Writing Tips

Personal branding isn't as scary as you think.

As an artist or creative entrepreneur who deals with making work that is close to your heart, incredibly intuitive and part of how you simply are as a human being, it can feel impossible to translate your work into words and marketing efforts that mean something real, that make an impact on the people that matter, and that feel right to you.

As a small business owner—artists and creative entrepreneurs, that’s you—you may be unsure of your personal brand. You may be thinking, “Do I even need one? ‘Brand’ sounds like a word that only corporate companies use.” 

But you do have a serious business: your work. And you do indeed have a personal brand, it already exists within you.

That's why we created a free guide for you to get clear on your own personal brand once and for all. It's way easier than you think; it starts with putting your visuals into words and thinking about why you are unique.

Define your personal brand in 3 steps will walk you through it, and it only takes 30 minutes. To get this free guide, just fill out the form below!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

5 steps for effectively telling your story to potential clients

You are the only ______ (fill in the blank: freelancer, artist, designer, singer...) in the world who does exactly what you do in your unique way.

So how do you let your potential clients know who you are and what you do in a way that feels powerful and genuine? How do you recount your professional history, products and services in a compelling way when your work isn’t there to visually speak for you?

 

 

 

 

 

Here are five tips for telling your UNIQUE story:

1. Carve out the time to get it right

You need to set aside time for yourself to craft your unique story. Take a look at your schedule and determine when you most like to write and feel self-reflective. Over morning coffee? At night after a day’s work? On the weekend?

Make it count! Schedule a few hours in your calendar and show up. This is a very important meeting you have with yourself.

2. Reflect on why you are awesome

It doesn’t matter if you hate writing, despise thinking about yourself, loathe self-promotion, and would rather crawl in a hole. Now is the time to pat yourself on the back a bit, reflect on all of the amazing things you have been doing and think about why you are so awesome.

Let’s get started. Answer the questions below honestly and with as many descriptive words as possible in a free-form style. Don’t worry about spelling mistakes or coherent thoughts, just write and avoid jargon. Be yourself. No one is reading this except for you.

  • What do you do? What does your work look like? (If you make visual or physical products, get down into the nitty-gritty and describe one of your most successful projects or pieces in great detail. If you offer services, write out the exact steps you take on a project from beginning to end with an ideal client.)
  • How do you do it? (List the cold, hard facts about how you do what you do. Take nothing for granted. For the makers: how much time does it take, what kind of materials do you use, what does it look like in space? And if you offer services: how much time does it take, what is your approach and attitude, where do you do it? What are the results that people get from you?)
  • How did you arrive at this kind of work? (What is your applicable personal and professional history that has led you down this unique path? What inspired you to start doing this? Go back in time and think about the days before freelancing, or that amazing project that launched you.)
  • Who are you as a creative professional and how do you want to be defined? (As a creative, you might wear many hats, but only state the thing that you want to be known for by your ideal clients.)

OK, you’re done! Save your writing and get ready to move on with your day.

But first, schedule a time tomorrow to review this. It should only take about 30-45 minutes. Do it. Show up. Don’t wait until next week!

3. What nice things have other people said about you?

So you currently have a giant document full of information about your work that applies only to you. These notes provide the actual words that reflect your very own personal and professional history that drive your creativity and passion for what you create.

Next, you need to remember the nice and amazing things that clients have said about you and your work.

Write from memory, and if you have some great testimonials kicking around then copy them into this doc.

4. Show why you care

You’re more than just your work.

Your career path and personality make you unique, so just describing yourself as a “designer” won’t help you get new clients. Tell us exactly what you design, why, what it means to you, and how you got there. Give your clients something to care about and remember.

With that frame in mind, review your notes and take the first stab at writing your unique story as if you were telling the story to someone who loves what you do. Don’t bore them, engage them.

Set your timer for one hour.

First, clearly state what you do and the services you offer. Tell us why your services are unique and how and why you do them. Next, reflect on any interesting tidbits of your professional path or applicable personal details that make you stand out from others in your field. And finally, what are the amazing results that clients get from working with you?

