A realistic look at blogs and why Duane Keiser sells a painting a day
Today, dear reader, we visit the subject of blogs. We preface our missive by saying we have nothing against blogs. No, that would be hypocritical; after all, we post our own scribblings to a blog. We simply seek to separate life’s truths from media hype . . . to separate the wheat from the chaff . . . to distill out those ideas that will make a difference in our life and reject those that are simply hype and noise.
Blogs: Media Mania
Let’s start with the obvious: Blogs are hot. We don't just mean hot, we mean HOT. Right now blogs are over-hyped, everyone's talking about 'em, you've got to get one to keep up with the Jones, freakin' hot. Don't believe us? We’re Blogging on Blogs in our blog. How wonderfully ridiculous!
If you believe the hype, dear reader, blogs are now virtually de rigueur for the serious would-be marketer. However, as is nearly always true of anything that reaches mania stage, a blog is no panacea.
Yes, my friends, like dotcoms in the 1990's, stocks in the 1920's and tulips in the 1600's, blogging is currently experiencing a full-blown mania. And it has reached the art world.
USA Today posted an article on their web site on August 23rd titled Artists take paintings to the masses. By Maria Puente
Artists Take Paintings to the Masses by Maria Puente
It outlines the success of an artist named Duane Keiser with his “Painting a Day” blog. Puente writes, “Keiser once was one of those artists lucky to sell a couple of paintings a year. Now he's something new: artist as blogger. Every day he makes a postcard-size oil painting of something he sees around town or of a still life he arranges here in his studio in the warehouse district of his hometown. Then he posts an image of the painting on his daily blog.” The articles continues by saying that Duane sells his small painting each day and grosses approximately $60,000 per year on those sales, freeing him from the worry of cash flow and allowing him plenty of time to focus on his larger works.
Duane Keiser's Painting a Day Blog:
The article goes on to extol the virtues of the “blogosphere” stating “The blogosphere has doubled every six months for the past two years to 51.9 million blogs, according to blog tracker Technorati.” Impressive, let’s look a bit closer at the blogosphere, shall we?
Blogs or Splogs?
Wired magazine, in the September issue published an article looking at the growing spam problems of the blogosphere titled Spam + Blogs = Trouble by Charles C. Mann. Spam blogs are known as splogs. Mann writes, “some 56 percent of active English-language blogs are spam.” Mann continues, “More than 10 million of the 12.9 million profiles on Blogger . . . were inactive, either because the bloggers had stopped blogging or because they never got started. (The huge mass of dead blogs is one reason to maintain a healthy skepticism toward the frequently heard claims about the vast growth of the blogosphere.)” So, if only 2.9 million of the blogs on Blogger are active and 56% of those blogs are spam, our calculations reveal that Blogger actually hosts 1.27 million active blogs. A healthy number, we admit, but less than 10% of their “reported” number of blogs.
What’s more, one of the great features of blogs is supposed to be the participation of blog visitors via their ability to make comments on each article posted. But Mann quotes statistics that suggest more than nine out of 10 comments in the blogosphere are spam. Or there is the opposite issue: most blogs we personally visit (including our own) have no comments on most posts. Although we have to grant that most blogs we visit don’t appeal to the masses and are therefore not likely to have large audiences.
Why the Hype?
People in general and the media in particular continually search for something “new” and “hot.” But there is no “magic bullet” to success. Setting up a blog won’t guarantee success. Neither will setting up a web site. These must seem funny statements from a guy who owns two services that host web sites and one that hosts blogs. But that’s why our services include articles like this. We want to assist you to success by using your technology wisely. Our point is that media hype tends to get the tail wagging the dog. Technology doesn’t drive your success and marketing, your marketing and success plan should drive your technology plan. When utilized properly there is a place for web sites, blogs, email newsletters and the like. When utilized properly the Internet IS revolutionizing marketing.
Remember, dear reader, we started the essay by stating that we having nothing against blogs. We toil away at our keyboard for you, working into the wee hours of the night, so that you will be armed with the truth and enlightened with success principles that work. Oh what a difficult life we endure for you! Now that we have let the wind carry the chaff away, let us turn to the wheat that is left behind and find out how Duane Keiser is selling over 300 small paintings a year.
Keiser’s Real Steps to Success:
We attempt to distill Keiser’s methodology into a series of steps:
Keiser painted a series of small paintings
See Creativity begets Creativity so Get Small for Erfahrung:
Keiser hosted an open studio party
Keiser wondered how to sell the small paintings, so he invited his friends to an open studio party called "100 Paintings for $100." (This is an excellent idea)
Keiser began posting small paintings on his web site (not his blog originally) daily
See Post New Works to Your Web Site Religiously:
Keiser emailed his friends every time he posted
We suggest email marketing in nearly every web marketing article we write.
Keiser consistently continued with his idea daily
See Chasing the Sweet Embrace of Success by Developing Habits:
Notice that Keiser’s basic idea could easily be accomplished without a blog. And in fact, for three years, he did execute his idea without a blog. In December 2004, Keiser moved the “Painting a Day” concept from his web site to his blog. I’m not sure what prompted the move, except perhaps that the blog offered easier technology for him to post and email daily. As the demand grew, Keiser began auctioning the paintings on Ebay, thereby increasing his income even more. It’s a classic example of good marketing: begin with a good idea, execute it consistently, refine and improve it as you go.
We first heard about Keiser’s painting a day about a year ago, so, being curious, we subscribed. We have been treated daily to one of Keiser’s paintings in our inbox, which means that we have now viewed over 300 of his works. Keiser’s small works represent nice little “eye-candy” pieces. We enjoy them. Someday we might, on a whim, purchase one. By the way, we look at his email every day. We have never look at the blog.
The exciting part for you:
But here’s the exciting part for you, dear artist: We have seen the works of the artists who host with our services, FineArtStudioOnline.com and MyStudioSite.com. Exciting stuff. More exciting than Keiser’s in many cases. At least as good in most cases.
We expect that if you would follow the steps Keiser took, you would also meet with some success: maybe more than Keiser, maybe less but success nonetheless. And in the art marketing game success = sales. We can’t guarantee success, but we can guarantee that you’ll deserve it.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
PS: If you host your web site with our services, you’ve already got the basic tools you need to implement a “Painting a day” program. Simply create a collection called “Painting a day”, Add a small painting daily to the collection (be sure to put the date added in the title), and send an email to your list with our built in tools (well we're working on the email system for MyStudioSite, but it is implemented in FineArtStudioOnline).