‘Tis the season for business predictions about 2014, and this blog post is no exception. Many of the same forces that influence web-based marketing for big businesses are equally important to individual artists using the Internet to market their creations, along with their classes, workshops, books, DVDs, and other services. Let’s explore how to capitalize on some of these upcoming trends.
1. Produce great image-based content. As always, art marketing is about letting people get to know you and what you can do for them, and in today’s web world, your best bet for accomplishing this objective is to produce great content that communicates the right message about you and your work. By “great,” I mean the kind of content that fascinates people, that appeals to their humor or strikes them with awe, or that serves some kind of useful purpose. As marketing expert Justin Pearse noted recently, the Internet is “polluted” with a lot of useless clutter, but compelling content will still stand out (Davidi). In other words, humans behave in predictable ways, and they are always looking for content that surprises and delights them.
A focus on great content is actually an existing phenomenon, but what will be different in the new year is a growing emphasis on image-based content over text. Over the past 12 months, all of the social media platforms that focus on images, such as Pinterest, Tumblr, Path, and Mobli have shown steady growth (DeMers), so let’s hitch a ride on that train into the future. After all, what could be easier for a fine artist than to focus on building content that involves images?
2. Publish on your blog. You’ve built your website? Great! Set up your Facebook page? Check! Now it’s time to start (or resurrect) your blog. Another hot trend for 2014 is the return of the blog, mainly because blogs (or vlogs!) provide people with what they want: great content. Not only is blogging an ideal means of marketing yourself in a personalized, authentic voice, it continually attracts new and returning visitors. This encourages a community of fans and supporters to build up around you in a way that’s harder to achieve with a Facebook page and especially difficult with a static website, as important as they are. And as if these aren’t reasons enough to blog, search engines like Google and Bing are always on the lookout for fresh content, so blogging helps to keep you at the top of the results pages (Vincenzini).
One other trend to keep in mind, just in case you’re not already aware of this from personal experience: Mobile usage is on the rise due to ongoing improvements in technology. Currently 75% of the people on the planet have at least one mobile device, and that number is expected to increase (Moyers). It’s important to keep this in mind as you design and build your blog site. In fact, you may want to use one of the existing blogging platforms, such as WordPress or Tumblr, because they’re already optimized to work equally well on smartphones, tablets, and computer screens.
3. Promote your content with social media. Once you’ve put together some great content and published it on your blog, don’t forget to promote it out to the universe through social media. You have to tell people your fabulous content is there, otherwise they may never find it. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are still great, familiar tools to use for this purpose, but another trend for 2014 is the expected increase in usage of some newer platforms, such as Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, and Google+ (Moyers). Actually, Google+ already has the second highest number of monthly users after Facebook, with 343 million (DeMers).
That’s why it’s a great idea to get in the habit of checking the user demographics of these platforms periodically (say, once every six months) to see who is active on these networks. Using this data, you can develop a diversified, effective mix of platforms that will allow you to connect with your target audience.
You really don’t have to be a marketing genius to be successful at selling your own artwork. Just follow the trends, mimic the marketing steps taken by bigger businesses, and you’ll be on your way to your best year ever! And please let me know which of these actions you plan to follow. I’d love to hear about your art-marketing goals for 2014.
Davidi, Adam (December 10, 2013). Experts outline key digital content trends for 2014, The Guardian, retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2013/dec/10/experts-digital-content-trends-2014.
DeMers, Jayson (September 24, 2013). The top 7 social media marketing trends that will dominate 2014, Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2013/09/24/the-top-7-social-media-marketing-trends-that-will-dominate-2014/.
Moyers, Stephen (November 25, 2013). What will be trending in social marketing in 2014?, SocialMediaToday, retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/stephen86/1946926/what-will-be-trending-social-marketing-2014.
Vincenzini, Adam (December 2, 2013). 14 social media trends for 2014, Slideshare, retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/AdamVincenzini/social-media-trends-2014.