Sleep on this first draft, take a day or two, and better yet, engage the help of a friend and schedule in your next meeting to whittle this beast down to a manageable statement that you can use on your website and other marketing materials. It will also translate beautifully to how you talk about what you do.

You’re close. We know you can see the light.

5. Keep refining

The goal for the next sixty minutes is to finish editing your draft down into a manageable professional story that is engaging, genuine, and all you. The goal is to have one to two concise and powerful paragraphs that are malleable enough to share on your website, use in your marketing efforts and feel proud of.

Spoiler alert: this step really isn’t the last, since your unique story will be ever-evolving and changing as you do. Roll with it and come back to these questions often when you feel a shift in your work or when you know that you have something wonderful to add.

How do you tell your story? Let us know!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

A 30-minute writing exercise to define your personal brand.

Visual artists are always asked to write an artist statement to add context to the experience of looking at their work. A successful artist statement doesn't tell the viewer how to feel, but might elaborate on the artistic process, the inspiration or symbolism in the work, and why the artist was driven to make it. The end result allows them to engage their audience in a more meaningful way.

The same idea can be applied when writing a mission statement. We want to find out what your core values are, why you are unique, and what specifically you do that sets you apart from everyone else. It's not an easy task, but by starting out with these harder questions, the rest of your marketing becomes a heck of a lot easier.

Set your time for 30 minutes and answer these questions for yourself:

1)    Who are you? (Even if your art/creative business is a side hustle, tell us that you are an artist, if that’s how you most strongly self-identify.)

2)     Describe what you do with very descriptive words. Write as thought we have never seen your work and you want to conjure a visual in our imagination.

3)     How do you do what you do? What is your process?

Don't hold back from writing your answers (or dictating them into your phone) since no one will read this stuff. Go in there and highlight the gems of thought that really stand out to you as being detailed and clear. Cut or strikethrough any sentences that are superfluous or not descriptive or not relevant. Then take all the highlighted sentences and paste them into a new paragraph. Read through what you have, and then rearrange them as necessary, making any edits that feel good. Now we suggest leaving it--shut your computer and walk away. Sleep on it. Don’t look at it for a day or two. When you look at if with fresh eyes, you’ll hopefully see what works and what doesn’t. Make edits and tweaks as needed, and then show it to a friend or editor.

This is hard!!!! We know it is. Don’t give up. Your story will surface, and you once you feel good about it, you can use it to shape everything from application essays to visual materials for marketing to how you talk about your work. An added bonus is that once you are clear on your story, it will help add clarity to your practice, as well.

Questions? Don't hesitate to email us.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Who are you talking to? Writing for your ideal audience.

If you were to write down who makes up the audience of your work is right now, who would be on that list? A great number of you might be thinking, "Audience? I have no idea. I don't have one." This reaction is normal but we are here to tell you that you DO have an attentive audience that is paying attention to your work. It may be 10 people, it may be 1000, but those people count, and you are an important part of their lives.

Defining your current audience is actually pretty easy. Let’s start with your fans, community, patrons, family, friends, curators, customers, collectors and all of the people who love you. Who are they? Write them down on a big list, and voila, you have your core. From here, it's time to grow, but this original list includes the people you need to hold onto and think about when you share your work online.

Now that you have realized that you do have a tribe that supports you, you realize that you want more. You want to build to a bigger audience of people who do not know you, and you want them to support your work. You want your work to be seen, respected and embraced. You want to stand out from the crowd.

Your work should definitely speak for itself, but there is more to your world as an artist or maker than what they see online. The inside scoop to who you are and why you make your work could resonate with a larger number of people, and it all starts with your unique story. How can you give your audience important insight into your work so they can connect with you on a deeper level?

Here is the plan.

It's time to define your IDEAL AUDIENCE. Who are the people you know of that you want to share your work with? Maybe you know them personally but maybe you do not. This could be anyone: a curator, a new buyer, someone with interests that are similar to yours. Who are your peers, related organizations, people and organizations that you admire? All of these people can support you and your work, and together you can make things happen. 

