What is PR & Why is it so Important to Artists?

Public relations is the softest selling tool in the marketing toolkit. It’s a combination of communication and public outreach to build trust and relationships with groups of people. Sometimes PR is best known as communication that changes an opinion, builds a reputation or helps to correct a damaged image. Today, artists can use a mixture of communications through credible third party endorsers or influencers (including the media, art critics, bloggers, etc.) or use direct to consumer PR strategies that reach current customers and potential art patrons. Regardless of the approach, PR leads to great relationships and endorsements from individuals that will help you to improve your personal reputation as an artist and/or to extend the reach of your network to get more exposure for your artwork.

There are so many tools in the PR toolkit. Let’s start with the traditional PR communication outreach strategies:

News Releases:
News releases can range from an announcement regarding the unveiling of your latest artistic creation to a release discussing an art demonstration you are giving for the members of a local association. News release writing begins with a carefully crafted message, formatted in a specific news style template (see the Art eXposed Artists PR Toolkit for examples) and is distributed to targeted media outlets, gallery’s organizations, customers and potential art patrons.

Endorsements:
Third party endorsements are written statements that provide credibility and can be used in a number of communication pieces including news releases, brochures, website content and information that can be sent to your art patrons and prospects.

Speaking Engagements/Demonstrations:
Speaking engagements and/or demonstrations are an excellent way for an artist to deliver expertise and knowledge on a subject to large groups of people, including prospective art patrons and/or current customers. Speaking in a public forum, coordinated by an independent art associations or gallery, can create enormous exposure for an artist and his/her work.

“How To” or Articles to Educate:
Working with the media to get articles placed in art trade publications, consumer magazines or those used as online content are a great way to educate and deliver information as an art expert. Articles that instruct or educate audiences position you as an authority and a likely source when an art enthusiast is interested in your particular artistic style or art genre.

These are all simple strategies to generate awareness so that influencers or third party endorsers will find your material interesting and write or talk about you. As you continually send your influencers credible and newsworthy information, they will look to you as a resource, as an artist that will be able to offer them expert information on a particular topic.

It’s important to follow-up in PR so that you are not just sending communication from your toolkit and then not know what’s being said about you. Always take the time to talk to your influencers or correspond with them regularly. Make sure you also taking the time to do Google or Yahoo! searches on your name or your artwork to see if you’re personal brand is the topic of conversation in print or online.

Most of all, the key to PR is to realize that relationships and building trust take time. If you want to have solid relationships with your influencers or third party endorsers make sure you do your homework. Know who these folks are, what they write about and exactly what they are looking for, so that you can aid them by offering your particular area of expertise. And, remember, when you are looking to build customers relationships or relationships with galleries, associations or members of the media, all of this requires a considerable amount of time and effort.

For every minute you spend building the relationship, the result will be strong connections that lead to favorable endorsements. Overall, PR is an excellent way to create positive communication about you, as an artist and your body of work.