Are you thinking about starting an art blog or email newsletter? Are you worried that your writing skills may not be good enough?
Let's face it, this is at the heart of why we put off getting that art blog or email newsletter going in the first place, isn't it? Or if we did get it started, we put off writing the kind of solid content that gets us where we want to be. We do link posts and fluff and re-hashes of someone else's good content.
Even the best writers face insecurity and anxiety when they sit down to write an art blog. And for a not-so-good writer, it can be even worse.
All that anxiety and brain damage does you no good. It won't give you the energy to be a better writer. It won't put fire in your belly. It just keeps you from writing. Or if you do overcome your nerves and get started, it makes your writing stilted and stiff.
Here are some tools and techniques to banish writing anxiety forever. You don't need that heartburn, so let's get rid of it.
Writing an Art Blog: Our Kind of Marketing is a Conversation
Blogging and Email marketing is part of a larger category called content marketing. The basic idea is that you provide a wealth of useful, relevant content to your prospects and customers, and they reward you with their trust and their business.
By far, the most rewarding way to approach this strategy is as a conversation. Now I realize it's a little one-sided, but think of your messages has half of a conversation with your customer, despite the fact that usually you won't be able to hear the other half.
Think about your ideal customer (Smart Art Marketing: Lessson #2). You're going to speak directly to her. You've invited her for a coffee and a nice chat about what's new. You'll give her a little bit of useful advice with your cookie content (Smart Art Marketing: Lesson #5) and you might let her know if you've got something on the shelves you think she would enjoy.
One of the nicest things about this "conversation" angle is that you can and should write like you talk. You're not creating a college essay. You're not writing a job application. You're not writing to impress someone or receive a grade.
You're writing to make a nice, friendly connection.
"Conversational Grammar" is Perfectly OK
Here's the great, wizard-of-Oz secret about writing marketing content:
It's perfectly fine to make grammar mistakes in your art blog or email newsletter.
Spoken language follows slightly different rules from formal, written language. The stuff we learned (or failed to learn) in 5th grade were the rules for written English. They helped us get decent grades and go to college. They're important if you want to write a book, or an article in The New Yorker.
They are not important for your art blog or email newsletter. I hereby give you permission to never spend one second worrying about whether the language in your art blog or email newsletter is "correct." That's not what matters.
(This is not easy advice for me to give. I'm a grammar dork. I read books like Eats, Shoots and Leaves for fun. But this is something you need to know, so I have to control my own Grammar Cop tendencies and give you the straight dope.)
Clarity, Not Correctness
Clarity is king in your art blog and email newsletter writing. Your readers have to understand you before they can really form a bond with you. If your writing is grammatically perfect but hard to understand, you have a major problem.
On the other hand, if your writing is completely clear and conversational, even if the grammar is a little "colorful" in places, you've done a terrific job.
Become obsessed with clarity. Take long-winded sentences and cut them into two or three parts to make them easier to read. Take out anything "clever" if it could also be confusing. Use a tool like the Flesch Reading Scale to analyze the grade level of your writing. If your email newsletter reads at a 5th grade level, believe it or not, it's just about perfect.
(The article you're reading now came in at 5.56th-grade, so I feel pretty good.)
It's not that your readers are dumb--they're not. But they're busy. Even if they have multiple PhDs and read about nuclear physics for fun, they're looking for an easy, enjoyable read when they open your newsletter. Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!
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