The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

Using a calendar to plan your social media April 14, 2010

Last month I wrote a post where I encouraged you to commit to a blogging schedule and I promised that it would pay off.

Today, I want to share with you how I help people to plan thier social media (I use this method myself!).

First of all, you need to decide which social media you want to participate in. For many people, this, in and of itself, is overwhelming. There are five main ones:

  • E-newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Photosharing (ie: Flickr)

You can decide based on how much time you have to commit to marketing your business with social media. But remember, there will always be a greater time commitment at the beginning, as you get everything set up and working. Blogging takes the greatest amount of time, probably 2-5 hrs/wk, depending on how often you post. Facebook and Twitter can be easily manged in 15 minutes a day. YouTube and Flickr could take more time, because of the editing process.

You can also make this decision based on what’s easiest. Many people begin their foray into social media with Facebook, because it’s the one they are most familiar with, and they are probably already on it with a personal account, and familiar with the interface. I encourage people to take things slow–to not jump into everything at once. Start with one, get comfortable with it, then move on to the next once you feel you’ve conquered it.

Next, get a calendar and create a schedule. Remember, all of your social media should feed into your other social media, and be connected to your website. The whole point is to drive traffic back to your website where people can find out more information about who you are and what you do, and to contact you if they like.

Here is an example of mine:

I set aside a couple of hours every saturday morning to write my blog posts for the week, then I schedule them in. After the post goes up, it automatically is posted to Facebook via Networked Blogs, and I also post it to Twitter (which you could also have done automatically.) On days when I don’t have a blog post going up on Facebook, I try to share a link that I’ve enjoyed on my Facebook fan page, and I like to retweet links on Twitter whenever I find something interesting.

The key to having a social media strategy is to plan out some things you want to post, but to also be flexible about posting things that you discover during your day that you like, and might be interesting to other people.

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Are You Scalable? April 12, 2010

Filed under: Business of Arts,Future planning,Musings,Success — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:31 am

Now, before you go make a doctor’s appointment to get some cream to help you with that, let me explain: scalability is your business’ ability to grow.

This topic has been on my mind a lot lately, because, although I love my work, my business is, in fact, not easily scalable. You see, there’s just me. And, even if I took on as many clients as I could, and worked 24 hours a day, there would still only be a finite number of people that could take on. Eventually, I’d have more work that “just me” could handle.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because I’m at a point in my business where I need to either a. stop taking on new clients because I’m at capacity or b. figure out a way to clone myself so that there are now two of me running my business.

For something like what I do, publicity, it’s possible for me to do this. I have a certain system that I work with, and I could teach this system to someone else, and hopefully, they’d get the same result. But if you are an artist, creating one-off original works of art, you can’t do that (even though Michangelo had assistants). As an actor, there’s just one of you. As a musician–just one.

So, you need to look for other methods of scalability, and those things often incude taking a small, less expensive piece of you and cloning it. So, for example, visual artists can create prints, cards, calendars. Actors (hopefully) get residuals from repeated productions, and musicians can sell songs.

One of the coolest ways to create scalabilty is to create a product that is automated, and can sell all on its own, even while you are asleep, or say, on a beach in Greece. This is called passive income. For me, it’s creating an e-book. For you, it could be selling prints off of the internet, or downloadable songs, or courses that show people a particular technique that you have perfected.

How can you make your business scalable?

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Is it Impossible to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan? April 9, 2010

Filed under: Arts Marketing,Planning,social media — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:05 am
Tags: ,

I saw this video a while ago, but haven’t had the guts to share it with you. Here’s the thing: I preach the gospel of creating a plan for your social media marketing. Heck, I wrote a book about it, and am making money off of said book. So, when I saw this, I thought: “eep!”

But I just watched it again, and I am going to share it with you. This is Gary Vaynerchuk, social media and vlogging guru, talking about how difficult it is to create long-term social media plans, because the world of social media moves so quickly.

(Sorry, there was no embed code, so you’ll have to go off to Gary’s site and watch this, and then come back)

Click here to watch it.

Now, let’s discuss….

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Are you Idea- or Task-oriented? April 7, 2010

Filed under: Business of Arts,Future audience,Musings,Planning — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:27 am

I got this email from one of my clients a week ago. It said “I love how task-oriented you are.”

