It’s a difficult time for artists. As theatres and galleries have shuttered across the world and countless events have been cancelled, creative people are finding a dearth of opportunities to make a living from their art. Thanks to Covid-19, we’ve discovered that our livelihood largely depended upon people being able to gather. Without that, both our venues and, often, the collaboration needed to produce creative works are gone.
If you’re feeling lost and adrift, or worried about how you’re going to pay the bills, then this article is for you. Thankfully, the world is still connected via technology. It’s now easier than ever to share your art virtually. In fact, many artists are thriving despite the pandemic, because their art, such as YouTube videos or digital illustration, is distributed online. Take a page out of their book. Follow these steps to boost your resilience in these troubled times.
Take time to work on your personal brand
Every artist experiences natural ebbs and flows of work, although this current drought is certainly more serious. When you’re faced with a lack of gigs, it’s a hidden opportunity to focus on marketing yourself. You have time to work on the important things that you don’t have time for with your normal schedule. That means you can be better prepared for when new opportunities arise.
Website or Online Portfolio
Do you have a website or online portfolio where people can learn about your work? If so, how often do you update it? If you’ve mostly been getting gigs through your professional network or job search, you might have neglected your website. Does it have updated images of you and your work? Does it link to your current social media? Does it have your correct contact information? Now is the time to ensure that it says what you want it to say.
Think of it this way…Your brand is what will endure even after being off the scene for a bit. Creating a website or online portfolio is the perfect way to develop and affirm your personal brand. Plus, you want to reach new directors, producers, and curators who have nothing to do but plan their next move, post-pandemic.
Many artists are active on social media, but a blog is a time-honored and SEO-friendly way to boost your personal brand. Many companies use what’s called “content marketing” to drive traffic to their website. As an artist, you too can benefit from this approach. Create content that would be of interest to your fans and clients. People are bored and searching for information, so they’re likely to find it — and you!
Plus, a blog is a great way to remain fresh in your fans’ minds. In fact, there’s a hidden opportunity to better connect with your community by taking fans behind the scenes. Share your daily process, inspirations, insights, and even struggles. Building a community around your art is the number-one way to boost your brand, which will pay off in gigs and clients once the pandemic finally clears.
Embrace virtual art
Performing artists, filmmakers, and theatre technicians are among those hit hardest by the Covid-19 closures. Unlike writers, graphic designers, illustrators, and other people who can easily work from home, these folks have to be in groups with other people (and usually, in venues that are now closed) to create their work.
Or do they?
There has been a rise in virtual performance events, such as cabarets, concerts, and plays that are performed and streamed to an audience. Per CDC recommendations, small gatherings of up to 10 people are permissible. That means that small casts can gather in a safe location and make their performance available via video. Here’s how this might work:
- Provide a livestream link once patrons buy a virtual ticket.
- Host a Facebook or Instagram Live video and collect donations via Venmo, CashApp, or Paypal.
- Set up a crowdfunding campaign or Patreon and provide links to exclusive videos or livestream links as perks for donors
Your fans and followers want to see you thriving, so by giving them an option to support you and be entertained while in quarantine, you’re creating a win-win situation.
Offer digital content
As mentioned above, you can take this time to start blogging about your art. You can also create digital content that’s of value to your fans. This tactic helps establish you as an influential member of your artist community. For example, many of the world’s top writers already do this: They offer courses, e-books, and videos that help other writers become successful. Any artist can do this.
Can you make a YouTube video demonstrating your oil painting technique? How about offering a virtual dance class through Zoom? Or going Facebook live for a makeup demo? These strategies not only help you connect with a bored audience, but also can provide you with a source of income. Here are some ideas:
- Host a virtual dance workshop and charge people to access the livestream.
- Create an automated e-course on acting that people can access for a one-time payment.
- Offer virtual coaching via WhatsApp for a regular fee.
Think outside the box. Query your friends and followers to see what type of content they’d be interested in seeing, and be sure to market it on your social media channels.
As you’re cooped up in your home studio, it’s time to think about expanding and growing your brand and building a community around your art. People are hungry for entertainment, so it’s worth the effort to reach them where they are. When we emerge from this crisis, you’ll have a strong digital presence and potentially several new income streams! So, don’t despair: It’s possible to still make a living from your art during Covid-19. Go digital and see what new opportunities you can forge.
Need help with your website or personal brand? How about a creative coach to guide you through the process? We at Free Ring Circus understand the challenges of being a professional artist. During this challenging time, we’re here to support you with free and discounted design services. Reach out at [email protected].