Cross Promotion Basics for Artists
In the ever expanding digital world where it can be challenging to understand how you can let others know about your work, cross promotion can be an important mindset and tool. Cross promotion is when you work with another person or group to mutually expand your networks by sharing their work with your audience and vice versa.
Why is Cross Promotion Important?
Cross promotion is valuable because it offers one solution to the challenge of growing audiences in an organic manner. It can be very time consuming, especially for individual artists or smaller arts organizations, to be able to grow organically in a meaningful way. Instead of trying to target audiences in a random way, cross promoting can be a very natural way to make this happen. Importantly, cross promotion is great for building stronger relationships with peers. We all know that social media can be tough. When working together, we can practice generosity, openness, and abundance. Lifting each other up demonstrates that we all can get to the goals that we want to reach.
How Do You Find People and Institutions You Want to Cross Promote With?
Start with those who you’re already close with and are already part of your network. Do you share a studio with someone? Who are people you’ve worked with closely in the past? Who are your friends and neighbors who would be willing to collaborate with you? This can start a preliminary list for you to start brainstorming.
Next, think through other artists whose work is similar to yours. Do a little research and see if you could be a good fit to collaborate with each other on cross promoting to expand your networks easily without changing the audience that you’d like to reach completely.
Institutions can be trickier than individuals because they most likely have structures in place for expanding audiences that do not necessarily involve other artists. Because of this, if you’d like to approach an institution, it’s important that you pitch yourself in a way that will be beneficial to them as well. However, don’t forget that this would be a partnership, not you doing all the work for an institution or vice versa.
Where Does Cross Promotion Take Place and How Does It Actually Happen?
There are a variety of places where cross promotion can take place. It can take place digitally, such as various social media platforms, emails, or even podcasts. Although we’re more focused on digital marketing, it’s also possible to cross promote during in-person events. For example, you can buy ad space in a conference booklet or participate as a speaker.
There are many ways to go about cross promoting. On email and social media, you could implement a take over where you exchange platforms directly. For example, if Fractured Atlas wanted to cross promote with a like-minded organization on Instagram, we would provide content or have access to the partner organization’s Instagram and vice versa. Another method is to engage in interviews or Q&As if the other individual or organization has a blog or inbound marketing strategy. This can go a bit further than a shorter social media take over.
Cross promoting involves introducing each other to your respective audiences. This means it’s important to make sure that a particular cross promotion is aligned with your goals and values. Set goals for yourself so that you know what you want to get out of this particular cross promotion. And don’t forget to ask people explicitly for support. If you want someone to sign up for your e-newsletter, make sure you put a call to action, otherwise the audience may not know. Importantly, don’t compromise for someone with a large following if their values are not aligned with yours. It will confuse your audience and can backfire. In the long run, it’s important that you are connecting with people genuinely and with the people you’d like to connect with to make your community sustainable.
What Do the Logistics of Cross Promotion Look Like?
Start with the basics by laying out a cross promotion agreement. Be clear at the outset what the scope of work and the working relationship will look like so that you can protect yourself and the other party involved. Think through questions like when will this cross promoting happen? Who is responsible for what?
After you’re agreed on the work, go through the logistics. As much as we’d love it if cross promoting magically happened when we wished for it, it probably will not happen that way and it’s good to be ready. Will you be giving someone the password to your social media accounts? How will you make your accounts secure if so? Who will make the emails that will be sent out to your respective email lists? How will you track how it went? How many posts will be uploaded or emails will be sent? Carefully think through this, and make a plan.
Formalizing can seem like another step and there may be anxieties around things like contracts. By agreeing on the scope of work and having a solid understanding of the logistics, this will ensure that the working relationship will not be harmed even if expectations and goals change.
Cross promotion can open up doors to partnerships and audiences you couldn’t have anticipated. With a clear plan and mutual understanding for how this will help both parties involved, it can be a great way to bring attention to your practice.
About Sophia Park
Sophia Park is a writer, curator, and arts administrator based in Brooklyn, NY and originally from Gumi, South Korea. She received her B.A. in Neuroscience from Oberlin College and currently is a candidate for an M.A. in Curatorial Practice at the School of Visual Arts. She currently works as the Director of External Relations at Fractured Atlas. Prior to joining the Fractured Atlas's External Relations team, she worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is a co-founder of Jip Gallery, a curatorial project based in Brooklyn and online. You can find her writing in Womanly Mag, Strata Mag, Monument Lab’s Bulletin, Asymptote Journal, Inciter Art, and others. She’s currently thinking about communal practices of care, diasporic memory, and artist support. But that may shift readily tomorrow. You can also find her running some silly distance, trying to get back into tennis, or dancing somewhere.