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Video Newsletters

by Keith Bond on 6/27/2011 2:11:00 PM

This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.



Videos are becoming more and more common in email campaigns, blogs, newsletters, etc.  I subscribe to a couple newsletters that frequently include a short video clip.  I’ve seen some industry claims that suggest that in a few years, 60% of all emails may be video.  Who knows if this is true, but it does underscore the growing popularity of video.


Opportunity with Potential

So, the point is that there is an opportunity for you as an artist to incorporate video into your marketing efforts.  I personally haven’t done it yet, but I can see a lot of potential.  I plan to begin using video in the near future.


I won’t write about the ins and outs of using video, because I am not an expert.  But I will share a few observations and thoughts. 


Keep it Short and Pointed

One of the newsletters that I subscribe to frequently has a short video embedded in the email along with text.  The video is a brief summary of or introduction to the text.  It is always short, usually no longer than about 2 or 3 minutes.  Though, occasionally up to 6 or 8 minutes. 


The speaker is speaking directly at me and addressing the “What’s In It For Me”.


I like this format for several reasons. 


Easier to Watch a Video than Read

This reminds me of a line from the movie Matilda.  Danny DeVito said, “There’s nothing you can get from a book that you can’t get from TV faster.”  


Of course TV and video don’t replace reading.  But when it comes to marketing your artwork or yourself, there is a place for video.  Most of us have huge volumes of email and don’t always have time to read a lengthy article.  But I can watch/listen to a short clip.  Maybe I’m just lazy.  But I don’t think I’m the only one.  I’ve seen claims that the open rate for video email newsletter is greater than traditional email newsletters. 


If I like the content of the video and want to find out more, I can read the text and/or click on the links.  A good video compels me to want to act (whether to read more or to purchase).


A Personal Touch

Another thing that I like about the video is that it helps me relate to the person easier than through the written word.  When a person is talking directly to me, and I can see that person’s mannerisms and personality, I connect on a level that is different than if I simply read an email article.  It has the potential to be more personal – if done right.  You are building relationships through your artwork.  Add to those relationships with personal messages via video.


Conversational Tone

The tone is much more conversational than a written newsletter.  In fact, for many who struggle with writing, but can hold a conversation, this could be a great alternative. 


Get Noticed – for Now

The newsletters that include effective videos stand apart from those of similar content that don’t have video.  In other words, they stand out.  They get noticed.  In a few years, as they become the norm, this may not be the case.  So start now (myself included).


Content and Communication

As with any blog or newsletter article, the possible topics are innumerable.  You could talk about your work, someone else’s work, art philosophy, art methods and techniques, art books you read recently, upcoming show announcements, special invites, workshop announcements, clips from a recent workshop you taught, etc.  The possibilities are endless. 


And, as with any other form of marketing, content and clear communication are crucially important.  Much of what is out there is mere noise.  Don’t add more noise.  Add value and substance. 


More than a Demo…Much More

I realize that many of you have YouTube videos showing the evolution of a work of art or a slide show of your portfolio.  Those are fine and have their place.  But I’m talking about something much bigger than that.  I’m talking about a video in which you are looking directly at me and speaking directly to me.  Again, the topic could be anything and it could certainly include shots of your art or someone else’s art.  But the power of video goes far beyond a demo.  It is a way to communicate your message in a more personal way.  And it can be a powerful way to invite me to act.


Christine Kane does a super job using video effectively.  Her short clip on her home page is a perfect example of what I am talking about here.  She uses similar clips in her newsletters. [1]


Have you been successful in using video?  Share your experiences with us.


Best Wishes,



[1] Although I am a male, and she markets herself as a mentor to women, I subscribe to her newsletter because I value her insights and opinions.  I find that what she shares is helpful to my business.

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Backstory: About Clint. Email EditorTwitter. Republish. ]

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The Perfect Sending Frequency for Artist Email Newsletters

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Topics: art collectors | art marketing | email newsletters | FineArtViews | inspiration | sell art | selling art online | selling fine art online | Keith Bond 

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I think this time we are going to agree to disagree. I find videos attached to things to be invasive and offensive. Typically the sender's taste in music is not anywhere close to the recipient's. So instead of quietly viewing your pretty painting, I am assaulted by noise (maybe at my office, embarrassing to boot!) and quickly trying to turn it down or off.
Unless your work of art is 3 dimensional, I don't see that putting it on video is going to make it easier or more interesting for some of us to view. In fact, if I follow a blog or get a newsletter that has too much video in it, I will cancel it.

Joanne Benson
Hi Keith,
I have to agree with Mimi on this one. I usually don't want to take the time to click on the video but then I'm not up to speed on my art marketing either. Perhaps it is just a personal preference.

If someone has a video demonstration on a topic I am interested in, then I take the time to look at it. I guess we'll have to see how this all plays out. I always appreciate your insights and will check out the blog you recommended.

Actually many crowd funding sites strongly suggest a video to help sell the project. People respond to video, but more importantly they respond to sound. As evidenced here. Positive or negative, they do respond to sound. There is a ton of research to support this.

Get the message right, and the rest falls into place.

Bonnie Samuel
I have to agree with Mimi, including the music! Visual quality is also lacking. Then there is the cost of buying "good" video equipment to add to your budget.

I do watch instructional videos from time to time. I've picked the artist and previewed the contents online. But really I would rather read what someone has to say and see an excellent picture of the work.

Virginia Giordano
I'm not going to favor one view or the other, but all I hear these days is that videos are the new way to market . . . everything! Will this last? Probably. I've suggested to friends who have sent their videos to show and discuss their art - to not have music at all, or have a few bars of easy instrumental intro or outro playing softly, but nothing during the most of the presentation.

K. Henderson
I'm with the Anti-Video group. Believe it or not, not everyone has high speed internet connections. With my connections, videos are jerky and annoying. I won't watch them.
Second, if you depend on the video to give your message and don't include the option of text, you will lose folks like me.
Third, I can read faster than someone speaks. On the rare occasion that I do see an informational video, I keep wanting them to talk faster (ok, so I'm impatient)
I DO think that videos have their place. I have a few on YouTube. But if I have important info to pass along I rely on text and jpgs.

Filomena Booth
Many times I will include a link to a YouTube video showcasing one of my new paintings in my monthly newsletter. It's a great way to introduce a new painting and to show several detail shots as well as room views. I usually use YouTube's selection of music clips, and I agree, some of them aren't that great. I do think it's very important to keep the videos more than two minutes. So far, no one has complained and I've gotten many compliments!

Virginia Giordano
100 percent agree with Filomena, short - 2 mins or less in and out. What's the quote theatricals say - leave the audience wanting more!

Liz Ruest
I'm in the anti-video camp, both for watching and creating. Others are welcome to view, or make one if they have the tools/skills/interest, but it's just not for me. I prefer to read (faster) or look at my own pace. There are a LOT of marketing options; I don't buy that this is the next/most crucial one.

Barb Stachow
Did you know that most people buy books with instructions "how to" and never use them. This is why personal art instruction will never be replaced in our "cyber" world. I feel the same about videos, I download them, thinking I'll look at them later...and later never comes. Nothing is ever going to replace "mail" of any kind, we are human and love our social outlets. So I'm in the anti-video camp also. I totally agree with Liz too.

Esther J. Williams
I like taking videos, they are labor intensive in the fact that you need to edit them, add titles, music and cut them or even add transitions. I have a Canon Rebel T1I that takes both high resolution images and high definition video with a flip of the switch. It is easy to take them.
We are visual artists and videos are visual displays, I think we can be very creative with what we put on them. Think like a movie director and the possibilities are endless. Of course not everyone is going to love your video, just like we have preferences on the kinds of movies or tv shows we watch.
Have I put one in my newsletter yet? No, but I will. I have been practicing for a year and most ended up on the cutting room floor. I just took a very short one the other day and I think I will build a video with painting images and the video to introduce a new work. Look at some of the clips on Sothebys Auction previews, the person will talk directly to the camera about the art and the artist. I become glued to those, of course, they are the famous dead artists. You could easily talk about a famous artist`s works and then explain what about it inspired you and how you incorporated it into your latest piece.
I am editing a video right now, must go. It is about a rock band I saw over the weekend. I taped them live as they played. This is going on my Facebook page though. One minute long, just to show people this great group and maybe get them some more gigs.

Virginia Giordano
I don't agree or disagree with the pro or anti video opinions. But as Bob Dylan a long time ago - 'The Times They Are A Changin'

Patricia Pilipuf
I like the video idea. I have been wondering about it for a while. I read several newsletters and like the videos. As you say they create a personal touch and really show the personality of the person who sends out the newsletter.

I'm willing to bet that the younger of us are more inclined towards videos. But a sad fact is that a lot of Americans have pretty lousy internet service that does make watching videos kind of ponderous.

Bonnie Samuel
Interesting comments on this topic and it seems that more are anti-than are pro, which surprises me. Just thought I was an old fogey! But perhaps the fast, new technology, yesterday is old hat thing has something to do with this. With such terrible economic times and the hectic pace of life, I know people are pushing back.

Here in Iowa, the annual Art Festival was held this last weekend. Huge crowds this year, some say sales were strong (this is a juried, high end show). One artist I heard interviewed noted how many people asked questions and overall were really enjoying the festival...despite the weather. Maybe that speaks to connection and real communication.

Donna Robillard
I prefer reading, also; however I could see a really well-done video a plus. If I were more into the computer stuff, I would probably like making one; but I am not. I'll just keep with the text for myself and then look at another's videos.

Virginia Giordano
Lots to think about and interesting personal and thoughts and first hand experiences expressed. I really like this blog when we can agree, disagree, learn, and not have it turn into a slug-fest. That starts with the first blog. Thanks Keith!

George De Chiara
I'm pretty surprised to see how many people are anti-video. I can understand the internet connection argument. I would think those people just wouldn't click the link to the video along with those that don't want to watch it. I don't think I'd embed the video so it automatically played. Personally I hate it when they do that and like someone else mentioned, you may be in a place where you don't want the video to play, like work.

All that being said, it's something I've been looking into and thinking about lately. Before this article I was thinking about it mostly for demo purposes, but now you've given me a lot more to think about.

Donald Fox
I'm on all kinds of email newsletter lists: art, music, writing, health, personal growth, politics (conservaive and liberal), spiritual, museums, educational institutions, etc. Well over half of them use videos on a regular basis; some of these like National Geographic and Smithsonian are stunning. The personal newletters are touching and even more personal when a video is included. Any newer technology, of course, is going to take time for adjustment and acclimation. Poor videos like poor quality reproductions of paintings will invite criticism. Even a FASO website can't improve a poorly photographed painting. Keith's suggestion is to use video as a quality communication tool. That takes planning, production, and artistry. It won't be for everyone.

Dave Beckett
Great article on video for websites. But the cost to have it produced is prohibitive. Any thoughts on how to do it myself? Dave Beckett

Virginia Giordano
Hi Dave - People are using regular digital cameras (when they don't have a friend with video cam). Video can be downloaded and edited on a Mac with imovie. It's probably tricky to get a good quality video this way but possible, especially a short video, another learning process! If the camera doesn't record in high definition, I don't know how it will look on screen. Anyone know if hi def necessary?

Keith Bond
There have been many valid issues raised by many of you.

Slow internet for some is a real issue.

Time and money to produce is also an issue. Though with a relatively inexpensive home video camera you can create decent videos. As visual artists, you have the ability to film and edit something quite nice.

It's true that videos aren't for everyone.

Also, there are right and wrong ways to use video.

I may have used the word embed wrong (Im not very computer savy). I would never have the video play automatically when the email is opened. But, I would want the window in which you view the video to be part of the email itself rather than a link to another website. I dont want the reader to leave [actually, I do want them to eventually go to my website - if they go to YouTube to watch the video, it will be harder to get them to my site].

As mentioned in the post, the video introduces the text. So for those who don't want to watch, they still get the message. In fact, the text has more content, but the video allows for personalization. Both are important. But some will pay attention to one more than the other.

Also, remember, the possibilities are much much greater than a slideshow of your work or showing the evolution of a work. As an example, many artists statements are boring to read. What if you had a video in which you look directly at the camera and briefly explained your art (again only 2 or 3 minutes)? Most likely you would use a different tone than your written statement. Likely it would be more intersting because it would be more personal and your intonations and mannerisms would emphasize your passion.

As with anything new, there are those who embrace it early, and those who wait until everyone else has already done it and it is no longer new.

Again, not for everyone. But don't write it off without looking at its FULL potential first. A slideshow isn't the FULL potential. In fact it is probably the least creative way to use video. You are much more creative than that.

Keith Bond

If the video does not begin automatically, but will only play if you click on it, would you still consider that invasive?

It is a choice, not forced upon you.

Dave Beckett
Many thanks Keith, Dave

mimi torchia boothby watercolors
no, the ones that start playing automatically are what i think are offensive. :-)

Marilyn Hennessy
I believe personal videos will be mainstream in the near future. And that they will help build your brand as an artist. While building your brand, artists need to be aware of how they are projecting themselves . . . and how they are differentiating themselves from other artists.

It's not about having volumes of information on the Net. It is about sharing quality, valuable information, choosing the best format to reach your audiences, and having an overall plan for what you want to achieve with video and other marketing tools.

Like many people, I click away from a great number of videos due to poor quality, poor connecting speeds, or too much advertising and/or promoting. Testing and getting objective feedback is so important before you start sharing videos with the Internet world.

As a marketer and as someone who does not watch TV nor receive a daily newspaper, I get most of my news and information from digital sources. In terms of video, I decide in 5 seconds or less to stay or move on.

My two cents.

cheers! Marilyn

Becky Joy
This is an interesting discussion. I have been playing with video in the last 6 months, mostly doing demos. I have been pondering "talking" to my audience with other videos. This has given me some more things to think about. I do believe that it is a very useful tool for a more personal connection. I too, have embedded videos in my website to keep the audience on my website instead of going to youtube.

Brian Sherwin
Video can be a gambit -- especially if the video involves you talking about your art. I say that because like it or not people make value judgments based on voice-- and appearance for that matter. You might have a 'voice' for articles-- but not a voice for video. That is just the reality of the situation. I know this probably won't be a popular comment to make-- but it is something to think about.

I once worked for a company that used videos to promote their product. At first the videos involved one of the founders speaking to the 'audience'. Unfortunately, many found his voice to be annoying-- and more focus was placed on lampooning his voice and appearance than considering the product. The message was lost.

How did they resolve the issue? They hired a woman with a soothing voice who was not bad on the eyes either, if you catch my drift. Suddenly people paid attention to what was being said about the product. Again, I know this may come off harsh-- it is just a reality of our society.

Brian Sherwin
I should mention that I know artists who have got around this issue by having a friend with an agreeable voice be the 'talker' of the video. For example, they have the friend talk about the artists work OR ask the artist questions as if it is an interview. Some will go as far as to hire a 'talker' who is visually appealing.

Again, I know that sounds harsh -- but sex does sell... and if you have an attractive man or woman talking about your art it triggers most consumers to think "It must be good". Ad companies know this and have been doing it since at least the 1950s. Again, it is just a reality of the consumer culture that we live in.

Esther J. Williams
Brian, my two daughters were in the entertainment industry for about six years here in Los Angeles, Calif. We went to dozens of motion picture studios, filming on location and special rented buildings for commercial shoots too. Auditions too. One can learn so much about what the directors and talent agents look for when it comes to film, television and commercials. It is not always looks, I have seen them pick a overweight young boy with big teeth. You just wanted to squeeze him, he was so endearing. Production sets will lend a greenhorn a world of information on how to set up a stage and mark X where you are to stand to say your lines. What agents look for is ENERGY in the actor. Are they emitting it, do they shine when the camera is on them? Is their voice projecting? Are they looking alive and at the camera? Do they remember all the lines and not studder?
I have seen so much that I felt I never could compare, that is why my videos wind up not getting published and sit on my hard drive. I guess it is back to trying again and I will get it right eventually. I was in a few of the tv shows, but background only. Maybe artists have a hard time coming to the foreground because of our shy nature or stage fright. We need to come out of our shells and speak to the world.

Sorry for the late comment, but have been on vacation :) and am just now catching up.

I am absolutely a yes vote for videos.

What I see showing up in the comments though, is that most people are assuming a video is a huge production, like an instructional video that could be sold at a site such as ArtistDaily.

What's wrong with a video that is just as personal as the artist blog? I consider a video to be a communication with people who like my paintings. We can't always show the paintings in person, so a video can be the next best.

The people who are talking about "unsubscribing" because of videos--I think unsubscribing is more about content than mode of delivery.

I have been sending newsletters since January 2008---ten unsubscribes since then---most come after I've sent a short newsletter highlighting an upcoming art fair. The video newsletters designed to show a collection of new paintings however, bear only three of that ten "unsubscribe" total.

