Timing is Everything.

Too often I see photographers release a handful of blogs 6 months to a year after they shot the wedding. While that's better than nothing, they're missing out on the initial surge of traffic when a client shares the blog on their social media feeds, because it's the first place they can see their photos. 

Your best bet for sharing your shoots is when your client is not only willing, but WANTING to share your link. We put up blogs before we deliver most of the time, because when people see their photos, they will share them with all of their friends and family on their social media channels, if you wait too long, you miss out on that giant splash of traffic. 

While you still get most of the benefit with SEO even by posting late, you miss out on a lot of the benefits. 

Blogging Basics

One of the things I hear the most from photographers and creatives who admit that they aren't doing as good in their business as they want, is that they don't blog much if at all. I totally get it, blogging can be paralyzing and most of us aren't great copywriters (Hi Copywriters, I love you). 

Blogging is difficult. It can be time-consuming, but it's very much worth it. 

Blogging for SEO

Here's a look at our most popular pages  on our own site based off of the summer analytics data. Out of the top 10 pages, 6 of them are blog related. In all it's over 30% of our total website traffic can be attributed to blogs. 

 

The Marketing Funnel - Retention

The final stage of the Marketing Funnel is often, the most overlooked. Retention. So far we've covered Discovery, Consideration, and Conversion.

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Retention is when you engage with your past clients, and tribe members. These are the people that are most often, sending you referrals, and sharing your work. These people amplify your message, and are the backbone of any successful business's longevity.

Create content that allows them some participation, give them something to interact with, and let them share your work with their own spheres of influence. If you don't find ways to engage with your audience and past clients, you're going to lose a lot of potential with your audience. The best clients come from referrals, so find ways to provide valuable content for past clients! 

The Marketing Funnel - Conversion

It's the third week talking about the Marketing Funnel and we're talking about the Conversion stage. 

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Finally! We can talk about converting potential customers into actual customers. The content that is most important for this part of the funnel is making sure that you have a really great Contact page that makes it easy for a customer to reach you. 

Your sales process needs to be streamlined and trustworthy. Fast responses to inquiries and having detailed product information that's easy to understand is crucial to converting many customers. 

The Marketing Funnel - Consideration

Last week we discussed the first stage of the Marketing Funnel, Discovery.

The second stage of the Marketing funnel is Consideration. This is where people move from the Awareness stage into considering your services. 

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In the consideration phase, you want to provide content that helps potential customers see your value. At this stage, you're speaking directly to the people that we can provide a service to, and making sure they know we can help them. Don't put on your sales hat just yet, we still need to build trust and expertise.

People are interested in learning more about your business so you should provide content for them that shows your value, shares your expertise, and builds trust. Content in this stage should include items like Testimonies, How-to's or best practices, and Product highlights. 

The Marketing Funnel - Discovery

The Marketing funnel is a really simple concept that helps you visualize the path a potential client takes as they become more familiar with your business, your brand. From Introduction to conversion (and hopefully beyond). 

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This week, we're focusing on the first stage of the Marketing funnel, Discovery. 

In this stage of the funnel, people are strangers to your brand and are just starting to learn who you are. This is someone's first experience with your brand is. It usually comes thru content you're putting out on social media, or by having other clients share your work with them. 

This is the widest part of your funnel, you want content in this stage of the funnel to be aimed at the most people as possible. Areas that are primarily part of the Discovery stage include your Blog posts, social media posts, and any features or publications of your work. 

Since the people in this stage don't know the value of your work yet, you should focus on establishing yourself as trustworthy and an expert in your field. If you can, this is where you should be sharing free content with your audience. 

 

Every Brand is Different

Every Brand is Different

So often I see people teaching other photographers how to be successful like them in the photography industry, and it's just them rehashing how THEY became successful.

I don't like that.

Items that will be really successful for one brand won't work for another. Every brand is different, every business is unique, even when they seem incredibly similar. One of the things that I've learned over the years working with different photographers, is that you have to tailor each lesson for that specific brand. Everyone has different strengths and will find different techniques will be the ones that provide them the most value with their time. 

