Blog time: the popularity of blogs is exploding. Find out how you can reap the benefits.
The fact that blogging might be considered "cool" is only a byproduct. Blogging is beneficial for many reasons that can help improve your business. It connects you with others and starts a dialogue far better than any static Web site can. It enhances your virtual real estate and introduces more people to your art, gallery, business or organization.
Blogs have everything a traditional Web site has and more. Above all, blogs can be created quickly and easily with software programs such as TypePad (www.sixapart.com), Blogger (www.blogger.com) and WordPress (www.wordpress.org and www.wordpress. com). Blogs allow readers to leave comments and participate in conversation, which makes them far more interactive than Web sites. A blog differs from a newsgroup or a discussion list because the comments are not distributed to an entire list but are left on the blog with the original posting. This makes comments easier to track. Plus, it helps visitors find all responses to a particular topic and feel as if they are part of an ongoing dialogue.
All of this interaction creates more potential activity, which means better search-engine placement. Notice I said potential. You still have to promote your blog just as you promote your work, gallery or Web site. And, you have to know how to use it to drive more traffic your way. Nevertheless, chimes should be going off in your head right about now: Better search-engine placement equals a bigger audience, which in turn equals more art sales.
Blogs are usually created to focus on a specific topic. As with any marketing device, the narrower your topic, the easier it is to find an audience. Because of the nature of my business, my blog at www.artbizblog.com is dedicated to the business of art. Blogging artists usually write about their own work and niche markets. My client, Margret Short, blogged about her exhibition at Portland Oregon's Lawrence Gallery for a full eight months before it opened. By the time the work was on its way to the gallery, she had more than enough fodder for press releases. She used her gallery talk and background information for the material. Even more important than those words was the buzz she stirred up by promoting the exhibition so far in advance. More than 70 percent of the works sold.
Museum directors are blogging about their exhibits, programs and plans, but I confess that I am unaware of an abundance of gallery blogs. This is good news. There's room for gallery owners to start blogging! If you're curious about what gallerists have to say on a blog, take a look at Edward Winkleman's blog (www.edwardwinkleman.blogspot.com) or Paul Dorrell's blog (www.pauldorrell.com/blog). A blog allows you to keep in touch with patrons and collectors on a regular basis. Artists and galleries can distribute news, updates and photos without having to rely on traditional media.
Consistent blogging will make you an expert. After all, the Internet is a resource for information. It's all about providing valuable content to surfers. The more information you put online, the more people will seek you out. It's up to you, the owner of the blog, to create the content and topics for discussion.
The bottom line is that we don't blog because it's cool (even though it is). We make time for blogging because we have found it to be an extremely valuable tool in marketing and in building our businesses. All you have to do is look through the comments at www.artbizblog. corn to see how many different people read it. Trust me, you'll never get the big deal about blogging until you've tried it. And even then, you have to try it for long enough to get the hang of it and find your rhythm. Why not start today? As I tell my clients: Start now, and learn the ropes long before you tell people about it. It's embarrassing to share your blog address before you have a decent amount of juicy content. When it's time to announce your blog, you want people to be so enamored with what they'll find that they'll spend an hour scouring your posts, subscribing to your feed and sharing your address with everyone they know.
Just remember: The Web loves sticky content. The more you're connected--the more posts you make, the more links you leave on your blog, the more you comment on other blogs--the more you're loved by search engines. The more you're loved by search engines, the more likely it is that people who don't know you will find you and buy art from you.
Tackling the Terminology
* Blog is short for weblog. Blogs are Web sites that consist of regular journal entries, photos, audio and video clips, links, etc.
* People who have blogs and use blogs are called bloggers.
* When you post a blog entry, you are blogging.
* The blogosphere is the interconnected virtual world where bloggers track and post comments on other blogs.
Art-marketing consultant Alyson B. Stanfield spends a lot of time composing and rewriting marketing messages for her clients. Her free Art Marketing Action newsletter is e-mailed every Monday and can be found at www.ArtBizCoach.com. You can stay updated in between newsletters by visiting her frequent postings on www.ArtBizBlog. com. Contact Stanfield at alyson@ artbizcoach.com.
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|Title Annotation:||advice: marketing moves|
|Comment:||Blog time: the popularity of blogs is exploding.|
|Author:||Stanfield, Alyson B.|
|Publication:||Art Business News|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2007|
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