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Capture The Storm: Using Current Events to Broaden Your Audience

In tumultuous times, hurricanes, protests, elections, and revolutions, “The News” has a clear responsibility to its audience. It is responsible for telling us the what, when, where, and who. How to prepare, and what to expect. The news is tasked with being objective and informative.

Art has a responsibility that runs parallel to the news. The audience’s experience of art transports them inside an individual’s experience of the turmoil. The audience of your art feels what you, the artist, has experienced. They come away having been affected, touched, or changed by their observation of your art. It can provide an insight as if they had been there, within the mental space that inspired your work. Art can help the audience understand the why and how.

If your art has been inspired by current events, an echo of your muse has put the audience in the position of those affected. The people whose empathy you awaken have a shared interest in the experience that your art invokes.

That’s your audience; where the circle of the informed overlaps the circle of the inspired.

When you’re posting work online your goal isn’t to target your audience, it’s to grow that empathetic community. You’re moving people, after all, creating a movement, gathering a wave.

Hashtags, SEO, headlines- these aren’t just moneymaking, influence-expanding tools. They’re tides. Tremors and earthquakes. Your aim is to find those parts of the ocean interested in riding to shore with you.

Let’s say you are a choreographer with work inspired by storms. With the recent events in Puerto Rico and Florida, more members of your potential community than ever are searching for Hurricane Dance. In fact, Hurricane Dance is currently a breakout term on Google Trends.

As an artist whose medium incorporates storms, you feel strongly inspired to share your vision of the hurricanes. You realize that members of your community who have previously been be disengaged are now expressing their emotional responses too. The traumatic effects of these hurricanes has caused artists and art lovers to seek others who are similarly moved, to express their experiences through art for connection and collaboration.

With your SEO and hashtags, you are fishing. Fishing for people who feel the way that you feel now, and may share a commonality of experience in general. You share an artistic and experiential cup of tea. So how do you invite complementary people to your tea party? The guests who may want to return again and again to your artistic Salon?

You could use the SEO keyword tool of your website to capture broad terms: hurricane, storm, weather, and the like. However, this is a sure strategy for getting lost in the flood.

A more effective option would be to choose a keyword or multi-keyword search term that specifically encapsulates the experience of your art. “Hurricane dance,” in this instance, is an excellent choice. Let us use hurricane dance as an example, to ensure that Google searchers for this term are seeing your website near the top of their feed.

Tip 1: Feature your keyword in the first and last paragraph of your post.

SEO algorithms will ignore a post that over-uses a keyword. You don’t want to state:

“This Hurricane Dance was inspired by the movement of a Dancing Hurricane, which made me want to create a Dance that felt like a Hurricane.”

Aim for your language to read conversational and casual. Keep in mind that search algorithms prioritize the introductory and concluding paragraphs of your post. Inserting your keyword twice into those paragraphs is an excellent way to show the algorithm that you are earnest, without oversaturating the content.

Tip 2: Stick with your chosen keyword, and don’t overdo it.

Your keyword or keyword chain should appear in your SEO, in your page description, and in the post itself. Ancillary terms, such as Storm, Lightning, Flood, or Power Outage, will add to the relevance of your post, but remember that your page has a single keyword or multiple keyword chain to which you are committed. The SEO algorithm only recognizes one primary keyword or keyword chain per page, so if you would like to target additional keywords you will need to create separate pages for each one

Tip 3: Snippet or Ticket

A Snippet is the two-line description that appears below your Google Search results website heading. Most blog platforms have a “Meta description” section where you can enter your snippet text. Here at NBTA we are using Wix, so our Meta section looks like this:

The Meta section serves a dual function. If your keyword appears in the Meta, your search ranking for that keyword will improve. A good Meta description will also ensure that the audience that clicks on your link are good candidates for your community. Think carefully about the description that may draw your target audience.

Keep an eye on the news. It is a good way to find your community. Whether you’re inspired by it, or you have a piece that you think relates to it, the news is an opportunity for building your base.

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