Thursday

Social Media for Artists


Social media makes self-promotion for artists more accessible and wide-ranging than ever, but it also brings with it a new set of responsibilities. The more platforms/media you use to put your work out there, the more important it is to ensure that you speak with one voice—a powerful, consistent voice.

Here are some ways artists can more effectively tap into the power of social media:

Activated Artist Statement. You can streamline your artist statement and extend its reach—so you’ll always be ready whenever someone asks: “What kind of art do you do?” To make your statement an active element in your promotion, start by reshaping it into additional versions, like a Q&A—perfect for press kits, events, etc.; and a 30-second “elevator pitch” or mini version of your statement (just the essentials). These concise pieces are ideal for communicating with buyers, dealers, critics—anyone you want to reach . . . so that your art truly can “speak for itself.”

Communications Audit. Before plunging into social media—or even if you have already—make sure all your materials are up to par. Don’t let typos, awkward phrases, or broken links—on your Website, profiles, and other channels—tarnish your public face. Review and compare all your materials thoroughly, to ensure that everything is in top form. Also, plan to revisit your site design; make an effort to get a few outside opinions and see it with fresh eyes. (If you think you’re too close to your work and its promotion to be objective, you’re probably right.)

Marketing Plan. As part of your audit, you should also create a plan to integrate ALL your promotional efforts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn updates, etc.) . . . Approach your marketing systematically; fashion it into a seamless tapestry, with all the different platforms interconnected and showcasing your work—consistently, dynamically. A few simple techniques can give your marketing a strategic edge.

Social media truly expands the artist’s promotional palette, which is significant on multiple levels. In the best of circumstances, promotion not only helps an artist gain exposure, but also enriches his/her art by adding texture and context—those fundamental elements of meaning.

Click the Arts promotion label below for all posts on this topic.


To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.

Wednesday

Statistic of the Week (Archive)


I’m really not a numbers person, but I love a good statistic, especially one that confirms what I had known all along or what common sense might dictate.

With that combination—Insight/observation > Common sense > Evidence (quantitative)—you can be relatively certain you possess an authentic truth. Any comfort this certainty may bring, though, is often short-lived; the numbers can reveal harsh truths, and confirm what you had hoped was not as bad as it seemed.

Statistic of the Week is intended to highlight good stats—figures that reveal significant social/cultural/economic changes or trends . . . A good stat is one that synopsizes a big issue or idea, and is obviously credible.

Please send me good statistics (including the source) and I will try to include them here.

# # #

In 1950, less than 10 percent of American households contained only one person. By 2010, nearly 27 percent of households had just one person. [Source: Atlantic Magazine, “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?”; May 2012]

In 1950, 4 million people in this country lived alone. These days, there are almost 8 times as many, 31 million. [Source: New Yorker, “The Disconnected”; 4/16/12]

The number of American workers in unions has dwindled to 1 out of 14, from 1 in 3 in the 1950s.[Source: New York Times, Film Review: “Who Stole the American Dream?”; 3/1/12]

In 1890, 90% of bread in the U.S. was baked in homes; by 1930, 90% of bread was purchased [Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, “What Would Great-Grandma Eat?”; 2/26/12]


To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.

Tuesday

To the Artist in Search of a Marketing Strategy (Part 3)


“My work speaks for itself . . . I don’t like to put labels on my art.”


The statement above represents two-thirds of what I call the Trinity of Artistic Fallacy (the other part being: “I don’t care what people think, I’m just doing it for myself.”).

Not since Jackson Pollock made a splash in the pages of Life magazine has it been possible to deny that an artist (and his reception) is an agglomeration of his work, his life, his persona—his entire being. The time is well past that an artist can claim with any ingenuousness that “my work is all that matters.” No, everything matters.

Labels are fine, as long as they’re sufficiently fluid and either a) accurate/useful, or b) utterly ridiculous (perhaps as a parody). Labels are an essential part of language, especially when it’s used to translate across mediums/art forms. Anyway, an artist is labeled continuously, by a variety of interested and disinterested parties—some who label because they have a definite agenda, and others who do it without a clue.

Why not get there first and literally define the terms? Meaning is a negotiation, which the artist should master soon after figure drawing 101. Why not just let the labels fly? Be creative—you’re an artist, right? Let the language you use to promote yourself sizzle and amuse or baffle and disturb, or whatever effect you’re looking to create in the work itself.

