When most people decide to become artists for a living, they don’t realize that a professional artist has to do much more than just create amazing artwork. Artists have to wear a lot of hats, this often means managing their company’s finances, and even marketing their company to new clients. In this article, we will talk about how you can save time by getting others to help share your work for you.
The best way to promote your work is to get others to do it for you. #portfoliotips
— Grant Friedman (@grantfriedman) March 23, 2013
Marketing your company, and your work to new clients is essential for the growth of your design business but most artists are so busy creating their work, that they don’t have time to give the marketing needs of their business the time that it deserves.
Marketing a design business often involves sharing your work with others. This means posting your work to your portfolio, emailing potential clients, or anything else along those lines. As I mentioned earlier, however, all of this work can take a lot of time, and the results aren’t always very dependable.
In this article, I want to share a few observations that I have made over the years that might help you reduce some of your marketing workload by taking advantage of the viral nature of the Internet so that in the future, you can get others to share your work for you, so that you are free to do what you really love, create amazing things.
Most of you have probably consumed some type of viral content before. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube make it easy to share photos and videos with others. In many cases, viral content has helped people to gain notoriety, fame, or even awareness for a cause that they support.
While it is not likely that your art will make you a viral superstar on the Internet, viral content has a lot of potential to help artists build their reputation and gain new clients. Here are a few tips that you can use to make your artwork a bit more viral.
Convey an Emotional Message
People love to share artwork that conveys an emotional message. One of the most recent examples that I can think of is Cristian Girotto’s L’ Enfant Extérieur Series. In this series, Girotto decided to show what an adult might look like if they were altered to look like a child. This series went viral and was featured on several sites, including Psdtuts+. While this series was executed exceptionally well, its execution wasn’t the only reason for its success. It also conveyed an emotional message that just about everyone can understand, a desire to be young again.
Capitalize on Big Events or Movies
Hollywood spends millions of dollars promoting their motion pictures. As an artist, you can capitalize on this by producing fan art based around popular characters from these films. This illustration of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man by Psdtuts+ Author, Sheridan Johns is a really good example of an artist taking advantage of a blockbuster film like Iron Man by producing really exceptional fan art that showcases their skill. This piece received over 600 comments on Deviant Art and countless shares from artists and fans of the movie alike.
Convey a Provocative Message
While risky, artists can have success producing artwork that conveys a provocative or political message. This piece by Psdtuts+ Author, Mario Sanchez Nevado portrays what one of our readers described as "technology killing nature." While Nevado’s piece is an excellent example of this type of content, keep in mind that this type of artwork can backfire. So be really careful. You don’t want to anger or irritate potential new clients.
Create Really Amazing Artwork
While this is fairly obvious, it is important to note that if you want your work to be shared, it needs to be truly remarkable. No one will want to share your work if you aren’t producing exceptionally high quality artwork. This piece of typography by Peter Tarka is a great example of really high quality typography and is something that artists, designers, and bloggers would be excited to share.
Speed Art Videos
Speed art videos are a great way to showcase your creativity and skill, and they can be easily shared through sites like Youtube and Vimeo. The best thing about speed art videos is that they don’t take much extra time to create. Just record your screen in the background while you work and do some minor editing once you are finished.
While there are no guarantees, these types of videos have a chance to go viral. If that does happen, make sure that you include a link to your portfolio in the description. That will help direct people back to your website. Marcelo Schultz does a great job of using speed art videos to help promote his portfolio.
Place Your Work in a Visible Place
I have talked a lot about how important it is to publish your work where people will actually see it. This means that you need to publish your work on sites other than your personal portfolio site, or blog. Post them to Behance, 500px, Deviant Art, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter. If you do that your work is much more likely to be shared.
Make Your Work Easy to Share
Don’t do anything that will prevent people from sharing your work. I recently wrote an article that explains this in more detail but overall, you should become comfortable with people downloading your work and posting it on other sites. While this might seem counterintuitive to some artists, you just have to have faith that most people are good and are downloading your artwork for the right reasons.
You should also be careful with watermarks. Don’t go overboard with them. No one will want to share your work if there is a massive watermark obscuring everything.
Connect With Influencers
Reach out to influencers within the design community. Get on their radar so that when you publish new work, they are more likely to see it. It also doesn’t hurt to ask them if they think your work is a good fit for them to share. Just remember, don’t be too pushy or annoying. They definitely won’t help you out if you get on their bad side.
I hope that this article has given you some ideas to help you promote your work more effectively. The Internet is full of people who love to share what they find. As an artist, you can certainly tap in to that. Keep in mind, however, that these techniques are meant only to supplement your marketing strategy, not to replace it. Use a strategy that you feel is most appropriate for your business and feel free to experiment and try new things.
If you have used any other successful strategies that you would like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments below. I am sure that our readers would appreciate it.