Blogging for Creatives: A How-to Guide

This is a section from a recent digital publication of mine, Secrets to Blogging Success.

As creative individuals, we barely find the time for our business. The truth is we need to make time for our business and marketing. What usually happens is, we setup a website with bare minimum effort and just leave it at that. Most of the times we won’t even consider a blog or put in any additional effort.

What do the most prolific artists; photographers and other creatives have in common? They dedicate enough time on a weekly basis for their business and marketing. For example, internationally renowned photographer Sue Bryce says,

“The biggest mistake people are making right now is just holding themselves back behind the computer, hiding behind their website, sitting at home on Facebook, saying it’s not working. And they’re not really putting themselves out there.”

As creatives we offer services to other people so, the focus has to be on them. How are people going to be aware about our services if we’re not putting it out there?

We want to be on top of mind as often as possible. There are way too many channels available today to not be marketing your services, there’s just no excuse. It’s true; there are so many options that we can get caught up spending a ton of time on all of them and complaining about our results.

You want to be focusing on your blog. You want to make sure everything leads people back to your blog. You should be updating your blog more often then anything else and making sure people are aware of that. Then you share a teaser version of your blog post with an image on social media and drive people to your blog. I’ll talk more about this later.

So, What Do I Blog About?

I really don’t understand how someone can run out of ideas of what to blog about, write about or even talk about. Much less, how can you run out of ideas of what to create, shoot, draw, design, paint etc. There’s always something to write about; there’s always something to create. I can’t even keep up with my own list.

Yes, a lot of things have already been written about and done online but, not by you. Not from your perspective. That’s what’s going to make it unique and the reason why you need to start making blog posts right now.

The list below has some ideas for what to blog about. The following content is geared around a photographer’s blog not only because I am also a photographer but also because it’s one of the most common things people are doing today they’re creating photographs. These ideas can easily be applied to any other creative field.

Here’s a List of 15 Basic Ideas To Get You Started:

· What got me into photography? What got me excited about it?

· What were some of the first things I chose to shoot? What are some really old shoots that I’m still proud of?

· What was my first personal project? How did it develop? Where is it today? Will I revisit etc.…

· What have you just shot? Who have you just shot?

· What new projects are you planning?

· What does your shooting/promotion calendar look like for this week/month or year?

· What are some exhibits or galleries you’ve been to recently? Offline and online.

· What are some inspirational photographs that have driven you to create more?

· Who are your favorite photographers or favorite photographs?

· Who are your role models? Your big influencers.

· What are some personal thoughts you have about marketing?

· What do you think about photography today?

· What goes on behind the scenes when you shoot?

· What goes on during shoots that no one else knows even if they’re right next to you?

· Write about your passion. Write about what you love.

The list can really go on but you get the point. Overall, you really have to think about what your audience will enjoy and how you can provide value for them. I talk more about identifying your target market in my book.

Choose a hungry audience and don’t try to create one that doesn’t exist. You won’t get too many readers that way. Plus you can always do sub-niches after you’ve chosen your niche.

For example, a huge market is “amateur photographers that are looking to improve their skills”. Darren Rowse from ProBlogger and Digital Photography School really capitalized on this. He started blogging in 2006 and has now built one of the biggest online photography resources, which makes millions of dollars every year.

You also want to choose an audience that you’re going to be able to provide value for. For instance, if you’ve been doing photography for just a few years you don’t want to say you’re a seasoned professional photographer. Be honest and share everything from your journey on your blog, even your mistakes and embarrassing moments.

Push Out Your Stuff

Once you’ve identified your audience, then get to know where they hang out at. Remember how I mentioned your social media accounts would revolve around your blog? Social media is where you create excitement for people to go and read your blog posts. Your blog is the way you drive people to your website where your portfolio is and, they can then book a shoot with you. It’s a full circle.

Social Media -> Blog -> Website (Portfolio)

It’s: “blogging snippets” on social media that lead to the full blog post, which is on your website.

For photographers it’s very important to be on Instagram and Pinterest, two of the most visual social platforms. Use the “blogging snippets” technique here but keep in mind that each platform is different and to leverage it you really have to play by its rules.

Instagram is great for impactful, small, sharable images and so is Pinterest but recently I think these platforms are bringing more results when there is a focus on video. If you post behind the scenes video footage of a shoot whether in the studio or on location this can really engage your audience.

As a photographer you should be posting on Instagram at least twice a week, otherwise people forget that you’re a photographer or they just won’t think you’re doing photography seriously.

With Pinterest it’s a little different because of the vertical, board format. It’s more like vision boards that you have at home so make them interesting for others to follow you. Infographics work well on here but they do take time to make. There are several free tools available like Piktographic with ready-made templates. You can also outsource your infographics.

People love how-to articles or videos and they also love numbers. That’s why they love charts, graphs and data. Infographic ideas can be many so here are a few:

· 15 Ways To Save You Money On A Photo Shoot

· Best Ways To Improve Your Pricing Sheets

· How Raising My Prices Improved My Productivity Rate By 59%

· Essential Tools Every Photographer Should Have In Their Studio

· If I Had To Start Over, Here’s The Only 3 Things I Would Need To Have A Successful Photography Business

· The 7 Most Important Elements To Retouching Beauty Shots

· How Doing This One Simple Thing Increased My Revenue By 22%

· A Visual Guide For Taking Care Of Books In Your Photography Business

Infographics get shared like crazy when they’re good and they’ll send you a ton of traffic, for free.

By the way if you’re a photographer and are looking for work try Thumbtack.com.

Typical Marketing & Promotion Schedule

The number one thing I learned on my journey to the top #500,000 most visited websites in the world is you have to be consistent. Perseverance is key here. It’s easy to get fired up and write a few blog posts per month but then give up after just a few months, six months or a year.

For most blogs it can take up to two years to get it to where you want it to be. Don’t be discouraged. There are few blogs that do it in shorter spans but it takes a tremendous amount of resources and effort. If you have the team and time to do it then do it and do it in the best way possible.

If you’re the only one writing on your blog then know that it will take time, even if you’re not it will still take some time. So I have cooked up a summary of a monthly marketing and promotion schedule I’ve been following on my own blog and, I’ve looked at one’s other photographer’s are using and tweaked mine accordingly. So here it is:

· Blog twice a week (minimum)

· Share engaging content on Facebook daily (twice daily if possible)

· Tweet or retweet once a day

· Post a photo or video on Instagram twice a week

· Pin something on Pinterest twice a month (minimum)

The above is what works for me and others but may be a little different for you. I know some bloggers that blog daily and even a few times a day. So it depends on you. I talk more about blogging workflow in my Secrets to Blogging Success book.

Conclusion

Overall, focus on your client. Forget about other marketers or photographers for that matter. Provide great service.

If your fee for your service, no matter what it is, is a few thousand dollars, let’s say $2,000, are you providing a $2,000 experience? Think about what else costs $2,000. One example is a first class flight halfway around the world. Are you providing a first-class experience? These are questions that will make you analyze your level of service. Fantastic service will get you referrals.

When focusing on your client give as much as possible without expecting them to give something in return. That’s the top reason I’ve been able to grow my blog in such a short time. I give all the information out freely. I pay for a lot of different trainings and consults then I write summaries because it makes me remember them better. I share these summaries and expand on them and create really amazing blog posts for you guys. So thanks for reading this.

I really appreciate each and every one of my readers. Any comments and/or thoughts are welcomed below.

Visit my blog for more on marketing and promotion: http://onelfri.com

Marketing for Creatives — © 2015 Onelfri Villar