Friday, August 31, 2012

Blogging Tips and Post Ideas for Artists

In a previous post I discussed the importance of having a blog for your online shop or business. But having a blog is not enough; you actually have to post to your blog regularly to retain the attention of your audience. But writing for the sake of having new content can actually work against you. If a reader feels that your blog is frivolous or unprofessional, they will easily be turned away.

Limit the Personal Posts

While your blog IS about you, the focus should remain on your shop or business. That means you should limit the posts relating to your personal life, family and pets. The harsh truth is that customers may not be all that interested in your personal life. You don’t have to avoid the topic completely. Instead seek to find a good balance.
Think for a moment, do you care if Etsy’s graphic designer got a new puppy? Or are you more interested in how your shop's new user interface will influence your sales? Do you care that the Artfire CEO’s grandson just learned to walk, or are you more interested in their new advertising campaign that will promote your shop to a wider market (one can hope)

Avoid ‘Spammy’ Marketing Posts

People hate the feeling of being overly marketed to. HOW you market will make all the difference. If I come across a blog with nothing but ‘buy this’ or ‘purchase that’ I will leave in a hurry, and maybe even un-follow. If your blog is all about making that sale, readers are not likely to turn in to fans or customers.

So what CAN you blog about?

You can certainly blog about your items, as long as the posts are engaging, with the marketing aspect being more subtle. You have to connect with your readers on a level that captures their attention and gains their confidence and trust before attempting to turn them into a buyer.

Picture this scenario: You are introduced to a stranger as a person who is really into fashion
Stranger 1: “Hi my name is so-and-so, buy my beautiful handmade piece of art”
Stranger 2: “Did you know that the color ‘x’ is trending for this fall? You don’t even have to go all out to look fashionable. You can turn your simple work outfit of slacks and shirt into a fashion statement by accessorizing with simple yet colorful add-ons. You can add a pop of color by wearing ‘x’ colored shoes, or perhaps a piece of jewelry with an ‘x’ color focal stone like this ring on my hand. I actually handcraft and sell these. You can view them in my shop (hand over business card)

Now these are both exaggerated scenarios, but we frequently see these approaches in advertising. Stranger #1 likely rubbed you the wrong way, earning unspoken thoughts of ‘go away’ while Stranger #2 likely caught your interest enough to make your visit their online shop.

The second stranger evoked the response you should aim for in your blog posts. If you engage your audience with your post, you can capture their interest, and then add your subtle marketing pitch. Your reader will be fascinated rather than turned off by your post and therefore be interested in what you have to share. This is more likely to result in the mouse-click into your shop

Post Ideas to Capture the Readers Interest:

(with subtle marketing undertones)

Fashion Tips and Trends
This is a very useful and reusable topic for jewelry and clothing sellers. Buyers are always looking for fashion tips and trending themes. Keep your blog posts up-to-date with the latest styles, and link an example from your shop after the post

DIY posts loosely related to your product
Readers love Do It Yourself posts. So why not show your reader how to create or do something loosely related to your product, and of course link your item after the post. If you sell themed party invitations, create a post showing how to do a themed kid's birthday party. And if you sell spices, perhaps do series of posts on interesting ways to use your spices

Tutorials showing your product in action
If you sell art-related supplies, perhaps show a tutorial on how to make a bracelet or necklace. At the end of the tutorial you can include a well-placed link guiding the readers to your shop to purchase the supplies used in the tutorial. Even craftier would be including product links when each item comes up within the tutorial. So when you introduce your ‘soft sterling silver wire’ the words link to the product in your shop

A look into YOUR process
If your methods are special or unique, give the reader a look into process. Not everyone knows what a glass cutting station looks like, nor how a glass kiln operates. Give your reader a look into your studio setup, and the work you go through on a regular basis. These are fascinating to read about and will make your art more realistic to the reader. And of course link a shop section or item at the end, to give your reader a look at the products created by your process

The story behind your product
Many products have a story to tell. This can range from what inspired the product, how they came about, or a story that the actual item has to tell. You capture the readers interest by bringing the product to life before their eyes. With the story complete they will want to see the product, and hopefully also buy the product. This idea is illustrated beautifully by Katie from Kater’s Acres in her post featuring her new steampunk pet rocks. She spins a tale of fantasy how Parker found an old abandoned… (don’t let me spoil the story, click HERE to read)

Featured Item Set or Product Theme
Do you have a theme to your products? For example, are you rolling out a new line of products inspired by an overall color or season? If so, tell the story and link a number of your products. If done correctly, say once a month, this is a fun way to capture readers’ attention and introduce your new line at the same time. Fragrence of the Month by D’lights By Dorene is a perfect illustration of this idea. Strawberries, my favorite, were featured as June's Fragrance of the Month. In this post she discusses a bit of shop history, strawberries, and how it inspired a number of new items in her shop. And of course the post is dotted with a few well placed item images giving the reader a chance to view and purchase a strawberry scented candle.