So that's why we're going to focus on marketing concepts and basic principles that will allow you to take this knowledge and adapt it to best fit your brand. 

If you're just going to follow someone's system of how they made it, you're only going to be an imitation of their brand at best. 

Each month, we're going to tackle a new concept or theme. We'll break it down into manageable chunks and discuss it over the following weeks. 

So follow along, learn what works best for you, and if you find something worth sharing, tell a friend.

Join my facebook group Grow Your Brand to join in on the discussion each week! 

Level up your Blogging Skills

Level up your Blogging Skills

Blogging is the single best way to keep your business relevant when done right and the biggest pain in the ass to a photographer when it's done wrong. One thing I like to keep in mind is that I want to make sure I'm posting great content that will get me traffic for a long period of time. 

Let me explain with this explanation of the Three Levels of Blogging.

Level 1

Level 1 is the basic housekeeping of blogging, it needs to be done often, it doesn't require a lot of  thought, it's blogging your sessions, your weddings, and your work. 90% of the traffic you'll get for most sessions will be in the first 24-48 hours as your client shares it, your social media feeds see it, and then it stops generating new clicks to your site. It's great for potential brides to see your work in this format, so it's incredibly useful, and it's good for SEO when you link to the vendors shown in your shoot. Every photographer should be doing some form of this.

Level 2

Level 2 is a little bit more complicated, but it's not too hard to come up with content, it just takes a little bit of creativity and setting aside time to do it. It's putting together compilations of similar subjects, or the most common, best of posts at the end of the year. If you share your favorite venues, best dresses, whatever you want to share a grouping of, it's a great way to have great blog content in the slower months. It's fantastic to link back to the full posts, and it's another way to get a previous client to share your work because you highlighted them in a compilation post. These can be as basic or as unique as you can think of. Be creative, because there's unlimited potential at this level. 

Level 3

Level 3 takes the most time to come up with and craft but it's also going to be the most helpful to your business in the long run. Evergreen content which is content that is relevant all year round no matter what. Evergreen content is a great way to educate a client or to maintain a list that clients will find useful. Consider it a resource. With other content with a quick shelf life, evergreen content will get stronger over time as you refine it. I wrote about Evergreen content a while back to get more in depth with it here

So mix up your blog and don't get stuck posting only low level content. Drive traffic to your site using a mixture of content and ideas. 

If you need help creating unique content for your business, send me a message. I'd be glad to work with you in building a marketing and content strategy for your business. 

Find your weirdness

Find your weirdness

Everyone sees the world a little differently than the next person, so why would you want your photos to look just like everyone else's? Find your weirdness, do things your way, explore your vision and be creative!

Feel free to be inspired by others, and you will find others with a similar style, but you will always be you, so let your photos show it. 

It doesn't have to be something you do for paid work, you can create your own niche and weirdness with a personal project, you'll find that the experience you gain and the things you learn while pushing your personal creativity, will bleed into all aspects of your work. 

Here's some of my weirdness, photos I took so I could try something different, either on a different medium, or just a different technique. 

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Can I have your Attention?

Can I have your Attention?

The most important commodity right now has shifted from information to attention. We now live in an attention economy. Building an audience is the most valuable item right now. With more content creators than ever, people are fighting for your attention. Being a photographer, you're fighting for people's attention. 

With so much competing for attention, it's the scarcest commodity. Attention behaves differently than any other commodity, there is a hard limit per capita. Still don't understand? Consider your own attention, it's focused on these words right now. Attention is a zero-sum game, when one person gets attention, someone else does not. 

As a photographer and creator, the best way to snag your slice of the attention is to have not just strong work, but strong context. Either reveal a part of yourself to bond yourself to your audience, or share a moment from the shoot that reveals even more. To keep and grow your audience in this new attention economy, creators will need to work on storytelling, weaving interesting details to captivating photos. 

Create Engaging Content. Hook people with amazing experiences and stories. As photographers, we are constantly creating content, find ways to share your experiences behind the photos and you'll find yourself growing your audience. 

