Saturday, 23 January 2016

Why should photographer Blog - My First Blog.

You’ve heard that you should be blogging if you’re a photographer. You’ve seen more and more shooters with blogs. Heck, you’ve probably even started one yourself! But do you know why that blog is so critical, and the most important things you need to do to make sure it’s worth the time?
Well, let’s figure it out!
Before we dive in, a quick shout out to our awesome reader Erin, who suggested this topic. Thanks Erin, hope this is helpful!
So, you might already have a blog, or you might be considering one. Either way, let’s start off by talking about the reasons why blogging is so important for photographers.

The Reasons Why Blogging Is So Important For Photographers

Photography is a service, and a personal one at that. Your clients are letting you into their lives, and trusting you with some pretty big moments. The more you can give them reason to feel comfortable with hiring you, the better.
A blog is a perfect tool for doing just that. It gives you the opportunity to show who you are, why you are a photographer, and what value you can provide to a prospective client. It gives them a look into your motivations and how you treat your clients—info that will be important to their decision.
And, of course, it lets them see your latest and greatest work! When you are just getting started (as in, during you first 5 – 10 years as a shooter) you are probably going to be improving your work at a very rapid rate. Portfolio sites have a tendency to get stagnant, and many photographers neglect to update them regularly. A blog ensures that prospective clients are seeing your newest (and likely best) images. That ensures that they are familiar with your current shooting style, which also has a tendency to evolve!
Blogs are also better for SEO than portfolio sites, since they have frequent updates and lots of tasty content (Google loooooooves tasty content). A well-maintained and frequently updated blog can absolutely shoot up the search rankings!
Another benefit is that blogs are a really great way for your clients to share the images you took of them! People love seeing their own photos on their photographer’s blog, and will share the link with all their family and friends. Um….hello awesome word-of-mouth marketing!! Your clients might even ask you if they’ll make the blog, they’re so excited to be featured. Take the time to make great posts for your clients, share why you enjoyed working with them, and they’ll love the experience, and spread the word about you. Win-win!!
At the core, a blog is going to let you start establishing your personal brand. You can get your unique voice across thanks to the narrative style of a blog. This is different than a portfolio, photo-sharing sites like Flickr, or social networking sites like Facebook. Your personal brand is what will make you unique. It’s super valuable.
Best of all? A blog is easy to start, easy to maintain, often cheaper than a dedicated website, and more effective in getting sales!
Now, before you starting racing off, we’ll share a few mistakes we’ve made on our blogging journey.

A Few Mistakes We’ve Made On Our Blogging Journey

We met on blogs, and between the two of us have had about 10 in the past 5 years. We blog a LOT. And we’ve made some mistakes that we don’t want you to make.
One of those was having too many blogs. We’re always guilty of that, but are constantly trying to trim it down. See, when you have too many blogs, you don’t have enough energy to put into each one, and they all end up being so-so. It’s better to have one amazing blog, than three so-so blogs. Only take on as much as you can make awesome.
We’ve also been terrible about starting a blog, getting it going, and then neglecting to keep up with posting. That’s an easy way to disappoint readers, as they get all excited about what you are doing, and then you leave them. We feel really bad about this mistake.
We’ve created blogs without really knowing the reason for it. When we do that, we end up having only a murky idea of who we’re posting for, and wind up with incohesive content, and getting a totally different audience than we expected. This makes it confusing for the author, and the readers, and just difficult all around. Go into your blog with a clear purpose and outcome!
And finally, we’ve forgotten the importantance of creating value in our blogs. We’ve just posted to show off what we’re doing, instead of really trying to make it a valuable experience for our readers. It takes people time to read your blog, so you want to make sure that is time well spent for them. Try to give them value of some sort, whether it’s through entertainment, education, or inspiration. You don’t need to make all your posts like this, as likely a good portion of a photography blog is sharing your latest work, portfolio style, but make sure you’re still taking care of your readers with useful content!
So now that you know which mistakes to avoid, let’s discuss some super important things to keep in mind on your photography blogging journey.

Super Important Things To Keep In Mind On Your Photography Blogging Journey

KNOW YOUR WHY

Why are you starting a blog? What’s the purpose? What’s the outcome you’re hoping to achieve? Without knowing this, you will be directionless and all the time you spend blogging can really amount to nothing.
Deciding on your purpose right off the bat will give you an incredible sense of control. Any time you need to make a decision about your blog, you’ll simply think of your purpose and desired outcome, and you’ll know what to do.

CHOOSE YOUR AUDIENCE

Once you’ve decided on your outcome, you need to determine who you are blogging for. This is a step that many photographers miss. It’s easy to forget who you are writing for, and start blogging for other shooters, your friends and family, or wedding blogs.
So who are you really blogging for? Is it for your friends and family, to keep them updated with how your photography is going? Or is it for your clients, to keep them in the know with your business?
This matters a LOT, so do it now, even if you already have started a blog. If you’re blogging for clients (which is generally the case if you are a professional business), then you will always need to keep that in mind, every single time you post anything on your blog.

MAKE IT EASY TO CONVERT

As a professional photographer, you’re essentially blogging to get new clients. That’s what will mean more money, and make the blog worth your precious time. So you have to make sure you have all the information on your blog that will convert readers into clients.
This is things like what city you are located in, details of what type of photography services you offer, prices or price ranges, clear contact information, testimonials of why you rock and a call to action (ie. Book Your Session) are super important to making this a worthwhile endeavour.

