You made the wise decision to build a photography blog, and published your first post, but are you left wondering how to put your blog to work as part of your overall photography marketing strategy?
After all, your blog must pull its weight and make a valuable contribution to your bottom line, right?
Feeling unsure about your blog’s ability to attract new clients is certainly not uncommon.
Once the novelty of publishing the first post wears off, many photographers start to feel uneasy.
As a result, a bunch of worrisome questions pop up in their head:
- What do I do now?
- Will anyone read this?
- How can I get more people to share my posts?
- What on Earth am I going to write about next?
- Will this blogging thing actually work and is it worth it?
This is perfectly normal 🙂
Every photographer I know has felt the same way at some point.
The good news is, these questions don’t turn out to be as big of an issue as they seem at first, especially if the photographer understands the fundamental reasons why their blog exists and its function within their business.
However, that still leaves the big question of how to get more photography clients through blogging, and to expand your customer base.
If you want to work with people who appreciate quality photography and place a high monetary value on your work, these marketing ideas are perfect for you.
Let’s dive in…
How To Get More Photography Clients By Blogging
The most common blogging complaint I hear from photographers is this one:
I can’t write and I’ll soon run out of ideas…
Regardless of how you feel about writing, this is just one of many blogging myths.
For example, here are the top 7 myths that keep you struggling with your photography blog.
This article isn’t aimed at getting you started blogging (you should have already done that!).
No, this is about how to get more photography clients for your business by putting you blog to good use as a marketing tool.
5 Ways Blogging Can Bring You More Business
Blogging as a client attraction strategy works in 5 major ways:
- Your posts show up in the search engine results…
- Social media sharing helps to spread the word…
- Word of mouth…
- Direct marketing…
- Email marketing…
Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.
#1: Show Up In The Search Engines!
This first one is pretty obvious, but it’s also the most misused and abused method out there.
For some reason, it’s also the one most photographers seem to be scared to death of!
Yes, I’m talking about good old SEO (search engine optimization) and, before you go to sleep or skip this whole section, let me make one point very clear:
SEO is not something you should think of as doing to your content after you’ve created it! When done the right way, search engine optimization is something that happens as a natural byproduct of your content creation, and Google will love and reward you for it!
There’s no reason on the planet why SEO has to be so hard that photographers can’t bake it into their normal blogging process.
Yet it seems to cause so many hang-ups.
This usually happens when people try to outthink SEO or over-complicate it for no reason other than they (mistakenly) believe it should be complicated.
#2: Get Shared Far And Wide Via Social Media
Social media sharing has become an effective way to attract new people to your website and photography blog.
Therefore, make sure you have the appropriate social sharing buttons installed on your blog posts so that your visitors can easily share your content with their friends and contacts.
“Appropriate” is a key word here!
(I recommend Social Warfare Pro as the plugin of choice for social sharing).
This is the time to think about where your ideal clients hang out online.
Are they mainly on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Twitter?
The answer will vary tremendously from photographer to photographer.
The main point is to limit the sharing options to the ones your clients actually use.
Of course, just adding share buttons to your posts won’t guarantee that your latest post will go viral!
Your content must be worth sharing to begin with, and you have to ask your visitors to share it via some call to action.
Even then, don’t expect more than a handful of visitors to share your content, as most of them will just read and move on.
Take yourself as an example.
Will you share this particular post?
If not, no hard feelings, but that’s probably how most of your readers will behave too.
Of course, don’t rely only on your clients to share your content across social networks—make sure you share it yourself too.
Finally, be sure you don’t make any of these social media marketing mistakes because they can cost you dearly.
#3: Make Your Clients Rave About You
Nurturing clients who love you isn’t (and shouldn’t) be a secret, although too many photographers appear to think it is.
It’s quite simple really—give your clients the absolute best experience they can have with you.
Treat them like Royalty, and pull out all the stops for them at every step in the process.
Here’s a basic formula:
A positive experience at each point of contact = thrilled clients
Thrilled and happy clients want to talk about you.
