What Topics Would Be Press Worthy for a Visual Artists? (Part Two)

Publicity is a numbers game. The more places you submit, the better your chances are for getting exposure.

In my previous, "As a Visual Artist, Are You Press Release Worthy?" post, I challenged readers to assess if they were press release worthy. After all, what we be the point of going through the motions if one lacked conviction or confidence in creating and distributing a press release? I trust if you read it you got the message which is you don't have to be a famous artist to be press press release worthy. You just have to have something interesting and viable to publicize.

Here are a few ideas you could use, including,

You have:

Live Your Best Artist's LIfe
Live Your Best Artist’s LIfe
  • Published new work
  • Been picked up by a gallery
  • Been commissioned to work on an important piece
  • Moved your studio
  • Hired an assistant
  • Started a blog
  • Have a new Web site
  • Been asked to demonstrate or speak at a meeting
  • Had a piece selected for a prestigious juried show
  • Have won an award at a juried show
  • Had a well-known person purchase your art
  • Had a piece go into a collection or museum
  • Decided to exhibit at a tradeshow or consumer show
  • Been interviewed on TV, radio, magazine or newspaper
  • Been a guest on Oprah (okay, an admitted stretch, but you gotta dream big to do big things.)
  • Had a piece selected for a magazine cover
  • Been picked up by a licensing company
  • Donated a piece for a charitable organization
  • Had a piece donated for an auction that sold well above the reserve price
  • Painted a piece for a wine label
  • Joined a prestigious art group
  • Taken an artist retreat in an interesting place
  • Given lessons on painting to children

Those are just some ideas that come to my mind about possible topics. Some of them could be joined. Nearly all could be expanded upon.

Start a SWIPE file.

There is nothing wrong with creative borrowing. When you read anything, keep your mind open to possible PR opportunities. Make a note, put it on your brain, tear out the article and put it in your "Ideas" file. The important thing is to tune into what and where the possibilities are and then be organized to make sure you can retrieve the information when needed. The more ways you find to use publicity, the more effective your efforts will be.

Build a media contacts database.

Begin building a database of potential prospects to send press releases. This information resource, if carefully constructed, can turn into one of your most valuable marketing tools. If you see an article with a byline, drop a note to the author with a quick sincere compliment. If it is a blog article or online article and you can comment, jump in with something short and sweet. Resist the temptation to use these contacts as an opportunity to promote yourself. Save that for when you have something important to tell the world about.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

However you do it, getting all those prospective names in some form of a contact manager will be crucial in your long term publicity efforts. Make sure you keep good files on every thing you submit as well. Maintain a copy of the best pieces to provide to galleries and dealer to help them in their marketing efforts. Separately keep everything you have submitted or have gotten press on in a paper file or electronic file. You can save a page from your browser by going to File: Save As and save as a complete web page (*.mht) in Internet Explorer.

Create your own sense of style

Now admittedly, you are not going to use all the suggestions from the list above. You don't need to. You just need to develop your own sense of style and purpose. Do that while building the information on who and what media you want to influence and you are on your way. There is so much media now, and these outlets all need news and features to keep their pages and time allotments filled. They are looking for interesting slice of life angles that will grab a reader, viewer or listener's attention for a few minutes. Take the time to find out what the schedules are and how the targeted media likes to receive publicity. The easier you make their job, the better your results will be.

The range of possibilities starts with national media and includes everything from talk shows, to home decorating shows, to national magazines and newspapers. There are trade publications, specialty niche publications, consumer magazines, lifestyle magazines, regional magazines and local media of all sorts. There are press release outlets such as that will blast your press release to thousands of media outlets at one time.

Successful publicity is a numbers game

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

Start thinking about where and how you will get coverage. It is a numbers game. The more places you submit, the better your chances are for getting exposure. If you have inflect with the angle right, keep the content refreshing, interesting and compelling, the better your chances of breaking through the clutter.

Getting good at preparing and sending press releases is something you will improve on as you keep after it. The most important thing is to figure out what will best for your situation and then begin to build awareness in yourself of where your information will best fit. Publicity is an important activity that can produce better and more meaningful results for time and money spent than nearly any other marketing activity, so it is worth your valuable time to be thinking about doing this on a routine level.

If you study the most successful artists, many seem to have a knack for publicity. For most, it comes not so much from being instinctual, but more from intently observing how others get it done and then consistently adapting what they do to fit their own needs. The other part of the effortless pr that seem to follow some artists is there often was much unseen work in building trusted relationships with the press that ultimately made the greatest impact on the business of those artists. In other words, they made it a mission to create good relations with influential media contacts.

I'll get down some nuts and bolts on where to get useful information on how to write a press release, where to get help writing one and how to go about submitting them in the next post.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.


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  1. Barney, thank you! Your articles always cut right to the heart of the matter and your advice is real and practical. I am a self taught ‘older’ artist maintaining a website and a blog (with short demo’s) in the hope that it will someday payoff. I have learned a lot from your blog because it challenges me to pay attention to the marketing stuff that I really don’t want to. Something new to learn all the time! Thanks for the help along the way!

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