Remember that the world is vast past your studio/office doors, and you will find your ideal audience. But to keep them around, you need to bring value to their lives by building your narrative and sharing your story in small pieces over time. The key here is time. Just as you build a friendship or other relationship over time, as people get to know you in small pieces, writing for your ideal audience functions in the same way. Sharing who you are behind the work is a wonderful way to cultivate your personal brand and let people in, so that they can know you, trust you, and support you.

Here are some ideas to try sharing with your ideal audience:

  • Share moments of your past work or experiences in writing and images.
  • Describe behind-the-scenes moments of your work.
  • Blog about topics that are relevant to your work.

Remember to keep the information you share relevant to your work; don't go off topic or share too much personal information (unless that is a selling point to your brand.) The key is for people to get to know the amazing person behind the work and how you do it. Build your audience genuinely and organically so that you can make real connections, and continue to make your work, stand out, and shine.

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Inspiring and simple ways to incorporate writing in your practice.

In our last post, we defined why writing is the crucial skill to getting what you want. You need to put words to your work that will translate to how you speak about it, how you write your statements and project descriptions, and how you market your work. In this post, we are going to share how to incorporate new writing habits in small, effective ways into your daily practice.

We want to take a moment and recognize that writing may be very difficult for many of you. You turn to a visual, performative or sonic medium to articulate your ideas. Perhaps English isn't your primary language. Maybe you are creating a product that sells itself it's so beautiful. Or maybe you are really good at talking through issues and problems and when you sit down to write, it falls short from what is in your head. You could struggle with dyslexia. We have encountered all of these obstacles with our clients and we still hold firm: writing is essential to your practice. But we are going to find the BEST way to fit it into your practice.

What kind of writing exercises can work for you?

  • Dictate and transcribe later. For those of you who struggle to sit down and actually write, try recording your voice and transcribing your thoughts later. This has worked really well for dyslexic artists and those who simply struggle with writing. It's a very freeing exercise.
  • Journal on paper or online, and always have it with you. Keep a sacred place where you can jot down thoughts as they arise and always have it with you. If not handwritten, then on your phone. Keep lists, dream up titles, write down goals, questions you have about your work, etc.

  • Read and take notes. Sometimes we can feel tongue-tied and stuck when trying to conjure words that support our work. Try reading anything – fiction, non-fiction, essays about people you admire – that can inspire you and find language there that speaks to you that you can translate into your own thoughts.

  • Write upon waking. Can you spare ten minutes in the morning to clear your head for the day and write your goals? Is this a time where you feel content and inspired? Use it to your advantage and write upon waking.

  • 30-second habit. As soon as you finish a conversation, stop listening to music, podcast, or lecture, write down your thoughts and reaction within the first thirty seconds before distraction sets in.

  • Daily habits and a recap. Setting aside time to write can be tedious, but we suggest it happens daily, even if it’s a few notes. Writers don’t always want to write, often time they do not, but it’s about getting into a habit, even if it’s painful at first. Maybe you are spending five minutes at the end of each day thinking and prepping for tomorrow’s goals—write them down, cross them off, repeat. It’s very satisfying.

If you've worked with us in the past or have read through our blog posts, we tend to tactfully nag all of our people a lot on this subject: writing is the most crucial start to opening up doors of opportunity.  Remember, no one is reading these exercises, they are solely for you. It is a way to create an archive of words, thoughts and concepts that will not flee from your brain. Don't hold back and start in on a new habit today. One of our clients recently wrote us: " Thank you so much for the structure you have given me to gracefully work through a wonderful creative life." And a lot of this structure is based in writing. Get in touch to see if we can help!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Why writing is crucial for your practice, even for visual people.

Over the next few weeks we are going to be exploring how and why writing is an absolutely crucial part of your practice. No matter what your medium is, what your profession is or what your product is, you need to be able to write about it. Writing about yourself and your work is not easy, but there are ways to make it something to look forward to and relatively painless.

