Blogging, My (Only) Marketing Tool

banner signature finalBy Guest Author, Mary Ruocchio, who blogs at oilpastelsbymary.com

It’s all about name recognition and product association . . . be effective in how you use your blog and half the marketing battle is won.

I’m a fairly new artist with a dream to someday sell my work. By nature I’m a planner, I like to know where I’m going. So one year into painting I began researching how to market my paintings, even though I wasn’t ready to sell I wanted to get a head start with social marketing.

Website or Blog?

I read that if you want to sell your art, you need to develop a marketing plan to get your name out in the public – that made sense. Two suggestions given were to have a website and a blog, both really? A goal for me early on was keep “it” simple, nothing too redundant or time consuming, maintaining a blog and website at the same time was too much. After all I’m an artist and painting is a priority over marketing.

Blogging, my marketing choice.

It offered me a way to communicate, show my paintings and process, and develop a following. WordPress won out as site provider because of its professionalism, options and features, cost effectiveness, great site stats and service – I have no complaints. Okay one, the Reader acts up but nothing I can’t deal with.Two requirements for my blog: to look clean and professional, and be organized for the viewer so they can easily get to a post by subject or date. I choose the Twenty Ten theme, because it met the requirements and more. Plus only $24/year to have my own domain name without using WordPress within the URL.

How to generate traffic to a blog?

I read something once that has served me well – there are three ways to generate traffic to your blog:  post daily, use effective tags with your posts so search engines will find your blog, and visit/follow five new blogs every day.  Tags are the easy part, posting daily is challenging, so I post several times a week.  Finally finding 5 new blogs each day took a while to work into my schedule – but I developed a process that’s now routine (following, liking and commenting).  Although time doesn’t permit me to follow 5 new blogs a day (or I’d be at 1,500+) I follow about 300 blogs that fit into my schedule.  It’s sad to see an accomplished individual in their trade with only 3 or 4 likes, few followers and a handful of posts.  Blogging takes discipline and commitment, there’s really no way around it – it takes action, to generate action.

Has blogging been a worthwhile venture?

Absolutely and for reasons more than just marketing.  Today with 570 followers and 71,000 views that far exceeded my marketing expectations – it’s simple, traffic has been generated and continues to gain ground.

There is also an intrinsic value to blogging:  meeting people from all corners of the world and walks of life, who are just as passionate about blogging.  It has introduced me to some incredibly talented and devoted people (artists, writers, photographers, foodies/cooks, actors, interior designers, fashion designers, techies, etc.) whom I consider my blogging friends today.  Blogging is my only social networking medium – it was a good marketing choice to help create my brand.Will I ever have a website?  Maybe one day when I’m ready to sell.

I want to thank TimeThief for giving me an opportunity to be a guest blogger.  She is an amazing example of what blogging should be about and lucky for me, was one of the first bloggers I met on WordPress.

Please visit Mary’s blog and treat yourself to a view of her lovely oil pastels.

Related post: Another Update

52 thoughts on “Blogging, My (Only) Marketing Tool

  1. Hi Mary, I agree about blogging being a great way to show your art and your art process. So lovely to see you blogging about tips and helping out other bloggers. You are so generous. I love your art and enjoy our comment exchanges and discussions on art processes.

    Time Thief – My very best to you and I look forward to all of your tips.

    1. Thank you Janell so glad you enjoyed this article, Timethief made my world of blogging much easier. I appreciate your comments – it has been a great experience for me.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences Mary! You are a role model for how to follow up and comment too. I love your art, your seascapes and the beauty you show us here. Now my sincere well wishes for Timethief – may you soon feel better again.

    1. Thank you very much Ann-Christine for your generous and heart-felt comments – I’m very humbled by them. Thanks, it’s for this reason why I thoroughly enjoy blogging and the blogging community – have a lovely weekend as summer winds down.

  3. I know Mary as a beautiful artist and am excited every time she posts new work. Now I get to see another side and I’m very happy for that. Thank you both!
    Mary: xxxx :-) Timethief: best wishes! :-)

    1. Thank you Marina for your thoughtful and beautiful comments – you always know how to make us feel special. Thank you my dear friend!

  4. I think you’ve made the right decision by starting a blog. I know I’m enjoying every minute since I’ve started blogging myself.
    As far as finding 5 new blogs every, I too also think that’s impossible. It’s better to find a few and then stick to them. Reading good content will help you create good content.

    1. Thank you Marylin, I really appreciate your nice comment – of all people you’ve used the blog world so effective from giving a living tribute to your Mother through your letters whose suffering from Alzheimer disease, to as a child of a parent in care how you cope with the disease. Not to mention, your active roll with your blogging friends – much appreciated. Thank you a beautiful example of what’s good in life.

  5. The interaction is all there, Mary. I could see it working as I read down the comments. You have beautiful artwork to tempt people with but you’re interested in them, too, and that’s the crucial part.

    I need to go back and read a post Timethief has inserted and discover a little more about her. Many thanks for inviting me here. :)

    1. Thank you very much Jo, what awesome comment and compliment – can’t stop smiling. Check out the pull down tabs above on timeThief’s blog here as well – a vast resource of information about blogging and using the Internet. Thanks again ~ have a beautiful evening.

    1. So nice to see you today Patricia! I want to thank you for coming to timethief’s blog that is filled with incredible information – I know she appreciates the well-wishes.

  6. Lovely work, beautifully written post. Thanks for reminding us about the #1 thing needed by any blogger, artist, or anyone pursuing a goal: commitment. Onward! : )

  7. Thank you Mary for the advice. I have been wrestling with the idea for a few months now of whether to blog or go for a website for my professional life. I think you have solved this for me.
    I use Facebook and Twitter to direct traffic to my blog – does everyone do this?

