Which Is Better—Marketing Thoughts

By Linda Riesenberg Fisler

March 31, 2022

Are you giving away your best work for free?

After writing the previous blog on copyrights, public domain, and Creative Commons laws, I decided I would no longer post my work on Social Media. I realize some of you may think I am cutting my nose off despite my face. I might be, but in this blog, I will ask some questions and provide some interesting food for thought.

The first question is this: Is it worth risking control over your hard work for likes and comments about how beautiful it is? 

This question is a hard one to answer. We all love compliments and having people recognize your effort is awesome. However, unless it accomplishes our number one goal (to sell), we may pay a heavy price if our work is stolen and reproduced in the high production sweatshops overseas. I thought long and hard about this one because I liked sharing my work, and it was easy to get exposure and compliments. But on the other hand, I don’t have an endless stream of income that would allow me to fight a copyrights battle, especially in an international court.

The paragraph above doesn’t talk about the value of your painting and how the public domain could affect it. In our upcoming Art Chats, John and I will start discussing value, so I won’t go into detail on this one. But as I think about the action of posting it, other people pinning it on Pinterest, or sharing it on other platforms, one thing becomes clear. These actions provide an argument that I lost control of my work and lessened its value, especially if someone printed the image and framed it for themselves. Everyone loses with this action, and I have had this happen to me many times. How do I know? Because the person doing so didn’t think I was the artist (Yes, I signed my work) and told me to my face. I can assure you it wasn’t a pleasant encounter. However, I will no longer say to myself that is the way it goes. More to come on value and how we ought to be thinking about our product. 

The next question is this: Is it better to engage with an audience you do know versus an audience you don’t know?

Let’s think about posting on Social Media. If you are like me, I have thousands of “friends” (across all social media platforms) that I have never met in person. It isn’t unusual for artists to accept friend requests because we determine they are either interested in our art or want any of the free instruction (or artwork) we put out there. However, if the post is public, we don’t know who is seeing it, stealing it, or doing other things. Doing this is what I call shouting into the void. Thus, the audience we don’t know.

Think of the audience you do know. These people could be a specific group in Social Media, but I challenge you to think in terms of creating a direct marketing campaign. For example, I posted that I was no longer posting my work (artwork and book teasers for Dagger (book five of the Blind Series novels) to Social Media. I work too hard to give things away. So instead, I instructed anyone who read the post to sign up for my newsletter. I will send out teasers, photos of my artwork, and any videos I create showing the painting and writing process. My newsletter email list is an audience I know, and if they are on my list, I know they are already interested in what I am doing. The newsletter is a better way of controlling my art, showing my creations, and engaging an audience who, to some degree, is invested in my work.

The last question is this: Is your current way of marketing giving away too much of what should be valued?

After thinking about what I was doing, I concluded it was giving away too much value. For others to value what I create, I must first value it myself. If I think what I produce is worth little, others will see it that way. So why do I charge a higher rate for my time when working on a website (for example)? The simple answer is that I shouldn’t. Time is expensive and most valuable.

As I said earlier, more on value in the weeks to come. In the meantime, please take a look at your marketing plan and ask yourself the questions I posted here.

One last question: Do I want things to change for the better?  😊

Until next time,

Linda

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