We often refer to your “unique story" as an artist or creative entrepreneur and you may be thinking, I know I am unique but it's really hard for me to articulate why. Your unique story is a description of who you are, what you do, and why you do it, with a sprinkling of how you got there. This story gives you a framework to share your work and put yourself out there. It’s a tool to help you get the opportunities you want, and it translates into the written, verbal and visual presentation of you and your work.

writing-july1.jpg

The most important part of effectively figuring out your story is to find ways to incorporate writing into your practice and your daily life. Hands-down, writing is the answer most of our clients give when we ask them what they struggle with the most. Yet writing is the most effective tool in articulating your unique story so that you can eventually talk about it with ease. Even our clients who are writers, not just visual artists, have trouble writing about themselves, because it can be hard to see yourself from an outside perspective. It happens to us all.

The act of writing consistently helps with:

  • Working out problems: jotting notes down about your work gives language to ideas that could be abstract at the moment.

  • Being prepared for opportunities: having the right written tools on hand will help prepare you for an artist talk, applying to opportunities, and more.

  • Getting the things you want: words on paper make it easier to actually talk about what you do, being able to write effective emails and notes to strangers and colleagues is also an important skill. Being clear, thoughtful and articulate starts with putting words down on paper, and it can help you open doors of opportunity.

How do you incorporate writing into your practice? Check out past blog posts about writing or take a look at our Writing Package via the 1:1 DELVE Toolkit. 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Feeling genuine in your writing and marketing

It's really hard to sit down and write about ourselves and what we do. If you are close to your work like most artists and small business owners are, it can be almost impossible to see what your audience sees and figure out a way to get your story out in a genuine way. That is where we step in: we help you see what you can't see. We will help you get specific, pat you on the back and feel in charge of the story you are sharing in your marketing materials.

How can you steer clear of feeling phony when it comes to marketing your artistic and creative work? There is one answer: identify why you are unique and amazing and who you are talking to. All of the other stuff will spill out once you have this under your belt. Getting to the core points of your unique story and identifying your ideal audience is hard work, however. Here are some ideas to get you in the right mindset:

  • Write out your entire relevant professional history. Your path and experiences matter!
  • Why do you do it? Why are you good at it? Pay attention to what others say about your work.
  • Look at your peers and observe how they tell their stories. There's always room for collaboration in our book, no competition. What do you do that is different?
  • What does your ideal audience need? What are they looking for that you can provide?

Once you feel good about the story you are telling to your ideal audience, you will have a clearer path for all of the other marketing tasks– everything from your identity, email marketing, social media activity and in-person networking. That way, you can concentrate on the work you want to be doing. Let us know if you need a jump start or are feeling stumped. We help artists and creative entrepreneurs achieve their goals by helping them create beautiful, genuine marketing materials

 

 

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

5 questions that will help your mission statement

Visual artists are always asked to write an artist statement to add context to the experience of looking at their work. A successful artist statement doesn't tell the viewer how to feel, but might elaborate on the artistic process, the inspiration or symbolism in the work, and why the artist was driven to make it. When we work with artists during this process, it's an in-depth conversation that sheds light on their work. The end result allows them to engage their audience in a more meaningful way.

The same goes for helping creatives write a mission statement. We want to find out what your core values are, why you are unique, and what specifically you help your ideal clients with. It's not an easy task but by starting out with these harder questions, the rest of your marketing becomes a heck of a lot easier.

Here are five questions to start with when writing your mission statement:

What do you do? Be specific.

Who do you do it for? Again, be specific.

How do you do your work?

Who are you and why are you unique?

How do you bring value to your clients and make them incredibly happy?

If you're looking for a sure way to get a grasp on your creative business, check out the DELVE Toolkit. It's a one-on-one consulting program that takes a 20,000 foot view of how you communicate your work to the world, and then we can move on to work on specific projects to achieve your goals. There is a sale through 10/15/15, take advantage! Contact us for more information.

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

How to make an amazing case study about your work.

The best case studies tell us a story about the amazing work that you did to help your client. It's a satisfying task to look back at your previous work and retrace your steps from start to finish. Let's look at an example.

