Today we’re going to talk about photography blogs – specifically, some of the
reasons excuses why photographers seem to avoid them plus a whole array of reasons why you should definitely have a blog for your business.
I want to start off with a quick question for you:
What do eating broccoli, jogging, drinking more water, going to the gym, and photography blogging all have in common?
The answer is, we know they’re all supposed to be good for us, but (if we’re honest about it) we don’t do them half as much as we should, and many people don’t ever do some of them.
Now, I can’t come over to your house and make you eat broccoli, or force you to visit the gym, and I probably can’t make you drink more water, but I do hope to do a good job here of encouraging you to start a blog for your photography business if you don’t already have one.
So what’s the big deal about photography blogs?
Why does everyone seem to be harping on about them, and how can having one actually help your business?
For example, here’s a question I saw recently in one of the Facebook photography groups I belong to:
Should I start a blog? I’ve thought about it for a long time, but I don’t think people are going to care all that much about what I have to say, and I’m pretty sure I’ll run out of ideas really quickly…
Someone else had this to say:
Blogging seems to be one of those things everyone says we need to do, but I don’t really get how it actually helps. I already feel stretched to the limits with everything else I have to do around here, so before I start pouring time and effort into writing blog posts, I need to know it’s worth doing!
Great points indeed, and no one wants to waste time doing something that feels more like a chore if there’s nothing in it for them, right?
But, since we can’t take a leaf out of Tom Sawyer’s book and trick our friends into doing the work for us under the guise of it being fun, it’s up to us to roll up our sleeves and do the work ourselves.
Of course, that still leaves the question of “why should I blog” hanging in the air, so let’s deal with it head-on…
But, first, what’s stopping you guys from getting started in the first place or, worse still, keeping a dead blog hanging around, gathering dust in your marketing closet?
How Blogs Help Photographers Get More Business
Discover how photography blogs build relationships and bring in new clients, and how to overcome the excuses for not starting a photographer blog...
Why Photography Blogs Never Start Or Wind Up Dead
The excuses I hear most often (and I use the word “excuses” deliberately because that’s really what they are, especially when we weigh them against the many benefits of doing this properly), all boil down to about five basic issues, so let’s get those out of the way first, shall we?
People Are Afraid Their Writing Sucks
Firstly, people seem to be terrified that their writing really sucks, which is a terrible shame!
I have no idea who it was that first put the idea in people’s heads that blogging is the same as writing in the traditional sense, but if I met them, rest assured that I would not be offering to buy them a beer!
Blogging has about as much in common with writing as a paper airplane does with knowing the fundamentals of aeronautical engineering; one of them is fun, while the other is necessary only if you build real airplanes for a living.
The people that we want to come and read our blogs are not looking for the next award-winning novel, nor are they grading our writing ability like an overly-serious English teacher.
They don’t want a boring piece of writing that’s had its personality surgically removed for the sake of better grammar. Instead, they want something that makes them feel good about your photography, and the experience they’ll get from working with you, and helps them realize how important it could be to them.
So loosen up, relax, and let your inner voice and creative personality do the writing.
It’s easier than you think!
A Perceived Lack Of Time
Next up, is the odd perception that we don’t have time to blog, which is utter nonsense really.
I mean, let’s put this into perspective – all you need is one blog post per week.
Come on, how hard can that be? A single post with 300 words or so of text is all you have to write in a whole week, and the funny thing is, I’ve seen photographers get all stressed out over even that, proclaiming that 300 words is a LOT to write.
I don’t know about you, but I know people who’ll burn straight through 300 words just trying to decide what to eat for dinner or which movie to go to, but then end up eating grilled cheese sandwiches watching re-runs of The Big Bang Theory because by the time they figured it all out, it was too late to go out anyway.
In any case, I like grilled cheese and The Big Bang Theory – that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.
So please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you don’t have time to do this because you absolutely do if you know where to look for it.
As my wife, Kathy, loves to tell me – you can always find time to do the things you want to do.
A Shortage Of Blog Ideas
Another one I hear a lot about is the apparent world shortage of blog ideas, and that we’re going to run out after we’ve used up all the obvious ones like the “I know what you did on your last session” type of post.