In 2011, I was unemployed due to the real estate market crashing with a brand new MBA, I didn't know what I was going to do, no one was hiring and my resume was short on experience. I did have my camera and an idea. I wanted to take portraits of people in my city in a way that unified and highlighted each person. 

So I created This is Memphis, a stripped down raw photo of each person, over the course of 3 weeks I shot 134 unique portraits of people in Memphis, scheduled 100% via word of mouth and social media.  The project created a buzz about my work and I was able to get a job because of it, and I met so many people that did amazing things, it opened a lot of opportunities for me. 

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I got to meet amazing individuals, people that were active and involved in my community. Like Kerry Crawford who used to run the I Love Memphis blog. 

 

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Josh Horton of Creative Works came out to support a fellow creative, now he runs an entire conference to push creatives to do better work. 

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I got to photograph the amazing Grace Askew, years before she was on The Voice. 

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Memphis Mayor AC Wharton even came by for a few minutes to join the project. 

Create Content. Share Experiences. Capture Attention. Grow your brand. 

While everyone's fighting for more attention, focus your efforts on creating engaging content. Be true to your brand and your voice, and you'll notice positive growth. Find ways to connect with your audience and you'll have their attention. 

Like this post? Then you might be interested in my post about Evergreen Content

Why you need to create Evergreen Content

Why you need to create Evergreen Content

Most photographers I know don't keep their blogs updated. Heck, my photography blog hasn't been updated in months (regardless of when you read this, it's probably still true) it can be tough when Instagram and Facebook make sharing a photo easy, and on those networks you can see the amount of likes and comments you'll get, while on a photography blog... you won't see nearly the same amount of engagement.

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But for SEO, it's important to blog, it's important to try and draw an audience off of social media sites and have them regularly checking your site. It's important to have recent work posted so when a potential client looks at your site, they have something interesting to look at! 

But posting only your paid shoots, you're gonna realize that people aren't really staying on your site for very long, and that these posts aren't bringing in significant traffic after the first few days. 

That's where Evergreen content comes into play. Evergreen content is content that stays relevant all year round. 

Take a look at Grace and Jaden's great post on the best places to Elope on the Oregon coast

It does a great job of showcasing some of the most sought after Elopement places in their area, which can help a future bride make a selection on which location she may prefer, while at the same time it advertises Grace and Jaden's absolutely amazing work at these locations. If I was to elope on the Oregon coast, there would only be one photographer I'd even consider after checking out that single page. 

Another perfect example of Evergreen content is Cassie Cook's post on the benefits of doing a First Look. She found herself having the same conversations with brides about doing a first look, here in the South it's typically more preferred to have a traditional wedding, but from a photographer's point of view, there's so many positives to having a first look, that I believe it's shifting towards more first looks and less traditional as time goes on. This allows Cassie to lay out all of the Pro's and Con's, and being able to reference this for future brides who may be undecided. 

When you start to have the same conversation with multiple clients, it's probably a great topic to consider for Evergreen content. 

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Here are some things to consider when writing Evergreen content:

  • The same topic manages to come up with multiple clients.
  • You have an expertise on a process that others don't know much about.
  • Make it a Resource for your Industry
  • Evergreen Content can be updated as you gain more knowledge on a subject.

Creating Evergreen content is a great way to showcase your expertise, have content that is capable of providing results long after you've posted them, and help your search engine rankings skyrocket. 

A Foggy Winter Morning and Red Dress

A Foggy Winter Morning and Red Dress

I was sitting at home on New Year’s day and my phone beeped, there was going to be a severe fog advisory for the next morning. I immediately looked over at Cassie and told her we needed to get someone to shoot in the morning at sunrise.

Hosanna graciously was available on last minute notice and came over before sunrise to get ready. We drove to the spot but it still required walking about a quarter mile down a road that was quite muddy due to the recent rains we had. We trudged through and while the fog mostly lifted, we reached the location that I’ve had in my mind for this red dress.

Being a memphis wedding photographer, i’m always looking for unique spots and places to shoot captivating photos. I love capturing moments, the split second that gets captured for perpetuity.

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