15 tips for maintaining an artist blog
Starting a blog is easy. Keeping going is the hard part. But that’s what’s required if you really want to get the most reward from your efforts; consistency is key. Posting regularly will help you find your voice, build an audience, gain their trust and deepen connections. If you’re not convinced of the benefits of blogging, check out our recent post on why every artist needs a blog.
Today we’ll explore a few simple tactics for gaining some momentum and finding ideas for your art blog; we’re not going to be concerned with your writing style or promotion of your content (these are covered in separate posts), but rather the discipline it takes to maintain your online presence and how you can keep your content fresh and engaging.
1, Just start
Creating a new habit is always tough at first, but it will get easier the more you do it. Getting over the hurdle of writing your first few blog posts will give you the motivation to carry on. Always keep in mind why you want to blog (refer to 10 reasons why you should be art blogging) and you will eventually reap the rewards.
2, Get organised
Schedule a set amount of time each week and stick to it. For example, you might choose to write your blog every Monday morning for 3 hours. If you get into a rhythm, this will eventually become second nature. Habits are formed with the discipline of repetition.
For tips on forming great habits and conquering resistance, see our recent post on nurturing the mindset of a professional artist.
3, Don’t be overly critical
Aiming for perfection will not help you when writing your blog. Nothing you write will ever be good enough, which will lead to you never posting anything at all. You’re an artist, not a writer, so don’t get too hung up on perfect grammar. You should absolutely strive for good punctuation, spelling and proper use of the English language, but it’s far more important to engage your reader and tell them your story.
4, Serve your reader
If you are ever struggling to elaborate on a particular topic, it may be because you’re coming at it from an i-centric point of view. Try to shift the focus onto your ideal reader. What is the benefit for them? What is it about this subject that will engage them? How will this post solve their problems or ease their pains?
I go into far more detail on this aspect of writing your blog in How to write a fantastic blog post.
5, Set a goal for the post and stick to it
Setting a clear and concise objective for your blog post is vital not only for you as a writer, but in terms of keeping the post laser-focused for your readers. Having a goal will also make the task of actually creating the post less overwhelming and more manageable.
As way of example, my goal in writing this post is ‘To give the readers of TextileArtist.org some practical tips that will assist them in regularly posting on their artist blog without it becoming all-consuming or distracting from the real work of creating art.”
6, Don’t try and achieve too much in a single post
This point is closely related to keeping your post on target by having an objective. Trying to explore more than one broad topic in a single post will mean that your writing may become unfocused, confusing and difficult to read. Cover your subject thoroughly, but don’t get distracted and go off on tangents.
7, Make sure your posts are long enough
A short, lazy post is worse than no post at all. Unfortunately, many artists are guilty of posting an image on their blog with a single sentence, such as ‘My new piece of work – hope you like it’. This tells us nothing about you or your work, other than you don’t care about your audience enough to let them in. If you want to post an image of your work, make sure you explore the process, how you got from A to B, the inspiration, where the piece is headed (was it made on commission or for a particular show?), what materials were used and why; if you really think deeply, there is a lot to say about your work. In fact, you could probably explore each area listed above in its own blog post.
Blog posts should be at least 300 words long with no upper limit. This isn’t an excuse for a stream of consciousness; stay on topic and always use as few words as possible to make your point.
8, Successful bloggers go beyond their work
Always strive to find ways of engaging readers on a personal level. How can you let them into your world? How does your life influence your work? Making yourself relatable in some way by talking about personal experiences (that are explicitly linked to the subject of the blog post) will help potential fans to feel that they know you; in turn, your work becomes more accessible as viewers begin to see the person behind the art.
9, Always include at least 1 image
As an artist you are dealing in visuals; images are a way to capture the attention of the reader, spark their imagination and encourage them to connect on a deeper level by actually reading and engaging with your blog. Illustrating the points you are making in your text with photographic examples from your life or work is a great way of keeping your audience interested.
10, Be consistent
I’ve already mentioned how important consistency is in the intro of this post, but I think it warrants reiteration. Creating a rhythm with your readers is the best way to ensure they’ll come back time and again. If they know that you always post on a Tuesday morning, they will form a habit as a reader alongside you as a writer. If you post every day for a week then don’t post anything for two months, people will lose interest.
11, Be realistic
If you set unrealistic goals (like aiming to post 1,500 words every single day), you’re likely to burn out pretty quickly and you won’t have any time to actually create your art. It’s much better to post a 500 word post once a week. Plus, you’re far more likely to maintain this pattern, creating a reliable resource for your audience.
12, Find inspiration from other blogs
Which other online writers and artists do you admire? How have they approached the job of maintaining a blog? Borrowing ideas isn’t plagiarism. As Salvador Dali said, ‘Those who don’t want to imitate anything, create nothing’. What subjects have proven particularly engaging and how can you add to the conversation, put your own slant on the topic or take it onto another level?
Check out these 50 ready made blog post ideas for inspiration.
13, Cater to skimmers
Many blog readers are looking for a quick fix. Most people don’t sit and work their way through entire posts from beginning to end; if they are seeking specific information, they find what they need, skim through and leave. Catering to these skimmers is to your advantage; you will become a more valuable resource that people will re-visit (as they know the information is easily accessible) and regular readers will find your content more digestible too.
Using short paragraphs and sub-titles makes your blog more readable. Lists and images break up long chunks of text, making it appear less overwhelming.
A blog such as ArtBusiness.com has pages and pages of invaluable information, but I find it very difficult to get to grips with because each post looks like one long block of text with no logical separation.
14, Show vulnerability
Bloggers who only share their successes can seem arrogant and unapproachable. It’s always better to show you are a human-being with real insecurities just like everybody else. If a piece of work you started isn’t working, explain why and how you’ve attempted to salvage it; what have your learned from the experience? This not only helps readers understand you and your work, it can be a cathartic experience for you too!
15, Engage readers with a series of posts
A series of posts can give readers a reason to return. It might be that every week for 6 weeks you write about a different stage of your process or perhaps you cover a technique per post or even the different stages of applying for funding for an exhibition. Whatever you choose to write about, breaking down something you know a lot about and giving a teaser of what you’ll share next time is a proven method for bringing people back to your blog.
Art blogging as part of your routine can pay dividends and using one or two of the suggestions covered in this article should make it that bit more manageable. So what are you waiting for? Get writing!
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2 comments on “15 tips for maintaining an artist blog”
great post- thank you
I am on the pathway to a career change, after many years of teaching. Now I can do what I love, but it still daunting. Your article is very helpful. Thanks