The artists I've known over the years tend to share a desire -- they want to have a solid local or regional presence. In other words, they want to be recognized for their art within their community or surrounding community. In addition to that, they often desire to be a 'known name' within their local art community -- even if their art community is spread out between several towns/cities (which may very well be the case for an artist living in a small city or rural town). Establishing local / regional recognition can be an uphill battle no matter where you live. That said, many artists appear to forget that their art blog can help in the 'climb' -- even if it amounts to just one little step (connection) at a time.
Before I delve into this further I want to offer some clarification. This Art Blogging 101 article was written with small city / rural artists in mind -- and how they can benefit from local online searches for specific art-related venues/events in their area. Artists living in larger cities may be able to benefit from this strategy as well -- though it will be more difficult to achieve. Especially if the 'big city' in question happens to have a very active art community -- and thus a steady flow of online content about art news in general. Point blank -- the 'numbers' can work against 'big city' artists... you'll understand if you read further.
I'll make this short and bitter sweet -- many artists fail to take advantage of their art blog when seeking local / regional recognition for their art. They want to establish themselves within their local / regional community -- but fail to take advantage of one of the most powerful tools at their fingertips... that being, the power of the Internet. They fail to benefit from online searches made by local / regional art lovers. They forget that online documentation of their local / regional art experiences can be just as important -- for establishing 'real world' presence AND connections -- as receiving local press in traditional print.
I'll offer a fictional example: Jane the Artist has a steady track record of being involved in local /regional art exhibits, art fairs and other art-related events -- but if you visit Jane's art blog you will not find any blog posts about those events and experiences. Jane has failed to establish an online connection between her local / regional 'offline' art marketing efforts and those specific art venues. Thus, her artist website will likely not show up in search results when people from her surrounding community submit online searches for those specific local art galleries, art fairs and other art events.
Why does this matter? Simple. Jane could have easily taken advantage of those online searches depending on the art venue and how much coverage it has had online (again, I'm writing this with small city / rural artists in mind -- specifically those who live in areas where art coverage is minimal... which means page results for those searches are untapped, if you will). Unfortunately, Jane failed to offer art blog posts about her local / regional art involvement. If she had -- Amy the Art Collector may have 'discovered' her when searching for information about those specific local / regional venues. (Obviously the chance of Amy the Art Collector finding Jane the Artist's post about a specific local art gallery, for example, will also depend on how well Jane distributed her blog content. Hint: when you make an art blog post -- be sure to distribute a link to it via social networking or other online means. Don't wait for people to discover your art blog content -- get it 'out there').
There is no reason Jane the Artist should not strive to benefit online from the time she spends attending -- or exhibiting at -- local / regional art exhibits, art fairs and other local / regional art events. If she had dedicated a few art blog posts to those experiences -- and distributed links to said content on Facebook, Twitter and other websites (in order to attract blog readers... and therefore helping to rank her art blog posts on search engines) -- she may have been 'discovered' by Amy the Art Collector. Point blank -- Jane the Artist missed out on the potential of being recognized by a local art collector because she failed to write about her local / regional art experiences. If she had been 'discovered' online by Amy the Art Collector... said discovery may have increased her local / regional recognition for being an artist (Amy may have informed other local art collectors about Jane).
This is what I want to stress -- art blogging that focuses on local / regional art exhibits (and other art-related events from your surrounding area) may help you to establish connections with local / regional art admirers who are searching for information about those specific art venues and events online. Thus, blogging about your local / regional art experiences can be a strategic addition to your overall art marketing efforts. Point blank -- a simple art blog post may trigger 'real world' interactions that you would not have established otherwise.
This is what I want you to do... think of local / regional focused art blog posts as 'seeds'. With each published art blog post you are 'planting' local / regional potential. It does not take much time to do -- and can potentially help to 'cultivate' local / regional opportunities. You want to 'reap' from those local online art-related searches. The online potential is there -- you may end up receiving another art admirer, establishing a connection with a fellow local artist or making a few local art sales from this strategy. If nothing 'grows' from it -- well, you at least have more art blog posts under your belt... which is always a plus for your artist website IF that is where your art blog is located.
In closing, have you made the same mistake as our fictional friend -- Jane the Artist? Have you failed to tap into local-focused online searches of art-related venues that you have been involved with -- or even just those you have attended as a viewer? Perhaps you have found success with this strategy? Feel free to comment with suggestions that you would like to add to this art blog strategy -- and by all means, share your local art blogging experiences so that we can all learn from them.
Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Conservative Punk, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog, COMPANY and Art Fag City