In the first post from this series I asked, ‘What makes a blog successful and how is success even defined?’ I think before you can answer these questions, you have to outline your goals in having a blog. I say this because an important aspect of success is being able to achieve goals—however large or small—that you set for yourself. In this case, the goals you chose come directly from the vision you have for your blog. So the vision you have determines the goals that you set. Are you still with me?
What this boils down to is the importance of creating a vision for your blog. If you did the exercise from the last post—creating three bullets points that define your ideal blog—you have already begun. For those of you who do not yet have a blog, creating your vision in advance will make the process so much easier. As you are confronted with the many choices that come with setting up a blog, for each one you can ask yourself, ‘Does this support my vision?’ If you already have a blog that you feel needs to be updated, you can look at the choices you have previously made and decide if each one supports your vision. If not, you can make changes where needed.
One of the questions from my ongoing artist survey asked art bloggers to share their main goal in having a blog; in other words, their primary vision. Interestingly, only a very small percentage had the primary goal of either showcasing (15%) or selling (2%) their art. By far the majority of respondents (42%) said their main goal was connecting to a community. Perhaps this should come as no surprise given the greater opportunity for relationship-building on a blog in comparison to a website, which is much more likely to serve as a showcase for art. Additional goals endorsed by art bloggers included ‘exposure and getting my name out there’ (16%), ‘keeping an ongoing journal, primarily for myself’ (11%), ‘developing my professional identity as an artist’ (7%) and ‘experimenting with this online trend’ (7%).
However, despite the emphasis on community from the bloggers themselves, the survey also indicates that blog readers are coming to our blogs primarily for one reason: art. When asked to complete the phrase ‘in terms of art blogs, I prefer a blog to be _____,’ 70% of the respondents said ‘mostly art, with a bit of personal information included.’ 25% wanted ‘an equal blend of personal and professional’. The remaining 5% preferred blogs to be ‘mostly personal’ or ‘focused on art and only art’.
This suggests that while the majority of our readers do in fact want to know the artist behind the art, they primarily want to see the art itself. Combine this approach with a focus on creating an interactive community and you just might have a recipe to make magic.
As a way to further define your vision, examine 3 or 4 of your favorite art blogs. Outline the reasons why they have become your favorites. Do they focus on the artist, the art or both? Are they more personal or more professional? Do they foster interaction and, if yes, how so? Make a list of the characteristics you are drawn to as a way to help you create your vision and set your goals. Just remember that your blog should be a reflection of you. Make it your own. That in and of itself is the first step to success.
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