As a working artist, think about the amount of time you invest in getting your work noticed. How many e-blasts do you meticulously craft for your audience? How frequently do you post about your upcoming exhibition or work in progress on Facebook? Do you ever get the feeling you are missing an opportunity to gain a wider audience and to improve how you target gallerists and collectors? Investing thousands of dollars in a public relations campaign is one way to get your work noticed, but is there a more cost-effective means of increasing your media influence as a working artist? Below we outline some critical steps to ensure that your outreach makes a real impact.
THINK OUTWARD FOR GREATER MEDIA INFLUENCE
A strategy for making an impression is to get involved with the greater art world. Stay in the know and support other artists. Who in your community has an exhibition coming up? What other artists are creating work you admire? What’s trending on Instagram? If there’s a widespread conversation happening in the arts, engage! Find ways to celebrate others and they will gladly circle back around to celebrate you.
To increase your media influence, post and tag the work of others you admire, especially those with big followings.
The best way to celebrate others whose work you appreciate – artists, designers, creative entrepreneurs, etc. – is to repost. By re-posting another working artist’s good news, you’ll make a memorable impression and be able to share and support your community. This is a win-win situation that requires ongoing engagement. Find ways to repost or show your support at least once a day, and the effort will be reciprocated when you have something to celebrate within your own career. Engage with art critics and editors and pay careful attention to the medium you work within. As a result of consistent engagement, the door will gradually open to greater media influence, whether online or in person.
In addition to re-posting celebratory news, when you see a working artist looking for assistance, speak up. Be the first to offer advice and recommendations when someone is seeking it – whether it be a working artist seeking a framer, advice on shipping or art handling, or the like. Chances are, if you make a valuable suggestion, you’ve made a good impression and will come to mind when future opportunities arise. In addition, stay entertaining – if you only make three impressions on social media, they should be: supportive, helpful, and entertaining. These characteristics can leave a lasting impression for future collaborators.
Learn how to attract art collectors to your Instagram here!
BUILD YOUR NETWORK THROUGH E-BLASTS
Let’s consider your e-blast or artist newsletter. What content will make yours special and a must-open? Consider entertaining and helpful ways to structure your artist e-blast. You want to do more than just share information, you want to establish your professional brand in your own unique voice. Most importantly – make it topical. Is there a current event happening in the art world or national news that you can tie into? Does your work somehow relate to current events? If your work directly responds to current political trends, for example, this should be evident early on in the artist email blast, or even in the title. Making a catchy title that makes evident that you are in tune with current events as a working artist, will serve as encouragement for others to pay attention to the email’s contents.
Personal invitations to events that are especially important – such as with Paperless Post – are more likely to be opened and to get a response. This is particularly important for events such as private viewings or close-knit celebrations, as the e-blast may get ignored when a personal invitation is nearly twice as likely to receive a response. Particularly with editors who receive hundreds of invitations to events per day, it’s worth considering a private reception for a select few. Sending a private Paperless Post invitation to ensure that you get an opportunity to speak intimately with targeted media influencers is a great way to ensure you’ll be able to get their attention. Don’t forget to express gratitude for the time and support you receive from your audience. It can go a long way.
Perhaps the most important factor in constructing an artist email blast is making it personal. Write in a tone and voice that indicates that you are communicating one-to-one with the person reading the email. One example is to consider using a friendly “can’t wait to see you!” rather than “I look forward to seeing all of you”. By adding a personal touch in your email blast, your audience may be more likely to attend to meet you in person and connect individually. For exhibition openings, this is a key factor for landing media influence and audience engagement – without making a personal appeal, the event feels less urgent. Entrepreneur notes that, in line with our social media goals of staying positive, creating refreshing, upbeat emails will ensure repeat opens and greater impact. Also, keeping newsletters short but sweet, and including relevant and dynamic images (the more the better!), will ensure that you have a greater chance of making an impression as a serious working artist.
Finally, make your artist newsletter engaging! An easy way to achieve this is to include good news that another working artist in your immediate circle has shared with you. By highlighting the achievements of your connections – other gallery shows, talks, panels, and recognitions – you’ll be updating your immediate circle and giving them news they may have missed while reinforcing that you are someone worth supporting. Goodwill is best when shared regularly, and making this a regular feature in your artist email blast, even with something as simple as a link to relevant events and accolades, can ensure regular audience engagement. This is also helpful to editors and critics who are looking to consolidate their efforts to use their time wisely: if they know that by opening your e-blast they’ll receive a healthy helping of art news, they have more impetus to do so.
To perfect your email, download Grammarly to ensure that your spelling and grammar are spot on!
CHOOSE PARTNERS WISELY
Reputations can make or break you, so why not choose to associate with those who have stellar reputations? By regularly taking on small-scale joint ventures with other artists or creatives whose work you admire and who have made a positive name for themselves, you can raise media visibility. Find ways to partner on flexible and short-term projects. Whether this stems from proposing a partnership to produce a new event, joining efforts to support a shared cause, or participating as part of a team in a pop-up exhibition, partnering with those you admire is one way to move toward gaining new experience and increased exposure. This will also guarantee ongoing social media mentions and build new personal contacts for you in the wider art media landscape. By contributing to a joint effort with those who already wield media influence, odds are in your favor that you’ll make new media contacts that will build personal investment in your brand as a working artist.
Are you a creative influencer? What tips do you have? Let us know!
Audra Lambert is a curator, arts marketing consultant, and editor.