Art is an important form of content as an artist. It’s often the main reason why anyone becomes interested in what you do in the first place. Writing, on the other hand, has a less obvious benefit. On top of that, it will likely take time away from creating your art. So, why might you start writing if it has the possibility of taking time away from making art?
Why Write in the First Place?
Writing makes your work stand out from the rest, and allows the right people to find your work. Writing about your work makes it searchable and discoverable in search engines. People may randomly find an image of your work online, but that’s leaving it up to chance.
As entrepreneur and marketer Gary Vaynerchuk says, “everybody is a media company,” and “no matter what you do, your job is to tell your story.” He explains that if you don’t publish content that provides value, you essentially don’t exist in today’s world. This is because you’re being drowned out by the volume of content that is being put out by everyone else.
Your art alone has limited reachability. If you want to be found, you should create content around your art. Writing is the easiest way to start creating that content. Only creating art generally only reaches people who care about your art. There are two other main interests of your audience that you’re ignoring when you don’t write.
The Three Interests of Your Audience
There are three main interests of your audience when it comes to your work:
- People interested in what you do.
- People interested in why you do what you do.
- People interested in how you do what you do.
The first group are people interested in what you do. They appreciate your art for the sake of art. These people are often satisfied with only seeing your finished product. Often these people are other artists looking for inspiration or people looking for an escape. They may not be interested in why or how you did it. This is especially true for other artists, because they may already have an understanding of those aspects.
The second group are people interested in why you do what you do. This group is often media companies looking to conduct interviews and potential clients looking to hire you. They may not care about seeing more of your art in your portfolio. The art shows the results, but it doesn’t tell the story of your process. What’s often more important to them is seeing the process, and knowing whether they can trust you.
The third group are people interested in how you do what you do. These are often people wanting to learn the process that goes into creating your art. They want to learn how you did something so they can do it themselves and improve. They may not be interested in what you did or why you did it, because they’re looking for the process behind the work.
These three categories are not mutually exclusive. As shown in the Venn Diagram, there’s overlap of interests. The interests are usually the entrance points of your audience. They usually start in one category, and as they become more and more familiar with you, they branch out into other categories. For example, they may first become interested in what you do, and then become interested in how you do it, and eventually become interested in why you did it.
Writing Reaches Each Interest of Your Audience
When you create something, you have already reached the people interested in what you do. When you write about what you do, you are able to reach the other two interests. For example, if you create a logo, you can then write a case study on why you did it and then create a blog post on how you did it.
In a case study, you can explain the reasoning behind why you made certain decisions. This will serve the people looking for the “why” behind your work, and build the trust they’re looking for.
In a blog post, you can explain the process that went into creating your logo. This will serve the people who are wanting to create a logo and looking for how to do it.
How to Know Whether You Should Write or Not
Again, the interests of your audience is a venn diagram between what you do, why you do what you do, and how you do what you do. There’s obviously some overlap between the interests. You can still attract people from the other groups by just creating art, but it will be a smaller percentage.
Ultimately, it just comes down to what you want to accomplish. If you want to reach a smaller range of people on a deeper level, then not writing might be better for you. You will have more energy to focus on making more art, and that focus is valuable.
However, if your goal is to attract clients, diversify your awareness, and help other artists improve, then you need to write as well.
If your goal is to attract clients, diversify your awareness, and help other artists improve, then you need to write.
This is why it’s important to do both. If you only ever create more art, you’ll continue to neglect the people who have the other two interests. On the other hand, if you only ever write, then you’ll only attract people who care about your thoughts or process.
The really tricky part is how to balance writing and creating art. Your audience often only cares about your writing if you continue to create great art. So, it’s important to continue to create art at a high level. So, where’s the balance between the two?
Next week, I will be exploring that topic and discussing how to balance writing and creating art, as well as some advice on how you can be the most effective at both.
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