Blogging: Inspiration For Your Posts

The most important question when blogging is how to keep your readers engaged? How do you make an impression on them and keep them coming back for more? The answer is compelling content. Sharing information that your readers will not only want to read but need to read.

Mostly what I see is artists posting images of their work and if they do write it’s in a descriptive, narrative format. Narrative means a story or report in a sequence of written or spoken words. There is nothing wrong with writing that way. In fact, I encourage you to make it the main content of your blog.

Tell stories about your art, how you made it, what inspired you, what compels you to make art. What message are you trying to get across in a particular piece or in the overall content of your work. Write about both.

Is there something else that you connect with your art or that you are passionate about in general? Visit Altoon Sultan’s blog for a wonderful example. Something that you love and are excited about. That you want to share with the world with your point of view. Remember that if you don’t love what you’re writing about, you won’t be able to sustain it on a consistent basis.

Help your viewer get to know you from your perspective. Always write in first person, from the “I” or “Me”. You will draw them in, fascinate them, keep them coming back for more and they will spread the word. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool there is, after all.

Remember, that there are a lot of poorly written blogs out there and if you write well, post compelling content, it will be easy to get ahead.

Here are blogging formats that are popular for you to consider.

• Photos Of Your Art
By all means post photos of your work. Visuals make all the difference and it’s why people come to your blog after all. They want to see your work and learn about it as well.

• Why You Make Your Art
Tell them what compels you to make your art. Believe it or not there are people out there who don’t know what the driving force that inspires an artist is. What is your driving force?

• A Day In Your Studio
Describe a day in your studio, from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. This may sound mundane to you but to someone who is a fan of your art it is utterly fascinating. 

• Reviews Of Exhibitions You Attend
Reviews are one of the top posting formats in general. Have you been to an exhibition? What did you like and what didn’t you like. Please don’t try to be like an art critic in the New York Times. Remember that the artists point of view is quite compelling. Tell it from your point of view, in your own words.

• How-To
This is another top posting format. Readers love tips and it’s a perfect format for an artist who wants to teach. You can show them, virtually, how to do a certain technique. You can even do this as a list format. (See below)

• Step-By-Step Art Workshops
Imagine doing a virtual art workshop. Wouldn’t that be amazing? You can write this or you can do it via video. Video is actually becoming more and more popular as a way to blog. A blog done exclusively via video is known as a vlog or vlogging. 

• Interviews
Interview an art world professional who likes your art – a gallery owner, juror, critic, curator, etc. You can also interview a buyer/collector and ask them why they love your art. Make it brief. No more than five questions. You don’t want to tax their time and blog posts should be relatively concise.

• Lists
Probably THE most popular type of blogging format. They’re easy to read and don’t take up much time. Use numbers or bullet points. “Top Ten” is a popular format. 

• Answering Reader Questions
Ask your readers to send you questions and then you can answer them one by one. It will keep the content and inspiration flowing. You’ll also find out what your audience wants. Think of it as customer service.

• News
This can be about you or your world. Is there something in your part of the art world that is interesting or is news? Share it. A good example is NYC’s 110-Year-Old Art Store in Danger of Closing on the New York Observer website.

• Guest Blog Posts
Ask someone to write about your art or a review of an exhibition – and their point of view is something that you agree with. This is not only good PR but it boosts readership because they’ll be sure to want to tell their friends about it. If you are asked to guest blog and it is relevant to you and your art do not turn it down. It’s also great PR, it builds credibility and the blog that you are writing for will post links to your blog and to your website.

The thing to remember is consistency. Consistency in your voice, your content and in posting. If you can keep a regular blogging schedule it will definitely help. Consistency and persistence are the keys to success!

The Art World Interviews: Altoon Sultan on Blogging

Since I am discussing blogging here I thought it would be good to hear from an artist who is also a marvelous blogger.  I am so glad she agreed to do it and it was an honor to have Altoon Sultan answer my questions.

About Altoon Sultan
Altoon Sultan is a New Yorker, Brooklyn born and bred, who now lives on an old hill farm in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, where she makes art––paintings, textiles, prints, photographs––gardens, and blogs. She exhibited her paintings for 30 years in the prestigious Marlborough and Tibor de Nagy galleries, and in shows nationally and internationally. She has a solo show coming up in October of 2014 at McKenzie Fine Art in NYC. Her work is in many public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate Gallery, London, and the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Her awards include two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grants and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is also the author of an instructional book on egg tempera titled The Luminous Brush: Painting with Egg Tempera.

Melissa Wolf: What made you decide to start a blog?

Altoon Sultan: When my gallery and I parted ways five years ago, I wanted to have a web presence. At the time I didn’t know of the do-it-yourself, inexpensive website hosts, but I did know about Blogger, so I began a blog. Right from the beginning I realized that I wanted to integrate my life––gardening, nature, cooking––into the blog, along with art.

Melissa Wolf: Do you have a specific schedule for your posts?

Altoon Sultan: No. When I began the blog I used to post more often, five or six times a week, but the posts were shorter: fewer photos, fewer words. Now I’ll post two or three or four times a week; I want a clearer theme with each post.

Melissa Wolf: Do you do anything to to increase your following/visibility?

Altoon Sultan: No. When I started I let my friends know in an email, but that was it. The only thing I did, which certainly increased the blog’s visibility, was to join Facebook and link to each new post there. The blog has a great deal more traffic because of Facebook. Sometimes other bloggers will link to my posts, which also brings new readers, but I don’t seek that out.

Melissa Wolf: How do you decide on what to write?

Altoon Sultan: I write about my own work and I write about whatever interests me, whether it is film, books, recipes, art exhibitions, the flora and fauna around me. I feel compelled to write about things that I love. Sometimes something I read or something I see makes me think about an interesting topic; I keep a notebook next to the computer to note ideas down. This thought process helps to keep my mind open and fluid, which often gives rise to yet other ideas.

Melissa Wolf: Do you have any advice for a beginning blogger?

Altoon Sultan: Blog about what interests you; put your heart into it.

• Visit Altoon Sultan’s Blog Studio and Garden: www.http://altoonsultan.blogspot.com/

Altoon Sultan’s Website: http://www.altoonsultan.com/