With today's easy access to the internet, there's no excuse for not building your own brand. If you feel like more people should know you and your work, read on.
Your brand is how people will remember you. If you're an artist, it could be your style, the type of work you do, or maybe even your work rate. Brand is synonymous with reputation. It is what other people say about you.
Having a strong brand is obviously beneficial. When you are the first name that clients think of in a particular niche, it is easy to get job offers, commissioned assignments, contacts, invites. When your brand is strong, people think of you, people come to you. When your brand is not strong, you have to market yourself to clients one by one. The latter is a lot of work. How many doors do you have to knock on before someone buys your cookies?
Take Parka Blogs for example. I want my blog to be associated with artbooks and art products. That's why I post content regularly relating to artbooks and art products. Over the years, it has developed its own brand and is now, probably, the best place to check out artbooks and art products due to the thousands of reviews I've posted over the years. I get requests to review books and tech products (artist reviews) frequently. That's because when people think of a book or product they want to check out, they think of my brand, and hence they contact me. I've independent creators, publishers, book distributors and art suppliers who contact me too because they want their items featured on my blog.
How to build your brand
It takes effort to build a brand.
First, you have to share your art online. Second, you have to write about your art. Third, share your work frequently.
It's not enough to just post your artwork online. You need to write something about it so that search engines can index it, so that people are able search for it. On some platforms, you can just tag your artworks. For example, searching keyword tags is how images are discovered on Instagram.
You need to have your own website and share your work there. Because your website is new and no one knows about it, you also need to share your work on other sites, like DeviantArt or whatever art forums or Facebook art groups that are out there.
You have to share your work frequently and regularly. If you're in a Facebook art group and you post art weekly. When your work is always out there, people will start to take notice of you. They will notice your constant presence, they will get a sense of your work rate, they will also be able to recognise your style, and they will remember your name in their subconscious. That's all part of building your brand.
With my Youtube channel, I wanted to be know for sketching, tech and art product reviews, that why I post content related to those subjects.
You have to determine how you want to be remembered. Put out work that you want to be associated with. If you want to be a graphic or web designer, post examples of page layouts, logos or websites you have designed. Don't post unrelated content on your website or you will confuse your audience. You need your audience to associate you with a certain keyword, style or image.
It does not take a lot of time to share your work. Dedicate 30 minutes to sharing your work on various social media sites and online art groups. The time you spend here is more productive than when used to check updates on Facebook.
To have something to share, of course you will need to create work. If you want to make a living through selling art or design, you need to make work and show off your work. Create lots of artworks, queue them up, so that you can share them regularly. When you have a batch of work to post, choose the best way to present them. See if you can post them through a schedule, like once a day, or maybe three times a week. And stick to that schedule.
If you post your work on Instagram, use Socialblade to keep track of followers that you get. You may find that as you post regularly, your followers will increase consistently. With my Instagram page, I get followers whenever I post regularly, but once I stop posting for weeks, the number of followers dropped off.
The number of followers you have is just a vanity number. If you don't post regularly, people will still forget you. So how regularly should you share your work? There's no perfect number. Once a week is the bare minimum I would recommend. Three times a week would be good. If you can post every day, that's pretty incredible, but don't get yourself burned out. You can create a batch of work and post according to schedule. That's what I do with my blog and Youtube channel.
How long will it take for people to recognise you?
It really depends on how long you have been posting. You will get new audience each day when you post regularly. And by posting regularly, you'll constantly be in other people's mind.
Your brand doesn't build itself in a day, a month or even a few months. Brand building is a constant process. And don't think of it as a chore, think of it as a challenge. Being a freelance artist or designer means you have to multi-task and handle certain activities by yourself, and that means marketing too.
You'll need patience to build your brand. This is not something you can buy with money. And because it's something you can't buy with money, it's something more valuable, and it's something that will also help you stand out from others.
Artists today are more fortunate today than artists from the past because of the Internet. The internet has really expanded the potential of selling art. You can now reach a lot more people than previously possible without the Internet. Today, there are creators with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Even getting tens of thousands of followers today is not that difficult -- you just need patience.
This article is going to look at how you can sell art online to make some money, and also the strategies behind selling art.