If there is a shortage of ideas, no one’s blogging about it – they’re all too busy writing about the thousands of other things that are more interesting to their readers.
For example, I’ve been writing the Zenologue blog since 2008, and have written almost 300 posts, many of them over 4,000 words in length. Not counting the eBooks I’ve written, that’s 1.2 million words of content, all on different topics – yet even I worried about running out of ideas when I started!
Clearly, there was nothing to worry about there, but if you want some ideas for ideas, as it were, then get my free guide with 23 topics you can use over and over again.
It Feels Too Technical
With three of the major objections to blogging already dealt with, this is where people start digging deep for the next excuse, and the one they most often scrape up is that blogging feels too technical.
The last time I looked, WordPress doesn’t require you to know any programming code for 99% of the things you want to do with it, and all that’s needed is to spend a little bit of time learning where all the buttons and important things are, like how to write a post or a page.
What’s so hard about that? There are even school kids out there doing this in their spare time, so what’s stopping you?
Granted, launching a space probe to Pluto is a technical challenge and best left to the experts, but writing a blog about what it finds when it gets there is something anyone could do with enough interest and passion in the subject.
And that’s one of the important things right there – interest and passion will get you past most obstacles in business.
They Don’t Feel That Interesting
Once all the other excuses have been exhausted, the final refuge is usually the rather weak excuse that, “I’m really not that interesting”.
To be quite honest, I’ve rarely heard such nonsense! A photographer spends their life creating amazing images that make a huge impact on people, and then claim to be uninteresting – frankly, it’s absurd!
I think what people mean is that they don’t feel as interesting as, say, Vincent Van Gogh or Ansel Adams, but you don’t need to cut off an ear or be a photographic pioneer to be seen as interesting to others.
Heck, just the unique way you see the world through the lens on your camera is all the “interesting” you really need!
Just don’t get carried away and go to the other extreme of finding yourself too interesting, like the folks Sebastian Maniscalco talks about in this little clip:
The Benefits Of Photography Blogs
So where were we before that little interlude?
Yes – Your writing doesn’t suck, you have the time, there are enough ideas to last you a lifetime, the technical hurdles are miniscule, and you’re a lot more interesting than you might think.
What excuses have you got left?
With that, let’s get into the benefits of photography blogs, which are many.
Now, it is probably true that having a photography blog won’t make you feel younger or lose weight. You won’t become physically fitter by writing a blog, and I can’t say blogging will render you more appealing to the opposite sex, but it will help you get more business and make you more money as a photographer.
Making more money has to be a good thing, right?
And, who knows, that could lead to all kinds of things like less stress, reduced worry, and a heck of a lot more job satisfaction, not to mention not being forced to go back to a job you hate more than eating raw broccoli.
Plus, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner!
Let’s jump in.
Businesses With Effective Blogs Get More Customers
Let’s start with obvious one, the well-known fact that businesses with effective blogs tend to get more customers compared to those who just have a basic website.
What do I mean by “effective” here? Having a blog to begin with is clearly a step towards effectiveness, but it also has to be active and engaging for the people it’s intended for.
That’s not hard to do, as I mentioned earlier.
One post per week, written with passion and genuine interest, that transmits your enthusiasm for what you do straight to the mind of the reader using everyday language, and in a way that makes them feel like they’ve known you forever.
If that sounds difficult, I promise you’re over-thinking it.
Photography Blogs Build Credibility
Next, I could go into all kinds of wishy-washy stuff about how your blog sets you up as a thought-leader with authority in your niche, and that’s often touted as a good general benefit of blogs, but the simple truth is you’ll enjoy a tremendous boost in credibility in the eyes of your potential customers and clients.
Credibility is something you just can’t buy or even fake – you either have it or you don’t.
In most cases, it has to be earned – generated over time, through multiple exposures.
When you post on your blog regularly, with a consistent voice and style, people will grow to understand more about who you are, and will naturally align themselves with your values about photography and what it means on a deep personal level.
This is almost impossible to achieve with a simple website with a few static pages, but a blog has the power of conversation on it’s side.
The marriage between you and your ideal client won’t happen overnight, and so the conversation you have with your prospects through your blog is similar in some ways to the one you might have when trying to court a new romance.
