Guest Blogger: Cynthia Morris
In a post earlier this year, self-described “creative badass” Justine Musk invited bloggers to write as if our readers were the heroes and heroines of our stories. She asked us to consider what we want our readers to become and to write to that.
After teaching Blog Triage with Alyson, I know that many artist-bloggers bemoan the fact that they don't have the engagement they want on their blogs.
If you've been wondering why your posts aren't encouraging comments and dialogue, you probably puzzle over why you're spending your time blogging at all.
I understand, which is why I love Justine's fresh perspective. It broadens and enhances the perception of the writer/reader relationship.
After all, we blog for others. We put a lot of time into our posts. They must impact our readers and we don't know if we've accomplished this unless we hear from them.
Perhaps writing for the reader's illumination – not our own – could bring the desired engagement.
If we're writing about our art process, making announcements of upcoming shows, and writing about the artist's life, where does the reader fit in?
Let's start with what an artist-blogger might want for her reader. While I encourage you to generate your own list, here are five things I want for my readers.
1. To be moved emotionally.
Art often sparks an emotional response. Passing through an average day on the internet, we're engaged intellectually.
That's fine. But encountering a piece of art or a story about art that moves us emotionally? That's a priceless gift to the reader.
2. To be inspired.
Art can offer a glimpse into another world. An artist overcoming a challenge, succeeding at a show, offering insights into how she is making it despite the odds – that's inspiring.
We want to believe that the impossible is possible. Inspire your readers.
3. To recognize their taste or style.
Art moves us in mysterious ways, and the art we buy reflects what we love.
When we see art we love, we're offered the chance to recognize and appreciate our taste: color palette, preferred style, or favorite subject matter.
An art blog offers the opportunity to claim our taste.
4. To feel like we're part of something.
Again and again we hear “tell your story.” Why? Because stories connect us. They help us to relate to the storyteller.
When we relate to the storyteller or art blogger, we get to be part of something.
We get to be part of her story. We get to be part of her successes. We get to be part of her tribe of collectors.
5. To be educated and thus have a greater appreciation of (your) art.
Many people read to learn. When an art blog reader comes away from your site, does she feel like she's learned something?
Have you offered her insights or information that makes her appreciate both your art and her own intelligence?
What Do You Want for Your Readers?
I hope this has helped you reflect on what you want for your reader. Not what you want her to do, but changes she may experience as a result of reading your art blog.
Try this yourself.
Make a list of the last five people who bought art from you. List three things you want for those people. You may or may not know them. That's okay, just make it up.
How can you make them the heroes and heroines of your blog?
Through her company Original Impulse, Cynthia Morris helps writers, artists and entrepreneurs get out of their own way so they can make things that matter.
The author of the Paris novel Chasing Sylvia Beach and the how-to guide Create Your Writer’s Life, Cynthia blogs and publishes a newsletter, Impulses, to help creative people stay happily on track. Find out more at originalimpulse.com