Before we start, there are two important points that you need to understand first.
First, if you want to make a full-time income from selling art, you should put in full-time effort in creating and marketing your art. You need to have art to sell art. Then you need to get your art in front of people so that they can see it. If no one can see your art, no one knows you have something to sell.
Secondly, after you finish reading this article, get to work. Write down a schedule to put your plans into action. Art doesn't sell itself, you have to sell it.
Alright, let's talk about selling art now.
People buy art because of you
Some people buy paintings not just because of the art, but because of the person. When these people buy, they are also buying into you as a person.
In the most extreme example, you can paint as good as an Old Master, but your art won't be valued as much. Many factors contribute to the price of an artwork, the person and the reputation or brand of the person is a factor that matters.
It's important to let your potential buyers know who you are. On your website, you should have your biography. Talk about why you paint. For each painting, it would be good if there's a story behind. Using Old Masters paintings for example, there are essays written about the stories behind each painting. So your art should have some sort of story too. If you can't think of a story for the art, perhaps you can make that story about you, about your process when creating the art.
There is always be someone else who can create the same type of art as you. So how do you compete? You need to find some way to differentiate from other people. By being yourself, you're already different from others, so you just have to make your brand stronger. You can engage more with your audience, or be known for a certain style, or represent a belief.
You have to market your work
Your work does not speak for itself. It really does. Think about it.
You have to market your work so that people can know that it exists. You should actively promote your work. The more you share with your potential customers, the more they will remember you in their minds.
So how do you market your work online? You can do it through your own website, blog or social media sites.
First you have to understand who you are selling to. Understand your audience and go to where they hang out. For example, if you want to sell fish, you should sell it at a fish market where people are going there specifically to buy fish.
You can share your work on art communities online, such as DeviantArt or even Facebook Groups. There are artists who share their creation process on Youtube and have gathered a good number of followers. Instagram is another good place to share your work. The common thing about all these sites is there are lots of people on those platforms already searching for art.
I share my work mostly on my blog, Instagram and Youtube. Occasionally, I would get offers from someone who wants to buy my art. That's the power of marketing.
The other way is to contact other art blogs or anyone with a huge social media following, and ask them for a referral. Look for people who already feature or create the type of work you create, so at least your work is relevant to their audience.
Develop a body of work
If you only have a handful of artworks to sell, it may not look appealing to your potential customers. Imagine going into a shop where the shelves are mostly empty except with a handful of items for sale. That's the type of feeling you should avoid.
If you're a beginner, start by creating small pieces. You can use those pieces for practice and hone your craft. Smaller pieces of art are also easier and faster to create. The more artwork you create, the more you can share them online, the more exposure you will get. Small pieces are also easier to sell because they are more affordable. They are also easier to package and ship.
To create a body of work, you can develop a theme and paint around that. Have you noticed that artist exhibitions often have themes? The theme can be landscape, portrait, still life, or some other subject matter or even style.
Developing a theme can also help your audience identify with you. For example, those buys comic illustrations will be different from those who buy paintings. You want to use your theme and your style to build up the type of collectors you want.
If you are into editorial illustration, check out this video below by Holly Exley
Figure out where to sell your work
There are many places to sell art online.
You can sell them on platforms that you are sharing your art. Or you can sign up with a website that's designed specifically to handle sales, e.g. Etsy, DeviantArt, Dailypainters.com. Or you can purchase a domain and install your own online store with e.g. BigCartel, Shopify. Or you can even sell through auction sites like eBay.
Different websites have different features. They may handle payment and invoicing and that can save you a lot of hassle. Those websites usually take a small cut. If you sell through websites like DeviantArt, they can take orders automatically, sell prints of your art and handle shipping. If you sell through eBay, payment is handled but you have to package and ship the items yourself.
Ultimately, you need to create a website for yourself. That's your home base. As for the online store, you can either embed it within your website or link it to some other sales site like Etsy.
Regardless of which platform you're selling from, you still need to market yourself. Those websites don't market for you.
Should you sell the original or a print
Not everyone can afford what you are charging. For people who like your art but can't afford, maybe you can create products at a lower price point. For example, instead of selling originals you can sell prints.
