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Capture a new audience with your art, interest and passions

©Jason Edmiston

Guest posts are a great way for artists to tap into a larger audience and expand their exposure beyond their own reach.

I posted a step by step process by Jason Edmiston that he then promoted to his audience (which is pretty enormous).
The week that his post was up – I had a whole bunch of new sign-ups to my mailing list and a gigantic spike in my traffic.

Not many of those visitors will come back and visit my website or become a regular part of my audience – but some will and already have, and that’s the basis of organic traffic growth.

Little bit by little bit, we grow our audience over time.
 
 

Just a wee note

We hear and read about the “amazing growth”, “the meteoric rise”, the transformation of a business to success in 6 months, and we think that’s normal.

We are constantly habituated to believe that instant results are possible.
(And if we’re not getting the instant results, we’re doing something wrong – or even worse, we aren’t good enough.)

If we just do the “right” thing or buy/follow a particular marketing guru or artists’ method, we’ll grow our audience and have business success overnight.
 
 

None of that is true.

 
  
I don’t know anyone that has a real, thriving, sustainable art business that grew it from zero to a livelihood in 6 months… or even a year.

If that ever really does happen, it’s a fluke – an aberration to normal organic growth or they had some unbelievably amazing opportunity come their way.

Same result: outlier. NOT NORMAL OR EXPECTED.
  

Here are some real numbers and expectations:

You can expect to put in at least a year on creating a unified body of signature work. (This is a year of work after all the years you’ve spent practicing and improving your skill levels.)

Once you have a body of work (that you are always working on and adding to and becoming inspired by and growing and evolving…) and start showing, promoting and sharing your art online – I would put a MINIMUM of 3 years steady work at that before you re-evaluate whether your business is becoming successful or not.

(I don’t mean individual tactics either – like is Twitter working for me? or is YouTube way too much work for the zero return I’m getting?
Those are tactics and can be reviewed after a month or two of use – I’m talking about the BIG evaluation of whether you can legitimately see an increase in sales and demand for your art work or whether you may consider a change in direction in terms of marketing methods, subject matter, target market, medium… or some other value that may be hampering the growth of your art biz.)

3 years is a minimum. I’d recommend working steadily at your art business for 5 years before you can really gauge it’s viability in the market.
 
 

Grow your reach

©Lezley Davidson, Green Sprout, 2013, 8 x 8, mixed media

©Lezley Davidson, Green Sprout, 2013, 8 x 8, mixed media

Guest posts can help you grow your reach by connecting to another existing market (that’s hopefully much larger than your own).

To figure out where you might be able to guest post – consider refreshing yourself with an article I sent out a few weeks ago that was supposed to be about headlines and then went off the rails and turned into a post on writing and telling stories about subjects related to your art that you’re also passionate about.

These are some of the best possible markets to expand into to sell your art. They are people that are passionate about your art subject matter, but are not likely to be artists themselves.
 
That’s a key that’s often lost on artists – you need to expand your market beyond other artists in order to make real strides in growing your art business. 
 
 

Where to Look

Take a look at the websites that you frequent that are related to your art passions and subject matters, but are not about art.

Home décor and lifestyle blogs, fashion and style,

Houzz Home Decor Categories

pop culture, humour, environment and conservation websites, pets and animals, gift blogs, holiday and seasonal websites… the possibilities for related sites are as large as your passions and interests.

Check out some of your favourite websites and blogs to see if they accept guest posts.

Contact the owner/editor of the website and pitch an idea for a guest post if there’s nothing about guest posts evident on the website.

A great idea can go a long way.

Consider doing a keyword search on Blog Rank to find the most popular, high traffic websites delivering content in your passion range.

Join the mailing list of HARO (Help a Reporter Out).

Twice daily they email out requests for experts in a given field to give information to reporters and writers on blogs, news websites and journals.

If you are quick, available and have relevant information, HARO is a great opportunity to expand your reach and build some ballsy social proof as an expert by being quoted in the news.
 

Helpful guest post guidelines:

  • Offering a guest post series has the best chance of finding a home on a quality website.
  • Consider developing 3 to 10 articles around a related subject matter to offer to a website.
  • Make sure that at least half of the material has already been created before you contact the website owner or editor.
  • Include a sample of a finished article in the body of your email to the blog owner/editor so that right away they can see proof that you have viable and usable skills.
  • The series and material that you are offering must be previously unpublished – anywhere, not even on your own blog or website.
  • The articles that you offer must be relevant to the host owner/editor’s audience and must add value to their blog and readers.
  • Understand that the host editor will reserve the right to edit your articles for their own satisfaction (though generally it’s just for length, and sometimes for too many links.)

 
 

Maximize your own benefits on a guest post

  • Highlight your art with quality images as often as is reasonable within your articles.
  • Make sure all your images are tagged with name of the piece, artist, medium and size. I’d put a © in front of your name for good measure. You may want to throw the url to that image in the caption as well.
  • Create internal links in your article to other related articles, posts or images on your website (how many links are allowed in an article will be up to the discretion of the host editor. It may be beneficial to have this discussion earlier as opposed to later).
  • THIS is how to show your work in an environment and connect to buyers.

  • Use the author’s bio area at the bottom of the post to promote your mailing list offering.
  • Consider building a landing page specifically for linking to in an author’s bio that will promote your free offering and highlight your accomplishments and current sales or work for sale. Its kind of like a mini bio/promo page.
  • Link your guest post landing page to searchable anchor text – NOT your name. Examples of searchable anchor text are: “Caribbean silk painter”, “sex-positive erotic artist working in oil”, “autobio cartoonist”, “children’s illustrator specializing in fantasy and sci-fi”.
  • You’re linking search terms, not your name.
  • Use the author’s bio to highlight your accomplishments, awards, publications, group memberships and associations and client lists.
  • If the editor of your article will only allow one out-going link in your author’s bio – make sure it’s to your mailing list offering landing page that promotes how amazing you are and what they’ll get by joining your list.

 
 

Be a promoter too

  • When your articles publish, make sure you promote the link and the site on all your promotion channels: your website, twitter, facebook profile and page, to your mailing list and where ever else you frequent on the internet.
  • ReSend campaign to more media outlets. Great if it’s a promotional email.

  • Send an email to friends and family too – not a spammy email, just an FYI that you’re published on another website. Maybe friends and family share some of your interests and would be happy to be directed to a new resource.
  • Promote the articles afterwards too – 6 months to a year after they’ve published, do another round of linking to and promoting for the posts.
  • Retweet and share the promotional posts of the blog/website owner to your own audience.
  • Create a page that has links to all your guest posts and promote the page in your sidebar.

 
 

Testing testing testing

 
©2012 Yay Crap by Lezley DavidsonCheck your traffic numbers and analytics when your guest posts go live.

You want to concentrate on offering articles and features of value to the websites that actually grow your audience and expand your business.

Keep track of what websites send a lot of traffic that signs up for your list &/or buys your art &/or attends your shows.
 

Expanding beyond your own audience through shared passion and interest is a great way to grow your business in an organic, targeted way.

You can show off your expertise, promote your art and offer value to a peer with a much bigger audience than your own.

Shared passions and interests makes it likely that many in the new audience will already be predisposed to like what you’re creating.

Keep your eyes open for guest posting opportunities as you explore your interests on the internet – they may offer a doorway to expand your art business.
 
 

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Now everyone has to be a writer. Even artists.  Artists don’t often think about copywriting and headlines. It’s not surprising – it’s not really part of the job description.   Except that now it is.    Social media and the mass reach of the internet means everyone’s got to be a copywriter. (Or at least […]