PART 3: Share the “why” behind your artwork
This is the third post in our three-part series on how to talk your artwork. Today we’re talking about letting your unique voice come through to your audience! If you missed them, here’s our first post on creating good content, and here’s the second post on establishing presence.
Hey there artrepreneur! Before we launch into today’s topic, I want you to take just a few minutes and answer a question for me: Why do you create the artwork you make?
… have you got your answer? Good!
Now, I may not know the details of your life story or why you started creating art, but I DO know a secret about you. Want to know what it is?
I know that your creative energy comes from a place deep inside you – regardless of your subject matter, your artistic medium, or how long you’ve been making art – and that no one else (no matter who they are) is making art for quite the same reasons you are.
What I also know is that many artists are scared about sharing the personal story behind their artwork. Either they’re worried about coming off as too esoteric or self-absorbed, or conversely, they think they have nothing important or interesting to say! So instead, they have light, inconsequential conversations and never show their deeper creative side.
In this series of posts, I’ve been talking about sharing your artistic vision through a “what, how, why” formula so that you can cultivate more meaningful relationships and conversations with your audience, ultimately making more sales and enjoying more success as an artist!
We’ve talked about some principles of sharing good content (the what), and establishing a compelling presence (the how), but now it’s time to get down to the really gritty stuff… your voice, or put a different way, the “why” behind your work.
Is it worth it to go to all the trouble of sharing the inspiration, process, and emotion behind your work?
Let me assure you that it is. Simon Sinek, a well-known author, motivational speaker, and thought leader, said it best, “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
As you build relationships with your audience and learn how to talk about your artwork, it’s important to let your voice (and your why!) come through so they learn about the real you, the one behind the art you make.
Ready for some guidance on how to do that?
1) Let your message and mission take center stage
No matter what you’re creating or why you’re doing it, you have something you’re trying to accomplish with your art practice – in other words, you have a mission!
You shouldn’t be afraid to talk about “the real stuff.” In fact, that’s what will make you stand out and be unique among all the other artists out there. Once you’ve gotten clear on your message, talk about it! And then talk about it some more.
Don’t be afraid to repeat what you have to say over and over again. By affirming and reaffirming your position, people will begin remembering you and what you have to say… and once they’ve heard it enough, they’ll believe that you’re serious about it… And repeat it to others!
The takeaway: Trust your vision and your mission… and don’t be afraid to share it! It is part of what makes you uniquely you.
2) Preserve your authentic voice
Are you quirky, serious, or somewhere in between? What do you think about when creating your artwork? What inspiration are you drawing from when you create something new?
Most importantly… how well do you stick to your personal “whys” when you’re talking to someone about your artwork?
It’s tempting to look around at other successful artists or brands and think that you should write like them, talk like them, follow the same marketing tactics as they do, and so on. After all, their system worked for them, right?
The problem with squeezing yourself into a mold is that it becomes harder and harder to talk about the deeper inspiration behind your work and step outside of the boundaries you’ve created for yourself.
The takeaway: Let your unique characteristics come through in your writing and conversations. Not only will this make you far more interesting to your audience, but – because your personality traits are likely reflected in the work you create – it will help your audience understand your work better too. Stay true to yourself and it will pay off in the long run!
3) Pay attention to your audience’s “know, like, trust” journey
To successfully engage your audience, first they have learn who you are and what you’re about. Your ideal collector (the one you’re speaking to with your work) will hang around because they start to like you and what you have to say. Keep it up long enough, and eventually they’ll begin to trust in your integrity and authenticity.
Why is this important? Because it’s at the end of the “know, like, trust” (PLEASE LINK TO THE BLOG “YOU ONLY NEED THESE 3 THINGS TO SELL YOUR ART) journey that your audience will buy from you. But your followers aren’t just buying a piece of merchandise from you when they purchase a piece… they’re investing in you as an artist and in your future. They need to be confident that the investment is worth it!
Creating great content that conveys the authentic “you” naturally brings your followers along on this journey. That doesn’t mean that you won’t ever say “This piece is for sale!” or ask for them to sign up for your email list, but it does mean that you should balance these asks with real, engaging conversation.
The takeaway: The more authentic and real you are about your creative journey, the more people will learn to know you, like you, trust you, and purchase from you.
How are you planning to apply these tips to share the story, inspiration, and “why” behind your work? Let me know in the comments!
I know how hard it can be to talk about your work with confidence when you don't know what to say, or how to say it.
That’s why I’ve gathered all the information I shared with you in this 3-part series in one place and as a worksheet, so that you can work through everything at your own convenience and with a clear structure.