When you are starting out, do not invest in a printer. Get your prints printed at a professional print shop during the early stages of your career first because you won't know how many customers you'll get in the first few months. You can consider getting a printer to reduce cost after you notice you have a steady stream of orders each month.
How to price your art
The general strategy is to price according to the size of the art you are selling. Some artist would use $ per square inch. If you peg $1 per square inch, a 9 by 12 inch watercolour painting may be $108 dollars. Charging by size is a concept that buyers can easily understand. Don't charge by time. You'll get better with time and you'll paint faster. Your art should not drop in value as you get better. Also, buyers should not pay extra just because you're too slow.
Research other artists who are creating the same stuff as you to find out how much they are charging. You can use what they charge as a reference to find your pricing.
The type of media you use also affects pricing. For example, oil will cost more than watercolour, which will cost more than a graphite rendering.
Once you have determined your pricing formula, stick with it. You should maintain your value and not drop it. Don't appear desperate. Don't undervalue your work, but don't overvalue it of course. You should price your work to sell. After you have a few artworks sold, you can adjust the pricing. Raise prices when you can no longer keep up with demand.
If you are selling prints, you can occasionally give some discounts. If you sell originals, try not to discount too much even if you really want to sell because those early buyers who bought at the high price will feel irritated. So start low, but not too low, and work your way up.
Maintain consistent pricing across different platform. Be fair all buyers, no matter where they found your work.
When doing commissions, you can ask for more because it's a special request, and also because the process can be more complicated.
Make sure your website is enticing, professional and friendly. Have a clean and clear interface where people can get all the information required, like where to find details about the painting, pricing, how to buy.
If you sell with framing, include how the painting will look with the frame as well. It will be good to have a size comparison with a person (silhouette) standing beside the painting or holding it.
Presentation is important. It's like the window of your store. You want it to look good enough to attract customers to come in to check out more.
Build a newsletter
Start building your newsletter list today. So that when you have something to sell, you can tell your audience immediately and directly. If you rely on your website to tell people about your work, you are only relying on visitors to your website. Not everyone will remember or have the time to visit your website or social media sites daily. Even if they visit your sites regulary, they may still miss what you post.
Study the pros
Look at where people are selling their art. Check their Etsy site. Research and see how those artists are marketing their work. See how often they are creating art, engaging with their audience.
You can learn a lot from other professional artists. Those experienced artists have been around for a long time. If you can learn from them in a week what they took months or years to learn, you would have saved so much time and hassle.
Sales does not happen overnight unless you already have a huge audience. You have to build up your collector base.
Ultimately, selling anything online is a numbers game. You need a lot of visitors in order to sell something. Well, not everyone who sees your work is going to buy it. So out of the number of people who sees your work, only a handful will be interested enough to find out more, and out of those only a handful will have the real interest and intent to buy.
You have to have patience when it comes to building your collector base or following.
The good thing about the Internet is, as artists, the work you create in the past will always come back to help you in the future. The more work you create, the more you share, the more following you'll get, and the potential for sales. And the more work you create, the larger your archive and the better ability to attract even more visitors.
Thanks for reading this. If you sell your art online, I would love to hear about your experience.
Today, I want to talk about affiliate marketing. If you don't know what's affiliate marketing, it's a referral program where you earn a commission whenever you sell something. This is similar to how a car salesman or insurance agent earns their money.
Two things happened recently that prompted me to write this article.
The first incident...
If you don't know, I'm part of the Amazon Associates (AA) program, which is an affiliate marketing program. I earn a commission whenever someones buys something through an Amazon link from my blog. I get nothing if a reader just clicks and buys nothing.
This morning, I received an email from AA notifying me of changes to the commission rates. The rates are different for different categories. The rate cut that affected me is for the books category which has dropped from 8.25% to 4.5%. Before the drop, whenever someone buys a $20 book, I would earn $1.65. After the drop, I would earn $0.90. It's already difficult to earn money from selling books, and now the commission rates are cut to make it even more difficult to make money. Can you imagine how many books you have to promote to earn a sizable pocket money, or to earn a living?
