How to announce a new or updated Web site or blog

You have a new Web site? So what? They say that’s the biggest question in PR: So what? You know as well as I that there is no longer anything new or exciting about having a Web site. Everyone has one. In announcing a new site or update, don’t focus on the newness of it. Instead, focus on the content of the site.

The goal of your announcement is to get people to click through to your site and, I hope, to sign up for your mailing list.

Before you send anything, make sure everything on your site is in order. You don’t want pages that are under construction or ones with a lot of broken links. (See these audio programs for Web site help.)

Announce your new or revised site in an email rather than a postcard. Email allows people to click through and to share easily with others. But don’t put every address in the TO line. Instead, use the BCC line to keep email addresses private.

Use a program like Constant Contact that can be formatted to look like your new site. (A list of email distribution sites is in the Resources section of my book. And there is a lot more about emailing this kind of stuff in the chapters.)

In your announcement, describe your art in a way that makes me want to see it.

  • Evoke a memory (”Remember when you used to l ie on the grass and see things in the clouds?”).
  • Use humor and/or relate your text to a current event (”Tired of reading about the bad economy and Joe the Plummer? You need an art break!”).
  • Give away something in a drawing (a catalog, note cards, reproduction, or report) to get people to sign up for your mailing list.
  • Tell a story about one of your pieces or your process. Use part of the story in the announcement and place the entire text on your site.

Finally, be sure you ASK that the recipient of your email visit your new site. Don’t tell them to do it in a bossy way ("Visit my new site!"), ask them nicely ("It would mean the world to me if you’d stop by the new site at some point”). Also–and this is a pet peeve of mine–don’t say “Please tell me what you think.” You’re opening yourself up for input you may not want with this invitation.

At the end of your announcement, be sure to ask that your email be forwarded to anyone who might be interested. You don’t get what you don’t ask for!

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3 comments to How to announce a new or updated Web site or blog

  • I like what you’ve said in regards to some content (having things in order, mailing list sign up, etc). However, as an artist who’s also a web developer, I feel we need to clear the air on a few things. First, the first paragraph. Nothing could be further from the truth. A new website is a great way for art directors and potential customers to see quick updates to your portfolio -especially directors or art buyers with whom you may already have a working or potential relationship. Second, I should mention that a great many of the artist’s sites I’ve seen pop since artists began putting up portfolio sites are pretty bad for design quality. SO, if you have a new site, and it’s well-designed, it’s worth a lot more than a ‘so, what?’. An art director will take notice of a well-polished, high-quality site, as will gallery directors and discerning customers. -Speak of which, no, you shouldn’t ask them for input (another something we agree on). It’s not the client/customer’s job to critique your site. That should be done before it goes live.If you’ve hired someone else to build the site for you, THEY should have taken care of that. Third… “It would mean the world to me if you’d stop by the new site at some point” You’re kidding, right? While I agree, you shouldn’t jump in with “Visit my new site!”, the opposite does not exactly instill confidence in your potential visitor. The first half of that sentence sounds a tad needy, while the second half “at some point” assumes an indifference/disinterest before you’ve given the recipients a moment to decide for themselves. Let’s not go to either extreme. Best to keep it neutral – “Dear , having spoken with you in the past regarding my art, I just wanted to take a moment to point out my new website, which will showcase regular updates to my portfolio. If you are interested in further review of my work, please take a moment to have a visit. Best wishes, Me. You can elaborate or edit, without much work, for multiple recipients, previous clients/customers, and art directors with whom you’ve already reviewed. Given the instantaneous nature of the web, a portfolio site is quickly becoming the defacto standard for reaching new clients and customers. It will never replace a face-to-face review or gallery showcase, but during that face-to-face, it’s what art directors and clients want more than paper samples, as they don’t have to store, carry, or sort through them. It also means, if they’re interested, they will have somewhere to check periodically for new work. For favored customers, this is a great way for them to keep up with your repertoire. ~Antonio

  • Antonio: Thanks for your thoughtful and professional reply. In response . . . –I didn’t say there shouldn’t be a Web site, I just said that your copy should be more interesting than “I have a new Web site.” The copy must get people to click through. It needs to answer the question “So what?” What makes me want to visit your site. It’s gotta be more than just because it’s there. –Nope, I’m not kidding. Of course your tone has to be what is natural to you. –As someone who gets loads of these “visit my new site” each week, I stand by what I wrote. You have to make me want to click through to see it. And I’m sure gallery dealers get just as much or more of these than I do. You have to describe the work and make it sound like I want to see it. –