If you must borrow, be accurate. The old terms of art history come with a lot of baggage you should be ready and able to shoulder. Better yet, be inventive (see above). It has advantages, especially in marketing.

If branding is something you have a taste for, you can use labels and phrases programmatically, for a deliberate “tag” effect (using the same language consistently, across different marketing vehicles).

When it comes to promoting your art, call it what you will. Just make sure it resonates, and conveys the essence of what you believe your work to be.

Click label below (Marketing Strategy for Artists) for Parts 1-3. Click Arts promotion for all posts on this topic.


To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.


Sunday

Self-Promotion for Artists: More Than a Necessary Evil (Part 1)


If a tree falls in the forest and no one writes a press release about it, does it make a sound? By the same token, if an artist creates a work and no one else experiences it, does it have any artistic impact? Is it a viable creation? The act of creation guarantees only that a work will come into existence, but this is an incomplete equation without the presence of an audience.

Whenever you hear an artist say that he/she creates “just for myself,” don’t believe it. Everyone knows that the audience isn’t secondary to the artistic process—it’s a crucial, necessary component. An audience, however, does not come into being on its own; there’s an intermediary step between creating art and the formation of an audience. That step is promotion.

Many artists regard self-promotion as a base activity, at odds with the creative process. In the extreme, they see it as dubious and sleazy, a mercenary endeavor that can only corrupt the purity of their vision. At best, it is a necessary evil that is divorced from the real business of making art.

This attitude is increasingly unrealistic and burdened with the quaint notion of the artist as a gifted exile in a pristine realm, completely insulated from the world at large. More importantly, this attitude can be fatal to artists’ careers and may preclude them from realizing even the most basic level of success.

Artists that are not established, rarely have the luxury of being able to completely entrust all of their promotional needs to a specialist. So, if an artist does not promote him/herself then this necessary task will go undone, in which case it is likely that the work, no matter how good it is, will not find an audience. Artists must “get their hands dirty” and lay some of the groundwork required for initiating their own careers.

Click label below for complete Self-Promotion for Artists (Parts 1-4). Click Arts promotion for all posts on this topic.


To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.

Thursday

LinkedIn: A Bounty of Untapped Potential


It’s a good bet that most people on LinkedIn have little more than a threadbare profile and aren’t in the habit of updating their information, adding connections, or doing much of anything at all. They are there, but not there—an indistinct presence, a dormancy. A healthy subset of these people probably joined LinkedIn at a colleague’s insistence, or because of some vague idea that it’s “the thing to do.”

These people on LinkedIn in name only—let alone those who eschew it entirely—are neglecting what is easily the most valuable social media platform; whose benefits are concrete and can be said without exaggeration to have a life-changing capacity.


Strangers Today, Employers/Colleagues/Patrons Tomorrow

LinkedIn—what’s the point? I asked myself that question for years, after joining at the insistence of a colleague (see above). Now I know. The point is to expand your network beyond your direct connections. In other words, gain exposure to a larger audience than you could ever hope to reach on your own.

LinkedIn, like other social media, allows you to use your existing network to create a larger, more valuable network. But LinkedIn is better, much better. The key, though, to realizing even modest results, is that you must have a definite strategy. It is not a casual undertaking, and it’s certainly not as simple as just posting your resume online (a common misconception).

A LinkedIn profile should be like a “three-dimensional sales brochure” and provide a more in-depth picture of who you are than any resume ever could. A resume, after all, is a basic sales sheet and represents one single tactic among a handful of others; it is one part of a wider strategy.


Sowing Seeds of Value: The Basis of Any Solid LinkedIn Strategy

A good LinkedIn profile is three-dimensional because it is dynamic; it includes links to and information about new projects, current activities, and more. It usually includes one or more of the apps available that really expand the profile; apps that allow you to share reading suggestions, portfolio highlights, upcoming events, and more.

At the heart of the dynamic, three-dimensional power of a good LinkedIn profile is the “Post an update” field, located near the top of the profile. It is here one can begin “sowing seeds of value”—offering genuinely useful resources/information, while avoiding any kind of hard sell.

This is essential, because in order to expand one’s network, to reach complete strangers—and possibly benefit from connecting with them—it is hardly enough to be just another hungry job seeker or salesperson trawling for prospects. Few people, whether friends or acquaintances, let alone strangers, are looking for that kind of attention.


All quotes courtesy of John Crant (SelfRecruiter.com), career coach and featured speaker at the N.Y. Public Library's Job Search Central. He is the rare motivational speaker who actually motivates. Also, his blog features several posts on LinkedIn that are beyond useful.


