August 30, 2013 Leave a comment
From my perspective, when it comes to building a career as an artist, creating your art is step one. That’s simply your starting point. You then have a responsibility to your art, which is to find ways to get your art to the public. If you are creating simply for yourself, that is great; that is valid. But, if you are creating in order to sell your art and build your career doing what you love, you then owe it to your art, and yourself, to market.
I realize that this can sound self-serving coming from someone who runs a public relations company, but along with being a PR consultant, I’m also a novelist, playwright and screenplay writer. When it comes to creating and marketing art, I’ve been on both sides of the fence and know it can often be an uneasy fit (to mix a metaphor). But it needn’t be. Throughout the ages, artists as varied as Dickens, Picasso, and Bowie have all illustrated that creative marketing can and should be a seamless part of one’s career as an artist.
Several years ago, when I was working as a freelance journalist, I interviewed William Burroughs for an article. He was a fascinating interview. One interesting point he made was that Allen Ginsberg was the best PR rep that the Beats could have ever had. He spread the word like wildfire. And Ginsberg wasn’t the only PR master in the arts. Lord knows that Warhol was a marketing genius. He knew exactly what buttons to push to get his story out to the public. It wasn’t advertising or direct marketing that Ginsberg or Warhol used, it was the art of effective storytelling, which is exactly what public relations is all about.
PR truly is the art of storytelling and if you realize that creating a successful marketing or PR campaign for your work is an art form in itself, you can begin to look at it with new eyes. The secret is in finding the right story to tell and then presenting it in a compelling way to the right journalists.
American painter, Brendan O’Connell, who has been featured in a wide range of media including The New Yorker, The Colbert Report, NPR, and the Boston Globe (front page) is a client who has been dubbed by the media as the “Warhol of Walmart.” Brendan’s melding of pop culture with fine art, tells a story of everyday America, one that resonates with the media.
As in Brendan’s case, it’s a compelling story, not a sales pitch that grabs the media’s attention. Whether you’re a musician, author, filmmaker or a painter, your story is your fortune. The media doesn’t want to be sold or hyped; it doesn’t want smoke-and-mirrors or jargon. What it wants (and needs on a daily basis) is compelling stories.
PR is the most effective way to build a bridge between your art and the media, and the public, and is the most powerful way to create and establish your personal brand. It is the only form of marketing that reaches your target market and offers you the legitimacy and validation of being featured as a news story.
If you’re not yet in a position to invest in a media campaign, there are definitely other marketing avenues and steps you can take. The main point is that you take action; that instead of waiting for that preverbal white knight to appear and discover you, you take matters into your own hands.
From my years working as a writer and a PR consultant, I’ve seen first-hand the impact that media coverage and marketing can have. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not about selling, but about story-telling, how an artist develops, tells, and presents his or her story can make the difference between a struggling artist and a breakout success.
Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2013