Art Bloggers: Write for Your Readers

Guest Blogger: Cynthia Morris

In a post earlier this year, self-described “creative badass” Justine Musk invited bloggers to write as if our readers were the heroes and heroines of our stories. She asked us to consider what we want our readers to become and to write to that.

After teaching Blog Triage with Alyson, I know that many artist-bloggers bemoan the fact that they don’t have the engagement they want on their blogs.

If you’ve been wondering why your posts aren’t encouraging comments and dialogue, you probably puzzle over why you’re spending your time blogging at all.

I understand, which is why I love Justine’s fresh perspective. It broadens and enhances the perception of the writer/reader relationship.

Florida Artists

Alyson with some of the people she writes for on the Art Biz Blog: Rae Marie, Angeline-Marie Martinez, Shari Sherman, Alyson, Denisse Berlingeri, Robin Maria Pedrero, Victoria Page Miller.

After all, we blog for others. We put a lot of time into our posts. They must impact our readers and we don’t know if we’ve accomplished this unless we hear from them.

Perhaps writing for the reader’s illumination – not our own – could bring the desired engagement.

But how?

If we’re writing about our art process, making announcements of upcoming shows, and writing about the artist’s life, where does the reader fit in?

Let’s start with what an artist-blogger might want for her reader. While I encourage you to generate your own list, here are five things I want for my readers.

1. To be moved emotionally.

Art often sparks an emotional response. Passing through an average day on the internet, we’re engaged intellectually.

That’s fine. But encountering a piece of art or a story about art that moves us emotionally? That’s a priceless gift to the reader.

2. To be inspired.

Art can offer a glimpse into another world. An artist overcoming a challenge, succeeding at a show, offering insights into how she is making it despite the odds – that’s inspiring.

We want to believe that the impossible is possible. Inspire your readers.

3. To recognize their taste or style.

Art moves us in mysterious ways, and the art we buy reflects what we love.

When we see art we love, we’re offered the chance to recognize and appreciate our taste: color palette, preferred style, or favorite subject matter.

An art blog offers the opportunity to claim our taste.

4. To feel like we’re part of something.

Again and again we hear “tell your story.” Why? Because stories connect us. They help us to relate to the storyteller.

When we relate to the storyteller or art blogger, we get to be part of something.

We get to be part of her story. We get to be part of her successes. We get to be part of her tribe of collectors.

5. To be educated and thus have a greater appreciation of (your) art.

Many people read to learn. When an art blog reader comes away from your site, does she feel like she’s learned something?

Have you offered her insights or information that makes her appreciate both your art and her own intelligence?

What Do You Want for Your Readers?

I hope this has helped you reflect on what you want for your reader. Not what you want her to do, but changes she may experience as a result of reading your art blog.

Try this yourself.

Make a list of the last five people who bought art from you. List three things you want for those people. You may or may not know them. That’s okay, just make it up.

How can you make them the heroes and heroines of your blog?

Cynthia MorrisAbout Our Guest Blogger

Through her company Original Impulse, Cynthia Morris helps writers, artists and entrepreneurs get out of their own way so they can make things that matter.

The author of the Paris novel Chasing Sylvia Beach and the how-to guide Create Your Writer’s Life, Cynthia blogs and publishes a newsletter, Impulses, to help creative people stay happily on track. Find out more at originalimpulse.com

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17 comments to Art Bloggers: Write for Your Readers

  • Hey Cynthia and Alyson,

    I am so surprised to see our picture here, what a fun evening we all had in Florida! Cynthia, you know how much I loved the last book you wrote Chasing Sylvia Beach! This is a wonderful list to boost, to refresh and keep engaging with our readers. I like the assignment, I will try that. Thank you!

  • Thanks, Robin! I’m glad this post resonated with you. Let us know what you discover from the exercise.

  • Cynthia – That picture captured what a wonderful time we had together! I am adding your book to my TBR pile and have signed up for your newsletter!

