Want Some Publicity? How Artists can Finesse the Press

By Carolyn Edlund

Media outlets are hungry for stories, and artists make for good stories.




The general public is curious about the life and work of artists. After all, you’re an incredibly creative individual doing something they could only dream about. So you are in a strong position to be noticed fairly easily and get your story in print. How you go about doing it makes the difference in getting significant publicity for yourself and your art.

My advice to artists who want to get publicity (or sell their work, for that matter) is:

Remove barriers to the process and make it easy to say “Yes.”

Let’s explore how you can do this effectively to get media attention. Lots of it, in regular doses.

Know your story. You could write a press release that you are showing your work in such-and-such exhibition, which is the 14th Annual blah blah blah . . . and you may or may not get a mention in various publications. But that isn’t your story. Your story is real and authentic and it appeals to other people.

When you understand how to tell a compelling story about yourself and your work, you can use it to reach readers emotionally. What is fascinating about your work and your subject matter? What experiences have you had, and what inspires you? What huge, devastating mistakes have you made? How did you triumph over them? What do you passionately care about? Give your story careful thought and hone it thoroughly before you submit anything to anybody.

Become the story. When you really pursue press attention, you don’t just want a passing mention. You want to become the subject of a news story, to be interviewed by a reporter, and have great images of yourself and your work included to make it even more exciting and readable.

  • When you submit a press release of a compelling story to suitable publications, and follow up promptly, you make it easy for them to say “Yes.”
  • When you invite the reporter to your studio, or offer additional materials about your work, you remove barriers to their process.
  • When you send them gorgeous professionally-shot photos of your work, and of you working in the studio, they will be thrilled that you made it so easy.

Submit to the right publications. What is your specialty? What themes do you work in? You could pursue local or national press, a niche publication, or even a trade journal. Where would you like to see your story published? Make a list, and continue to email press releases to them on a regular basis. Then, follow up consistently.

Kick it up a notch. Submit your images and information for other stories that will appear in publications by checking out their editorial calendar, and finding upcoming articles which relate to your work. Why should they include you?  Because you did your homework, and you’re just the perfect fit for their article.

Become a source. You could hire a publicist, or subscribe to HARO and pitch your own story to the press when you find a request that’s right up your alley. Find an angle to relate your art, your passion and your story to their needs.

Write your own articles. Become a guest blogger to get exposure and create backlinks to your own website. Many artists trade posts with each other. Check out MyBlogGuest to connect to opportunities. And be sure to visit Jon Morrow’s GuestBlogging.com for great tips on using this technique to grow your visibility.

Persistence is key to getting results. They don’t happen overnight. Make your efforts to get publicity for your work and your art career a regular part of your schedule, and don’t give up. You will end up with a number of press mentions and articles that will enhance your reputation and your business.

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