I think there is a real balance to be found between creating and marketing art. It feels to me sometimes that I spend more time marketing than creating art. It is lovely to sit and be creative and produce beautiful images. But who is going to see them if I don’t put the marketing time in? It is a conundrum.
The Balance Between Creating And Marketing Art
From my recent UK trip I had about 300 photographs to work on. I usually work on them in batches. I like to offer customers the opportunity to buy a pair or even three with the same look so they can be matched up on a wall. So those of you paying attention will have seen a batch of seagull images, a batch of cattle images etc. all of which have featured in my blog. I spent a whole morning two days ago creating ten new floral images that I am in the process of finishing.
I talked about this in an earlier blog. The act of creativity starts the moment I see the potential in a scene. I take the photograph and then it goes from there. If you are not an artist it is difficult to describe the excitement of having those photographs to work from. For some of them, just taking the original photograph is so exciting. Because I can see in my head how the image would look by the time I have finished with it. Take for example, this water pump. I knew exactly at I wanted to do with it when I first saw it, even before I took the photograph.
Then I get home with my precious photographs. I sit down and could easily spend days and days just working on my new images. And probably not communicate or even eat (ask Barnet Boy). But that doesn’t happen because I have to balance the need to market my work alongside creating the new stuff. And that means keeping a constant marketing effort ongoing. So there is always a backlog of photographs awaiting my attention that I just plod away with. Not to mention the new photographs I take on a daily basis as the opportunity arises (like ‘Into the Light).
As an artist I have to compete with many thousands of other artists to get my work seen. And that means marketing my work. There is no shortcut, no way round it.
There are many competing demands for my marketing time and energies. Let’s just think of the Social Media that I post to, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ (along with a few others). Are you following me on all of those channels by the way? The links are at the bottom of this blog post. Then there are my various websites that have to be maintained. My quarterly column in CQ International Magazine. My blogs and much more. All these are important to get my work seen and take time to be done properly.
What this means is that in reality I couldn’t disappear for a week and emerge with 300 images that I could seriously market all at once! So I have to plan a balance between creating and marketing.
A Creating and Marketing Pattern Develops
Having balked at all the marketing effort required when I first started selling my work, I now actually rather enjoy it. I have developed a pattern for creating and marketing that works for me. I have a marketing plan (mentioned in my blog ‘Developing an Art Marketing Plan‘). My plan sets out my marketing channels and the best times of day to post to those channels. It includes how many times I can post per day on each platform etc. I have studied the hashtags that are best to use to promote my work on different Social Media platforms. And I am constantly learning – I just completed a free course on Pinterest that has taught me a great deal and changed my approach there. There are so many free courses and tutorials available if you look for them.
And yes of course it is tempting to not do any of that and just sit and create – but who am I creating for if I don’t show my work to the world?
I am not afraid to try new things, to step outside my comfort zone, because even if it goes wrong there is something to learn from it.
Most recently I have started face-to-face selling locally, working with local cafes/bars and the owners of B&B/villa rentals to establish commission sales. That has required courage and new skills! You can see my local work at Imagine Umbria Tuscany.
Gradually I have developed a balance between marketing and creating that works for me and is, on the whole, enjoyable.
Does It Work?
That is the big question isn’t it, is the marketing worth the effort, does it result in sales?
Well the answer is yes it does but it takes time to develop a following and translate that into sales. But I have had to be consistent, patient and smart about where I put my energy. I have also tried to track where the sales come from so I can relate them to my marketing efforts. I got one sale through Instagram and four local sales in the last couple of weeks and I know they are directly as a result of my marketing efforts. And it encourages me to continue with my efforts and continue to grow my marketing skills alongside my creative skills.
Because it is a balance between creating and marketing, isn’t it?
All of the images used in blog today are available as prints, just click on the image to go to a sales page with options for print sizes and formats.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!