    I appreciate the laser focus on blog audiences. Do you think that a blog has to focus on one of these items for consistency to be excellent? Or are there successful blogs that pull from a few of these? I’m always in the learning seat…
    Thank you!

    • Victoria,

      Glad you liked this post! Thinking about your question: I think blogging is an art form in itself.

      I also consider it like this: Your web site is like your retail shop, or storefront, displaying what you’ve got on offer for the world.

      Your blog is like your salon or studio where you invite people in to talk about the art, about what you both care about, about what connects you. Think of it as a chance to have a conversation.

      So you can use these ideas in this post as starting points for your own unique way of interacting. Hope this helps!

  • I’ve never sold work before so I do not have 5 collectors to base my writing on. If I imagined an audience to write for I think I’d want them to find my blog as a place to learn and discuss. I just don’t know yet. I think I’ll have to try a couple different types of posts and see what things reader respond to.

    • Veronica,

      A place to learn and discuss. That’s great. You can make a list or mind map of things you want to share/teach and things you want to discuss. This list could be wide-ranging, deep and far.

      Have fun experimenting and seeing what response you spark!

  • Me? I just write for the hell of it…my blog is on my website.

  • I have two separate blogs: One where I discuss my paintings – the story behind each one of them (mainly WHY I created WHAT I created) and the second one where I review random art related things (Paintings, Books, Magazines, Movies) that inspire, educate or enrich me in some way. To me, blogging is like keeping a visual diary and I really like it. Having an audience who actually read and enjoy what I write and post is an added plus and joy.

    • Hi Roopa,

      Congratulations on keeping two blogs! Not easy!

      Did this article inspire any new perspectives for you?

      • Cynthia, you have inspired me enough already! Now I am blogging about books, movies, magazines, paintings, interviewing artists (whose work I like and believe it should be shared) besides blogging about my own paintings. My life was so much simpler before I read your blog in which you suggested to blog about book reviews. It opened the flood gates (with water infested with monsters of sorts).

  • I’ve blogged monthly since last year and tried different approaches. What I have come to is emphasis on photo of 1 new work and little copy. The writing is usually a sentence with some observation that I, or someone else, has made, lines from a poem etc. to stimulate the imagination. I’ve looked back on “I did this and that” posts, also reading that kind of post from others and find that blah. If I’m in a local exhibition, I will invite to the reception. But otherwise I keep it simple. There is too much to read and absorb these days, so I keep it short and interesting.

    • I like and enjoy to read other artist’s blogs. The more detailed, the better. It makes me see the picture through their eyes and get a deeper understanding and appreciation. Whoever is taking the time to see your posts and enjoy your art is doing so because they are interested in what you have to say as the creator. When you say:”There is too much to read and absorb these days”, yes there is some truth to it. However, by keeping it short means that you basically have not much to say – and as a painter, I know that is far from the truth if you are painting from your heart. People love to hear what we as Artists have to say to gain that special insight or perspective they would miss otherwise. Really.

    • Virginia,

      Do you enjoy it? Are you content with the amount/kind of interaction?

      I’m curious to know what you get out of blogging.

  • Hi Cynthia – I procrastinated for years, then set up a wordpress blog (even though my site is on iweb, there’s a link from site to blog and vice/versa) I had a certain plan based on my response to other blogs and my experience as a professional producer. I stick with less copy and do not make a “sales pitch.” I send only once a month, because I don’t want people to be overwhelmed and unsubscribe.

    I aimed for 100 people the first year and I have about 80 and add. Few things I’ve learned; once a month works for me and subscribers, people’s comments feel very supportive, people see things I don’t see (I love it), I can confirm from comments my strong from my less strong pieces. But best of all, sometimes I’m not motivated but my commitment to myself to post once a month gives me focus and keeps me on track to keep working!

    I invite you to check out my blog and “follow” – http://virginiagiordanoart.wordpress.com/ — and my site: VirginiaGiordano.com

  • Cynthia – PS, YES, I enjoy it!!

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