Challenge of Blogging – Part 4 Your Audience

Challenge of Blogging by #artist @erskinec
Challenge of Blogging by #artist @erskinec

The Challenge of Blogging – Who is your audience?

The power of social media is the ability to create that special relationship with people who love and support your art. This relationship is what separates you from the hundreds of other artists.

This is not a competitive thing, it’s about your art being able speak to people in a way that no one else can; it’s about creating value and meaning.

In the past, this relationship might have occurred within the framework of institution like a club, bar, bookstore, or gallery.

In my younger days, my friends would always to go to particular clubs and bars when certain indie group returned for a local performance.

I also still remember the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at Bryan Prince in Westdale. There were hundreds of pre-teens and their parents waiting and socializing on King Street as everyone counted down the hours and then minutes to the release. It was an amazing and rewarding experience; something that marked a generation.

Finally, I remember a time when you could enter a gallery and not feel pressured into buy a painting on the spot. The owner would actually expect you to return dozens of times, educating yourself about the artist and his or her body of work. These days you are likely to get friendlier service at Tim’s Hortons than an art gallery.

So, when you are creating your blog and developing your personal narrative, reflect on who your audience might be. You will often get it wrong, but through trial and effort, you will gain a better sense of who likes you work.

While you are talking to the whole world, in reality you are not. You are trying to connect to people who are like you and want to find something interesting and different. You are throwing a party, who would you invite and why?

You need to have a focus.

Next week: How much of me should I put out there?

The Challenge of Blogging – Part Two

Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist and Blogger
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist and Blogger

This week: What’s your goal?

Speaking as an artist, you will be either selling your artwork or promoting your brand. Your choice will become a filter for what material is posted and how.

If you use your blog to sell your artwork then you are setting the bar fairly high with regards to content.

Based on my experience as a consumer, you want:

1. Postings that are not only relevant, but also tightly focused on the product. You are not going to wander into politics or give your opinion about a recent movie or game. Post nothing that weakens your case for the customer buying your art.

2. Postings that are consisted; yes there can be variations on themes, but your audience should know what to expect when they read or view your blog.

3. Postings have to be polished. You want to remove all grounds to saying no to a purchase. This means spelling, grammar, layout, visuals must look finished. The amount of work in getting those last little details right increases exponentially as you near perfect.

4. Postings need to be regular, whether it is hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly; your customer needs to know how often to visit to see new material. This will generate huge pressure on you to create new content and/or product.

5. Your blog needs to link into a secure form of online purchasing system. You need to carefully work out how the visitor goes from your blog to your site where the financial transactions take place.

A good example of the above points is Ghostly.com

From my perspective, building a brand is the easier way to go. You can experiment and discover your narrative.

What is your story and how are you going to tell it to the world?

It is a difficult challenge and takes time to work out the details.

Again, like selling a product you need to focus on the brand, but the brand can cover more things:

– How to make art
– How to appreciate art
– How to make art work in a home or office
– Review the latest gallery openings
– Profile local artists from an artist perspective
– Show people how you make your own art

My approach is twofold:

1. I show people how I create my works of art. I always love studio tours, so I try and show people what I am up to in my studio.

2. I use my skills as an urban landscape artist to reveal the world around me. How we shape and re-shape the landscape and the buildings that sit on the land, an amazing subject. So, a lot of my postings relate to the landscape, particularly with the past.

This leads into next week’s challenge of finding content.

Challenges of Blogging – HamOnt Urban Landscape Artist Chris Erskine

Urabn Landscape Artist and Blogger  @erskinec
Urabn Landscape Artist and Blogger @erskinec

Challenges of a blogging

My video post on video blogging really struck a chord with people. Clearly this is an interest to many of you. So, let’s explore the challenges of blogging over the next several weeks.

Blogging or video blogging holds the promise of building an audience for your particular interest.

Yesterday, the New York Times had an article on Tyler Knott Gregson, a 34-year-old who has a following of 560,000 on Instagram and Tumblr. Gregson’s following was so strong that he was able to publish a book of poetry that sold 120,000 copies and became a national best sellers.

At a recent event to promote his most recent book of poetry he was able to draw an audience of 150 individuals. Not bad for a bookstore event!

Using social media followers as evidence of support, other poets have been able sign book deals with national American publishers.

This kind of success would never have happen if they simply submitted their poetry directly to the publishers.
With razor-thin profits; publishers, music studios, and art galleries cannot take the risk on an unknown, unproven individual.

As many of you already know, the bad news doesn’t end there, once you have signed on to your relevant gatekeeper, you have to accept that they will do very little to promote your success.

If you want to generate the viewership or foot traffic and the related sales, then you must somehow let your followers know what you are up to and translated their support into sales.

This is the promise of social media. To bypass the traditional gatekeepers and establish your worth as a poet, musician, or dare I say it – as an artist.

Next week – is your goal sales or awareness

Art Post No.5 – Studio Clean-Up

The summer has been very busy and the result is one very messy studio.  Before I can start on my winter season of art projects, the studio must be cleaned, no matter how much I hatre cleaning.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Soundscape Art

Once again, I am trying to do soundscape art. I haven’t had the best results with the Zoom H4n. As one blogger noted, the field recorder is a $300 system and the microphones as components are likely worth no more than $100. As a result, I have purchased a pair of Rode M5 small diaphragm mikes. Nevertheless, before hauling out the heavy stuff, I want to see if I can get any kind of results with the Zoom.

 

Here is the result with the Zoom at the site for this past Dec 6th remembrance of the Montreal Massacre. I am always amazed at the noise pollution on campus.

 

 

As you can tell, there is significant room for improvement. My goal is to achieve the kind of results that Vladimir Kryutchev is producing in Russia. He has created these amazing soundscapes and with mixing creates a beautiful sound narrative to his pieces.

 

http://www.oontz.ru
http://www.oontz.ru

 

Here is the link: http://www.oontz.ru/en/page/41/

It is only 6 minutes and well worth the listen.  Use headphones to get the best results.

Hamilton Artist Update 18: Heritage Permit Review Subcommittee

Sorry for the long delay, but was sick for the past few days.

The issue facing the Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) is whether they are going to step up to the plate and protect designated heritage buildings that speak to a time when Ancaster was known for its mineral waters.

Despite the significant decay of the structure, the Hermitage still sparks the imagination of visitors for a time when we were connected to the land and the seasons. Over the past two months, I have made several drawings (session 1, session 2) of the building over 2-3 hour sittings, and dozens of individuals and groups have told me how much they love the place.

What the HCA is proposing is the demolition of a heritage site that they are responsible for maintaining. A four foot wall does not save any of the designated architectural features. The only reason they are willing save a four foot wall is the cost to demolish completely the building is about the same.

The only thing more outrageous than the HCA proposal is the Heritage Permit Review Sub-committee willingness even to consider their application. The committee’s job is to protect designated heritage buildings, not to ease their path to destruction.

There was very little discussion about how the HCA should change their plans so that Georgian symmetry of the surviving building is preserved, nor saving the remains of second floor Italianate windows, or French windows below that once allowed access to a long gone veranda; nor saving the surviving ring beam that was once supported by corbels.

It appears that the only people on the committee who seem understand the purpose of the committee is to save heritage is Joseph Zidanic and Rebecca Beatty. Mr. Zidanic was particularly effective in pointing out that the HCA has owned the property since 1972 and commissioned many reports over the past 40 years, but they have done little more than quick fixes.

It times for the HCA to set up to plate and start properly taking care of the Hermitage; even if the Board doesn’t consider it part of their strategic mission of watershed management.

(The above comments were first published on the Raise the Hammer website).

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec