I'm often asked for marketing tips or how-to. When trying to build a business, entrepreneurs search for ways to maximize exposure in the shortest amount of time. I get it. I, however, think traditional forms of advertising are fading and new opportunities are sprouting for people to develop a voice. When I first started my business, I understood the value and importance of my website (which is, hands down, the key ingredient), but I used my blog to supplement my online presence. Unbeknownst to me, these two components became the only things I used to grow my business. And it remains the same to this day.
Blogging enabled me to add more flavor to who I am as a person, not just as a photographer. Some bloggers have an easy time posting everyday, I'm not one of those people. Writing everyday is a discipline. I practice and blog as part of my daily workflow. Sure, some might disagree with my approach, but that's fine. I don't blog for them. I write for my family, friends, and clients…and readers who share their lives with me. This site has become a place where people meet, share, and connect. That's precisely what I want.
Because writing can be difficult here's few tips you might useful to support your online voice…
* Keep It Consistent. There's nothing worse than blogging with two-week lapses in between posts. It's hard to cultivate readership when people waste their time visiting a site without new content. At the very minimum, a blog should be updated once a week.
* Personalize. I know some people are leery putting personal elements on the web, but I think that's what makes blogs great. Flaws, idiosyncracies, flubs. It makes a blog relatable and likable. Now, I'm not saying to air your dirty laundry on the web, but incorporating snippets of your life is powerful.
* Schedule. If you've been with me a while, you know I love to make lists. And organize. And keep schedules. Sure, this might not be your cup of tea, but if you think about what you can blog in advance, it takes the pressure off of sitting in front of your blank computer. On Sunday night, I make a list of what I'll blog for the week. Yes, this may seem crazy to most people, but it's how I roll. Don't hate until you try it. Then you'll thank me.
* Create a Series. I love reading Wedding Wednesday, My Favorite Things, and FAQs from other bloggers. In the same vein, I started Kisses+Disses four years ago. Strangely enough, readers responded to things I liked (kissed) and disliked (dissed) and related to random stories I posted. These stories ranged from becoming an unexpected fish sitter to locking JD out of the house, and they were completely banal reflections of my life, but it gave readers a peek into my life.
* Keep It Simple. Don't overthink things. Simply write they way you would talk to a friend. It takes the pressure off and allows you the freedom to express yourself just the way you are.
When it comes to writing about clients, I'm a huge proponent of crafting a personal post all.about.them. I don't have a questionnaire for clients to fill out in advance, I simply ask how they met. During the engagement session–while shooting or walking to a new location–I ask how they met. It's always a simple Boy Meets Girl story, but I ask questions to fill in the gaps and help me develop a story. The best advice I can offer is to listen. Truly hear what's being said in between the lines, then feel the story. If that's not your style, then try out what I refer to as the 3 and 3 Blogging Rule. And, yes, that's a total Chuck Woolery reference.
* Write about 3 things that were unique to the day, and craft a sentence around each idea. (Ex: It was a cloudy day and just before the wedding ceremony, it began to pour.)
* Write about 3 things unique to your clients, and craft a sentence around each idea. (Ex: John is the only person who can make Kate smile so wide her nose scrunches.)
If you write three unique things about the day and three unique things about the client, you'll have a total of six sentences…and last I heard (freshman year of high school, baby!) six sentences make a paragraph. Bam! Now you've crafted a personalized entry for clients and I believe it reveals a new layer to your business. Your personality.
This blog post is way too long, but I hope at least one person finds it helpful. If not, we'll try again next week! If you have blogging tips you might find useful and like to share, please feel free to do so in the comment box.