The second incident is from the Craftsy affiliate program that I'm in. Craftsy if you don't know is a website the sells digital courses relating to art, craft and cooking. When Craftsy was new, they provided me with free access to courses so that I can review them and feature on my blog. Recently, they told me that they no longer provide free access to affiliate marketers. What I found silly is it does not cost them money to provide free access to affiliate marketers who will then drive customers their way to help them earn more money. Basically, they have grown big enough that they no longer require the help of affiliate marketers anymore.
The moral of the two stories is businesses can change their terms and conditions anytime. It's nothing personal, it's just business. However, if you depend on those businesses for livelihood, then you're putting yourself in a dangerous position to get screwed whenever businesses change their policies in such a way that it goes against your favor.
The danger of being in an affiliate program is you're always at the whims and fancies of the company that pays you.
The only way to counter this is not to put all your eggs in the same basket. If you want to make money online, explore different avenues.
That was why two years ago, I started diversifying the ways I earn money online. I started my Patreon page, made art courses online to sell on my Gumroad page, and also produce videos for my Youtube channel. So now I earn a bit here and there. Everything adds up. If you place your bet on one company and that company decides to kick you out, you'll be left with nothing. It's a possible risk so you should minimise the impact from that risk.
I'm disappointed by AA and Craftsy but I understand where they come from. Companies exist only to make money. But it's distasteful to disregard those who helped build the company in the first place. They care about their own interests. You should care about your own interests too.
Anyway, thankfully, affiliate marketing is not the only way to make online. This incident has motivated me work even harder to build up other revenue channels. I hope you have learned something from my awful experience.
Ultimately, to be successful comes down to building your own brand, having a product or service that you can sell (you set your own commission), and good old fashion hard work.
I've just reached the milestone of 30,000 subscribers on my Youtube channel. It took less than a year to grow my subscriber base from 4,000 in November 2015 to where I am today. I'm just amazed at the growth potential of Youtube.
Here are some smaller milestones for subscriber count that I've been tracking.
I get around 80 new subscribers each day on Youtube now compared to only 30 when I first started tracking my progress. My growth on Twitter and Facebook is so pathetic I don't even want to share them here. What's obvious is different platforms require different growth strategy. With Youtube, my strategy is to put out helpful content with relentless consistency and so far that has been working out well for me.
Where the viewers are from
On average, around 12,000 viewers watch my videos daily. Only 0.6% are referred by my blog -- that's 79 viewers from Parkablogs daily. The rest are viewers from the Youtube platform. In other words, there are a lot of viewers on Youtube searching for art content. That's no surprising though, as this is the 2nd biggest search engine on earth.
Compared to other artists on Youtube
Numbers can actually say a lot about the channel.
Here are statistics artists that I subscribe to, arranged based on the number of subscribers they have.
I may not have as many subscribers as other Youtubers, but my view count is quite high -- almost on par with Lachri Fine Art who has more than 3 times my subscribers. I attribute that to the many art product reviews I've created. I want to make one video review for all the art products that I've reviewed on my blog.
I value view count because ultimately, ads on Youtube payout are based on view count. On a bad day, the payout is around USD $1 per 1,000 views. From there, you can calculate exactly how many views, videos or subscribers you need to make a full-time living. Unless you have a knack for putting out viral content that skews your statistics, growth rate on Youtube is quite predictable and you can do forecasts easily. For example, if I get 2,500 subscribers each month, one year later, I can safely say that I will have 30,000 more subscribers.
If you have a full-time or freelance job, you won't even know if you will have a pay increment next year, or earn as much.
One reason why some Youtubers have a lot of subscribers is because they started early. A channel that started 10 years ago, provided they produce content regularly, is likely to have many times more subscribers than a new art channel today. If you want to start something, start early. The payoff will only come years later. I wished I had started my channel at the same time I started my blog. So now, I'm actually making up for lost time by putting out as many videos as possible.
There are many different strategies when it comes to choosing the type of content to produce. An art channel can focus on tutorials, artist interviews, speed paintings, art product reviews, advice or whatever you can think of really. This is probably worth an article on its own.
