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Blogs Are the Future of Marketing for Photographers

Posted By Sean Cayton On March 18, 2008 @ 9:00 pm In Business of Photography | 17 Comments

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In my area I’ve seen at least three professional wedding photographers (my competition) shut their doors since December. They were all competent photographers. They serviced their clients to their best of their abilities. And at one time they commanded a good share of the wedding business here. But they’ve closed their businesses, at least temporarily, for lack of bookings.

I count myself lucky that in this economy I’m not only surviving, but growing. We’ve added staff and seen our bookings go through the roof. And in general, we are enjoying the fruits of our labors.

Sitting where I am now, I’ve wondered a lot about what photographers do right and wrong when it comes to promoting their businesses. I don’t profess to know how exactly how we’ve managed to keep our head above water — swimmingly, in fact. But I do think there are things I’ve learned about the marketing of photography that are helping us to grow even in an economic downturn.

What We’ve Done Right

Here’s a quick list of some of the things we’ve done that have positively impacted our bottom line:

1. We started a blog.

2. We followed other photographers in our niche who have successful blogs and — I’m not ashamed to say it — copied them.

3. We eliminated virtually all of our marketing and poured our energies into (where else?) our blog.

4. We choreographed the publication of our clients’ wedding portfolios online with the publication of their portfolios on our blog.

You get the picture. Through our blog, we’ve established a track record of dependability and trustworthiness. We’ve built a dedicated following.

Stop Wasting Money — and Start Blogging

The best part is, we’ve used what amounts to a free marketing medium — the Internet — to promote ourselves. Guess what? It works!

It doesn’t matter what kind of photography you do. Whether it’s commercial, editorial or wedding/portraits, whatever it may be, there is no better platform for promoting your business and your work than online, especially through a blog.

I’ll go one step further. Whatever else you’re doing, stop doing it now. Don’t spend another dime. If it’s promos, call the printer and cancel your order. If it’s sending a traditional book with prints, call the last editor who asked for it, ask her to return it and throw it in the trash. If it’s an ad in a bridal magazine, refuse to renew the contract.

Then, start a blog.

The next step in this sequence of events seems obvious, but it’s not. It’s also really hard.

You have to fill your blog with good content. That means you have to establish that you work a lot, that you make a lot of wonderful photographs and that you have a personality to boot.

Your blog will actually help you here. You will find a voice. You will be more focused on what it is you do. And the result is you will get better jobs for more money.

And what about the step after that? Promote the heck out of your blog in the market niche you’re working. Make sure everyone you’ve ever worked with knows about it. Make sure that you syndicate at least some of it through an RSS feed. Make sure your blog has an offline promotional vehicle. Put it on your business card and advertise it any way you can.

The blog is the thing. In the future, we may not call it a blog. But whatever it ends up being called, it WILL be the primary vehicle to promote your work.

It’s time to say goodbye to the old ways of doing things and embrace news ones that actually work.

How about it? Leave a link to your blog in the comments here. Personally, I would love to see what other photographers are doing to successfully promote their businesses and to avoid the pitfalls of an economic downturn.

[tags]photography business, wedding photography[/tags]

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17 Comments (Open | Close)

17 Comments To "Blogs Are the Future of Marketing for Photographers"

#1 Comment By Mike On March 19, 2008 @ 4:04 am

But if you're a bit of a cynical person, you could start a job as divorce photographer ;-)

#2 Comment By Stanley Leary On March 19, 2008 @ 8:30 am

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While I would agree that this is a great way to promote your business, I would have to disagree.

"Whatever else you're doing, stop doing it now."

Blogs are really just an interactive website. Like a website they just sit there--you must promote them.

Blogging isn't as proactive as you think. How do they find you? I believe e.Newsletters, postcards, websites, cold calling, personal visits and more is needed to promote your business.

Having a blog makes you look current and knowing about computers. Blogging lets you do more than just show images and reveal about yourself and your expertise.

I agree blogging surely helps, but don't stop everything else.

#3 Comment By Francis Vachon On March 19, 2008 @ 8:56 am

I could not agree more on that!

