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How Important is Marketing for Independent Artists?

 Kelis painting

Making art for art’s sake is a nice theory, but unless they are independently wealthy, most artists would like to be paid for their work. Every so often there will be a story about an artist who was discovered out of the blue with apparently no effort, but this is a rare, if even true, event. Most independent artists have to put effort into marketing themselves.

Marketing is the act of promoting or selling a product, in this case the artist or their art. Personal branding is one type of marketing. Famous artists are known by their names and sometimes even by their personal style—think Pablo Picasso or Andy Warhol. Getting this information into people’s minds is part of marketing.

Traditional Marketing Methods

Traditionally, artists would market themselves through agents, galleries, or open competitions. These are still good venues for artists to look into today. The more an artist’s name is out there, the more people will check out their art. It will take some research to find which of these markets will be the best for a particular artist’s work.

Competitions

Competitions are a popular way for independent artists to promote themselves. Some competitions cost money, so entering one should be carefully considered. Will this competition help to reach the artist’s target audience? Entering an unknown competition can be a waste of time and money, so an artist’s efforts should be targeted.

Social Media

One of the most popular mediums for artistic promotion today is social media, and it is available to any artist no matter how big or small. Social media has changed how trends start and popularity grows. Gaining a following as an artist, whether you are a musician, an actor, or a sidewalk muralist, requires getting people to care about your art.

It does not cost that much money to market art on the Internet. Most social media sites are free to join. An artist’s page should be like a business page, with the focus on the artist and their art. While sharing some personal information can draw followers closer to the artist, too much, especially if it is negative, can push them away.

Websites

It does cost to have a website, but this cost is small and necessary. Art, in a sense, markets itself when it is seen in the largest possible venue. A website has the artist’s work up for viewing or listening 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Paying for a good web designer to create a website will also ensure that the site is user-friendly.

There are websites that focus specifically on discovering new artists. This does not happen by chance, artists regularly submit their work to these businesses in hopes of being discovered. An artist who wants to be successful should research websites to submit their work.

Musicians especially can benefit from a strong Internet presence. Many people now discover new music through social media. A friend likes a band or a musician and recommends them to all their online followers. Sometimes a song or a video will even go viral and catapult the artist into instant fame.

While an artist might not want to be involved in the marketing side of their business, success requires some self promotion. There are a lot of inexpensive ways to create a following and be successful as an artist.

This article was provided by Josh Stevenson, current business student and marketing intern. If you’re a small, independent artist looking for more exposure, Josh recommends Power PR.

 

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