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There’s nothing for a creative person quite like getting eyes or ears in front of your work. The right fans interact with what you do and it suddenly becomes something. The purpose of great creativity is to find people that resonate with it and not keep it hidden. However, the burning question that has plagued authors, artists, musicians or amateur filmmakers for many years, that I know you are asking, is how to get your work in front of others. What can a creative person do to get the work they’ve put so much into in front of the fans they desire?
Art is not a Product!
The first thing to keep in mind is that art is not a product. It is your work with your ideas and your talent that you’ve poured your heart into and the problem is, it makes it much different from selling goods or necessities. In this way, marketing for the arts will be distinct. In order to get the people you want in front of your work, it may take some unconventional moves and that’s perfectly fine. The biggest thing to consider, though, is you don’t want to cheapen your art by making it a product. You will generate no leads if you’re using techniques that are meant for a different kind of item. Art is in a class by itself and should be marketed as such.
Keeping Your Options Open
Due to what was previously mentioned, you will hear all kinds of voices saying to do everything. Post every day on social media, attend every event you can, send out email campaigns reminding people to buy every week, etc. This might be hyperbole, but sometimes it seems as if the work marketing demands is much more than it is worth. This can end up not only drawing no one to your work for your efforts but at the same time becoming creatively draining. It can feel like you need to do far more promotion than the time you want to spend on actually creating quality art. So what to do? Read ahead and think outside the box!
Some Suggestions for Marketing the Arts
People pay attention to blogs. They can be very effective in putting more people in front of your ideas and work. Be sure to turn your comments on so folks can reply to your posts. Write about your ideas, influences and process. A blog is the place to share what goes into your work, have people read about it in depth and allow them to give you their take on it through comments.
Create your blog in your voice. When you write, write like yourself. People want to know about you and who you really are. Whatever media you work in, make your blog something that is consistent with your work. Don’t come up with a persona because it’s a blog and not your art. Pull who you are in your art into your blog.
Keep up Your Portfolio
This is vital for getting people interested. Your work in small portions should be on your website. As an artist, you can feature a sampling of things you’ve created in the past. As an author, you can feature limited quotes from your books that leave people wanting more. As a musician, you can feature short clips of a song that make them want to listen to more. As a filmmaker, get creative with clips of a few seconds! The idea is to give people an impression of your work while giving a small enough amount that it’s a teaser and not giving away your work for free. Let people know what you’re about and then anticipate the rest of the piece.
Start a newsletter to keep people in the loop. Invite people in, and then provide a call to action to join a newsletter so that people can track with you and find out about your latest and greatest and when it’s coming out. People will get hooked on your work through the rest of the suggestions in this post, like a blog or portfolio, and then you can keep them informed of what’s coming up or what you just finished. A newsletter is a place where your most loyal followers can be treated to special teasers or other offers as well.
A Sturdy and Updated Website
This is vital. Most of your awareness will be raised and business will be done through your website. Create a website and update it frequently. Favored website platforms you can use to do it yourself are Weebly, Wix, Webflow and WordPress. So many people sell items through a simple social media page and have no substantial website. This is a poor move and at one point or another you will need to have an actual website where all the information people need is present and easy to get to.
In order to really bring people’s attention to your work, you need to be yourself. People are investing in you as much as your work. They like your work because they want to hear from you. Show them your personality and your perspective. Show them the heart behind your work and why you do what you do. People like content when it’s raw, so stay who you are. There is no need to be polished or be something you’re not in order to have fans!
Social Media: Choose Wisely
This can be a real catch-22. You might be wary of getting into social media, and those concerns are valid. There are pros and cons, so all that can be said is choose wisely. Different platforms are useful for different things so choose which one or ones most speaks to you and your work. Be careful what you share and how often and, like everything else, keep people inquiring and wanting more. Design creative posts that can bring people in. Post polls and ask questions related to what you do. Discuss influences and show people what you are inspired by. Share what drives you.
Interact on the Platforms of Other Creatives
If you can find the blog or social media site of favorite fellow creatives, use this to your advantage. Comment on what they do and show that you support them. This is not so much for you as for them. However, once you do this and develop a level of trust with others that create, there’s no knowing what this community can do in time. Show that you are as invested in other people’s work as you are in your own and people will like seeing that you’re not just concerned about your own world.
While this might be counterintuitive after saying that art is not a product, occasionally this might end up being quite successful. Be inventive and come up with small things you can raffle off to get people interested in your work- or keep people already interested in your circle. Artists, can, perhaps, give away signed prints. Authors can give away stylized bookmarks or exclusive character profiles. Musicians can select one special fan to send a pre-release song to. You can do this for fans more broadly or a special most loyal group, like those that decided to sign up for your newsletter.
The Bottom Line: Customer Loyalty
The most vital thing when it comes to the arts is customer loyalty. Unlike products, people resonate with creative ventures in a way that is personal. When you market, you’re seeking someone that is invested in tracking with your creative career and what it offers the world. You want people that are here to stay and are interested in you and what you have to say. Know the appropriate audience for what you do and find them. You can’t be all things to all people and some people will love your work and others will complain about it. Those that enjoy it, however, will fully be on your side. Find those that are invested in you and believe in you because those are the ones that will always be interested in your next piece.
All of this will take legwork. You will not become a sensation overnight. But that is no reason for discouragement. The best things come to those who wait. It’s a cliché, but true. If you try and keep trying to build an audience, you may not see immediate results, but results will come. The key is to be persistent. Don’t let the time it takes cause you to stop doing what you love. The toughest things to do sometimes will become the most worth it. With some patience, there will be rewards. Don’t give up when marketing is not a cinch!
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