So these are good lessons for people to think about as they start their own blogs to promote their art and music. The first question to ask yourself as you start a blog is this: ¿its a art? ¿rock band?
What is my intent?That simply means what do you hope to accomplish with your blog? Are you writing to write, writing to share knowledge, or writing to promote your work. Any answer is fine really but that one answer is going to shape what you do with the other questions you need to ask yourself as you start on this journey.
Let’s first explore my answer to that question. Originally when I started out I was writing to write. I had a lot of knowledge of bookbinding and I wanted to share it. I wanted to create something of a resource for other bookbinders on the web. On my website and my blog I wanted to link to other book artists making great art, show tutorials and in general write about what it’s like to be an artist making art while working a DayJob. All that’s fine and I think I succeeded at most of those goals. As in life, art is organic and as my abilities shifted and grew so did my desire to sell my work. So I started up my website, started eBay sales and later etsy sales. Should be good, right? Well, the website isn’t the rousing success I hoped it would be but my other sales have remain constant. Somewhere in here I realized that my blog could help drive sales (more on this later and in my ‘zine.) So my focus began to shift, I wanted to show more of my binding and less of what other people were doing.
Somewhere in here I realize now that I lost my focus, my blog went from being a great place for binders to visit to being something of a mish mash of ideas. What I wanted from it was no longer clear. I knew that I wanted to use it to promote my sales, but I’m sure that it’s not working as well as it could because of my unclear intent and a muddled focus.
So here I am trying to refocus- my answer to the above question of intent? I want to promote my ebay and etsy sales. It’s a simple answer that lends itself to more questions. How am I going to do that? I will be refocusing my content and redirecting it towards my customer base. Who are my customers? MY customers are people like me but who don’t have time to bind books. Bibliophiles, busy tech heads with a desire to write, people using David Allen’s GTD, people who use moleskines ciaks and other fine stationary, people who are done with the Palm and Pocket PCs. I’ve found that my customer base is diverse, from artists to geeks but all have a desire to write and use their notebooks well. Fine stationary and notebooks have an appeal all their own and I need to appeal to that audience. So how do I appeal to my customer base? That’s the real question. Do these people want or need to know how to bind their own books, not likely, are they interested in it, probably but the people who want to read about bookbinding are other binders; who aren’t for the most part the people buying my work.
It has dawned on me after all this time that I’m appealing to the wrong audience, bookbinders rather than artists and people who want to use my work.
The question of intent begs the question of who the readers of the blog are-i.e. who are your customers. The answer to that question will drive the answers of the other 2 questions of focus and structure. Questions that I’ll explore more fully in another post.
I’ll suggest that if your starting out or even currently working on a blog ask yourself these questions:
What is my intent?
And then ask yourself:
Who are my readers/customers?
Then, who would I like them to be?
Next post I'll look at the next 2 areas of questioning.