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September 2013

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Marketing your Art--part 7, on the Internet Superhighway



I guess we need to face it, the Internet is here to stay. It’s a real presence, and it’s an opportunity as well. You shop online, don’t you? So do I. So do the people who buy my paintings and books, or take my online classes. Learn to use the new technology–which of course isn’t really new–to help support you. And yes, there is a LOT of competition now, but we’ll try to share some hints to try to make it work for you.

My online gallery at cathyjohnsonart.blogspot.com/ is really helping, here, and it's been quite an interesting experiment.  I've sold paintings from the gallery, and from people who contacted me because they saw my work there and wondered what else I had.  It's been a good experience!

If you use your blog as a gallery or selling site, you might want to check out http://copyblogger.com which offers tips on writing good copy that works for you. The site is FULL of interesting ideas, some of which work for me, some of which don’t, but you can pick the ones that fit how you work or what you want to achieve.

One recent entry was on how to sell on your blog without ticking everyone off! Hard sell really isn’t great on a blog, but you can certainly entertain, inform, and enhance your income too.

I’m doing a series on my free Art Tips site at http://cathyjohnson.info on artists’ blogs, interviewing four very different bloggers–check them out at upper left, or bookmark the site (you can also request to be on my newsletter mailing list from my website–I always announce new tips there.)

The first, now in PDF form at http://www.cathyjohnson.info/tips/tip86.pdf , was my dear friend the artist Laura Frankstone, who has kept a most engaging and inspiring personal blog, Laurelines, for several years. Hers is not a sales blog in any sense, but people who have discovered her on the ‘net have included her in a variety of projects, including the inspiring 1,000 Artist Journal Pages: Personal Pages and Inspirations (1000 Series). She just returned from Santa Barbara, where she was commissioned to do art for a website, because someone found her online–so you can see, blogging as an artist may help YOU to a higher profile and a supplementary income, as well.

The current tip, #87, http://www.cathyjohnson.info/tips.html is an interview with Katherine Tyrrell, whose blog, Making a Mark is a treasure trove of information on making art, finding materials and books, and the business of art. Don’t miss it, it’s an inspiration!

Upcoming is an interview with Alyson Stanfield, whose ArtBizCoach site is all about the business of art, and just brimming with ideas, hard info, guidance, inspiration and more. You’ll want to subscribe to her newsletter, if this subject interests you!

(Also upcoming is Gabi Campanario, whose group blog, Urban Sketchers, has just taken OFF since its inception last November–and no wonder, it’s marvelous.)

There are any number of sites that can help you get your work and your name out there and before potential clients...but do be aware of their terms of service and other rules of use. Some allow selling or linking to sites where you sell, some do not. (LiveJournal now does, for individuals and small businesses, if not for large corporations.)

Flickr is a wonderful tool, and I use it to share my art and to do demonstrations when I want to show people how this or that effect was done, but I don’t use it to host banners or graphics for my online gallery sales blog, unless it’s just an informational post. Otherwise, that’s a no-no, as I mentioned last time.

For more information, explore Flickr’s guidelines for use, here: http://www.flickr.com/guidelines.gne and Terms of Use, you can get to from that page. They share these guidelines with Yahoogroups, since they are under the same umbrella, so do be aware. You don’t want to set up a selling site only to have it summarily deleted.

That said, Flickr IS wonderful for sharing art and getting your name out there–it’s terrific PR! (It’s OK to put a link to your website or blog, I believe, as long as it’s not a sales blog.)

Other graphics-hosting sites have different rules–Photobucket actually has a tutorial on how to link to eBay. DO learn the rules of the specific site before investing too much time. You don’t want to lose all your work!

Yahoogroups are terrific communication tools, too...I’ve made many, many friends online (including my husband!), lots of contacts, and the marketing group I now run at groups.yahoo.com/group/AJmarketing/ (inherited from Aisling d’Art, as I’ve mentioned before) is excellent for sharing ideas on, well, marketing! I just wouldn’t push Yahoo’s envelope by actively selling there.

Facebook has its own guidelines, and as a social networking site probably shouldn’t be overused as a selling tool–you can create your own page or link to your blog or other outside website, of course. If you explore that option, please let us know what you discover–there are actually groups on Flickr that instruct you how to sell on Flickr, but I don’t belong to one. My account is really much more communications-oriented.

Staying on top of all this does take time, and truthfully I’ve been pretty short of that lately. (I get Copyblogger in my inbox, but don’t have time to read it every day.)

Marketing DOES take work, and takes you away from the studio. But...if we hope to sell our work, whether as a full-time freelancer or a supplement to our regular income, we need to set aside at least some time each day, if we can manage it, for marketing. It will add up, and it will make a difference.

Comments

Mentoring

Dear Kate, Many years ago, I read an interview about a succussful writer. He commented that " When a fellow writer succeeds, I die a little". You are not that kind of successful artist - you share and invite others to also share. We all grow as people and artists. Thank you!

Re: Mentoring

You made me tear up...and thank you, that's one of the most important things I learned, when first starting out. Don't hoard what you know, don't resent others' success, and help when you can.