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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Building a Custom Audience with Facebook

Building a Custom Audience with Facebook

Facebook allows for all sorts of targeting when creating ads. Did you know that relationship status is one of those demographics you can select? Let me show you how to build a custom audience that targets women that are newly engaged so you can advertise directly to the clientele you want.

Go into Facebook’s Ads Manager and create a new ad. Your first step is to define your marketing objective, for this one, let’s try and focus on getting women who are recently engaged clicking to your website, the ideal goal for any wedding photographer.

 

Next, you’re going to want to start building your audience, here I’ve selected a few of the major metropolitan areas that I service, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Huntsville, Birmingham, and Little Rock are all within a few hours of me, choose a few areas that you service for you. Also, select women (let’s face it guys, women are more likely to be the ones finding and selecting their wedding photographer).

You can also limit the age range of the women you will be targeting, not a huge requirement since we’re about to limit it based on demographic data, but it’s something you can do to help find the people that will be a great fit with your company.

The results of my narrowed market. In those cities, there are about 37,000 people that match my specifications.

Now that you’ve built your audience, you can set your budget for the ad, and build an ad targeting the engaged women in your area.

If you liked this tip, sign up below for my free monthly marketing tips e-mail, it would be greatly appreciated. If you liked what I had to say, and want to hire me, send me an e-mail and let’s talk.

Top 5 Google Analytics KPI's for your Photography Business

Top 5 Google Analytics KPI's for your Photography Business

Are you signed up for a free Google Analytics account? If you have a website but you’re not tracking your results, how are you supposed to know anything? How do you know if your new product offering is effective? How do you know if people are leaving your site without looking around?

Every photographer who’s running their own website to host their portfolio, run their blog, and give clients a place to contact you should be familiar with the most basic of Analytics. You should know what works for your business and what doesn’t. If you’re not able to measure your efforts, how are you going to know if you’re growing your business or throwing your money into a hole in the ground?

There are more reports and statistics that Google can provide than you’ll ever know what to do with, so for the rookie’s at Web Analytics, let me provide for you the Top 5 Google Analytics KPI’s that you should know.

1. Audience – You should know a few key things about your audience. How many sessions is your website getting, how many unique users are on your site, and the how many are new visitors vs returning visitors? Run this report weekly and keep an eye on it. You should know if a new blog post about a specific shoot brought in a lot of new visitors or if it’s your returning audience. You should know how many times someone came to your site in a week. Following this, will let you know if your content is being seen. And if that’s something you already worry about, wouldn’t it be nice to know what the benchmark is, so you can see when you’ve done something that helps grow your web traffic?

2. Traffic Sources – How people find your website is extremely important. Visitors can come from different “sources” including: Organic Search (google, yahoo, bing) Paid Search (Google Adwords), Referral (Visitors that came from a direct link on another site), Social (Facebook, Twitter), and direct traffic! You should always know how people are coming to your site!

3. Page Tracking –  Bounce Rate and Average Session Duration. Bounce rate refers to the percentage of single page visits. You want to make sure that site visitors are engaged and are looking at multiple pages if you want to convert them into clients! Average Session Duration is the average time users spend on your site. By knowing your bounce rate and average session duration, you can identify where customers are coming from, what they are looking for, and whether they found what they wanted from your site.

4. Conversion rate – As a photographer, your site is your store. The conversion rate tells you how effective is your store at closing deals. The basic calculation is (Number of Inquiries) / (Number of Visits) = Conversion Rate. If you’re getting a lot of visits but not many inquiries, you need to look at your site usability and design, pricing, copy or a multitude of other factors. This is a good metric to keep an eye on when you launch new products, to see if you can convert more people into clients, or at least inquiries.

5. Cost Per Acquisition – Cost per Acquisition is a critical marketing metric. If can tell you which campaigns can drive your sales and which will become a costly pile. CPA tells you how much you need to spend to get a paying customer. Why is it so important? Because it helps you determine the true return on investment. If a campaign brings you only clicks but no inquiries, it’s not successful.

If you want to learn more about Marketing your photography business or just want some help building your brand or providing SEO recommendations for your site, learn more about what I do.

Or just contact me, and we’ll talk about how I can help you grow your brand.

SEO Tip of the Week 4

SEO Tip of the Week 4

Having a fast responsive website is important for great search engine optimization! For photographers, that means you want to make sure your images load as quickly as possible. While most sites will resize images, the best thing you can do to optimize your page speed would be to export all of your images to the size required by your website and then run them thru JPEG Mini, to reduce the file size of your photos. 

Check out my other SEO Tips of the Week

SEO Tip of the Week 3

SEO Tip of the Week 3

Search Engines love photos, but they have a hard time deciphering what content is in the photo, so make sure to use relevant keywords in your image titles and in the alt tags. This will give Search Engines something to index, and have your images start helping you with SEO. 

Check out my other SEO Tips of the Week

SEO Tip of the Week 2

SEO Tip of the Week 2

Here's a simple and effective tip. Put the keyword you want to be found on, in your blog post title. If you're publishing an engagement shoot this title doesn't really provide any SEO help "John & Abby Engagement shoot" however if put some keywords in it, you'll start seeing some better luck with search engines.

Bad: "John and Abby Engagement Shoot"

Better: "An Intimate Engagement shoot with John and Abby"

Best: "An intimate engagement at Fall Creek Falls" 

Check out my other SEO Tips of the Week

SEO Tip of the Week 1

SEO Tip of the Week 1

Want to start moving up in Search Results? Me too, here's the best way to do it. Get people linking to your site. 

Make connections with local vendors, maybe they'll link to your blog post of a great wedding you worked on together.

Submit to publications and industry blogs. They have amazing focused audiences that are looking for very specific content. Wedding photographer? What would be better than being published by JuneBug Weddings? Nothing. 

Check out my other SEO Tips of the Week

SEO tip of the Week 5

SEO tip of the Week 5

Last week we discussed that getting external links was great for SEO, so are internal links. Search Engines like it when people click on multiple pages within a site, it's a key indicator that the site is relevant to the search term. 

The more pages guests click on is the more time they spend on the site, and that means your content is relevant and useful, which is why it will start ranking higher and higher, if you have great links to other parts of your page. 

Check out my other SEO Tips of the Week