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The Buzz about Blogging: What Artists and Photographers Need to Know

Suppose you could open your studio to millions … share the ideas and stories that spark your creative drive and the artwork that rises — and sells — as a result. Wow!

Well, with a blog, you really can connect to unlimited audiences and art lovers. And the artblog that tells a real story has the potential to suddenly swell a global network of fans, peers and buying customers.

So it's no wonder there's so much buzz about the blogosphere. It's the new medium of exposure, where storytelling is generated, shared and ranked within the online audience, not delivered from a single podium. The popularity of the community-generated art blog Post Secret is a great example of the blogosphere's swelltide. The five published PostSecret art editions surely declare bloggers' impact on profitable revenue, too.

What is a Blog, Anyway?

A blog is little more than an online journal. Individuals or a group collective sometimes publishes Blogs. The most popular bloggers provide daily or frequent updates; journal posts are a mix of news and opinion that's threaded with related hyperlinks. Though blogging may have started as the muse of diarists writing for personal fulfillment, today's blogosphere is equally crowded by popular offerings centered on professional and business development or work blogs. And with good reason:

Most blogs have onboard social tools that enable the audience to engage and spread information across a wider community. For artists, these tools will extend your story and your work, and do it much better and faster than you could reach all these people yourself.

Search engines really like blogs since bloggers are connected and provide timely, dynamic content.

Blog Publishing Resources

You can find a plethora of free or highly affordable self-publishing blog tools online, as well as a broad range of tools, interactive components, syndication features and even template options. As a working artist, you'll want to ensure the program or hosted solution you choose allows for image uploads. Likewise, you may want the ability to customize a template and manipulate images so you can create a blog that reflects your brand and artistic style.

For the basics and even more, excellent get-started blogware solutions can be compared using this guide by Online Journalism Review. Popular choices include:

  • Windows/MSN Spaces gives you a low-level website, and a smart easy-to-do blog feature is built right in.
  • is comparable, and allows multiple authors, too.
  • Typepad and Wordpress are favored by serious bloggers. Both are easy to set up and maintain. Extra features and powerful social tools can be easily integrated with only minimal fees. Typepad's photo gallery gives you plenty of room for multiple images, and it's a real benefit if you plan to build a collective or promote multiple sales.

Blog Profile: A Mix of Multimedia, Muse & Marketing
Artist Elise Tomlinson

A multimedia and figurative artist, Elise Tomlinson's blog combines the best-practice tools and methods that rise small talented sectors into social media giants. Her blog is more than a working artist's journal — it's a multi-faceted blend of slice-of-life personal diary, gallery and marketing artblog. Each facet compliments others, making this package a supreme demonstration of how Web 2.0's social networking serves as a powerful sales platform.

Tomlinson's template is branded — it reflects her primary work style. Photographs and artwork are well integrated. Tomlinson's package not only engages her audience, but also promotes the work of commissions, originals and print sales, exhibits and events.

Moreover, Tomlinson's every post is continually creating a dynamic online portfolio that adds to the artist's traditional business case; yet it equally stands alone. She adds blogosphere value with applicable links via image and content. Note the natural segue to an event — an the link to the event sponsor:

Yesterday I went and met the other guest artist who I'm exhibiting with (in how many day's Rob?) at the gallery and the gallery rep (who was great) showed us where we'll be able to display our work...

Reader comments provide evidence of Tomlinson's social power and the support from engaged audiences that are as reflectively diverse as the many facets expressed through her chronicles. Though her blog centers on daily artistic pursuits from her home studio in Douglas Island, Alaska, photographs and posts on Alaskan life and simple day-to-day events appeals far beyond her locale or generation.

Note audience comments, which also show the impact of authenticity and the value of blog propagations, networks and links.

While researching a possible move to Alaska, I found your "Life in Alaska" page. Thank you for providing a wealth of information. Next I read your 100 Things... page. I actually cut/pasted several of them because you sound eerily similar to myself....

Hi Elise, I found your website from the Golden Paints website. I really like your work and was excited to learn that you work in a library, in rural Alaska, and are an artist...

Tomlinson also includes reviews and testimonials with archived reader comments. Though these reviews could read like marketing hype, the addition is instead another facet of the creative mix. Why? Tomlinson blogs everyday disappointments, joys and personal growth that clearly seem just as important to this artist as her ideas, inspiration, artwork and professional progress. Altogether, it's a blogging work of art and genius that makes a bold, impressive statement in the blogosphere.

Tips, Techniques and Steps You Don't Want to Miss

  • Choose the best solution: Choose a blogging solution that's in sync with your tech quotient and dovetails your time, lifestyle, marketing budget and artistic plans and future.
  • Keep it simple: If self-publishing seems difficult, keep it simple. You can grow your blog as you learn, adding layers, tools and art elements aligned with your tech growth. Or, you may want to start as a member blogger of a collective, a good choice if the sole journey seems too intimidating or time-intensive.
  • Keep a blogging routine: Blog at least once a week and when time is limited, commit a few minutes regardless. Three five-minute updates over a week are better than five or 10 days of nothing. Your readers, and search engines, will soon lose interest if your blog reflects a disappearing act.
  • Allow comments: And comment on other blogs, too. Authentic engagement is what blogs are all about. It's probably best to moderate comments, or approve commentators before giving respondents full reign.
  • Use links in your blog entries: Give your audience a taste of information and a variety of ways and sources to quest for more.
  • Get the word out: Eye social media tools and registrations to help leverage your blog work and extend it to external audiences. To start, register your blog with Technorati, a blog search engine, and add a Digg component.

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