People’s brains work in different ways: in my experience, I find that people tend to be either idea-oriented, or task-oriented. Idea-oriented people have big ideas, and seeing scenarios in the future is no problem for them. Task-oriented folks tend to be more in the “now” and ask, “what do I need to do right now to make things happen?”

This guy? Probably an ideas man.

And that’s me: task oriented. A doer.  It frustrates me sometimes. I’m a small business owner–I should have some kind of plan for the future, right? Five-year, ten-year goals? Yeah, I got nothing. I have goals and plans for this year, but beyond that, it’s fuzzy.

However, I have an extensive to-do list already constructed for today, and most of the stuff on it will likely get done.

I write this blog in a very task-oriented way: I often share tips that include screen casts and “how-tos.” Because that’s what I value, so that’s what I tend to write.

Don’t get me wrong–Ideas people are important, and needed. I could use one, in fact. But I sometimes get frustrated with ideas people, because at some point, I have to stop dreaming and start doing. That’s just who I am.

We need each other–if you tend to be quite task-oriented, I’d encourage you to find a friend in business who is idea-oriented, and meet with them once a month. You can help them to create a plan to get things done, and they can help you with your vision for the future.

And if you are one of those people that moves seamlessly between being Idea- and Task-oriented, well, then I hate you think you’re nifty.


The Belfry Theatre Website April 5, 2010

Within the last year, I noticed that The Belfry Theatre ( in Victoria had redone their website. I like it so much that I often use it as an example to show people of how a website should be done. Not surprisingly, the site is build on WordPress, and it seamlessly integrates social media.

I interviewed Mark Dusseault, the publicist at the Belfry, about their new site.

RC: Why did you decide to redo your website? What did you identify as not
working with the old one?

MD: We’ve always tweaked our website year to year – I think you have to – technology changes and you have to address how your audience uses and engages with your site. This past year was a more radical change as we moved from building the site with Dreamweaver to a more custom job.

Many things weren’t working with the previous versions – we couldn’t feed our site from our online resources (Flickr, Facebook, YouTube) and while we could update the site in-house it was quite a tedious process.

RC: Who was involved in the planning of the new site? How long did it take?

MD: About two years ago I read Getting to First Base by Julie Szabo and Darren Barefoot from Capulet Communications, (note: this book is now called Friends with Benefits) and then was fortunate enough to meet them in person to talk about what our website could be and what we needed to consider. As we in the theatre tend to work from season to season it took about a year to redesign the website. I spent most of that time thinking and gathering ideas to incorporate.

I mapped out the site, roughed out some page designs and then Darren Giles, our web designer and Sam Estok, our web developer, brought their skills to the project and we tweak along the way. Once we decided on the direction,  it took about two weeks to design the navigation menu, add the copy and build the pages. Sam has his head deep in code so he’s always looking for new ways of tweaking things. I should add that the site is essentially designed and built in-house – Darren used to work in our Box Office and Sam is one of our technicians.

RC: Why did you decide to make it so clean and simple and white? Was there any
opposition to this? (ie: some people might think it was boring)

MD: It’s an aesthetic we like and I think it works well with and reinforces our offline marketing and branding.

RC: Was there opposition?

MD: You bet – everyone has an idea about what a website should look like and what it should do. I probably get an email stating “your website sucks” five times a year.

We get two kinds of complaints, one aesthetic – those who feel we should have more pictures on the index page and and the other technical – those who don’t like how the site works on their mobile devices.

Most of the changes we have made over the years have been as a result of what people say they would like to see – right now we are working on a redesign and, with Sam on board, we have the skills to address the technical aspects of making the site more mobile friendly. That said I think people need to have some patience – how many different browsers does a designer or developer have to take into account? I think it’s really tough to stay on top of all the technology and have a good sense of design – you tend to get one or the other.

RC: What platform did you use to build the site?

MD: The whole website is essentially a blog. The site is built on WordPress using the theme “Thesis” by Chris Pearson. Sam, our web developer, has done a lot of coding deep inside – he taught himself php and javascript to take this on.

We were not keen to mess with our SEO so Thesis and WordPress were a great combination for us.