[3]

I can't count the numbers of cold call I got from clients because of my blog, including some stock sales!

#4 Comment By Bob Roberts On March 19, 2008 @ 9:49 am

Blogging is highly competitive. There are few financial winners allowing people to make a living from it alone. Don't give up your day job unless you live with your parents.

#5 Comment By nir alon On March 19, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

ok sean, thanks!
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#6 Comment By Alan Majchrowicz On March 19, 2008 @ 4:56 pm

Thanks for the insight, I just started my blog this year and hope to achieve the success you are seeing!

#7 Comment By Will On March 19, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

I've seen a lot of people take the "a photo a day" photoblogging route by using something like [5] and despite the fact that I think the content of this post is a few years late, it is very true that having a blog or frequently updated web presence will help your business a lot.

#8 Comment By Jared Behunin On March 19, 2008 @ 9:19 pm

I couldn't agree more. it isn't about the "brick and mortar" shops anymore when it comes to many things, not just photography.

My company helps prepare photographers for the digital age by (in addition to plethora of other services) creating for them a blog and teaching them how to use it.

Check us out [6]

Thanks for the article.

#9 Comment By Dennis Murray On March 19, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

I've started blogging in the past nine months as another means of showing fresh work on my website. (I do a lot of sporting event photography, but on behalf of other studios primarily).

It helps differentiate me from some of the more corporate studios in the same space - I can show personality and passion, and help create a relationship with a potential customer before they even pick up the phone.

Above all, it's improved my search engine results. (Take almost any combination of Atlanta, a sport, and photographer and I show up on the first page or so).

[7]

#10 Comment By Jason Savage On March 20, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

Thanks,
Great post.
Just started up mine a couple months back
[8]

#11 Comment By z-vet On March 21, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

Nice said, thank you.
I started my blog just a few days ago for this very reason: to promote myself as photographer. I do believe it will work.
[9]

#12 Comment By Gonzalo Manera On March 27, 2008 @ 6:17 am

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I've been blogging for some time now and it has definitely raised my website visits ans stats but I don't agree with the fact of not doing anything else regarding promo though. The more the better.

#13 Comment By Cathy On April 6, 2008 @ 7:35 pm

I enjoyed the article, have been blogging since last June...its quite addictive. I find myself becoming boring though, time to step it up and make sure its fresh and fun for my customers and readers so they keep checking back.
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#14 Comment By Seshu On May 10, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

I am definitely a niche wedding photographer - documenting multi-ethnic or wholly East Indian weddings across the globe. So, it's all the more important for me to maintain a blog. This is a terrific post. Keep 'em coming Sean. I'll be following your blog (this and your own) for sure.

My blogs are -

Saffron - [12]
Tiffinbox - [13]

Visit both and feel free to comment.

Thank you,
Seshu

#15 Comment By Rowan On October 1, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

[14]

Great article. Thanks

#16 Comment By Vinnie On December 30, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

It all adds up.

[15]

Cheers.
Vinnie

#17 Comment By Europhoto On October 11, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

I know you are right, but it is the greatest damage to our profession since now photographers are ranked according to their writing skills.

What about a picture based catalog of writers?
Or a butchers painting contest?

Oh Jeeze, where have all the brains gone?
Why does nobody mind or speak up?

I'm such a bad writer - [16] -that I Google rank on page four on a search with my own name.
Cheers folks,

Phil


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URLs in this post:

[1] Tweet: https://twitter.com/share

[2] : http://www.stanleyleary.com/blog/

[3] : http://www.francisvachon.com/blog

[4] : http://niralon.wordpress.com

[5] : http://www.pixelpost.org

[6] : http://www.photoadvantage.net

[7] : http://www.dmurrayphoto.com/blog

[8] : http://blog.jasonsavagephotography.com

[9] : http://prozacfield.net

[10] : http://gonzalomanera.com/blog

[11] : http://cathyzaragoza.blogspot.com

[12] : http://www.seshu.net/saffron

[13] : http://www.tiffinbox.org

[14] : http://invisionphotography.wordpress.com

[15] : http://museumofdirt.wordpress.com/

[16] : http://europhoto.wordpress.com

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