BE CONSISTENT

If you’re going to start a blog, make su
re you can commit to the time it will take.
 It is critical that you are consistent with your posts, but also one of the hardest things to do (we definitely have our share of difficulty with this one!).
Consistency shows readers that you are an active business/shooter. The worst thing you could do is start a blog, and have your most recent post be from months (or years!) ago. But it happens allllllll the time. That sends a very bad message to any prospective client that finds your blog!
Decide how often each week you are going to post. If you are a full time shooter, twice a week is a good amount. If you are part-time or a hobbyist shooter wanting to blog, one a week is probably very doable.
You can even decide which days of the week you’ll post on, as that can really help keep you on track!

TIE IN SOCIAL MEDIA

A blog is different than a Twitter account or Facebook page. They all play different roles in your social media system for your business. But they can definitely support each other!
When you post a new blog post, make sure to Tweet about it. And on your Facebook page, set it up so your blog posts are automatically imported.

SHOW YOUR BEST, NOT YOUR ALL

Your blog is not a place to show every single photo you’ve ever taken. Instead,it’s a place to show your very best images from each session, or the very best of your portfolio.
If you just blast your blog with bazillions of images, your audience will get overwhelmed and bored. The exact number of images is completely up to you, and what type of photography you do.
Go for quality over quantity. Remember, this is basically like a constantly updated portfolio, so treat it that way! Clients will be scrutinizing each of those images when they are deciding to book you or not!

BE PERSONAL, BUT NOT TOO PERSONAL

It’s a fine line between what is personal, and what is too personal. It’s great to be yourself, and share who you are as a person, but if you start over-sharing it can make your readers uncomfortable.
If this is a business blog, you’ll have to think hard about how much of your personal life you want to share with your readers.
This is completely up to you, and definitely a grey area, but keep it in mind.

BE POSITIVE

No one wants to hear someone complaining on a business blog. It’s a huge turn-off, and will straight up lose you clients.
Be positive, and you’ll attract people to you. That’s why you’re blogging after all!
This all sounds great, and I know you’re getting pumped, but you might be wondering, “Hey Rob & Lauren, can you share some things for photographers to blog about?”
Sure can, friend!

Things For Photographers To Blog About

There are so many things you can blog about, once you start getting in to it, you’ll find yourself always coming up with new topics!
These are just a few ideas that we came up with, but the sky is the limit:
  • Recent work: weddings, portrait sessions, travel images, landscape images, whatever you’re shooting at the time
  • Your most interesting work: you can pull images from your archives to share
  • Personal experiences: check out The Pioneer Woman or Tara Whitneyfor great examples of personal blogging
  • Answers to FAQs: help your readers get the information they need with some great FAQ posts! Create valuable content for them!
  • Adventures: people love to live vicariously through their favourite bloggers, so take them on your adventures!
  • Why you love photography: let them see your motivations, and they’ll feel more connected to you
  • Promotions at your studio: give you blog readers special discounts, and make sure they know about any promotions, so they feel like following your blog is valuable!
  • How you got started in photography: your story can really help them understand who you are as a shooter
  • Behind the scenes: everyone loves to see how the magic happens!
Now, take a moment to brainstorm (my favourite word, btw) some of your own topic ideas. Simply think of your audience, and what kind of content they would find interesting, relevant, and valuable, and go for it!
Let’s finish this post off with a few more tips for successful photography blogging!

A Few More Tips For Successful Photography Blogging

  • Learn how to write for the web: People skim, and you need to be conscious of that when you write! Check out Copyblogger for the best info on this topic
  • Link to relevant information: Links are great ways to improve both the value of your content, and your SEO rank, so when you can, provide links for your readers
  • Don’t blog other people’s photos: A very odd trend. If you’re a photographer creating your own photography blog, focus on showing offyour work to your clients!
  • Use descriptive, meaningful titles: Trying to trick the Google robots never works, and the popular trend of using post titles like “London Wedding Photography – Kate and William’s Wedding” won’t help yourSEO. All it will do is make your blog post titles look messy
  • Install Google Analytics: Knowing where your visitors come from, and how they interact with your site is super valuable. And Google Analytics is super powerful and super free
  • Have an RSS feed: An RSS feed lets your readers subscribe to your blog. Most blogs have one built in, but make sure your readers know to subscribe so they can stay on top of your content

So Should You Have A Blog?

Hopefully by now it’s pretty clear that the answer is a resounding yes, but I’ll sum it up here.
If you’re a professional photographer, you should absolutely definitely have a blog. Business is getting personal again, and a blog lets you leverage that shift. It’s also great for SEO, marketing, encouraging word of mouth, engaging your past, present and future clients, and sharing your work. No-brainer.
Even if you’re just getting started on your way to becoming a professional photographer, creating a blog early will constantly improve your personal brand. You’ll get into the habit of blogging consistently, and you’ll be really awesome at it by the time you’re a full-fledged pro!
And if you’re a hobbyist? Well, there’s nothing better than a blog to share your passion with your friends and family! They’ll be your biggest source of support as you’re learning. And who knows? Someone might come across your work, and want to hire you for your unique vision! Your hobbyist blog could be your ticket into the pros.

Blog Services

Don’t have a blog, and need one? You have a bazillion options! Here are a few services to consider:
FotoJournal: Photography Concentrate and all our other blogs are powered by FotoJournal. It’s a service that we’re a small part of, and have been active in providing ideas and feedback on from the beginning. It’s the first blog platform built specifically for photographers, and makes blogging lots of images mega quick and easy!
Tumblr: A multi-media blogging service, Tumblr is a bit more of a casual option, but if you just want to try out blogging, it has a ton of fun features.
WordPress: The grandfather of blogging platforms, WordPress is an open-source option with a ton of customizability, plugins, and themes. A great option if you really like to tinker.