The more you converse, the closer you get, and the more credible you become.
It’s really that simple.
Blogging Spices Up Your SEO
There is one technical side of websites and blogs that causes no end of distress for photographers, most of it totally unnecessary, and that’s search engine optimization, affectionately known as SEO.
Now, if you think SEO is a challenge, try doing it without a blog! That would be like trying to swim the English Channel fully clothed and sporting the latest in concrete boots.
Very simply – hard to do and you’ll be left with a sinking feeling.
A basic website has very little chance of getting that all-important love and attention from Google these days because Google are looking more and more for engagement and interaction, rather than a simple reliance on a few strategically-placed keywords.
What has the power to create engagement and interaction on your domain more than a blog?
Enough said on that – photography blogs help boost search engine rankings.
Photography Blogs Increase Your Reach
Following on from the obvious search engine optimization benefits, a blog will help to increase the reach of your marketing by attracting more and more new people over time.
Each time you create a new post, you’re essentially creating a new piece of Internet real estate that can attract a new audience from that point onwards, not just from the search engines but also from personal referrals and social media.
All of your pages and posts, especially those that are what we call “evergreen” content are there for as long as you keep your blog active, and will continue to attract visitors for a long time to come.
A Blog Creates Multiple Entry Points
In line with an increase in reach comes the idea that your blog also creates multiple entry points into your marketing system.
Essentially, every post and page you create instantly becomes a new potential landing page that could be the starting point for a new relationship with a potential prospect or lead.
Not only that, it’s also not uncommon to see several URLs from one photographer appear on the same page of the search results, so it pays to have your website and blog content represented in many places across the web, such as YouTube and on open-facing social media pages.
Blogs Give People Something (Fun) To Share
In a life without a blog, what in the world do you expect people to share on social media from your website? Sure, they can share your home page or an “about” page, but that’s, well, a bit boring really, isn’t it?
The main reason we share anything on social media is to make ourselves look amazing to our friends, so I’m sure your clients would much rather share something from your blog about their session or wedding, or perhaps a piece of content they actually found interesting and useful.
I mean, who in the world is going to share an FAQ page unless they want their Facebook friends to disown them?
No one, that’s who.
You might as well turn up at a party with a name badge that says, “IRS agent”.
A Blog Gives Your Photography Business A Voice And A Platform
With all this emphasis on being informal, marketing today is vastly different to how it was before the Internet put the incredible power of social media into the hands of consumers.
Like an invisible revolution, the walls behind which corporations could previously hide came tumbling down, and it became possible for even a single person to seriously damage brands that were previously unassailable.
It soon became apparent which businesses cared for and respected their clients, and which ones assigned no value whatsoever to the people who paid their salaries.
With the barriers removed, marketing became a two-way channel, and the intelligent companies realized they needed to develop a voice and a platform from which to converse with their audience.
Blogs are perfect for that.
And size doesn’t matter either – the benefit is the same for all businesses, big or small.
In fact, the tremendous value of a blog lies at least in part in its ability to give your business a voice and a great platform from which to communicate with your customers.
Blogs Are The Communication Channel For Your Personality
Which brings me to the next benefit of photography blogs – being able to use this amazing communication channel to convey the heart and personality of you, the photographer, and your business.
For example, when you open yourself up and really relax in your writing (or even through other media, such as video), your emotions and inner drives shine through to inspire your readers in ways that even your photography can’t when seen just by itself.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not necessarily easy at first, and we can often get in our own way here (I know I certainly did), but the rewards are well worth the effort, and it does get a lot easier over time.
To start with, just throw out the writing rule book and be yourself.
Tell The Story Of Who You Are As A Photographer And Artist
Talking about being yourself, a blog is also your platform to tell the story of who you really are, both as a photographer and on your life journey as an artist.
Your blog posts give you the opportunity to demonstrate to your prospects and readers what it is that inspires you about your subjects, and how you see the world in your own special way.
This element is so important, regardless of the type of photography you do, but especially so for the fine art photographer. For example, when I was involved in the Memphis art scene, I would talk with some of the gallery owners to try to learn what it was that made people buy the artwork from the gallery. The answer was always that people were more interested in who the artist was, and what inspired them to create, than in the artwork, at least to begin with.