Youtube has incredible reach
My videos reach more people than my blog posts. For example, the article that I wrote regarding Wacom MobileStudio Pro on 14 Oct only received 2,440 views to date. The Youtube video talking about the same thing published 3 days later received 4,229 views. I believe that video was able to get a higher view count because I have a large subscriber base. Each time I publish a video, a notification email is sent out to those subscribed to my channel, making it easy for them to watch. I don't have that feature on my blog and I don't use my newsletters to promote individual posts like this, and even if I do, I only have 1000+ newsletter subscribers compared to 30,000 Youtube subscribers.
Ultimately, content is king
There are some channels with fantastic growth rates even though they don't have a lot of videos, But those channels do have compelling content. Two good examples are the art creation videos from kelogsloops (20 videos with 125,052 subscribers) and Iraville (48 videos with 94,510 subscribers). What this means is, if your content is really great, you can get subscribers easier, although how the subscribers find the content is still something I'm trying to figure out, because it's either a combination of Youtube Suggested Videos or through SEO.
Making videos daily is not easy. Some days, I may not have ideas or just don't have motivation. That's why I keep a list of ideas and populate it whenever I have an idea for a video.
I'm just gonna continue what I'm doing now and see where it will bring me next year. My prediction is I will have 60,000 subscribers by October 2017.
Hopefully, I can have 700 videos produced by the end of 2017. That would be incredible.
Today, I want to talk about using Youtube and Facebook to promoting your art videos. By art videos, I'm taking about art tutorials, demonstrations, art supply reviews, speed paintings, artist interviews and basically anything that's related to art.
Let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of posting on both platforms.
Pros and cons of posting video on Facebook
The advantage is you get views, Likes, comments, some followers.
If your video is popular enough, Facebook does promote it and give it better exposure and reach.
The disadvantage is once your content gets pushed down, it will be lost and there's no easy way to find it. You won't be able to search for it using the search box. And if it's too far in the past, people will get tired of scrolling down and give up. Unless your video has the viral factor, it's not going to be seen again after it's being pushed down.
When you're online, any content that you create should always serve to help you into the future and in this case, your Facebook content will only be useful for a few days. That's just not optimal for the effort you put into creating your video. It's like salaried job where once you stop working, you no longer get the pay cheque.
Think about how people are going to find your page. If they don't know your name or brand, there's no way they are going to do a search on Facebook to find you. If you want new followers, you have to link to your Facebook page from your website, or hope that your Facebook page gets shared by others.
Pros and cons of posting on Youtube
You will still get views, Likes, comments and some followers.
On Youtube, you have the added advantage that there's good search functionality and if your video has a good title and description, people can search for it using the search box. This means even strangers can look for content that you have posted months ago. Your content will still be useful to you and help/entertain your audience into the future. The more videos you have, the more people you can expect to be looking for them in the future.
It's easier for people to check out your other videos because you have your own channel page and playlists.
Youtube has better analytics for video. In addition to the basic demographic stats like the age group, sex, location, you also get useful information such as the watch time, like how long people are watching your video before they stop. You can use the analytics to understand what type of content is popular.
If your content is helpful and relevant to people, your video will be ranked higher and they will be showcased in the Suggested Videos sidebar where you can expect strangers to click on them. Youtube promotes other videos at the end. You have a better chance of getting a stranger finding your video, and discover that you exist.
Youtube is a better discovery platform in the sense that people can search for content they want, and not get irrelevant content pushed to them. Because of that, the type of audience you can expect on both platform are different. You won't see people who are looking for art tutorials search for them on Facebook.
Because Youtube actively promotes related video content to audience, your content if relevant, it will get promoted. That's going to earn you extra views and extra subscribers. 30% of my views are from the Suggested Videos sidebar and that's quite significant and helpful at getting new subscribers. You can build a community a subscriber base easier on Youtube than on Facebook. That's important because people who are subscribed to you won't subscribe again, whereas strangers who are on your video page may have a chance to subscribe.
Youtube is more of a balanced playing ground compared to Facebook. While I don't have any accurate statistics to back up what I say but from what I gather online from hearsay, videos uploaded on Facebook gets a preference over videos uploaded on Youtube and linked in Facebook. Youtube is Facebook's competition and it's not surprising that Facebook would limited Youtube video's exposure.
In the long run, you'll benefit from Youtube more than with Facebook because you'll have strangers discovering your content daily, unless you're really good at creating viral video content on Facebook.