And from the artist side, they're a lot of fun to create!

Later, KC

k. Henderson
Obviously, there is a place for video marketing.

BUT(!) let's remember that not everyone has high speed internet connections which makes videos difficult for some of us to view. It may be hard for some of you to believe but its true. Be sure you include text and images and not rely solely on video.
Also, I can scan a text faster than I can watch a video so I get impatient with them.
On the other hand, I have become fascinated with learning origami and there is nothing better than a good instructional video!
So, my opinion: Instructions and occasional images= good for video. Inviting someone to a show, showing your newest painting =I'd rather read text and view a fast loading jpg.

Kathy Chin
Did not see this article the first time around, but think it's possibly even more valid now than before.

I worked at several TV stations and we knew how busy viewers are. We also knew that, like Marilyn said, people make up their minds about whether they liked a program or news story in just a few seconds. Most "long" news stories may be only a minute 30 seconds or less to get all the necessary information in. (not counting the anchor lead-in or the tag) People use their remotes very efficiently and will turn the channel at the drop of a hat. For those of you considering using video newsletters, understand that folks want to see images, not "talking heads" droning on. And each new image should only be up on the screen for a few seconds...not 10 minutes or even one. Try 3-6 seconds. Keep it moving and viewers will find it much more enjoyable. And as far as the music, like many of you said, don't blast it or you can guarantee the person will "turn the channel." And obviously, voices make a difference too...screeching voices can obliterate a beautiful visual immediately. If you're not comfortable with speaking your message, write it with a few chosen words along with your images. Or, find someone who does have a nice voice and pay that person.

Although I love reading, video is here to stay. Many may not like the concept, and as someone suggested, technology may be one of the reasons.

In the photographic world, the artists are now jumping on the bandwagon and learning how to combine their images with videos because their cameras (and phones) are doing both these days.

Duh...hadn't thought about video newsletters and don't know why the heck I didn' can bet I'm thinking about them now!

Couple things; for those of you interested in using video as a tool to connect with your collectors (and potential ones), You Tube actually has really great articles on how to use video effectively. They use there own stats to determine what works and what doesn't. Keep it short is a big one. If the viewer really wants to see it again, they can replay it or pause it on a particular spot to have a closer look. Also, do check out Christine's newsletters. Keith is right, she uses them very effectively. Yes she is pretty and, in my opinion a good speaker (she's in the entertainment industry too) she give a good example of how effective video can be. She often uses a shorter video to direct you to a longer one, which you can watch or choose not to.
Personally, I am a visual person, I am creative and like thinking outside the box. I have a plan developing in my head, using video, that might or might not work...but if I don't give it a shot, I will never know, will I?!
Lastly, think about all of your collectors that are never going to have a chance to meet you face to face. If I am interested in someone's art,then I want to know all I can about them. I suspect there are others just like me, wanting to connect with their favorite artists. ; )

jo allebach
Some videos are very intrusive but then some are very interesting. The problem I have is not having a clue where to start at making one. Maybe I better learn if this is the wave of the future?

I am a tech-savvy artist and have to say, I hate 99 percent of the videos. I turn the music off most sites because I don't ant to hear it; I find it distracting as i have music on in the studio, and do not like the cacophony.

Many people have free email addresses that do not allow large downloads; others block content with videos or images attached, and some even with hyperlinks attached. And gads, I am in downtown Portland, Oregon, and our area has no high-speed internet access -- no dishes, no cables, we are on DSL . . . Can you believe this? ARGH. So when I do stream videos, they are slow. I had faster servers in the country!

If you are going to use video, I think it should be an option, not the intro to your art.

Brian, I usually like your ideas, but the whole point of having the video is to allow us to connect with the artist -- so, as Carolyn Henderson's article is about today (18th), I think that it should be done with us, the artist. I don't think it is the same as selling a corporate product.

I too, like the tone of this discourse -- civil disagreements are good.

I am more visual than most so I like videos. I watch them and buy how to one from great artist that I would love to paint with but don't have the travel time and they just don't like to paint at 3 AM like me.

I have done a few youtubes this was a very hard learning curve for me and I am still working on it.

Keith thank you for this new way of marketing that I have not used. In fact until I read this I didn't even know how to use my web cam. Gee whiz it's so easy. I can't wait to give this a try.
Oh yea I am with the rest of the people on the music.


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