So don’t underestimate the power of your blog to give people a glimpse into your creative world.
Demonstrate Your Photographic Expertise And Style
When you do open that window into your world, you also demonstrate your photographic expertise and unique style through the photographs you show in blog posts and on other pages across your blog.
But this one comes with the caveat that it’s very easy to overdo it!
In this instance, less is definitely more, and there’s really no benefit in overloading the viewer with photographs. You’ll have much more success if you restrict the number of photos in a blog post to just a few, around 3 – 5 is good, and focus on using words to tell the stories in your images, along with testimonials of course.
When you publish 20 or 30 photos in a single post, it’s a bit like watching a fireworks show where everything goes off all at once – it’s hard to focus your attention on anything but the overall spectacle of the thing.
Photography Blogs Build Trust
Now, as people read more of your posts, and understand more about you as a photographic artist, something very important and interesting starts to happen.
If they happen to share your values about photography, as expressed in your writing and through your images, readers will start to feel a deeper connection with you that creates and builds that most important element of all.
Without trust, you’re not going to get many clients, especially those who shop for a photographer based on value rather than price, so this is one of the biggest benefits of a consistent photography blog.
Trust also implies that you’ve been 100% open and genuine in everything you say on your photography blog because it will be painfully and immediately obvious to your prospects when you meet them in person if there’s any kind of disconnect in that department.
In any case, it’s so much easier to be genuine than to try to be someone you’re not.
Sales Conversations Are A LOT Easier!
Assuming that you have been thoroughly genuine and authentic in your blog (and there’s really no reason to be anything but that), the high degree of trust you earn actually makes your sales conversations so much easier!
Imagine that! Easy sales!
This should feel like winning the lottery for those photographers who hate the sales process because the heavy lifting has already done!
And, you’ll know when you’ve done this properly because you’ll notice people starting to ask less about your prices as their first question, and more about what you do and when you’re available to meet with them.
Reduced Friction Brings People Closer To A Buying Decision
One reason why those sales conversations become a lot easier has to do with a marketing concept called friction.
Even when people are consciously searching for a photographer, there’s a certain amount of resistance or friction in their mind that works against them just hiring you right away. It makes sense, of course, because it would be a bit foolish to simply hire the first person they came across without some kind of due diligence, but it can become a real problem if we don’t work hard to reduce that friction by helping our prospects get to know, like, and trust us better.
That’s where, yes you guessed it, your photography blog comes to the rescue yet again, because all of the things we’ve talked about so far work together to reduce the friction that’s naturally present in the process.
The more pages a visitor reads on your website and blog, the closer they move toward making a decision about hiring you or buying from you.
In that sense, the blog is almost like adding a squirt of WD-40 to your sales process.
Blogs Can Build Useful And Productive Relationships
So far we’ve talked a lot about the relationship your photography blog has with your potential clients, but it can also help to build very useful and productive relationships with other vendors who serve the same market you do.
You can do this by exchanging posts, featuring other vendors in spotlight articles, and mentioning them in your own posts. For example, wedding photographers can easily create brief articles about some of the venues where they like to photograph, or about their favorite florists or DJs.
These relationships can easily lead to quality referrals as well as very valuable exchanges of links, which are obviously good for your search engine optimization.
Photography Blogs Are Low Cost Marketing
Finally, photography blogs are cheap and definitely represent low cost marketing.
Domain hosting is very affordable, WordPress is free, and a good premium theme is a simple one-time fee. Most plugins are also free, so the only cost involved after everything is set up is your time and effort to create the actual content.
You can also use the page features of WordPress to create simple and effective landing pages that you can then send ad traffic to for specific offers or to get people onto your email list etc.
Check out this article on how to build a photography website with WordPress.
Start Your Own Photography Blogs
So, there we have it for now – a quick rundown of the many reasons why you should start a photography blog today if you don’t have one already. Alternatively, if you have a blog that’s dead or sick, you can easily revive it and start reaping the rewards.
Given the incredible benefits to be gained, there’s really no excuse any more, right?