RC: My favorite thing about your site is how you incorporate social media right
in. Whose idea was this, and how hard was it to accomplish?

MD: Incorporating social media into the site came from reading Julie and Darren’s book and from studying what other sites were doing. In our site Sam got the API’s from each online channel and then made the code changes. This doesn’t have to be hard (there are a ton of wordpress plugins to help you) but you need to consider the aesthetic too.

RC: What has been the reaction to the new site?

MD: Overall, and with the exceptions noted above, the reaction has been positive. People, especially the media, have embraced the site’s ability to deliver things like photos, videos and our calendar – this certainly saves me a ton of time.

The site will change over the next couple of months – the navigation menu will be reconfigured, a mobile version will be released and we are looking to add every webpage from every show we have done since starting our first website back in 1996.

RC: Thanks, Mark!

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April Workshops April 2, 2010

Filed under: social media,Workshops — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:15 am
Tags: , , ,

For some, April showers bring May flowers. For me, it brings four (yipes!) workshops:

Social media for Visual Artists (with Kris Krug)
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
4:00pm – 5:00pm
Diane Farris Gallery
1590 W 7th Street

Attention: This event is free of charge and limited to 35 people.
Please RSVP by email to or by phone (604)737-2629 with Stacey.

Social Media and Web 2.0 is the newest and most exciting way to market your art work. But the choices are dazzling: Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr–what’s best for you, and where do you start?

Kris Krug and Rebecca Coleman will introduce you to the new and exciting world of Social Media Marketing. This one-hour workshop will include:

* The theory behind social media and how it works
* A brief introduction to each of the main social media platforms, with examples of how you can use them for marketing your work
* A Q & A period, where Kris and Rebecca will address specific concerns from the audience.

Social Media for Artists
April 17, 1:30-4:30 pm
Richmond Cultural Centre
Art at Work is Richmond’s second annual arts symposium, a full day of professional development workshops and talks for members of the local arts and culture community.

More information

Demystifying Social Media (with Simon Ogden)

April 27
9:30-12:30 (Part 1)
1:30-4:30 (Part 2)
Alliance For Arts and Culture, 938 Howe St
$50 each for members, $75 for non-members

The marketing game has changed. The internet’s offer of instant global communication has given us a new tool kit to reach our customers. To succeed in this new arena you first have to understand its language.

There’s no point in learning how to pull the levers until you know why   you’re standing at the controls. In this morning session (to be followed by an advanced afternoon workshop with separate registration) the facilitators will discuss the paradigm shift in marketing from its traditional forms to the social internet. They will talk about what it means to join a social network, the etiquette required and how to choose the platforms that are right for you.

The facilitators have been using social media platforms such as Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube with measurable success for several years now, and will pass on the lessons they’ve learned. And they’ll examine the art of communicating and building relationships within this compelling new world.

More information

Teleclass: Can Artists Be Friends With Money? (with Shell Tain)
Tuesday, May 4th (yes, I know, it’s technically in May–but its very close to April 🙂 )
10:15am to 11:15 p.m. Pacific (1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Eastern)
Registration: at
Fee: FREE…your only cost for this teleclass is your regular long distance call charges.

As creatives, you just want to be creative!  You are passionate about your art, and you want to spend all of your time doing that.  You do not want to spend time thinking about how to pay the rent, how to market yourself, and how to create more income.  If you want to survive, thrive, and even prosper as an artist, you need to get clear about your relationship with money.
§        Does it feel like money is some mysterious thing that no one ever really explained to you?
§        Do you sometimes wish that you never had to think about money again?
§        Does crunching numbers sound about as fun as a root canal?
Money coach, Shell Tain will be with us to point out the money related road blocks that keep us stuck in the mindset of being starving artists.  Shell has a no-number-crunching approach to money that helps us see it in new ways.  You’ll leave this call with some new perspectives and ideas about you, money and about your relationship with it.
Together, these two will lead you towards untangling some of the money thinking that keeps road blocking you on your way to being both a creative and a prosperous artist.

The teleclass format is interactive.   When you register, you will receive a phone number and a PIN.  All you need to do is call the phone number at the time of the call.  When directed, punch in the PIN number and you will be on a conference type call with the other participants.  It’s that easy.

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