Be Smart About Art

"I don't send email newsletters because I have nothing to say"

written by: Susan Mumford May 7, 2017 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan Mumford + Chris King's Blog 1508 views

"I don't send email newsletters because I have nothing to say"

from our Sunday reading series - a weekly blog post (subscribe here

Sound familiar? I don’t have enough fingers and toes combined to count the number of times I’ve heard creative professionals tell me that they have nothing to tell their audience in a monthly or quarterly newsletter.

I’m sometimes struck by a conversation that’s come up time and time again, yet in over four years of blogging week in, week out, hasn’t yet been addressed in this series. So today, we arrive at this oft discussed and most important topic of having content to share in email updates (equally applicable to blog posts and social media).

Some readers and friends know that an event run every month for Be Smart About Art’s London-based community was once copied. The name, format, everything, was outright repeated, and blatantly at that. While immediately irksome, it wasn’t a concern, as I’d come up with the original idea and knew that there were plenty more to come. And here’s the point: creative beings think outside of the box and have an ability up with new and original ideas time and time again.

While you don’t think you have anything to say to others, what you need to remember is that you have a plethora of material to share, as your profession is based upon creating!  

Here’s an initial ‘email content’ brainstorm for you:

Images of newly finished works of art;
Photographs of partially finished pieces;
Images of sketches / preparatory drawings;
Photographs you’ve taken that are inspiring new pieces and bodies of work (in nature, cityscapes, portraits and so on);
Behind-the-scenes images of the studio, canvas stretching, darkroom, printer, etc;
Blog posts / new pieces of writing;
Images and details of shows you’ve recently visited and/or know are happening and can recommend;
Upcoming exhibitions (from open houses to gallery-based solo shows); and
Forthcoming talks, classes, tours, etc.

When I end up in the conversation about others supposedly having nothing to say, we always, and I mean ALWAYS, come to the conclusion that there’s plenty to tell others. The challenge is taking what we’ve done for granted, as if everyone else is aware of it too and so it’s not new. As close as you are to your recent and ongoing creations, be it visual, written, conceptual or what have you, it’s something new to the wider world.

An excellent way to consistently create and send email newsletters to the whole of your mailing list (noting that this type of update is different from an e-vite that promotes an individual event) is to devise a template that presents the same sections for every edition. This framework means that you don’t have to start from scratch every time and gets the thinking going within categories, for example thinking about shows you recommend to others, pieces that you’re working on at present, and photographs you’ve shared on Instagram that present your eye.

It’s helpful to remember that people want to see into your creative world. This type of regular update is providing access, insight and intrigue, and helps to build an engaged following. Then when it comes time to send a targeted e-vite to a show, you’re even more likely to get a turn out.

Pro Tip: Be sure to share email newsletter content elsewhere, too, such as social media. 

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user name

Loving both the newsletter and blog post this week - the blog is beautifully timed as I committed a couple of days ago to sending out a monthly e-newsletter (and immediately panicked about how I am going to keep people interested and whether all my connections will simultaneously click unsubscribe!) Some fantastic tips here and I for one will be printing this out and sticking it above my computer - because the advice applies to so much more than newsletters and can underpin social media postings too. With thanks,

user name

My monthly 'art, gardens and always roses' newsletter is the foundation for my art vocation. Knowing that I have an international audience looking forward to receiving that email ensures that I live a creative, inspiring life and keep producing new works. The feedback I receive also generates new ideas for future newsletters, and when meeting people face to face I enjoy inviting them to join me in the rose garden each month.