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How To Market Yourself In The Art World
Tips for building your personal brand
Career 16 Oct 2023
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Image RG @Simplicityarchives

What does it mean to market yourself in the art world? The art world can be a competitive place, as an abundance of candidates look for new roles and freelance jobs in a booming industry. Having the right skills and experience isn’t always enough to secure you the job though, you must know how to market yourself effectively to really get noticed. This especially applies to those of you who are marketing your own self-brand, whether you’re an artist or a freelance writer. Marketing at the end of the day comes down to strategically getting the word out about your work to an audience, keeping them informed about your practice, and inviting them to exhibitions or other events you’re involved in. But where should one begin? And how? By following our eight-step guide to marketing yourself – that’s how!

pink trousers

What is your niche?
Marketing can be seem very intimidating, but if you really think about it as if you were speaking to your closest fans, and just broaden the audience a little bit, that is fundamentally what marketing is. A good place to start is by finding your niche and practicing the way you talk about it. It’s never too early to learn how to identify what’s unique about your practice. What are your interests? Your talents? Your passions? Think about the ways you already bring these elements together and explore the possibilities for how you can engage them with your target audience. Focus on the uncommon things you have to offer. If you are struggling to find your niche, talk to your friends and family. Ask them about your work and what they think you’re currently doing.  It’s kind of like a mini audience study to start yourself off. Once you feel confident in your craft, develop relationships with thought leaders and media representatives in your field and your community.

Image via @jacquemus Instagram


Become social media savvy
Sharing on social media provides you the opportunity to reach a bigger audience. It can multiply your exposure exponentially. But before you start channeling all your energy into social media learn which platforms, you’re most comfortable with.  If you are great at writing, start a blog, or post on Twitter. But if you find writing impossible, but you can take amazing photos of your work, maybe Instagram is the right tool for you instead.

Trial & Error
Experiment with your posts on social media to get to know your audience and what kinds of posts they’ll respond to. Your terminology can be important when applying this theory too. Understand what key phrases and buzz words are particularly sought-after in the type of art industry you are mingling in. Remember who you are- is the message to your audience? Every word you say, everything that you communicate and do, is a message to your audience. Just as a good organisation protects its brand, protect your reputation by being intentional about the words you speak and the actions you perform.

Make a website

One of the best ways to get your name out there and build credibility is to write and share your thoughts publicly. Write a post on LinkedIn. Submit a piece to an online platform or newspaper. Put yourself out there and start becoming searchable. Make sure that when a person Googles you though, something that accurately represents who you are comes up. The best way to do this is by creating your own website. The beauty of having a website is the control over how you as a professional and your work is represented online. Your website doesn’t need to be overly fancy or updated constantly, but it should have several key pieces of information like a bio or CV, an about you page, images/ examples of your work, and contact information. Also email sign-up form so people can share their names and email addresses so you can build up a database of contacts. If you have never built a website from scratch before, software like Squarespace and WordPress are a great place to start.

Image via arvida byström Instagram

Networking
Networking provides the perfect opportunity to market yourself. Building a network is invaluable as it provides links to individuals and organisations who may be able to help you find an internship or graduate role. Find networks related to your field or career interests.

siduations

Image via Siduations Instagram


Save those contacts!
Create a network of like-minded people in your field and work on connecting deeply and really getting to know one another. You can create a database of your contacts with the help of email marketing tools like MailChimp. Tools like Mailchimp not only allow you to send email blasts, but also give you insightful analytics, like where you audience are from and email open rates. As mentioned above, you can collect emails from a sign-up option on your website, or through meeting new people online or in person, but it’s important to ask their permission before adding them to your email list as it’s now legally required.

Speak publicly
Identify opportunities to formally share your expertise and thoughts. Think about topics on which you could speak and who needs to know about you and what you have to offer. You can speak in-person or online. You can record a YouTube video or be a guest expert for a webinar.

Keep your finger on the pulse to become inspired
Keep up-to-date with any developments and news in your industry to ensure your knowledge is always relevant and well-informed. Read industry publications, influential blogs, save inspirational IG posts and pin websites – you may find they help to inform your answers or provide discussion points when it comes to your own marketing.
And remember the person who knows how best to market yourself is you. Start now to set yourself apart as a leader and generous citizen of your art communities, and you can take yourself much further than you may could ever imagine.

Text by Peigi Mackillop

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