Give them something to talk about,such as a well thought-out blog post about their session (hint: not just a bunch of photos), and they’ll chomp at the bit to send people to you.
And remember to thank and acknowledge them at every opportunity.
Here’s a useful article on how to write a thank you email that underscores just how important this step is.
#4: Build It—Then Tell Them It’s Built!
There’s no point writing a blog post and then expecting it to go viral in some magical way.
It simply won’t happen.
Instead, you need to tell people it’s out there waiting for them, and the best way to do that is by direct marketing to your email list; you are building an email list, right?
(See “Newsletter Love: Romance Your Photography Clients With Email Marketing“).
By letting your subscribers know there’s a new article for them to see, you’ll get them to return to your website again and again, ultimately completing the goal of converting some of them into paying clients.
#5: Use The Super-Power Of Autoresponders!
Most photographers fail to make use of email marketing’s most useful secret weapon:
With the field so wide open, this is a great opportunity for you to stand out.
Sometimes referred to as “follow-up emails”, autoresponders are a great vehicle to get your blog content in front of as many of your email subscribers as possible, especially those who happen not to have seen your blog articles when they were first published, before they joined your email list.
Autoresponders are ideal for “evergreen” content, which is usually not time-sensitive or concerned with a specific time or season.
For example, don’t add blog posts to your autoresponder sequence that give sneak peeks of sessions, have special offers or seasonal promotions.
Instead, use autoresponders to send out articles that are useful regardless of the time they’re received.
For example, “how to…” and general information articles work very well for these, as do articles that guide the reader through your sales funnel to fulfill the goal of hiring you.
How To Get More Photography Clients: Anticipate Their Needs
This may be the single most important piece of information you learn this week, so don’t skip this!
Now you know the 5 major ways that people will find your blog content, we can take a more detailed look at how to get more photography clients by blogging.
There’s no shortage of ideas for blog posts and articles, but the one strategy that works more effectively than any other for today’s small business owner is to become an indispensable go-to resource for your target market.
What does that mean?
Simply put, you position your blog in your local market as the place to go to when someone has a question related to the type of work you do.
For example, consider an anxious first-time mom thinking of having her baby photographed.
She may worry about how to prepare herself and the baby for a portrait session, be concerned about what might happen in the toilet department, or just nervous about the whole process.
What kinds of questions might she have in her mind?
Your job, as her ideal photographer, is to answer those questions, which you can do through the process of content marketing on your blog.
What’s content marketing?
Essentially, content marketing is a means of engaging your target market in a conversation that actually helps them by offering useful information, while at the same time raising their awareness of your brand in their mind.
Here are some ideas on what to do:
- Compile a list of every question anyone ever asked you about your business or what you do…
- Remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question…
- Write a blog article that answers each question individually…
- Create an index page with links to each of the answer posts…
- Share your new content on social media…
- Include a link to the index (or specific answers) in replies to email queries…
- If someone asks a similar question on Facebook, for example, you can post a link to the answer in your comment…
- Make sure that other related local businesses, who serve your target market, are aware of the resources you’ve created…
The ONE Mistake That Will Make All This Pointless!
When you write your answer posts, don’t make the same gigantic mistake that countless other photographers make.
If you do, it will make the whole exercise a waste of time!
Whatever you do, make sure there’s a strong call to action on each post.
Don’t just leave your FAQ posts open-ended, or rely purely on chance that the reader will be so enthralled they’ll just get in touch with you of their own accord.
Instead, you must make a very clear and appealing call to action to capitalize on the momentum you created in the post, and get the reader to take the next step toward becoming a potential client.
The normal method is to get them to sign up for your email list in exchange for a valuable piece of content (aka “lead magnet”), such as a PDF or video with more information about the topic.
You can then follow up with them further via email and through an autoresponder campaign, eventually leading to a phone call or face to face consultation.
Here’s some more information on lead magnets to help you understand what they are and how to use them.
Seriously, if you miss out this step, you might as well not bother with the rest of it…