prtothetrade

A How-To of Blogging for Antiques Shops.

In 1 on November 23, 2009 at 10:06 pm

As I write this, I’m sitting in the office with a fearsome case of the Monday Crunch. Here it is three days before Thanksgiving and I’ve got “all my daughters” coming over for a feast. (The pack mentality of an only child.) I invited a few friends too, like I always do, never quite knowing how many I asked but thrilled to see them all. I love the occasion but all I can concentrate on right now is the turkey and how to make a Quinoa loaf (to go with the veggie lasagna) for the vegetarians. What I need to be doing is concentrating on this blog…

As you gathered, it’s not always easy to apply fingers to keyboard and expect something personable + informative to come out.  But the fact of the matter is that blogs are a very effective way to stay in touch with your customers and reach new customers.  If you haven’t already started, here are a few insights to get you started.

1. Do I blog because I am or  Am I  because I blog?

With apologies to the Bard, I shall continue. In other words, why should a decorative arts, antique or art dealer blog? In that case, why should an auctioneer, appraiser or curator blog?

The simple answer is because blogging gives you another way of building a presence on the web. It can drive traffic to your website. Give you a personality that breaks out of the confines of your shop and your website. It can become, over time, the gathering place for a community of people who like your products and buy them.

2. What should I talk about?

My best advice, talk about what you know.  As an expert in your field, you’ve got stories and I’ll bet you use them to engage customers in the one-on-one sales process.  Maybe you have even put some of them on your website. Well, you just need to take this concept a step farther and blog about it.  And the nice thing here is that you can do this in your own words, unrestricted by the “permanency” concept of your website. 

  • Millicent Ford Creech, the Tennessee dealer, is a natural born story teller.  Her shop is filled with traditional antiques and some remarkable 20th Century paintings. On her website, Millicent enlivens Early British table silver by offering the history of the spoon – from shell to silver spoon to silver set.   Millicent has already done the legwork; all she has do it re-tell it in own words on a blog.

3. How should I say it?

Say it in your own words, with your own personality coming through. Readers respond to the humanness. If you take this opportunity to break down the intimidation factor by blogging, you might discover new buyers out there.

  • Rau Antiques, New Orleans, spreads the blogging around.  Rather than just Bill Rau doing all the writing,  his ace team, including Jim Cottrell, John Finnegan, Misty Blair, Philip Youngberg and Susan Lapene,  share the work.  Each one of them has a different take on things and that makes for an interesting read.  It also spreads the work of blogging around.

4. How often should I blog?

The pro bloggers do it every day. But I’d suggest you get started with a l X (one time) a week blog and gradually move up to two, three times a week – depending on your schedule. 

  • Peter Loughrey, President of LA Modern, seems to blog from everywhere. Shortly after Sanford Smith’s  Modernism+ART 20 show opened a couple of weeks ago, I saw that Peter had already entered a short blog about the show and the coverage the New York Times had given one of the works in his booth.   Although his blog that day was very short, it was a very effective way of adding “shelf life’ to the NY Times coverage.

5.  How do I get started?

  • Interestingly, Jeff Garrett of Legacy Antiques in Dallas, recently asked me this question.  And the answer I gave was “make a list.”   Jeff quickly came up with some interesting takes on a number of subjects. I can’t wait to see his blog.

That’s about it for today. Over the coming weeks, I’ll go into some of the in/outs and techniques that can make your decorative arts, antique, arts blog more effective. Until then, Happy Blogging.  And Happy Thanksgiving.

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  1. I just attended a professional conference on social media marketing. Bloggers who feel they have too few followers to justify their efforts should take heart. The panelists at the conference agreed that any blog with as few a 50 followers is a serious contender for the attention of journalists, PR firms and corporate marketers (all of whom may want to know–and influence–what you are telling your readers.

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