Lastly, if you're in the Youtube Partner Program, you can earn money through the ads that are run above your videos. It's not going to be significant if your videos have low view counts, but in the long run it adds up.
Recently, there was a popular video called Upside Down & Inside Out by the band OK Go. They released it initially on Facebook and received 48,000,000 views and 600,000 shares. They released it one week later on Youtube and received 600,000 views and 6,000 shares (at the time of me writing this post). Ads online cost USD $1 per thousand views. So the band left $48,000 dollars on the table by uploading the video on Facebook. Of course you can argue that you may not get as much views on Youtube, but you don't know for sure if it can't get more either. Anyway, it's important not to neglect both platforms when uploading your video.
One interesting thing about OK Go's music video is, when they posted the trailer for the video on Youtube pointing to Facebook, they received avalanche of Youtube comments asking why the video is not on Youtube. That trailer has since been deleted.
As for me, I post mostly reviews and sketching tutorials so I won't be uploading my videos on Facebook because I know nobody would be searching for them there.
In the long run, you'll get a better pay-off from Youtube.
Yes! I've reached 7,000 subscribers on my Youtube channel. The last time I posted about my subscriber count is on 19 Nov 2015 and there were 4,000 subscribers back then. The journey has been long and there's still a long road ahead.
I've been checking out many other art channels to analyse what makes them successful and compiled the tips in this article. The tips listed below are actually what many Youtube creators agree on. The template to success is surprisingly similar. Have a focus and work hard. The rest are just details.
I've been using the tips myself and slowly growing my channel. By the way, I get around 50 new subscribers a day on Youtube (exciting) vs 5 new Likes on Facebook (pathetic). Going by the numbers, I can get at least 1,000 new subscribers a month. That's pretty significant, at least for a new Youtuber like me.
Just a few hours ago, I was at Toa Payoh Library for a talk by my friend James Leong. He talked about his crowdfunding experience with Pozible for his comic book Perfect World Saga. He launched his campaign in November 2015 and managed to reach his target of SGD $1,000 with 41 supporters.
I just want to share some details that he mentioned in the talk.
First of all, note that his target isn't a big amount, so the statistics that he shared may be skewed. I'll explain some of the numbers.
The project started in September before the actually crowdfunding was launched in November. James had planned the launch after the 24 Hours Comics Day in Singapore so that he could market to comic creators there. It was a good move because that's marketing to relevant people. When it comes to selling stuff, especially a new product no one as seen before, it's importable to network and market to relevant people.
Kickstarter vs Indiegogo vs Pozible
There are other crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo but he eventually went with Pozible because they had a local office in Singapore. He was able to speak to someone at Pozible and get tips whenever he has any questions. Kickstarter and Indiegogo just ask you to refer to their FAQ.
Transaction fees for Pozible is at 4.58% and service fees are at 5%. Pozible was able to collect in Singapore Dollars so that meant that there would not be any loss in currency conversion. Most supports are going to be from Singapore. So if USD is set, the money would be converted to USD and back to SGD.
Who are the supporters
Here's the breakdown:
It's not surprising that main bulk of support comes from friends. The thing is, when it comes to supporting such campaigns, people won't know exactly what they are buying, so essentially they are supporting the campaign because they want to support the person.
If you have a huge fan base, that's where you're going to get most of your support. Which also brings me to the next point, you should start marketing way in advance before your crowdfunding campaign. You're doing two things essentially. You're building a fan base and you're marketing your upcoming campaign.
To do all the marketing during the crowdfunding period is incredibly difficult. You're trying to convert a stranger into a fan during that period of time when he/she has neither heard of you or know what to expect from your product. Tough.
James spoke about asking family to help only when there's possibility of reaching the target. Sometimes it just needs a tiny push at the end to reach the goal.
Promoting on Facebook
Facebook contributed more links to his campaign than other platforms. Not surprising because that's the primary platform where James has an active presence.
I actually asked him to post some of his timelapse video on Youtube and share that video on Facebook. From what he gathered, videos that are uploaded natively on Facebook perform much better than those Youtube videos that are linked over. Facebook's bias towards their own video content is clear. They don't give emphasis to promoting videos from other websites like Youtube, Vimeo, which is not surprising because they are competitors. In other words, Facebook is censoring how people are consuming content on the platform but this is nothing new. Organic reach for his Facebook posts are also not very high because Facebook wants you to pay to boost the reach, otherwise they would censor your content. This is something I personally experience when sharing Parkablogs content on Facebook as well.
