Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How to...... Get a Blog Started for Artists

beautiful fabric from Melbourne company Ink and Spindle

Here is another entry for those who want to enter the blogosphere. The first thing I would say is...IT IS NOT NECCESSARY TO WRITE YOUR OWN BLOG TO BE SUCCESSFUL ON THE INTERNET. You should only start a blog if you are interested in either writing or photography and you intend to keep posting regularly. A blog with infrequent, poor or boring content will not do you any favours.

You can successfully be part of the blogosphere by posting comments on others blogs and sending photos and press releases to other, established bloggers. The only thing I'd add about this strategy is that in sending someone photos and information you are actually asking them a favour, introducing yourself in a polite and respectful way is essential. I sometimes get -emails along the lines of "I am a Canadian ceramicist would you put my work on your blog?"
Working with e-mail is like meeting people in real life. Would you walk up to someone a a party and say "Hi . I'm great will you promote my work?" Very bad pick-up line.

Starting a blog...
1. Think of why you want to write a blog. I think a theme is quite good as it narrows down your perspective and prevents your blog from becoming a boring list of things you have been doing (eg. "Strange Fragments" is about craft and design)

2. Go to the Blogger website and sign up. It is easy and the instructions will just walk you through.

3.Posting a blog is a bit like writing something in a Word document. The little row of icons at the top of the "new post" box are what you use to add images from your computer, add links etc.

4. Images are really important for artists blogs. Consider signing up to a photography site called Flickr. This site allows you to download high resolution images and creates an online gallery of your photos. You can put the photos on your blog from Flickr and also use it as a portfolio and send galleries and other bloggers to your Flickr site if you want them to see your whole body of work.

a weird little vase I made at the ANU summer school in Trudi Golley's workshop.

5.Sign up to Google Analytics so you can see how many people are visiting your blog , what country they come from, how long they spend on each page etc.

7. Blurb is a wonderful resource for artists. On this website you can start a book, chose any size, format, write your own text and upload images. When the book is finished you can buy as many copies for yourself as you wish and put it up for sale in the Blurb bookshop. This is a great resource for creating a folio to show galleries.

6.Start using the internet. Post a few entries. start putting up links in your blog. Contact blogs and websites you really like and introduce yourself and tell people you have linked to them. comment on others blogs. The more you use the internet the more you build community. Be part of the online community.

Be "swellegant" at your next gallery opening with the power of the blog!

7. Bring the blogs down to earth. It is no use being an online success if you are not getting work or actually meeting people in the flesh. Visit other cities and see if you can catch up with people you have met online. Conferences, art openings and industry events are great for this. Instead of lurking by the back wall desperately clutching your rapidly warming champagne next time you are at an opening you will know some people there through blogging. Say hello. It is important to supplement online activity with real events. Artists (particularly if you are a bit shy) can easily get caught up in the virtual world with no benefit to themselves or their practice, real contact with real people is the final, and most important step for getting the web to work for you.


Peter Hollard said...

Greetings Shannon,
Came home after your blogger workshop last night all fired up and excited. Felt like I had been in an exposure dark hole for some time, but now I see real hope and opportunities. A chance to get out there and contact other like minded creatives!
Peter Hollard

Shannon Garson said...

I'm so glad Peter- you're in for a whole new world of inspiration!

daniel said...

Hi Shannon,
My name is Daniel Qualischefski and I'm currently studying visual arts in Toowoomba.
Thank you for this great blog information! I'm finding this whole blogging world a great resource, and really inspirational! It's great to see other artists with a passion for ceramics.
Cheers, ~Daniel

Janet K @ Manly Gallery said...

I enjoyed reading the post Shannon, you are very inspiring & I also picked a few little hints, which I need desperately being only a blogger for approx 7mths so thanks so much. J

Renee Blackwell said...

my blog icon-queen of my every bloggin have been so great and kind and good in the sharing of the blog-wild-fire-tidal-wave....thank you heaps and heaps from the bottom of my being...
your humble and ever faithful blogger in progress...renee

Elk said...

Hi Shannon,
do you have any tips for how to find other like-minded bloggers? I'm only new to blogging and I haven't worked out how to search for people whose interests are in line with mine other than trying to wander through some peoples recommended blog lists. I've found some nice blogs that way but it is rather like a lucky dip I find

Amanda said...

Hi Shannon, Well I thought I knew it all (not really!) but I didn't know about Google Analytics. I've been using something else I picked up from someone's blog, but I think this will be better, so thanks!

Renee Ferguson said...

Thank you Shannon, your tips on blogging and how to use Google features is just what I was looking for but didn't know how to find it. Coming across your site and then discovering your blogging tips makes you the perfect blogging pal and mentor. Am a fellow potter living in Dapto NSW and find blogging has offered me a release from isolation as an artist & teacher.
Would love to meet you if you're at the Triennale in Sydney in a few weeks time. I've been wanting to meet other potters here in Australia as I've only been living here for the past six years and am just setting up my own studio.
Many thanks again for your blogging tips, you're the best.
See my simple blog at: