Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What's All This Fuss About Frogs?

As Roseanne Rosanadana would say, "What's all this fuss about frogs?" Uh, no, not frogs, Roseanne. Blogs. Seems like every where you turn, either someone is either talking about or writing about blogs. Even at Fine Print Imaging, we are dipping our toes into the still unfamiliar waters. We know, blogs have been around for a relatively long time. But heck, we're VISUAL people here! We work with VISUAL people. After all, isn’t a picture is worth a thousand words? But in today's viral internet market place, a well-written and informative blog can put your name - and expertise –in front of hundreds or even thousands of potential buyers for your images (or in our case, services).

So what is a blog, anyway? It is a somewhat short, informal conversation about something that merits sharing. People blog about everything from current events to how to market art to how to find the right car to how to make a relationship work. They can be funny, serious, incendiary or just informative. They are mostly just someone’s opinion.

And what does blogging have to do with you? If you’re reading this, then I’ll assume that you are an artist or photographer selling, or hoping to sell, your work. If you read my last blog on using FaceBook to market your work, you’ll know I’m a fan of embracing social networking as a way to introduce your work to a wide audience. A blog is just an adjunct to social networking. It is where you can get more in depth about topics that you feel strongly about or are knowledgeable about. Whereas posts on social networking sites are short snippets of information, a blog allows you to tell a story. It is in the story telling that you are building relationships and credibility with your collectors and future collectors.

So what should you write about? The key to a successful blog is posting relevant information. Some artists, like Kathi Peters, uses her blog, Cob Cottage Studio to give readers access to life in and around her Maine studio. Through her blog I’ve gotten to know her dogs, admire her lovely gardens and see works in progress. She writes in a personal, friendly tone; reading her blog is like visiting over the fence with a close neighbor.

I happened upon a blog by a photographer who calls herself Corvinus as I was doing research for this article and was immediately attracted to the name “Not As The Crow Flies” and the tagline “thoughts on travel, nature and photography, with meanders, occasional diversions and flights of fancy.” How could I resist?

Another well-written blog I stumbled on is written by artist Stapleton Kearns. He tends to be a little more controversial in his blog posts, and his thoughts make you think. If you are interested in using your art to help conservation causes, you'll want to check out the Art for Conservation blog. This is a new blog which promises to help keep readers informed on conservation efforts and show them how art and conservation can team up to tell an important story. Another good blog is sponsored by Fine Art Views - written by Clint Watson, with guest bloggers from all walks of the art world. And lastly, check out Tony Moffitt’s blog about art marketing.

Like photography or painting, finding one’s own “ blog voice” will probably take some trial and error. Just remember, a blog is intended to be conversational and informal. And if you borrow content from others, it is essential that you site your sources by providing a live link back to them.

How do you get people to actually read your blog? Well, if you have a website through a provider such as Fine Art Studio Online, a blog is included in most of their packages. So people coming to your website can find your blog listed. But that’s a pretty passive way to get readers. A better way is to invite people to sign up to receive your blog using an RSS feed, so each post you make comes right to their email inbox or their internet homepage. You can invite them via email and/or through postings on social media sites. If your web site provider doesn’t offer a blog, you can create your own quite easily using Blogger. In fact, that’s what we use at Fine Print Imaging. Just go to and follow the instructions and you’ll have your own blog created in minutes. Upload a few pictures and start writing!

Kate Dardine is the Marketing Director at Fine Print Imaging and a professional artist who uses blogs, tweets, Facebook, Linked-In and her website to market her Animal and Land Spirit paintings. She says if you don't know who Roseanne Rosanadana is then you are obviously didn't watch SNL in the eighties!