The Marshall Strawberry project was a unique endeavor in collaboration with artist Leah Gauthier. Scroll through the slides below.

The questions we had to ask ourselves before designing our case studies were the following:

1) What problem did we solve? What did the client need?
2) How did we do it? What was our unique approach?
3) What were the amazing results?

From there, we could tell the story from an outside perspective, making it easy for anyone to understand the work we do. And it's also important that the case studies are well-designed, because everything should be! Taking the time to create powerful summaries of your work help create a long lasting archive of your work that solidifies your brand and tells the story of what you do while you are not there to explain it.

Take a look at our other Kind Aesthetic case studies here. Good luck with yours and let us know if you need help telling your brand story!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

3 Steps to Writing Your Unique Professional Story

The amazing clients we work with usually have one major goal: to put their best, most beautiful work out into the world in a way that engages and wows their intended audience. We help them shine

It's a fun, challenging, and eye-opening process that involves a lot of conversation. In order for us to best showcase the work of a maker (i.e. an interior designer, a musician, a visual artist, a fashion designer) or of a creative organization's project (i.e. an exhibition, a design competition or an event) we need to dig deep in order to understand your process and mission to tell your best, most unique story that people can relate to and remember. 

Here are some astoundingly simple questions to get you started thinking about how to tell your own professional story that will assure you stand out from the crowd. Don't be fooled by their simplicity, though. They require focus, an open mind, and letting go of any frustrations you have about your work. It's an exercise in revealing what is there. 

Give yourself a couple of hours to really dig in deep. Just write. 

WHAT KIND OF WORK DO YOU MAKE?
Be very, very specific. Sit in front of your work and describe in it incredible detail. If you offer services, write out exactly how you work with your clients. Sometimes, it will be easier to do this for specific projects instead of all of your work at once. Pick some successful examples of what you do and write it all out. 

WHAT DOES YOUR WORK SAY?
Now that you have some written language about the nuts and bolts of what you actually make or do, let's get more conceptual. What drives the work you do? Why did you start making it in the first place? What gets you inspired to do it? Only you know the answers to these questions, so let it all out. 

WHO IS YOUR INTENDED AUDIENCE? 
Who has commented on your work, interacted with it, enjoyed it, critiqued it, purchased it, recommended it, or told someone else about it? It can be a story about one or two people, or five hundred. Who do you want to reach with your work?

Once you've finished working through these questions, take a break and come back to all of this. Chances are, your own personal path in your profession are very different from your peers. Own this story and use it! It will lead to wonderful copy for your marketing materials, powerful images and a very clear identity. Good luck!

Interested in getting some help with assuring you feel good about the marketing materials that support your creative and artistic endeavors? Reach out with an email and let us know. We can take it from there. That one email might allow you the amazing opportunity to focus on your work, instead of feeling uneasy that you're not representing it in the best possible way.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

How do you stand out as a professional artist or creative?

Fact: you are the only person in the world who does exactly what you do in your unique way.

As artists and creatives, we all occupy so many different roles in our lives that sometimes we need a boost in seeing the big picture. We need to assure that we stand out in our vibrant, saturated, creative communities. So, how do you let your audience know who you are, tell your story in a compelling way, and genuinely show that your art work or creative product and services are so incredibly unique? Sharing your unique story and/or mission statement will give you the tools to stand out from the crowd.

Here are three steps to get you in the right mindset:

1. Write a list of words and phrases that describe: 
a) the actual work you make or do
b) the your personal professional history, and
c) the motivation behind your work.
We guarantee that the more specific you get, the more exciting your story will become.

2. Research your competition. Have fun making a giant spreadsheet of who else does work similar to yours. And remember, you and them are inherently unique. So the question to ask yourself when you are looking around is: "How am I different?"

3. Collect visuals. Words are your tool to telling your story in person and on your website, but don't forget about the visuals! What kind of materials, processes, and inspiration do you use to do what you do? Document all of these in a beautiful way, create mood boards that reflect how you want to represent your work, and then take it from there!

