PART 1: Share the right content

This is the first post in our three-part series on how to talk about the vision behind your artwork. Today we’re talking about what makes good content “good.” You can read the second post on establishing presence here. and the third post on sharing the “why” behind your artwork here.

A picture may be worth a thousand words (as the saying goes) but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to talking or writing about the work you do.

In fact, your success as an artist entrepreneur can depend on how skillfully you engage your audience – it could make the difference between someone signing up for your email list or not, making or losing a sale, or finally getting gallery representation versus being told to try again later.

Put simply, building connections and creating relationships with people who are interested in the art you create will help you make more sales and become more successful as an entrepreneur.

But many artists have a hard time with this aspect of their business. I’ve coached hundreds of visual artists over the past several years, and usually it’s not that they’re unwilling to talk, it’s that they feel awkward and aren’t sure what to say or how to say it!

To make it easier and less overwhelming, I’ve broken down the process into three parts – content (the “what”), presence (the “how”), and voice (the “why”).

All three elements have to be present for the best kind of engagement, but it all starts with creating good content or having good conversations with your followers. (We’ll talk about presence and voice in follow up posts.)

So the big question is – how do you go about doing that?

Here are three key things to keep in mind when you’re writing or talking about your artwork:

1) Know your audience

Multiple audiences may be interested in your work, but the key is to figure out how to talk to each one of them and address their interests and concerns. For example, you’d have a much different conversation with a gallery owner or an avid art collector than you would with someone casually browsing through your booth at an art fair, right?

It’s important to learn what your ideal collector’s interests are. What do they care about? What do they find interesting? What motivates them to buy art? How does your artwork and your “why” fit into those interests?

The takeaway: Make sure you frame the conversation about your art in a way that engages the people you’re trying to talk to.

2) Make an emotional connection

It’s rare that anyone wants to read a summary of your artistic education or accomplishments, but this is a mistake that I see artists make a lot. Instead of talking about what you’ve done, try talking about why you’ve done it.

Think about what details you can offer up that will catch your collector’s interest. What is the story behind your work, or what emotions are you trying to convey? What creative challenges did you have to overcome? How are you hoping to make people feel when they look at your pieces?

The takeaway: Explaining the emotional catalyst behind a piece will engage your audience’s emotions and help them make a deeper connection to your work.

3) What information do they need to say yes?

Whether it’s a small ask (signing up for your mailing list) or a big one (trying to close a sale), you need to answer any questions and objections that your potential collector might have – preferably before they even realize they have a question!

But that doesn’t mean you should overwhelm your audience with information! Again, it’s important to know your audience and listen to what their concerns are. Once you’ve done that, then tailor your message to the person you’re talking to.

Are they going to be worried about getting too many emails or that they won’t be interested in the content? Is your collector concerned about wall space and whether they have enough space to hang your art piece? What other concerns can you anticipate and answer?

The takeaway: Give all the details up front, so there’s no confusion and no reason for someone to answer your ask with a “no.”

How are you applying these principles to your communication? Or, how might you improve using these tips? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget! Look for parts two and three of this series (on successfully establishing your presence and your voice) next week!