    1. Hi Glenda so nice to meet you. Thank you for your thoughts and comments – I know many artists who have both a website and blog, I can’t afford to the time to service both properly. Yes, without a doubt your facebook and twitter accounts are a perfect marketing mechanism for driving traffic to your blog many of my artist friends use these two places very effectively.

  8. I don’t think I’ve ever blogged daily. That’s partly because I find daily bloggers difficult to keep up with, I have groaned in the past and thought ‘Oh not them again!’ I also write long posts, often with more than one subject, but there is usually a connection (to me at any rate). They would easily split, but I’m happier leaving it longer and up for a few days before I write another. Gives people chance to get to read it. So sometimes two or three times a week, less in summer, when I go onto ‘summer hours’.

    I also spend as much or more time on commenting as I do on my own blog. Plus, I reply to everyone, as my comment section is often quite a discussion area (about anything!), although if people are happily chatting away together I’ll leave them to it.

    Finally I have received commissions (for editing work) via blogging, so it does happen. However, I didn’t set the blog up with that in mind seven years ago, back then it was really to write about being an ex-pat in Spain, and to help people avoid the obvious mistakes we made – the main one was not buying a surge protector. Interesting article, and I wish you success, I’ve seen other artists sell through blogging, and authors tend to use their blogs to sell too. Promotions of books are usually popular, ie discounted prices over a short period, don’t know if that wd work for art?

    1. Wonderful and generous comment with your thoughts on blogging. Appreciate how much you’re using the blog to communicate and with a relaxed style that suits your community – that’s the mark of a long time blogger. Love it, you know your audience and they know each other – a very special environment. Thank you for sharing your knowledge ~

  9. “visit/follow five new blogs every day” — Thanks for this very important reminder. I need to get out and about and meet more of my fellow bloggers.

    1. Hi PiedType, thank you! Today has pushed me way over the limit of 5/day and think I’ve signed up with at least 10 new ones – so, I’m thrilled that you are going out there and seeking out new blogs to follow!

  10. Thank you Timethief for allowing me to be a guest blogger. I appreciate the opportunity, but also be able to help you out during a difficult time – you have a lot of fans, I’m one of them! Hope you come back to us real soon, it’s been fun reading so many great guest blog posts – wonderful variety. You have real faithful followers!

  11. Keeping it simple ( and not driving yourself crazy) is important. You’re right about “it takes action, to generate action”. Taking time to read and comment is worth the effort (besides all those people are interesting – who knows what you’ll stumble across)
    Enjoy the read – good luck with your art once you open “shop” . An established blog is a terrific marketing tool.

    1. Thank you philosphermouseofthehedge (wow great name) for your thoughts, you are so spot-on. A number of my blogging friends have had opportunities come their way as a direct result of their blogging – they are so many benefits, but certain downfalls as well. Thank you for your good wishes!

  12. I absolutely agree with your post. I spend about four or five hours a week reading other blogs and commenting. It’s a work I thoroughly enjoy. One of the great things about blogging is the community you build and the friend you make. Down the road I plan on publishing on kindle and I will let my followers know. But I don’t want them to feel that it’s an obligation. So I will try to keep it low key. In the meantime I am having a great time.

    1. Great to meet you Don and thank you for commenting – I agree with you, great points about friends made. It’s probably taking me about 1 hour a day to read the posts in my Reader, it’s been worth the time. Although any more time than that and it begins to erode into what I’ve set aside for my art – it’s the whole balancing thing. Best wishes in your writing and goal of publishing. Thanks so much for commenting, I really appreciate it!

  13. I had the same idea when I thought I might give blogging a try, but my follow-through has not been consistent. I’m still stuggling to make time. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Thank you so much Youngearthart I totally understand because there are days when I have to push myself to get it done (post, respond and go through my Reader). I saw a motivational video years ago and it’s theme always stuck with me . . . “it’s taking that one extra step, just that “one more” that will take something that you are striving for from good to great, or from I could have done it to, yes I did it.” I really appreciate your comment – we can all relate to it.

      1. You shouldn’t be sorry at all – yours was the perfect response and I loved the post, I remember it well. It caused me to do a new search on targeted audiences and reconsider who I wanted to attract to my blog. Timethief, you’ve achieved the ultimate in blog success because of your dedication and knowing your audience, it’s what we’re all working towards. Thanks i for all you’ve done ~

    1. Hi Lorie, thank you very much for commenting I can relate and appreciate where you are coming from. Sometimes it takes a while for others to find you, but if you can increase the number of blogs you follow by 5 a day or, if that’s too much try following two new blogs/day (comment and like too those that are in your Reader) you’ll find the number of bloggers following your blog begin to increase. Thanks again ~

  14. Thanks for sharing your experience with marketing. It’s always helpful to know what other people have done to successfully generate traffic.

    1. Thank you Andrea for your generous comment – it’s been a lot of trial and error, watching what others have done and consider what I was seeing in terms of my blog and what I wanted to accomplish. Thank you again!

  15. I’m so impressed with your oil pastels Mary. They are exquisite and it’s been such a pleasure to see your blog emerge and grow. Long may you blog.

    1. Thank you so much Timethief for allowing me to be a guest blogger on your blog, that is an honor as I have long admired the quality and number of posts you write week-after-week and your ability to amass the sheer number of followers. But not only that, you’ve been consistently been there for me and others when I’ve had a lot of questions or issues with my blog – quite honestly I don’t know how you do it. Your kind words about my work, well for me that is icing and the cake and means a lot, that you follow is way-extra special! Take care of yourself and here’s to a smooth recovery.

  16. They are all important and advanced tools for better blogging, This can help other to learn and follow guidelines!

    1. Thank you Mihrank very much, appreciate your kind words! For me, it’s still very much a work in progress. Thanks again ~

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