To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.

Wednesday

Self-Promotion for Artists: More Than a Necessary Evil (Part 2)


Basic tactics of self-promotion can be learned, but artists need to be motivated to learn them. A preliminary step toward motivation is to abandon anti-promotion attitudes and realize that art promotion, if done correctly, is hardly the same as peddling consumer goods. It can be an enriching experience; it doesn’t have to be painful or artless.

Another factor that might move artists to embrace self-promotion is the realization that it is essentially a means of shaping their destiny; everything a creative person does with regard to their work reflects upon their future.

Promotion means interacting with the public, producing a friction between the interior world that initiates a creative work and the exterior world. This friction gives promotion a frisson of tension and excitement; its consequences are unpredictable, and no matter how carefully it is planned, no one really knows where it will actually lead or precisely what its effects will be. It may open other opportunities or reveal undreamed of possibilities. Or it may backfire and reveal harsh truths.

An artist must capitalize on the results, whatever they may be, and adapt to the destiny they reveal, just as he/she does in the course of his/her artistic life. Self-promotion is taking your fate in your own hands; it is an active, deliberate effort to make a mark and impose your creative vision on the world.

Click label below for complete Self-Promotion for Artists (Parts 1-4). Click Arts promotion for all posts on this topic.


To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.

Sunday

Self-Promotion for Artists: More Than a Necessary Evil (Part 3)

Artistic creation and effective promotion are not mutually exclusive. Some of the same qualities that make good art—such as clarity, insight, and directness—are those involved in good promotion. The artist who is good at self-promotion is generally one who can put some of those same qualities into the service of amplifying the work and expanding its audience; the promotion will be successful because it evokes the power of the art and hints at its further pleasures and revelations.

The choices an artist makes in how he promotes himself often have a major impact on how his work is perceived. These choices are driven by the artist’s intent: Is he more interested in cultivating an audience or a market? Is it more about the art or the money? Not all methods of promotion are created equal, and certain approaches correspond to certain goals.

Promotion is a framework for the artist’s oeuvre, and promotional decisions have an importance that may be equal to artistic decisions. For better or worse, the effort an artist devotes to marketing may determine success or failure, and whether the art can bloom in an environment clouded by issues that have nothing to do with art. In a culture of saturation, with an art world reflecting those values, the work that stands out may be that which deflects some of the vulgarity, while still being promoted intentionally. In other words, the most effective art promotion may be aggressive, but avoid the hard sell. Promotion that doesn’t seem like promotion is a path to achieving the sort of mystique barred to those whose work is considered too commercial (or even worse, dull).

Click label below for complete Self-Promotion for Artists (Parts 1-4). Click Arts promotion for all posts on this topic.


To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.

Saturday

The Case Study: A Timeless and Versatile Form


The case study or “success story” is a mainstay of marketing. Most people whose work has even a cursory relationship to marketing communications are at least familiar with the basic format:

* Problem [Client situation/Industry background]
* Solution [How the customer used a product/service]
* Benefits [. . . and they lived happily ever after]

The very ubiquity and simplicity of case studies means that often they’re taken for granted. Many people in marketing, or those who hire people in marketing, see case studies as peripheral or supplemental to their primary vehicles—a Website, collateral, etc.

The case study is an essential marketing vehicle, or at least it should be. It can go where other vehicles cannot, to deliver a measure of credibility and complexity that is unmatched.


Beyond Explanation: Identification > Association > Extrapolation

While other marketing copy tells you about a product or service, a case study shows you how it works.

Case studies eschew the “salesy” language so many people have been conditioned to view with skepticism (no matter how true it is). As in social media marketing, the attributes of the company whose product/service is featured in the case study are implied, never stated directly.

A well written case study is a story that is engaging and triggers empathy. It enables the reader to identify with the challenges faced by the customer in the story, because he/she faces similar challenges.

Also, when the problem addressed is a familiar one, the case study can serve as a model for prospects/existing customers who may have never thought of using the product or service in the fashion illustrated by the story. Without spelling out every minute benefit—usually impossible anyhow—the case study allows readers to imagine how they might benefit in their own situation. That is the ultimate purpose of any case study.

* * *

Not only is the case study a mainstay of marketing, it’s also a mainstay of those who venture to instruct others on marketing. (A Google search of "How to Write a Case Study" returned 5.8 million hits.) Here are two fine articles that are probably at least as good as five million other ones: How to Write a Case Study . . . Case Study Outline (both by Steve Hoffman).