Good luck! Be in touch with us if you need an expert team by your side in helping you create the powerful visual and written story behind the work you do! 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

3 Tips to Write About Your Visual Work

We've had the pleasure of being able to host some really amazing DELVE Workshops all over NYC recently. A popular topic we cover is writing about your work, since as visual people, it can be a really difficult task. For those of you who dread writing or have trouble getting started, here are three ways to get those words flowing:

1. Lists, lists, lists.
Whether you're writing an artist statement or some product descriptions for your online shop, you don't want to sound generic. Start by making lists that visually describe what you are looking at. Answer the questions: What does my work look like? How do I make my work? What materials do I use? Be specific and bust out that thesaurus. 

2. Listening to others. 
Some of the most insightful cues about your work can come from friends, clients, strangers and colleagues. If you are showing your work, make sure to take notes (or have someone else do it for you) and write down key words from how people describe what it is you do. This will definitely give you a jumping-off point. 

Working on something new? Share images with trusted friends or colleagues and ask them to spend five minutes writing a list for you that describes what they see. You can always return the favor someday!

3. Daily habits.
Writing needs to take place every day in order to make progress. As makers and artists you may not be a writer by trade or necessity, but keeping a daily journal will help you gather and collect the language you need to sit down and write about your work in a clear, engaging and powerful way. 

All of these brainstorming ideas can help you identify in writing why your work is unique and how you can stand out from your competitors or others working in your field. Good luck!

Have more questions or need more help? Be sure to contact us to see if we can help with our creative agency services from Kind Aesthetic or our DELVE Toolkits for Artists and Creatives

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

10 Subjects to Cover in Your Next Newsletter

Sending out a newsletter is a great way to inform your audience about what you are working on. It's an effective tool, along with talking about your work and social media, for example, to share news, events, and more. Often times, individuals ask us what they can include in their newsletter and how often they should sent it.

First, send your newsletter consistently. If you're super busy with your creative practice, send a newsletter once a month to let people know about your events ahead of time. If you're super busy with your life and can't be bothered to send a newsletter every month, that is ok. But be sure to one out every few months with ample time before important events you want people to attend and when there is something exciting to share. Trust us, you have wonderful news to share all the time, it's all about how you package it.

And what are some example of things you can share? Here is a list of ten topics you can cover, and this applies to individuals as well as organizations:

1. Your recent work. Share images of your work, or perhaps you've updated your website recently? Share it!

2. Upcoming events. Plan ahead and invite people! If they're interested they will save the date and join you. Don't forget to remind people. We're all busy.

3. Views inside your workplace or studio. Is your workspace unique and amazing? A peek behind the scenes with gorgeous imagery can add wonderful insight into how you work.

4. A great project from your archive. Is any of your past work relevant to current events or a current project happening in your life? Re-share it with your audience.

5. Work from friends. Share projects from your friends and colleagues, and vice versa. It's a great way to reach a new audience and support your community.

6. A call to action. Do you need your community to sign a petition, watch a specific video or do you want to share information about something relevant to your work? This is a great platform for it.

7. Links to sell your stuff. Do you have an online shop or an upcoming sale of any sort? Spread the word!

8. Posts from your blog. Visual or written, a blog can be a really interesting introduction to your work. If there are any posts that are particularly strong or relevant, be sure to share them.

9. Your work on view. Has your work been shown somewhere recently or shared online? Give your audience a link and offer a description.

10. Highlights from social media. Do you have some great images from Instagram, Pinterest boards or other highlights from social media that are relevant to your work? Let people know that you are active and alive online, they might want to follow you there, too!

Good luck! Remember that services like Mailchimp and MadMimi are wonderful resources to send out professional newsletters and please make sure your images are strong and you link to your website and other relevant sources. 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

How to write an amazing artist statement (on Artsyshark)!

We had fun writing this step-step guide to how to write an amazing artist statement on the blog Artsyshark! Check it out here or click on the image below.

We were so happy to receive feedback like:
"I have to say this is the most concise and relevant article on how to write an artist statement that I have ever read."

What do you think? Will your try our method? Let us know!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.