Reaching Constituencies: Brainstorming a Targeted Marketing Strategy

Artists in Conversation

Marketing yourself and your artistic work can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, marketing may be closer to your creative process than you think. 

The following exercise, developed by Ruby Lerner, Creative Capital President and Executive Director, is a step-by-step method for using brainstorming (and other people!) to help define and expand your audience. 

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A Page From Our Handbook: Intro to Budgeting for Artists

A photo from our recent workshop at Flight School in Pittsburgh, PA

Every few weeks we post tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post is packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Budgets: A budget represents your work in numbers. It also indicates how you value aspects of your work in financial terms. The budget is a big part of fundraising. It helps you determine what your expenses really are and how you meet them, even if you are your primary supporter.

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A Page from Our Handbook: Writing a Proposal

Image from Matthew Moore's (2008 Visual Arts) Creative Capital Project "Digital Farm Collective"

Time-lapse footage of lettuce growing, from Matthew Moore’s (2008 Visual Arts) Creative Capital Project “Digital Farm Collective”

Every few weeks we post tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post is packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Proposal Basics
Proposals come in many shapes and sizes: from simple fellowship applications that require a work sample, a brief description and bio, to lengthy project proposals that involve budget spreadsheets, significant writing and other supporting materials. Frequently we are creating proposals for work we have not yet completed. This means we have to find ways to make a panelist or program officer see what does not yet exist. It’s a big challenge, but a worthy one.

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A Page from Our Handbook: Building Relationships With Funders

A still from Mondo' Bizarro's Creative Capital project "Cry You One;" photo by Svetlana Volic with WWNO New Orleans Public Radio

A still from Mondo Bizarro’s Creative Capital project “Cry You One;” photo by Svetlana Volic with WWNO New Orleans Public Radio

Every few weeks we post tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post is packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

The road to success involves more than a single application and a ‘yes’ or ‘no‘ response. With grantmakers and donors of all stripes you’ll need to build relationships, just as you would when working with other partners—venues, galleries or collaborators. Funders and donors talk to each other and change jobs. Similarly, a regular contributor may love your work enough to bring friends and potential contributors to your next show—all you have to do is ask! The great impression you make on one funder may not yield immediate results, but it may help you down the line. Continue reading

A Page From Our Handbook: Intro to Funding for Art Projects

Doheel Lee (2013 Performing Arts), The Mago Project

Doheel Lee (2013 Performing Arts), The Mago Project

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook, a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops and webinars here.

Getting Started: Almost all of your fundraising will be done through partnerships: with venues and presenters, advisory boards, and directly with funders and donors. Creative Capital advocates thorough and clear communications about money betwen funders, venues and artists. The better you articulate what you want, what you do and how much it costs, the better off the entire field will be. Thinking of your funders and donors as partners will help you find more opportunities and will make you easier to work with. You will be ready when a venue says, “We found a commission to apply for your project. We need 250 words and a few images. TODAY!” Conversely, if you find a funding source your partners haven’t reached out to yet, you’ll know how to help them through the necessary steps to bring more funding to your project. Partners will want to work with you again and again because you help them help you.

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A Page From Our Handbook: Your PR Timeline

The online promo page for Rodney Evans’ Creative Capital project, “The Happy Sad,” which premieres this week in New York and Los Angeles.

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.

Your PR Timeline
As you develop your promotional strategy and the elements of your press kit, it’s important to remember that marketing your event will take more than a few weeks, as most publications have strict deadlines and most people need multiple alerts that your event is happening before they will attend. We recommend beginning this PR journey six to nine months before your event; here are the specific steps you’ll need to take on that journey.

Six months before event:

  1. Make a master list of your targeted media. Research their requirements for submitting event listings or press information and the relevant deadlines, noting their preferred method of submission (example: do they prefer you mail or email your press kit?). Make a calendar noting when each mailing/email should go out leading up to the event.
  2. Produce the materials needed for all your selected media outlets (see contents of Press Kit). Continue reading

A Page From Our Handbook: Assembling a Press Kit

Online press kit for "Leviathan" (2013)Online press kit for Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel’s Creative Capital-supported project, Leviathan

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.

Open CallDevelop A Press Kit
A Press or Info Kit is a great way to present your promotional materials in one cohesive, compelling package. A Press Kit can exist as a printed packet or in electronic format as a download on your website or your presenter’s site. It usually includes:

  1. Cover letter (for printed kits; always customize it!)
  2. Work samples that are labeled
  3. Artist biography and/or one-page resume
  4. Invitation/announcement to opening/event/reading (if available)
  5. Recent reviews, or a pull-quote sheet (excerpts from reviews, essays or other types of writing about your work) Continue reading

A Page from Our Handbook: Developing a Promotional Strategy

Penny LaneFilmmaker Penny Lane presenting on her work at the 2012 Creative Capital Artist Retreat

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.

Open CallPromoting your work is communicating about your art to others. It’s sharing your ideas, your dedication and your passion concerning a significant part of your life. You have made an enormous investment of time and energy in creating your art. Promoting your work honors that commitment and, as such, needs to become another part of your creative process. Continue reading

A Page from Our Handbook: Building Your Internet Presence

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.

Building Your Internet Presence
Because the Internet is contemporary culture’s primary means for communication and information dissemination, having an active online presence is essential for artists. The web continues to rapidly evolve, so what follows are some basic ways to think about building and refining how you represent yourself and your work online.

Keep in mind that more is not always better. Some artists use nothing but a Facebook fan page and Twitter feed as their online presence and do just fine, while others have six blogs, three websites and many social media outlets, but it’s hard to understand what they do. What’s most important is for you to find the best way to communicate the clarity, force and excellence of your work and put that online.  Continue reading

A Page From Our Handbook: Creating Your Artist Resume

Every few weeks, we’ll be posting tips straight from the Professional Development Program’s Artist’s Tools Handbook—a 200+ page resource we give to Core Workshop attendeeswritten by PDP Core Leaders Jackie Battenfield and Aaron Landsman. The book covers everything from writing to budgeting, websites to fundraising, elevator pitches to work samples. Similarly, each post will be packed with practical ideas to make your life run more smoothly, leaving you even more time for your creative practice. Learn more about our PDP workshops here.

Resume Basics: An artist’s resume is a listing of your professional experiences, achievements and credentials, organized into categories for easy scanning by the reader. A resume lists the facts that place you in your discipline and reflects where you have already received support.

Length: A resume can be from 1-3 pages depending on your experience and who will receive it.

Best Practices:

  1. Maintain a list of everything you have done in your career (a Curriculum Vitae or C.V.). It may not be the document you distribute, but it will reflect your entire professional history, so it’s an important document to keep.
  2. Unlike a C.V., your resume is a fluid document that can and should be tailored for a particular opportunity. You may also have different kinds of resumes: one will be shaped for exhibition/performance/publication opportunities, while another may be used to apply for jobs or freelance situations, or to stress your activities as an educator, producer, curator or critic.
  3. As you accumulate professional experiences, begin to eliminate lesser listings. Choose only the most important and title the category “selected.” This alerts the reader to the fact that you have done more than what’s listed. Continue reading