By the way, Youtube contribution is negligible in this campaign. Youtube is a discovery platform. When you're putting content on Youtube, you're using it more as pull advertising. With Facebook, you can choose to use it as push advertising (paying money for ads) to push ads to people who may not even want to see your content. With Youtube, you're relying on search engine traffic and your fans. If you're only starting to market your content close to your campaign, you're not going to get significant support from Youtube. However, if you have been consistently putting out content on Youtube, at least you'll have an audience to count on helping you in time of need.
From the slides, I saw that my blog contributed 3 pageviews.
LOL. Wow. Note that I have around 2,000 readers visiting the homepage daily and to have that kind of click-rate is shocking.
Which brings me to another point. You have to market to relevant people.
My blog features artbooks and art products. People who are interested in artbooks and art products may or may not be interested in comic books. Even if they are interested in comic books, it takes a lot to get them to put out money for someone they have not heard of.
That's also the reason why I seldom share comics related crowdfunding campaigns on Parkablogs. I just don't see how sharing news of an upcoming indie comics campaign is going to be relevant to my readers.
James is also part of the Urban Sketchers Singapore group. Even support from Urban Sketchers Singapore did not amount to a lot even though the group is quite large.
James also said that his FB posts weren't shared much.
I've read in some other article on the mentality of sharing posts. When you're sharing posts, you're also endorsing the posts. Your act of sharing also says something about you. You may not know it but people are silently judging you whenever you share something. Interestingly, someone who shared his posts and that post received more likes than Jame's own posting.
Another thing to note is having FB likes does not equate to getting their support on the project.
Market yourself early even if you have nothing to sell yet. When you do, at least you have people already there to sell to.
Last year while I was in Sydney on a holiday, I met up with Liz Steel and we talked for hours on blogging and social media.
Liz told me that some artists don't see how blogging can help their career as artists. Indeed, there are artists that I know and admire who don't even have a website, much less a blog, or any form of presence online.
If you're an artist and don't have a blog, you're missing out big time. There's a huge opportunity cost that you're not seeing.
Blogging is one of the most powerful tools for marketing, and with the internet it is now so affordable and accessible to any artist.
Let me give you the reasons why you should blog as an artist.
You grow with your blog
Whether or not you're a professional artist does not matter. If you're someone who's a beginner at art, it will even be more beneficial. By posting your work online, you'll be able to keep track of your progress and grow from there. It's called practice. The more you draw, the better you get. When you use the blog as a record, you can see how much you have improve and where else you can improve.
If you've afraid of posting your so called crappy work online, then join a forum where there are those work-in-progress pages where you can post your art to. Or you may want to start two blogs, one for your rough sketches (maybe on Tumblr) and one for your more professional looking work.
When others see your work, they give comments like how you can improve, or give you ideas you have never thought of. Like when I post my sketches, sometimes people ask me about my techniques, or even correct some of the things I say.
Let people know that you're still in business (aka put your art out there)
How on earth are people going to buy your art or commission you if they don't know you exist? If they don't know you exist, they won't even being to type your name in the Google search box. That's why it's important to update your blog with new artworks often.
This is how advertising works. They basically plaster print advertisements everywhere on the streets, public transports and in shopping mall, and also run online and TV campaigns. They all do these so that the more you see the ad, the more you'll remember their brand. Same applies to blogging online.
Your blog is different from your online portfolio though. The blog is meant to be like sort of a visual diary of what you're doing, basically to tell people what you're up to. You can post new artworks on your blog, but collect them into another portfolio page so that visitors can easily see your curated gallery.
A blog helps to promote and sell your art
As you post regularly, you'll build up an audience. Some of visitors might turn into leads and buy stuff from you, or commission you.
I don't know about you but for artists who I follow, whenever they release an artbook, I feel compelled to buy and support them. That's just how it works. You support the people you like.
