Spoiler alert: content marketing for artists does not have to stifle creativity.
In fact, if done right, it can do the exact opposite and help to cultivate and foster creativity, not to mention awareness for your brand. Art’s varied form—visual, applied, and performance—can make content marketing for artists slightly more complicated. As an artist, you often are your brand (your work is an extension of you after all), so things can get personal very quickly. Yet you also have the advantage to make your content more creative, unique, and enticing to an audience.
But let’s start at the beginning.
What is content marketing anyway?
At its most basic, content marketing involves creating, publishing, and distributing content to a targeted audience to generate leads. This helps expand your market, increase sales, and foster brand awareness.
If your website is the handshake to your customers, then your content is the ice breaker – the conversation. There, you can introduce not only your craft and what sets you apart from your competitors. You can also enter the discussion on topics that keep your brand relevant.
Content marketing is not just a blog, though. Just posting a piece on your Squarespace or LinkedIn is not going to garner the attention that you want for your company.
If you are a marketer or business owner attempting to up their content game, you likely have come across countless lists (like this, this, and this) with advice for better content creation and marketing. But when it comes to content marketing for artists, we believe the difference is in the details. So we’ve compiled our own favorite tricks and best practices. At first glance, this list may seem overwhelming. Especially if you are focused on building your company. Although it’s tempting to push content marketing aside as a low-priority item, its impact often has far-reaching positive consequences for your brand. So let’s break it down.
Research keywords and trends
Researching keywords and trends involves finding those buzzwords, keywords, and current conversation trends to help boost your content. You can almost think of this step as the outline of a term paper. An essential element to remember here is to integrate these keywords into your content seamlessly. The harder you try to make content hit the mark, the further away it will be. Using art as an example, some keywords for your industry could be paint, gallery, pop art, oil painting, or modern art. A great resource to begin your research is WordStream, where you can see keyword trends for most any topic.
Know your SEO
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is where your keywords come into play again, but it goes beyond this. Certain strategies allow your blog to be found more readily. Build a solid foundation with keywords, images, links—both inbound and outbound—mentions, and consistency (in posting times per week, for example). By staying up-to-date on SEO changes for Google and other search engines, you can also tweak your content to be more relevant and searchable. The Google Algorithm Update History is a great place to start.
Be familiar with analytics
Analytics is the bane of many bloggers’ and marketers’ existence. It may seem like a constant uphill battle to check your page views, readership, and click-through rate (CTR). But it’s an essential part of understanding which pieces of content are resonating the most with your audience. Analytics can vary per program, but most pages need about 10+ blogs before they can begin to calculate how they are doing. Think of these numbers as a digital display to the success of your content.
Study the competition
Once you’ve established the building blocks of your content – keywords, SEO, and analytics—get to know your competitors. If you are not aware of what they are doing, what types of content and conversations they are starting, how can you keep up? As with anything, there is a lot of competition for artists. But by seeing what everyone else is doing, you can make sure your content is fresh.
Relationships, relationships, relationships. We can’t stress this enough. Put yourself out there and align your brand with different bloggers, influencers, and marketers. This gives you access to the audience that you want to achieve and secures better positioning for your brand. But these relationships have to be authentic, or your content falls flat. Your goal here should be to have your content shared, retweeted, republished, and mentioned. This rule doesn’t change when you are an artist building your content marketing. But it could become more valuable as others share and attribute your art and subsequent products.
Maintain a content calendar
When diving into content marketing, content calendars are invaluable. You put your personal life in a calendar, so why wouldn’t you also put your brand’s content presence in one? By using tools such as Smartsheet, Airtable, Monday.com (to name a few of the dozens available), you can rest assured that your content will post when necessary. These tools also simplify viewing and editing your content. To make matters even easier, you can create your own template via Google Presentation or Keynote. Better yet? Hire an agency like Savy to take it off your plate. Because who has time for another calendar to keep track of?
