If someone asked us what single element has had the most impact on our photography business, the answer, hands down, would have to be our blog. It has been so crucial to the success we’ve had thus far. It is the face of our business and also the heart of it. It tells our clients things about us that they might never know otherwise. Like that fact that we’re major foodies, we’re crazy in love with each other, and a little obsessed with our cat Charlie Anne. It gives us a face. It’s more than just a place to show our work and what we’ve been up to, it’s a way to communicate to potential clients who aren’t ready to pick up the phone or meet in person. It lets them know WHO we are, which in a small business is so imperative to reaching people. There is a person behind your business. Don’t be afraid to let people know who you are. If you are traditionally-minded and ultra-professional, then let that show. If you are crazy and outgoing, then be that. If you use your blog to be honest to who you really are, then you will always meet and exceed your clients’ expectations.
We started our first blog nearly two years ago before we even had a portfolio, let alone a portfolio site. The decision to start a blog was based solely on the experiences we’d had when searching for our own wedding photographer (back before our professional career started). That was when we stumbled across Bobbi’s blog. We read post after post about wedding after wedding, and what we couldn’t get over was her excitement! Her enthusiasm! And the care that she seemed to put into her interaction and relationship with every client. You can’t help but read her blog and think, “Wow, I want to be her friend.” And even though her prices were higher than our original budget, we knew we had to hire her and her husband Mike to shoot our wedding. And it was all because of her blog. Because we trusted her and felt like we knew her before we ever picked up the phone to talk to her in person. That is why every photography business needs a blog, and why it is so important to recognize blogging as an essential business tool. It’s about selling yourself, not your photos. There are so many amazing photographers out there who take amazing photos, so why is a client going to choose you? The answer is you. They’re going to hire you because of who you are, whether it’s your enthusiasm, your passion, your beaming personality, or maybe your expansive collection of Daredevil comic books. Show yourself as a real person. Make them feel like they’re hiring a friend and not a stranger. Be YOU.
Okay, so, now we’ve convinced you. You get it, you need a blog. So the question now is this: How do you get people to read it? It’s important to continually drive traffic to your blog to raise awareness of you and your business and also help with search engine optimization (SEO). We’re definitely no expert in this area, but here are a few tools that have helped develop traffic flow to our blog. Number one is Facebook and Twitter. Every time we post a blog entry, we each twitter about it with the link, and we also post a link on the bride and groom’s Facebook walls. As a result, their hundreds of friends and family members will come to our blog to see the photos and watch the slideshow. This gives us a chance to reinforce the memory of us and connect ourselves with our brand. Another great way to pass on encouragement and also raise awareness of your blog is to comment on the blogs of photographers who inspire you. This gets your link out there and also helps build relationships with other photographers and expose yourself to other styles and ways of working. And lastly, blog often. This is sooo hard to do. We haven’t even come close to blogging as much as we need to because it takes so much time and thought, but if you want continual traffic to your blog and repeat readers, you need to give them something to read. If you leave your blog empty for an entire month or two, your subscribers might abandon you and might not remember you when giving a referral. Keep yourself fresh in peoples minds and give them something to read and look at. If you don’t have any sessions or weddings this month, take your camera along on a family vacation or to a concert and snap some photos. Blog about something personal and give people a chance to see that real you that we’ve been talking about. So whether you’re super-busy or not, make blogging a priority.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get blogging. If you’re looking to just get started, we recommend getting a wordpress blog hosted on your own server. This will allow you to choose from a number of custom templates, and will better your SEO if it is connected with your main site. If you’re looking for a template to use or for more info on SEO, check out Tofurious. These guys are awesome! It’s also a great idea to read some successful blogs to help inspire your own. Here are just a few top-knotch photog bloggers:
1. Anne Ruthmann – http://anneruthmann.blogspot.com/ – Whether it’s her super-insightful blog where she goes in talking heavily about her business, showing off her gorgeous inspiration boards, or just being her sweet, fun-loving and open self, or on Photo Love Cat, Anne Ruthmann is a blogger than you MUST add to your read list. We had the chance to listen to Anne at WPPI last year at the Pictage Booth, and she was absolutely amazing! She also used to be an Indiana photographer!
2. Bobbi + Mike – www.bobbiandmike.com/blog – As we mentioned earlier, Bobbi + Mike’s blog is so full of enthusiasm and personality, from Bobbi’s famous catch phrases (AYKM!) to the hilarious photos they catch of each other working hard to get “the” shot.
3. The Last 40 Percent – www.lastfortypercent.com/blog – This is the truly fun-to-read blog-site of photographer Ewan Phelan and associates. While the photography is indeed amazing and inspiring, we also absolutely love the writing by Ewan’s wife Brianna, whether she’s hilariously recounting their 2-year old’s journey into potty training, or giving a brief, but in-depth look into the love story of one of their couples. Definitely check it out!
Thanks for reading! -Cathy and David.
Written By Cathy and David Bock
Meet Cathy and David Bock from Cathy and David Photographers. Cathy and David are Pictage Members from Indianapolis, Indiana and have been members since 2008. We first noticed their blog because of the high volume of traffic and comments that they were receiving, we knew immediately that we needed to feature them on the Pictage Blog to discuss the importance of blogging for their business and for other businesses as well! We are so excited to have them on the OUR blog talking about one of the things that they do best, BLOGGING.
Photo Credit: Dale Benfield