Critical Errors Artists Make Following Art Marketing Advice
This is in response to an article by Lori McNee at the Artists Network. Some of the advice that is given can cause serious damage to any artists online brand.
I have written about learning how to market art online. This will be the first time I have written a rebuttal piece due to how bad the suggestions are.
Note that this individual is not attempting to intentionally mislead independent artists. Nevertheless this is what happens when those who are not experts in marketing attempt to push ideas.
To compete in art against corporate brands and makers a completely different strategy is needed. This topic deserves a book to be written on it.
Where does my “expertise” come from outside of art? My spouse has spent 20 plus years in this field at an executive level.
As for myself, tapping into that experience and having owned business, there is a wealth of hands on experience I possess.
Idea #1: Starting A Blog On Art
This is actually a good idea from Lori. In fact I see it as being a requirement for any artist who self promotes.
Aside from this, if you are an artist you must have an online art gallery which you own.
Nevertheless after this suggestion from her article at the Artists Network it goes downhill rapidly. Too many do not understand what it takes to create an artist platform in the online world.
Bad Idea #1: Join A Social Media Network
I will not regurgitate all of my past writing on this matter. See my article on dangers of social media for artists.
A brief synopsis is as follows. At the end of the day your time is better spent developing more content for your blog or online art gallery. Why?
This reaches into understanding algorithms which social media uses when compared to search engines. The problems compound for new artists.
The amount of time needed to cultivate any meaningful following on social media is critical time lost that could be put into their blog. Unless you have the money to back up content marketing, forget it.
Personally I do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to pour into CM via socials. Near all new artists will depend upon organic search through time.
It is popular to see artists attempt this method if they have an art Etsy shop or something similar. Near all will burn out or it merely becomes a hobby.
Social media can help in other ways. It is a great communications outlet for customers or genuine fans. Do not try to create a following through vain metrics. In other words, keep it real.
Bad Idea #2: Create Videos For Art Instead Of Blog Posts
I personally know a woodworker that tried this. Why? Woodworking actually requires a lot of visuals. Here is the funny thing.
His readers began to demand that the blog author go back to typing out the blog posts instead of videos. Why did they want this?
The readers stated that with text they can skim the article to reach the portion that is important to them. Essentially the are looking for a piece of information within the article, not the whole article.
A video removes this ability. They are forced to watch the full video to find one snippet of information.
The claim by Lori McNee that videos also rank as well in search engines is not true. Search engines incorporate select videos of choice to be inserted that may apply to the topic.
In other words, when you see all search results videos presently make up a very small percentage. Why?
Engines do not as of yet process the information as well as text. Know that this is changing… and quickly. Yet the technology is not there yet.
The truth is traditional blog posts are still the fastest growing method for cultivating viewers to any site.
Bad Idea #3: Guest Posts On Other Art Blogs … NEVER Do This Unless It Is With Genuine Friends
If you are guest posting, or hosting guest posts on Art blogs then you are definitely hurting yourself. Do yourself a favor and begin researching the Panda Update in Google.
Do not stop there, keep reading about further algorithm updates since 2011. Each and every one is tailored to knock out the effectiveness of guest posts and linking schemes.
So WHY do people still promote this and do it? The answer is easy. It makes them money. That’s it.
The truth is actually easy to see for those who wish to see the truth. Even Ahref’s was designed to help people “build links” when today that whole scheme is a huge no no.
There are a LOT of bad habits which still exist out there that started in the 1990’s. They never went away, people just found better ways of “working the system”.
In the end it hurts you. If you wish to market your artwork may I suggest the EAT model. Be real, be genuine, create real content and network with real people.
If you are an artist and are serious about your work, use the EAT model. It will take time, but it will pay dividends down the road.
Bad Idea #4: Join And Participate In Online Art Forums
Understand that if you wish to legitimately participate for the fun and experience of a forum, then great. Go for it! Nothing wrong with that.
The author at Artists Network though has another motive in mind. That is driving web traffic from the forum to an art website. That is a big no no.
Not only does this go against standard etiquette, any link you generate will either be no follow or a UGC. These do not help you in any way.
In fact too much of this can harm you.
Communities such as this exist for the purpose of helping others. It allows you to participate as an artist and learn from others experiences. Do not try to skim from the owners labor.
Bad Idea #5: Publish Free E-Books … I Personally Would Never Do This
An ebook in of itself is not the bad idea. Rather for new artists seeking to break out to be seen by the public, it is a waste of time.
The ebook would serve you better being broken down into many blog posts. Allow the search engines to feast on the information to generate new leads for you.
This is better than the artist creating another gimmick which they now are trying to promote. Writers are out there in abundance trying to do the exact same thing.
Use the power of search to your benefit instead. Its the same information as the ebook, yet broken down into posts that allows Google to help you.
Bad Idea #6: Submit Your Blog Posts To Article Directories … This Is A Major No No
Lori McNee suggested locations such as Squidoo, eHow and Ezine Articles. Allow me to break down how bad of an idea this is for any artist.
After the Panda update Ezine lost 90% of their search visibility. They essentially disappeared off the radar.
It was devastating and many directories had to build new strategies.
The unfortunate part is that these places still exist in some form or another. Yet they remain not only ineffective but also damage your art blog or online art gallery.
Google wants original and authoritative content. It does not want directories.
Google is a directory. Why do they want to associate with a massive link fest of guest content? They ignore it.
In terms of your art blog or online art gallery, think of it like this.
Would you move to a bad neighborhood with questionable neighbors if you had to move?
No you would not. You would look for a nice neighborhood with nice neighbors. So why allow yourself to be associated with questionable “neighbors” or content in the online world?
It just does not make sense. Do not do this.
Bad Idea #7: Make Comments On Other Art Blogs … Personally It Can Be Fun But Not A Productive Use Of Time
This is just a waste of time. How many comments do you see on my blog? Few to none. Why? I keep this inactive due to spam.
Really it does not benefit anyone. Not long ago many bloggers also killed social widgets to tune page speed as that is now a ranking factor.
Statistics show that not many people use these tools. More often than not what you see, except for very popular blogs, is self generated or is placed by other marketers.
A link in a comment is a UGC link so it does not benefit the site owner, nor the site the link points to. It is essentially a dead link.
The only people it benefits are bots for creating more spam content. When I say it is a waste of time, you are better off writing another art blog post or creating new art.
So…. How Do You Market A New Art Blog Or Promote Your Art Online?
There is no shortcut. The online world is much like the real world. In fact it mirrors it.
Allow me to say that doing this right takes time. In fact it can take longer in the online world than in the real world.
Legitimate content, legitimate relationships, and allowing enough time for search engines to build your authority is the only way. Any other method can cause more harm than good.
I must apologize to Lori McNee for pointing her article out, but it was with a purpose that is not personal. There are many thousands of pages online making the same claims as she does.
It is bad information. Yes some of it can work, in the short term. The long term causes you to only suffer. It is not worth it.
There are legitimate SEO strategies that can be found within the EAT model. While this model can have its own flaws these issues are not harmful.
The benefit to that model is that it focuses on creating real content for real people. That is better than other alternatives.
At the core of it all, build the best art blog or online art gallery you can. Build real resources and strong internal pages that point to other internal resources. Then let search do what it does.
There is no magic formula. Consider your art blog to be an academic paper. How well resourced is the content? That attracts more attention to search than anything else.