When I’m out there spreading the blogging evangelic, sometimes the hosts surprise me with their efforts to promote blogging too. But last week, the art students of the Royal Academy in The Hague really surpassed my expectations. There’s was laser etching involved, and hidden sculptures in staircases: it blew my mind and by then, I hadn’t even hit the stage yet.
Before I could share my tips and strategies with the art students, I had to convince them of the use of blogging. So I told them if they want to show their work to the world, a blog is the platform to do so. It’s your little slice of digital heaven, where you’re not constrained to the imagination of a, say, Mark Zuckerberg. Moreover, if you chose for a magazine-style publication to showcase your work, people will notice you. While the world is busy with instagramming, tweeting and reblogging, you’re actually creating stuff. Or, as cartoonist Hugh MacLeod aka Gapingvoid puts it in his book Freedom is blogging in your underwear:
Just worry about making your own stuff and the rest of the internet will look after itself
Create something! If you make great work, it’s easy to stand out.
So here’s a short outline of how to blog:
Don’t just write about your own work, curate!
Everybody’s suffering from the information overload online. We need guides, people who promise to show us the highlights within or nice. So, as an art blogger, you’ll pick your niche and own it. As Nalden says it: ‘be the authority you want to be’. Here are a few examples of art blogs who’ve picked a niche:
- Pick a descriptive name - Nobody knows your name yet, so don’t limit the potential audience to friends and family. Opt for a descriptive name, like the guys I mentioned earlier.
- Learn from John de Mol, pick a format - everybody on the web has an attention disorder, so grab their attention right a way with a strong format. Like the interview blog Freunde von Freunden or Curate1k, which selects affordable art under a 1.000 dollars.
- Pick a platform - Tumblr is great for visuals and viral stuff, yet its visitors have an even worse attention problem than the rest of the internet. Wordpress is great for building your own magazine, plus, you can host it yourself.
- Start! Don’t wait for the perfect design or the right name. Just start. As soon as you’ve written your first blog post, you ARE a blogger. You’ll have the view of the blogger, everything during your studies will turn into a possible subject for your blog.
- You’re as good as your last post? Bullshit! You’re as good as the stream of your posts. All the different articles - long, short, just a video with a quick recommendation - create a story of its own. You shouldn’t aim for that brilliant essay every time, focus on varying.
- Keep it compact. The mathematician Blaise Pascal once said: ‘if I had the time, I would write you a short letter’. Same goes for blogging. Don’t waste your readers’ attention, give them their money’s worth with short and pointy stories. Use as less words as possible will make you a better writer too.
- Kill cliches, always start your blog post with an anecdote and write like you talk (it’s a personal medium!).
- Hit the streets! Interview your heroes. Use your new publication to spread the kind of discussion you’d like to hear in the art world.
I actually lied when I said the above steps are the art of blogging. The real art of blogging is keeping it up. Even when nobody seems to care. Keep writing. Blogging will pay off. The act of writing is what moves things forward. Blog on!
Want to hear more? Book my blogging workshop, December 12th in Amsterdam. See you there?