Up until this year, I was a self-described black thumb. The few houseplants I’d owned in my life all died spectacular deaths and my garden is an overgrown mess of weeds.
And while I loved the idea of plants, I thought they just weren’t meant for me, resigned instead to a life of faux plastic and fabric plants.
But this winter, I had an epiphany. Did I really have a black thumb? After all, I come from a family of ace gardeners and house plant keepers. I was ready to give plants another try. And the first thing that needed to change was my mindset.
Instead of saying I had a black thumb, I flipped the script to say I was learning to care for plants. I read books and blogs, spent time in garden centers, and bought plants to try.
And in a few months, I went from being a certified black thumb to having friends and family refer to me as a plant mama. (Which is a nicer way of saying crazy plant lady.)
I’ve lost a few plants along this journey too, but instead of reverting to calling myself a black thumb, I’m just looking at it as part of the learning process.
This change in the way I approached my ability to care for plants is what psychologists call a growth mindset, and it’s just as essential when it comes to marketing your business as it is to my plant skills.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I cringe whenever I hear an artist or maker, in response to my admonition to blog more, respond with, “but I can’t write” or “I’m a bad writer.”
The thing is, most of us are bad at things we do infrequently. If I’ve only owned a handful of plants in my entire life, of course I won’t be that great at caring for them. And if you never write, it stands to reason that you probably aren’t great at it.
But beyond that, when we put these labels on ourselves, “I have a black thumb” or “I’m a bad writer,” it stops us from even trying. We’ve made a decision and assumed that’s the end of it. But whether it’s writing or plant momming, almost everything is a learnable skill. With a little bit of knowledge and lots of practice, we can change.
Of course, there’s another reason I cringe when I hear artists and makers tell me they can’t blog because they aren’t good writers.
And that’s because, as an artist or maker, your blog isn’t about writing anyway. As an artist or maker, the focus of your blog should be images!
If you take a scroll though my blog, you’ll find that of the over 1,200 blog posts I’ve written, few have more than a paragraph or two of text. Instead, what you’ll see are pictures. Lots and lots of pictures!
As a visual creative, you don’t need to write long treatises about your work. (And don’t even get me started on the BS about needing to write “useful” content.) Your primary job is to share your work and your world visually. Images of your art or products in use interspersed with a few behind the scenes or inspiration pics should form the core of your blogging content strategy.
And these blog posts don’t have to take a lot of time. You can put one together in fifteen minutes or easily turn one photo shoot into five different blog posts.
That last part is essential, because there’s one more lesson from my plant obsession that can help your blogging strategy.
While plant shopping with a friend the other night, I joked that I was employing the “litter” strategy of plant momming. Just like many animals produce a litter in case some don’t survive to adulthood, I’ve filled my home and studio with plants, so that if a few don’t make it, I’ve still got plenty more to keep me company.
You can apply a similar strategy to your blog. Not every blog post is a winner. Some will be better than others. But the more you put out there, the greater the odds that some of them will gain traction (on Pinterest, Google, or just around the web) and have a big impact on your business.
Blogging isn’t a one and done marketing strategy, but when you put in the work, it can have a big impact over time. And it will probably make you a better writer (or at least a better photographer) in the process!
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I know there’s a big step between knowing you should blog and actually doing the work! That’s why this July I’m running a special edition of The 30 Day Blog Boost to help kickstart your blogging efforts. Every week, I’ll give you a content prompt and tips and tricks to help you crank out a blog post (or two or three). And because this edition of the Blog Boost is specifically for artists, makers, and designers, each prompt will be all about the images – very little writing required! Class starts July 2nd but you can save $50 when you register by June 20th. Click here for all the details and to claim your spot!