(Here’s an example of the format this post describes, written by me.)

To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.

Thursday

Self-Promotion for Artists: More Than a Necessary Evil (Part 4)

Promotion needn't be a purely functional aspect of one’s creative output; it has dimensions that go well beyond standard tactics like creating a promo card, assembling a mailing list, posting online about exhibitions, etc. In the best of circumstances, it can also help define and enrich the art and the artist. For example, the artist statement, a fundamental promotional tool, is also a means of exploring biographical elements in an artist’s work, and bringing to light influences and ideas that add texture to the work.

Interviews and other press coverage can also help add layers of meaning to the work and life of an artist. While artists often see the media as simply a vehicle for increasing their exposure, it also serves as a forum for their ideas, and a means for giving context to their art. Artist statements, viral videos, and other tactics can work double duty for artists, both promoting and defining their art. If approached with a similar care and seriousness as the art per se, these tactics may come to be seen by the audience and/or critics as important components of an artist’s entire body of work.



Self-Promotion Is Self-Discovery

Self-promotion is not just about selling your work, it’s also about selling yourself. This requires an artist to delve into some basic questions about herself: Who am I? Where am I from? What image of myself do I want to project? The answers to these questions have deep relevance to the work itself, and show how one's persona, promotion, and aesthetic are intertwined.

For most artists, self-promotion is never less than a challenge; it means presenting and explaining their work to others. It takes discipline and clarity to do it well, and definitely confidence to sustain the effort. Such an exercise, though, can be invaluable, allowing the artist to see firsthand how others perceive their work, and learn surprising new things about it themselves. Self-promotion may thus be a route to artistic discovery.


Click label below for complete Self-Promotion for Artists (Parts 1-4). Click Arts promotion for all posts on this topic.


To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.

Wednesday

Mega-media (It’s Mark Zuckerberg’s World—We Just Live in it)


These days, all it takes is ten minutes and a few mouse clicks for any individual or enterprise to gain a worldwide platform with round-the-clock access. But then what? The effortless quality of social media is deceptive. Building a strong online presence is hard work (which many Internet boosters fail to mention).

The sea change wrought by mega-media is that more people than ever—way more—now have the capacity to broadcast themselves far and wide. Capacity, though, is only a vehicle of possibility, like a car without fuel.

Lots of people are starting to use these powerful tools, owing to social and commercial pressures that make self-promotion imperative at all levels. But many lack the time and/or the temperament (to say nothing of basic communication skills) to use them in any way that could possibly advance their goals.

Adding to this plight are the legions of would-be gurus and “expert strategists,” the credible ones indistinguishable from the frauds. For those finding our Brave New World exceedingly alien, all the tips and advice can only go so far.

Mega-media is here to stay. That means you have to connect with your customers/prospects (i.e., your audience) more than ever. It means you have to create new content relentlessly—tweets, Facebook updates, blog posts, etc. And your content has to be strong: engaging, relevant, something beyond what you’re doing on your Website.

You also have to manage excess—that debilitating force. You must be a soldier in the ongoing war for attention/productivity and face endless conflicts on multiple fronts: man vs. machine, man vs. man (and his/her respective feed, page, etc.), but mostly man vs. himself.


To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.

Sunday

Less Hype, More Intrigue


Hype is the junk food of marketing. It’s empty, it lacks substance. Hype is saying louder, more insistently than anyone else: Look at me, I’m so great; Listen to me.

It’s not enough just to tell people how great you are—you have to show them . . . Specificity—exploration of detail—is the essence of understanding; specificity is integral to texture.

Case studies are a good way to present concrete examples of what you offer and why it works. A case study puts your product/enterprise in a real-life context and illustrates specifically how/why it works. (More on case studies.

Another approach is to focus on process—offer an inside look. The most functional things, whether objects or entire realms of commerce, can have a peculiar allure . . . The bonds of tradition and individual dedication, found everywhere in some degree, ensure there are people who have stories to tell.

Craftsmanship, the minutiae of specialized fields—these are linchpins of civilization, whether understood as such, or even mentioned beyond the confines of their particular fields. Revealing the beauty in the commonplace or making some basic though critical process come alive in prose are hallmarks of potent communications.

There are no dull subjects only dull writers, said H. L. Mencken . . . Good writing is good marketing (I said that).


To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio, AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.