Multiply Your Content by Repeating Yourself

You sweat over your bio and artist statement.

You make a heroic effort to create interesting content for social media.

You work tirelessly to craft a decent artist talk that will engage an audience.

You curse at the person who told you that it was easy to use iMovie as you grit your teeth through the process of producing your first video.

©Brenda Mallory, Recurring Chapters in the Book of Inevitable Outcomes. Installation with waxed cloth, welded steel, nuts and bolts. Used with permission.

©Brenda Mallory, Recurring Chapters in the Book of Inevitable Outcomes. Installation with waxed cloth, welded steel, nuts and bolts. Used with permission.

You meet your deadlines for newsletters and blog posts because, ahem, somebody said you should. (Okay, maybe you didn’t meet the deadlines, but they did go out. You get points for that.)

You Are a Word Collector

You didn’t know it, but if you’re doing even a few of the things I mentioned above, you are a word collector.

Don’t worry! Being a word collector doesn’t entail heavy responsibilities. Nor is it likely that your word collection will make it to the auction block one day.

But that doesn’t mean your collection isn’t valuable. It is! I wonder if you know just how valuable.

If you’re like a lot of artists, you have all of these words that are probably being used only one time.

That’s a shame.

There is so much more you can do with your collection of words.

Leverage What You Put So Much Effort Into

Your artist statement and bio are the backbones of your marketing. They are the primary stories that you use to connect people to your art.

Sometimes they’re excruciating to write. And to get right.

But … man! When you have good stories, they will work hard for you.

You will use your statement and bio not only on your website, but also in grant applications, exhibition proposals, and brochures.

©Charles Heppner, Sacred Fabric: Above the Surf. UV cured pigmented ink on Dibond, 30 x 41 inches. Used with permission.

©Charles Heppner, Sacred Fabric: Above the Surf. UV cured pigmented ink on Dibond, 30 x 41 inches. Used with permission.

You will be rewarded for your efforts when it comes time to develop:

  • A video about your art
  • An artist talk for your exhibition

It’s hard to make a decent video or deliver a coherent artist talk without first having those stories in your back pocket.

Speaking of stories, why would you publish some of your stories only on Facebook? Save the social media posts that have stories about your art or your life as an artist. Reuse them on:

  • Labels next to the art
  • Your website – beside the individual artworks

And, hey, you know that blog post you busted a gut over? Isolate juicy sentences from blog posts and quote yourself:

  • As stand-alone social media updates (rather than just linking to the blog post)
  • In text next to your art – on your website or on exhibition labels
  • Within your artist talk
  • In tweets
  • In a teaser in your newsletter, with a link to the entire post

Get the idea? Whenever you create new content, slice and dice it to see how many additional ways you can leverage what you wrote.

But What If …

I’m going to stop you right there because I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that people will be annoyed seeing the same thing over and over.

Phooey! Don’t spend a single minute worrying about this.

©Pat Zalisko, Flux V-11b. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Used with permission.

©Pat Zalisko, flux V-11B. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Used with permission.

First of all, each time you reuse the language, it will be slightly different because you’ll find new ways to say it or expand on it.

Second, you reinforce your point when people read the same text in multiple places. Don’t assume they remember what they previously came across.

Finally, if they ever complain about your repetitiveness (highly unlikely), all you can do is feel sorry for them. They have entirely too much time on their hands if they’re seeing every post of yours!

Your Turn

How do you repeat yourself? How do you leverage the content you’ve created?

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14 comments to Multiply Your Content by Repeating Yourself

  • I reuse my art descriptions on social media and on POD sites, I reuse blog posts and newsletters for programs, books, and videos and so on. One thing I haven’t started doing yet is using pieces of my posts for social media. I still end up creating original content there for some reason (and it gets exhausting).

  • I have a folder of bios and artist statements where I can start with something I already wrote and refit it to what I need. I have them labeled as short, long or by word count. I reuse it for applications, show proposals anywhere I need to put it like on my social media pages.
    I take my blog posts and send them through social media and a newsletter. I will email it to individuals when it comes up in conversation.
    I write about my paintings for shows and put it with the paintings on my website.
    I try to reuse what I have already written so I file it where I can find it again.

  • I have certainly used parts of bio and statements from my web site on exhibition labels and for proposals. But I am still working on creating content more frequently.

    My question is (since posting to social media is like throwing a stick in a river) how often do you re-post something you have already posted?

    I think they are calling it evergreen material.

    • Elizabeth: On Twitter, I may post something similar 4x a week – in different time slots.

      On FB, I usually only post once and then may pick out old content for reposting. That reposting is probably 1x a year. But, I have a ton of content to choose from. The stuff I repost is what I think people need to hear repeatedly.

  • Another very helpful article, Alyson! When I first decided to make my art my business, it was surprising to me how much writing needed to be done. The computer age definitely helps in a huge way so we don’t have to manually re-write so much content. I never thought to use snippets of blog posts on social media, I’ve always just posted a link to the blog. Thank you for the tips!

  • Guest posting! It’s a great way to get new eyeballs on your blog and you get to use posts you’ve already written – either tweaked for the subject/audience you’ll be addressing or as is if that works. In the latter case, just make sure you remember to include a line at the bottom pointing to the original publication so the original attribution stays with your blog. (This post originally appeared…)

  • What a relief! I’m a self-taught artist with an English degree and an unusual medium. Writing comes fairly easily, though I am very new to the blogosphere, with an audience of pretty much just myself and that weirdo that whispers in my ear. I try to craft original posts as often as I can, but find I am repeating myself quite often, especially as I have been in a bit of a work slump due to overcrowding and a compulsion / inability to organize that amounts to shifting an untenable mess around like a psychotic slide puzzle – a horribly apt metaphor for my mental status. I am relieved to find I am doing that one thing right (that I thought was all wrong). Thank you for that. Now, if I could just pare down my verbosity into that elusive one-page artist statement…

  • Lee Badger

    Besides the other uses of an artist statement, we have found that the content of our website etc
    can be gleaned for use by various purviews such as newspaper reporters, journalists, exhibitions, museums or catalogs and books with great success; sometimes the writer may not even contact us except with their finished product. We try to keep our site up to date and it helps a lot. In fact, we are building a new site that will be up soon, as a commitment to our customers new and old as well as ourselves, and that brings new work too! We also have our pictures done in several formats in case someone wants to “print on line” or “paper publish” with photos, all they have to do is download the appropriate size picture. The easier we make it, the more p.r. we receive. Therefore the more work we get!
    BTY, Alyson, thanks for all you do!!