Challenge of Blogging – Part 3

Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist

Challenge of Blogging – Part Three

The biggest challenge to blogging is feeding the beast.

Just remember, we are not just talking about a few postings, but hundreds of postings over many years.

If you post only once a week then you will need content for 52 postings. In the crowded world of blogs, expect 3-5 years of effort before your audience reaches a critical level of support (however, you define that).

Ask yourself, what topic will give yourself enough content to get to the promise land of brand recognition and then beyond?

I am a big fan of Film Riot on Youtube. Film Riot explores the techniques of film-making, but even these guys have mixed up things to generate new content and to keep things interesting.

Recently, they invited other film-makers to create short films with behind the scenes look at how they did it.

This raises another challenge, the content must be relevant, it must provide value to your audience. You know why you want people to follow you, but why should they?

For example, I love watching artists create their art, but it is a slow process and needs something more to keep me coming back until the project is finished. If all you offer is essays on how it is to be artist, then do you really believe that people will stick around?

My answer to the challenge is to be local. However, not just with a few references to coffee shops and places to shop, but detail studies on the urban landscape and how the past has shaped the places where we live and work. Further, I try and visit these places and create regular written and visual postings. All this being directly or indirectly connected by my art.

The results may be very rough, but it is my hope that the focus on local urban architecture and local landscapes will compensate for the lack of polish.

Next week – defining your audience.

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.

Sight & Sounds – Reeds blowing in the wind at Cootes Paradise, Hamilton (Ont).

Art Post 41 – New Short Film Series

Sights and Sounds is a new short film series that features field recordings and short videos. Running about ten minutes in length, each film highlights a natural landscape in the Hamilton region. The films are a little longer than normal, so the viewer is able to get into the moment of each place.

Odds and Ends – Hamilton Sights and Sounds Project

Chris Erskine, Urabn Landscape Artist
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist

Odds and Ends – An artist notebook

05 Oct 2015 – I continue to explore the long format of field recordings with video. Many field recording sites only include sounds; some will post a few photos to show the context of the video. I am increasing being drawn to the combining video with my field recordings. It is a really nice way to be in the moment of a location.

On the cable, you can find sunsets, fish tanks, topical beaches, and the classic fireplace on 30 minute loops. So, I must not be the only one who finds this interesting to watch and listen.

I also like the long format of 10 minutes or more. It gives you a chance to settle in and appreciate the location. The challenge of these longer clips is the amount of time it takes to load up to Youtube.

The GoPro Hero 4, silver edition, has been a great tool for the video recordings, really cuts down on the gear and weight. The downside is the ability to focus on distant objects.

The latest project focuses on the wind and Cootes Paradise. Unfortunately, it is very hard to get close to the reeds in a way that still provides a good view of the landscape. There are usually trees and branches blocking some of the view. In addition, the GoPro tries to put everything is focus, so objects close to the lens compromises the sharpness of objects in the distance. Thus, my ability to zoom in on those distant objects is limited.