is a schedule for publishing your content or sharing on social media.

Developing a framework for your calendar allows you to work on content over time rather than frantically pulling stuff together at the last minute because you have a deadline.

What if, for this editorial calendar, you had a list of 100 or more ideas for your newsletter, blog, and social media to keep you going for the next 6 months? Would that be helpful? We do that in Creative Content Camp!


Your Turn

What are your biggest struggles around creating content for your newsletter, blog, or social media?

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16 thoughts on “5 Recommendations for Online Success”

  1. Good tips!
    My biggest challenge with my weekly blog is to find topics that get me fired up. It takes time and work to put a good article together so motivation is important. Curated content is not the answer for me. Maybe it stimulates an idea now and then. But most often the best topics come from my existing subscribers. So I keep asking them. I am keen to give them value so this motivates me to do my best. Ask friends too. Automate the question in autoresponders every few months too, in case you forget. This way you remain relevant to your fans.

    1. Malcolm: I agree that it takes time and work for a good article. I don’t get these people that can do it in an hour.

      I also agree that the best topics from existing subscribers. That’s why I have my new Curious Monday posts.

  2. My biggest challenge is that I keep falling into art slumps, and wondering whether or not it’s appropriate to blog about things OTHER than the work I’m (not) creating. But if I want to maintain an authentic voice, then I guess talking about the struggle is part of it!

    1. I regularly go weeks without creating because I’m chronically ill. There’s skills and experiences you can write about when not creating. There’s why you create on certain topic. There’s the last gallery you visited. If you have a large and intricate piece of work you can get multiple posts out of that. The ‘I dropped the button box’ quilt posts at pintangle.com are an example of this.

    2. I know some other artists who have chronic illness. I wonder if there is a special niche you might create for people who are trying to create and manage a challenging health situation? Maybe there are topics that really are highly specialized you could address. If you haven’t seen Words and Pictures, a movie with Juliet Binoche in which she plays an artist with Rheumatoid Arthritis, you might want to. Just an idea…

  3. Hi,

    I actually wrote my last blog about creating an editorial calender for artists, with a personal brainstormed list of things I can write about and do . People may find it useful.


    I have only just started blogging, and have ended up creating something I can use myself as a resource that I can refer back to as I go about digitally transforming my business. So it may not be written very well – but it is full of vital information

  4. Anita: Those are all excellent options, indeed! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    Alyson: I guess the only reason why I’ve hesitated to talk about my artistic struggles is because I worry that I’m going to sound like a downer (and I’d love to hear your thoughts on revealing “too much” about the struggle to make art). Most artist blogs/websites I visit give off the impression that their artwork just sort of magically comes to life without any setbacks or doubts. Not only that, but some artists are very much against the idea of showing works in progress (they think it will lessen the impact of the final reveal). Perhaps there are some artists out there who just happened to “wake up looking like this”, but I’m certainly not one of them! 😉

    1. Emma: People love to hear about struggles, and I think you’ll find empathy. Now, if you were struggling all of the time, that would be boring to read about.

      I also think there’s a way to write about struggles that is positive – something you’re trying to overcome rather than something that just sucks. Know what I mean?

  5. Thank you Alyson, I appreciate you outlining these simple steps. I am a realist painter specializing in bird paintings and because my paintings are so detailed, all of my time is spent in the studio . Lately, I’ve come to realize how important it is for me to understand how better to promote my paintings, through my newsletter and become more dependable on my blog.

  6. I brainstorm ideas for my blog regularly. I just sit down and start thinking and write down everything. I cross out things again but after half an hour I have dozens of ideas. While browsing the internet I often get ideas as well and I note them down. When I have time to write a blog post I go through my notes and choose an idea. A blog post often takes time to write, create images etc but I think it is worth it. My topics vary from inspiration, to ‘how did I do that’, exhibitions (of my work or something I visited) etc etc. Have a look:
    On social media I try to post every day – even if it is just a picture of what I currently have on the easel. Sometimes it is a picture of my dog (who doesn’t like puppy pictures 😉 ) but I try to stay ‘out there’ as much as I can. To save time I often post the same thing on various platforms although not always as it seems different types of people follow me on different platforms! It is great to get comments from fellow artists and collectors!
    I publish my newsletters once a month with a roundup of my blog posts and other bits and pieces of news – sometimes exclusively for newsletter subscribers. Sometimes my subscribers write back to me to either say thank you or how a story resonated with them personally. I love this contact and I love reaching out to them.

  7. Super ideas Alyson. Thank you. I would be happy to blog every day, but I don’t create every day. I like the idea of taking a few days to prep a post for the blog. One problem is that Google keeps every image I post, and when anyone hits my name, they see all my works in progress, partially completed or just started. So I am nervous about posting when a work isn’t finished. When I first started I wrote about whatever I wanted, but got more selective with experience. Facebook has been a help, because I can post there on any topic, and I enjoy it.

  8. joanne perkins

    You say engage my followers I ask what they want to read about and nobody ever replies. I direct messaged one follower who loves my artwork and retreats my artwork regularly what else she would like to see and read about and she replied your art. I am wondering g how to turn her into a customer.

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Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

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You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

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