Yes! An effective creativity coach I know says everything in life is about relationships. This holds true from your professional connections with art buyers and gallery owners, to your friends and family. Your artist newsletter is a valuable tool to help you build a relationship with your audience. It is an opportunity to speak directly to the people who are interested in learning about you, your work, and your life as an artist.
Newsletter followers are typically more loyal and long term than a social media following. When someone signs up for your newsletter, they are asking to receive content straight from you, rather than scrolling through social media posts from countless creators.
The voice of your newsletter should be framed in the context of being a professional artist, and target your particular audience. The content of your newsletter should align with your brand. Is your work lighthearted or a serious commentary on culture? When thinking about your readers are most of them professionals in the artworld or are they people who enjoy connecting with you and following your work? If you’re unsure,
it’s a safe bet it’s a cross section of supporters and business contacts.
A best practice when deciding what to share and what tone to use is to balance professionalism with a personal touch that fosters a sense of connection. Think of it, in part, like writing to a fond acquaintance.
Each newsletter should have a theme. Some examples are:
If you work better with structure, create a schedule of themes to use ahead of time. For example, January could be about “fresh starts,” and could include your schedule of events for the coming year. February could be about how you enjoy (or deal with) winter, and so on.
Don’t be shy about including a direct link to works that are for sale, an upcoming schedule of your shows, or a featured piece you want to highlight. And if something time-sensitive pops up unexpectedly that you didn’t put in your last newsletter, send a brief friendly notice with the pertinent information inviting people to the exhibit or event.
Remember to let your followers know how much you appreciate them. Simple statements like “thank you for following my artistic journey,” or something similar can go a long way.
No matter the theme of your newsletter, work in at least one of the following business matters:
The three points above outline a key difference between a newsletter and a blog. Your newsletter always has a practical business purpose.
Each of your newsletters should include your contact info, a link to your website, and your social links. These will form part of your newsletter template, and typically go in the footer. Remember to make it easy for your readers to find your artwork, your contact information, and how to purchase your art, whether you are selling directly or through a gallery.
It may seem obvious to artists, but always include at least one image. If you are sending a newsletter about an aspect of your process, include a couple images of your work space; illustrate your content. If you are sending a schedule of shows, include a couple images of works that will be exhibited. For newsletters that are more contemplative, include images of your artwork that relate or images you own that inspired the newsletter.
Unless it’s a quick announcement, a newsletter is generally longer than a social media post. Some sources say approximately 20 lines of text, or 200 words is appropriate. This is a general guide. Ultimately, any newsletter is as long or as short as it needs to be. How often you send your newsletter should be based on what is sustainable for you. Once per month is common. If you can only do once per quarter, then that’s what works for you. However often you can do it, keep it regularly scheduled and going out the same day of the month.
There are multiple email newsletter services out there. Some are easier to use than others. Some are free or have a free basic level, and others require a subscription fee. Find an email marketing service (example: MailChimp) that feels like a good fit. You will be able to create templates with your contact info in the footer, and use a color theme that matches your brand. Before choosing your email marketing service, be sure that the platform makes it easy for you to manage your subscriber list, and group your contacts into different categories for separate mailings.
The simplest way to grow your list is to make sure people are aware you offer a newsletter. Have a clear place on your website where people can sign up. FolioLink, a website platform designed for artists, includes a guest book tool that allows you to collect newsletter subscribers easily from your website. Site visitors can send you a message via the guest book and opt-in to your mailing list at the same time. You can also integrate your MailChimp account with FolioLink, streamlining subscriber sign up.
You can also remind people on social media that you offer a newsletter. Take an excerpt and turn it into a post, and provide the link to sign up. This can offer efficient exposure instead of waiting for website visitors.
A great analogue option not to be overlooked, is using a physical guest book sign up at your solo and group shows. Whenever you gather email addresses for your subscriber list, make it clear that is what they are for and give people the option to opt-in.
Now that you are ready… take a deep breath, and enjoy talking to your followers.