Develop a content marketing strategy
Content marketing is just blogging unless you develop a content marketing strategy. Before you can begin building out your content calendar, you need to have a plan. Who do you hope to reach? What is the goal of your content? Are you leading your industry on this content or only joining the conversation? Other considerations will be unique to your business as well, such as key dates for your company and specific people and products you want to highlight. You should also keep in mind the time of year and what is happening in current events (if relevant). Just another reason, “Why You Need a Content Marketing Agency in Your Pocket This Year.”
Build a social media following
When you’re building out your calendar and strategy, you also want to consider building your social media following. This is no small feat and, like growing relationships, takes work. It may seem like a Catch 22, but the better content you produce, the larger your audience will grow. Likewise, the larger your audience, the better able you are to grow your content. Forbes’ How to Build a Social Following list offers great advice like following likeminded people/brands and providing education with entertainment. But the key here is to have content strategy goals and to produce quality over quantity. When your audience sees the value you create, they will continue to follow you and ideally spread the word.
Know your audience
Next comes knowing your audience. You may have a vague idea of who you want to reach (single moms, stay-at-home dads, working millennials). But without data, those words are worthless. Not every company can afford to conduct focus groups at first, but most everyone can afford to play around with demographic analytics. You can use tools like Google Analytics Audience and Acquisition tabs, Facebook Business Page Insights, and Subreddit Forum search to follow the analytics of your content. You may even be surprised who your biggest audience is.
Go beyond the post
The worst thing you can do for your content and your business is to let it become stale. The Internet is a fast-paced environment where fresh content and breaking news gets old in seconds. To keep your content working for you, you’ll need to utilize the relationships you’ve built. Don’t be afraid to go beyond the first place you post your content. Going beyond the post means sharing your content (better yet, having others share it) and interacting with it outside of your original posting place. This allows you to stay relevant and also continue the conversation with comments, mentions, etc. For artists, networks like Instagram and Pinterest—where images are the focus—could make a huge difference in your exposure.
Set up your content to go viral
To set up content to go viral, you need to be strategic with your content from the get-go. For example, if your art uses recycled materials, you can mention the company whose materials you re-use. You might tag influencers who are already using your product—especially if they’re organic and not sponsored. Or you can even talk about a competitor (although preferably not too direct) who you think is doing a great job in your field. These mentions only help to expand the radius of where your post can reach.
Include a call-to-action
A piece of content is arguably not complete without a Call-to-Action or CTA. What is the goal of your piece? Do you want to raise awareness of your art? Build your audience? Spread the word about a new product that you offer? Increase sales? If you are unclear on the goal of your piece, your audience will be as well.
Own and create variety
When thinking of what types of content to produce, consider what fits within your industry. But also think outside the box. Just as art encompasses many different things, so does content marketing. True, most of these tips apply to blog posts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create meaningful content by sending out newsletters or hosting a podcast. Many of the rules still apply in these examples, such as researching keywords, creating valuable content, knowing your audience, and having a call-to-action. The biggest takeaway is to own and create variety in your content.
Curate meaningful content
Lastly, content is a form of storytelling, and, as such, you need to create meaningful and valuable content. Always assume that your audience is intelligent but still find ways to educate them. They may not know who you are or why you exist, so tell them in unique and exciting ways. Producing content that is relevant to your brand, highlights your strengths, adds something to the conversation, and sets you apart is not easy but is necessary. Do your research, utilize the tips above, but also create content that you are proud of. And although it should go without mentioning, editing is often just as important as writing in terms of creating a valuable piece.
Content marketing for artistis doesn’t have to be a chore
If you want to establish an audience, attract new customers, keep fans coming back, and boost sales, then content marketing is your ticket. If the above information didn’t make it clear, it’s hard work and involves research, time and patience. But it’s also often the difference between a brand’s success and failure.
If you’re running a company or its marketing department, you are likely inundated with to-dos. As an artist, you are also honing your craft, making real-world connections, and trying to balance time to create and time to build your business. All that said, content marketing might be the furthest thing from your mind. Luckily there are resources available to you, mostly just a click away on the internet. Even better, hiring a professional agency like Savy can take the headache out of content marketing so you can focus on your craft.