Sales and Shop Discounts
This can be a rather touchy topic. Sales may come across as spammy and 'buy this' for readers unfamiliar with your shop, but a welcome concept to potential buyers and past customers. I recommend limiting the sale related posts to the holiday season, and instead sharing discount information with your mailing list via your shop newsletter. Remember, a buyer needs to feel that they 'earned' something with your sale, and so this cannot be a frequent occurence. If a buyer has to WORK for a discount, they are more likely to appreciate it. (I will discuss this concept down the line)

You knew this one was coming, but there is a reason I left this post for last. Giveaways tend to generate traffic, but not neccessarily the type of traffic that you WANT. Giveaways tend to atract freebie-hunters and internet browsers looking to get 'something for nothing'. Yes they will follow your blog, heart your shop, even join your newsletter; but they are likely doing this for the sake of entering your contest and may never glance at your shop again. On the off-chance that you do find a true customer with this method, giveaways can be entertained once every now and then. If your readers get acustomed to seeing 'free' they will be discouraged for spending money on your shop. After all, why pay for something if you can wait to get it free?

Now these were just some examples that I could think of for creating quality posts to interest your readers. Do not limit your posts to the above, and be sure to mix and match ideas. Remember, NOT every post has to have a sales pitch. You are looking to build a following of interested fans after all. Do you have additional ideas for creating captivating blog posts? If so I (and other readers) would love to read about them, so leave a comment below. Please include your niche/what you sell, and your advice for artists in your field.

This post was brought to you by Leah from MagicByLeah
MagicByLeah is a place where fantasy and magic come to life in polymer clay.
If you'd like to read more about Leah visit her website:


  1. Thank you for tons of valuable info! I am still absorbing what I just read.

  2. This is great information... now to put some of it to use on my own Blog.. Informative blog post, Leah - thanks for taking the time to write it for us!

  3. This is a great post, Leah ... SO MUCH important info!!! TY

  4. Wow, Leah, I am going to need to read this again and again! Wonderful info and so very well written.

  5. Wonderful Blogging Ideas and Info! Thank you for posting!

  6. Guilty as Charged. I think of my blog as an extension of me rather than my shop. I must admit that the blogs I enjoy are those about humorous events, clever items or animals. See, not business organized. (hiding face)

    Time to switch gears. Now to re-learn how to post clickable pictures and live links. I haven't done that in ages. Eek! LOL

    Thanks for sharing, Leah.

  7. Wow! I didn't know that much went into a blog. *giggle* which is probably why I'm scared to start mine. So, I put this in my tool bar and someday I'll embark on my blog task and use this for my guidelines.

    Thank you for writing this!


  8. Great and informative post, thanks for taking the time to do it, now I just have to figure out how best to use this new information .

  9. Leah, thank you for writing another wonderful and informative post! Finding blog content is always a challenge, let alone when you take out the personal/salesy information. I've decided to develop a schedule: Sundays I feature an Etsy artist or treasuries; Wednesdays I try to write about business matters (marketing, time management, etc). And within that, I've decided to attack one business concept per month (writing a newsletter, social media marketing, etc.) It helps to have a calender or a list to plan it out.

    P.S. Thank you for featuring my blog!! It means a lot to know you appreciate the work I put in to it!

  10. Lol...and I just launched my giveaway. Thanks Leah! Need to work on blogging more regularly.

    1. Crystal,
      I didn't say giveaways were bad, just that they don't necessarily attract the right kind of follower. I learned this the hard way when I launched my giveaway blog. turned out to be a waste of time, so I am working on a NEW idea for artist bloggers (stay tuned ;)

  11. Wow, great info Leah!

    I really need to blog more often, I'm such a blogging slacker lol

  12. Definitely good information about blogging! Thanks Leah for writing this article.

  13. Very insightful Leah! I too fall into the blogger slacker category. I will definitely use you suggestions. Thanks for taking time to share this.

  14. You’re right. Your blog post should not be always about yourself. Think of topics to write about that interest you and your readers. This way, more viewers will visit your blogs. Did you know that the more viewers you have, the higher PageRank rank you get in internet search engines? That means the authority of your site is being built up, which might translate to a higher place in search engine results pages