One important thing is to make sure you say somewhere that there are things for sale. For example, Carol Marine updates her blog everyday with paintings for sale. Mattias Adolfsson would post news of his new artbooks in the posts or by the sidebar. And when Pascal Campion launched his Kickstarter campaign, he got $106,000 in terms of response (below). All these artists have build up their audience over the years by updating blog regularly and connecting with their audience. You want a good online presence, just follow what they are doing, post regularly.
Your audience want to connect with you
If your audience somehow knows that you exist, they will seek you out online. They like to know what you have been up to.
When someone follows your blog, they are actually following you, the person, because they like your character or who you are. It's actually less about the work.
Audience wants to feel connected. With a blog, they can be updated with what you do. Guess what happens when these followers find out you have a gallery opening or new book coming out? They will support you at the gallery or get your book. I have seen this been proven over and over again. See some of the comments below for Steven Reddy's first Kickstarter campaign for his book.
I hope you did not miss the part that says "I don't think I have ever been this excited about an impending credit card charge!"
If you post your artworks on the blog. That's good. If you write something about your process, about how your day when while you're sketching, that's great. Check out Shari Blaukopf's blog where she blogs daily and her audiences respond with many comments.
If you don't know, it's difficult to get people to comment online. And she has 60 comments?!?! And that's for a post where she talked about the new video course that she's doing with Craftsy. Guess how many of her audience signed up for the course. Go see.
It is SO MUCH EASIER to sell your art or whatever you're selling when you have an audience that you have been building up for years.
It's incredibly difficult to sell stuff if you don't have an online presence. If you have an artbook you want to launch in a few weeks times, do you think a lot of people will know about it if you don't promote it?
This applies to Youtube channel too. Artists like Mina Petrović, Alphonso Dunn (above) and Mark Crilley are sought by publishers to publish book because of the huge audience they have on their Youtube channels.
That's assuming you write something together with the art you've just uploaded. That way, Google has text to index, and when people search for that text, hopefully your website shows up in the search results.
If you just have a static website, basically an online portfolio that you update occasionally, then it would be difficult for people to see what you have updated on your website.
If you update every quarter, then people only have to visit your website 4 times a year. If you update more frequently, you give people reasons to come back and check out your stuff more frequently.
If people know that you've a static website, they may not want to come back again. After all, they have seen everything. But if your blog is constantly evolving, you can build an audience from those who keep coming back.
A blog makes you an authority
Let's say if you use markers for all your artworks, people will then start to associate you as someone who's good at Copic markers, assuming your art is decent. And guess who they will think of when they have questions relating to markers?
An authority is something that you establish over time. People start to notice the tools you use, or even stuff that you write. If you write tutorials on digital painting, then over a period of time, you'll grow into an authority on digital painting.
A blog helps you diversity your earning avenues
A blog helps you diversify your earnings avenues.
You can earn money from selling original art, prints, crafts, or even your service as an illustrator or tutor. Some websites sell T-shirts, books, mugs and other merchandise. Every little bit adds up.
You can also run some Google Adsense ads to earn some passive income. The ad revenue from Google is not going to be a lot, but after a year, it's likely you will be able to buy some art materials with the money, assuming you have been updating your blog regularly.
Or you can write sponsored posts. I know some blogs do that. Manufacturers send them art products to review. Most of these gigs aren't paid. But you get the web traffic when people look for reviews for those art materials.
My parting tips
Focus more on your blog than social media. The blog is where you have control over what your audience will see. You can even put payment plugins to automate purchases which is something that social media sites can't. Also, you don't know when social media sites will go away, or fade in importance. It's also easier for people to do a search on your blog than on social media pages.
Success comes to those who work for it. When it comes to art, there's really no such thing as overnight success, whether you're talking about techniques or creating a career.
Basheer Graphic Books They are our sponsor! They are based in Asia but ship globally. Contact them via email or Facebook for enquires.
APD Singapore APD Singapore (sponsor) is a book distributor/seller in Southeast Asia. Contact them via email for enquires about upcoming books.
Affiliate links Links to Amazon, Book Depository, Utrecht Art Supplies, Jackson's Art, Craftsy are affiliate links. When you buy from those affiliate links, I earn some commissions at no extra cost to you. Your support runs this blog.Learn more.