Digital Tips & Trends, July 2021

Bower Blue
3 min readJul 16, 2021

Greetings from The Birdbath! This monthly newsletter from Bower Blue takes a look at digital tips & trends impacting the visual arts & design communities. Any questions? Let us know!

Diving into what’s been on our and our clients’ minds lately…

#1. Email is still great

A supremely unscientific but intriguing Twitter poll from a web editor asks: “When you read a newsletter, do you generally read it in your inbox or click through to read it on the site?”

80% read it only in their inbox; only 20% click through to read it on the website.

As you read this email and we write it, it’s worth asking why email has proven to be so resilient. Here are some reasons:

1. it’s free (mostly)
2. it’s an uncluttered reading experience
3. it’s multi-device
4. it’s easily shareable
5. it’s force-fed to readers (once they sign up)
6. it occupies a separate space vs. websites and social media

#2 is key: Email tends to be a calm, clutter-free experience. There are no popup windows, ads are limited, nothing autoplays, and you generally only receive read-worthy stuff. (Not that brands/people don’t send bad emails. But email maintains its position as a vehicle for “meaty” content.)

People are in a different mindset when they check their email. You “surf” the web, “scroll” through your Instagram, “go down a rabbit hole” on YouTube — but you read your email.

Historically, publications used email as bait. They’d list headlines to catchy articles. Maybe they’d include the first graf or two, then say “click here to read more.” The point was to get people to the website. But, evidently, people prefer not to go to the website!

If someone is getting your email, that means they want your content. For galleries/museums, that means someone signed up and is essentially begging for your content. Give it to them! And, per above, give it to them in a calm, clutter-free environment.

So the next time you send a gallery email, consider not just teasing a hint of an article/interview. Give readers the whole shebang. If they want to click your website, they will. But you’ll be giving your audience what they want, where they want it.

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#2. Hi, TikTok

With its strong preference for Instagram, the art world continues to ignore other social media platforms at its own risk. Hyperallergic has a good take on how “Small Museums Are Stealing the Show on TikTok.” It turns out galleries/artists/museums don’t need a big IRL footprint to make it big on social media: “although major museums worldwide are taking on TikTok, it’s the less-renowned museums that are winning big.”

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#3. Hmm what to talk about…

Let’s say your podcast series has been going well so far. But maybe it’s feeling stale, and you’ve taken a break to ideate for Season 2. Where can you find inspiration for new topics and guests? Podcast guru Tom Webster, of Edison Research, has solid guidance for conducting a listener survey to help see what your fans want to hear (or, just as important, what they don’t want to hear). An audience survey is a good tool for blogs, in-person panels and video series, too.

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RECENT WORK

As Pride Month comes to a close, we’re incredibly proud to share a new video we produced for Visual AIDS on the occasion of the annual Visual AIDS Vanguard Awards, or, as it’s known to its many fans: VAVA VOOM.

Founded in 1988, Visual AIDS is the only arts organization focused on raising awareness about HIV and AIDS — a pandemic still raging more than 30 years later. The 23-minute video was a big undertaking, featuring honorees Catherine Gund and research pioneer Dr. Daniel S. Berger, plus countless friends in the Visual AIDS community. Normally, VAVA VOOM is an in-person celebration of artists and activists; we like to think our video was a loving replacement.

Please join us in supporting Visual AIDS.

Bower Blue produces digital content & strategies for galleries, museums & cultural nonprofits. (Take a look at some of our clients.)

Follow us on Instagram & Twitter to see more of our video & podcast productions. And of course we’re always up for saying “Hello.”

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Bower Blue

Digital Content Strategy / Production / Promotion for the Art and Design Worlds