Why artists have an unfair advantage at internet marketing, a conversation with Mark McGuinness

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Mark-mcguiness-portrait We are living at a time of unprecedented opportunity for artists and creative professionals— Mark McGuiness, poet, creative coach and editor of Lateral Action, explains why artists are uniquely suited to succeed online.

Content marketing is king on the web, and artists/creatives are content creation specialists. Artists have an unfair advantage over all the frozen peas producers who are now having to become media companies.

The less your content looks like advertising, the better it functions as advertising. People are more likely to link to it and share it. Artists are the specialists at producing original content that people actually want, and this gives us an advantage even over traditional marketers.

We can build our own platform to sell our own stuff (the sexiest route), or partner with organizations to create content that helps sell their stuff (as Hugh MacLeod did with English Cut and Stormhoek).

Creating original, engaging, remarkable images, sounds, text, music or video is what you do best. You're already a one-person media company. Even if you hate the very idea of marketing, you should know that when it comes to Internet marketing, your creativity gives you an unfair advantage.

That's the good news. But artists also have a few weaknesses.

  • Frequently artists are resistant to marketing in general and marketing themselves in particular.
  • Some are scared of selling out or just plain scared.
  • Some feel the pain of trying to balance time invested in marketing with time in the studio— content marketing is cheap butit requires persistence and dedication to succeed.
  • Content marketing also requires strategy— it's no good just posting your artwork, writings, videos etc. and hoping this will magically lead to fame and fortune. Artists need to create content with their desired audience in mind (not pandering but being aware of what gets their attention), as well as considering their own goals, and having a content strategy that gets them where they want to go.
  • Tactical knowledge also matters— things like using a professional blog platform, getting people to subscribe, offering e-mail subscription, copywriting, headlines etc.

Mark and I will talk about how to take advantage of your creative strengths and how to solve the difficulties listed above.

McGuinness is a poet and a coach for professional artists and creatives. He's been coaching creative professionals since 1996, and got the blogging bug in 2006, when he started offering practical inspiration at wishfulthinking.co.uk. More recently, he writes and edits the blog at lateralaction.com and created an e-learning program, the Lateral Action Entrepreneur Roadmap, in collaboration with Brian Clark and Tony D. Clark. He also writes a poetry blog at markmcguinness.com. For bite-size inspiration follow Mark on Twitter.

Learn More about Mark McGuinness

  1. Read Why Artists and Creatives Have an Unfair Advantage at Internet Marketing.
  2. Get practical inspiration on Mark's blog: wishfulthinking.co.uk.
  3. Learn about creative entrepreneurship and the creative economy at lateralaction.com.
  4. Read Marc's poetry at markmcguinness.com.
  5. Follow Mark on Twitter.

Further Resources:

  1. The Hopkinson Report: How to use Velociraptors and Dolphins to get a book deal
    Interview with Matthew Inman of TheOatmeal.com.
  2. Crunchgear.com: Interview with Drew and Natalie Dee of Toothpaste for dinner, Natalie Dee and marriedtothesea.com.
  3. English Cut: English Cut blog by Savile Row tailor Thomas Mahon.
  4. Stormhoek: Stormhoek wine blog.

Show Highlights: Excerpts From the Conversation

Once the transcription is completed I'll include some of the best portions here.

« The competitive advantage of hiring artists, A conversation with Chris Ashworth | Main | How to use video to promote your art online and in galleries, a conversation with Lori McNee »

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Statement + Bio | Curriculum Vitae | Bibliography

I'm best known as an artist and designer. Relaxing makes me tense, so I tend to put in a lot of hours on diverse projects.

On the way to a successful art career I've been a poet and writer, a tech geek, a print and web designer, illustrator, industrial designer, musician, teacher, actor, set designer and even a paid guru once.

It's all the same thing in the end— I wake up most days thinking about how I want to change, fix or improve some aspect of the world. And after a couple cups of coffee I get started on it.

My specialty is impossibility remediation: if it can't be done, I'm on it.

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