Promotion is not a dirty word. True, there are people whose tireless and egotis-
tical self-flogging give the practice a bad name. But if you believe in your work, you
should be prepared to be your own advocate. It's easy to get discouraged if you don't
have an immediate response once you've posted your portfolio, but if you feel your
work has value, you must be persistent.
Advertising your site
Publicizing your portfolio is the other side of researching your audience. Take
advantage of all the connections you made in lists, forums, and other groups to help
your portfolio rise above the noise. In particular, be
sure to contact everyone who critiqued your portfolio
and send them a personal thank-you with the URL of
the final site. If someone was particularly helpful, you
might even add a line of thanks or credit in your
online portfolio. It may prompt them to send people
to see your site, but even if it doesn't, they'll appreci-
ate the public thanks.
Add your URL to your email signature, along with a line about your site's con-
tent. Be descriptive, short, and subtle. If you're good with words, try to include a
teaser that will draw people in.
Redo your business card and put your URL on it. Never leave the house without
carrying a few business cards with you. Go to art and design events, and offer your
card when you can. Both the creative and business worlds run on networking.
Contacts in the community can lead to recommendations and referrals later.
We all know that the art world is
about relationships. Artists have to
get their portfolio together, but
with the same zeal they have to
learn the relationship game.
Linking and Web 2.0 sites
A finished portfolio is a cause for rejoicing, and considerably more interesting
to look at than the results of some Facebook contest. Make sure all your online
friends know the address. Add it to your LinkedIn updates. Post work samples with
the portfolio URL on appropriate self-publishing sites. Twitter. This is not the time to
quiet and modest. Generally, you will get the most mileage out of your new digital
portfolio within the first month of its existence, and it would be a shame to waste its
shiny, fresh status. If people like your site, they will link to it, extending your net-
work and visibility, and ensuring a small but steady march through its pages for
weeks to months. Some of these visits will just be well-wishers. Others will be people
asking you for help. But if your work is good, this barrage of connections will also
lead potential employers and clients to you. Some of the featured portfolios in this
book were found in precisely this way.