How to Build a Content Marketing Plan for Your Photography Business?
In days gone by it was enough to rent a storefront downtown, put some great images in the window, and people would flock through your door. Today everyone takes a camera with them wherever they go, and filters and social media allow everyone to perfect and share their images instantly.
There’s still plenty of room for you budding professionals out there, but you need to embrace the world of content marketing if you want your business to really take off. Here’s how it works.
What is content marketing?
Simply put, it’s a way of showcasing your skills so that people can see just how much better images can be when taken by a professional. It’s all about putting your portfolio in front of the eyes of the people who want to see it and making it as easy as clicking a button for them to hire you. So, how does it work?
Create a content calendar for social media
Social media is the best way to take your skills to a potentially global audience, and the great thing about it is that it’s free. This makes it far more powerful, and practical than printing out flyers or taking out an ad in the local paper.
Rule number one of social media is to keep your followers engaged. Sporadic posting is one of the most common reasons for people to unfollow an account, so make sure you never make that mistake. A content calendar will enable you to get a handle on your content creation, and it will give you plenty of direction. Post different types of shots on different days, and keep things nice and varied.
Invest in scheduling software to post at the most engaging times
If you want to promote your photography business, you need to understand the importance of posting times. Sending out a new collection of images in the middle of the night might make you feel productive, but you’re just guaranteeing that a lot fewer people will see the fruits of your hard work.
The optimal posting times will vary depending on your niche, and the platform you use, but you can quickly figure them out. Scheduling software like Buffer or HootSuite is a great investment that only costs a few dollars a month. You can time your posts to go out in advance, and quickly home in on the optimal times for maximum engagement.
Start a blog where you talk about the creative process
Blogging is a very underrated form of content marketing, largely because it can be a slow burner. Posting one blog isn’t going to take your business viral, and that’s fine. What you need to do is start a blog that allows the reader to get to know your unique creative process so that they can get an insight into how a photographer works.
Some of the most well-read blogs on the web are those that read more like journals, and they’re also really easy to write. Write a couple a week, and attach your images to them too. Over time you’ll be able to build up a loyal readership who will start placing repeat orders with you before you know it.
Build a mailing list so you can target existing customers
Email marketing works, but you need to do it in a way that doesn’t come across as overly sales-orientated, or spammy. It’s a tactic that’s used by the top editing services in the world, and it’s one that will work for just about any business.
Talk to your customers like you would do to a friend, and tell them what you’ve been up to. Show them a couple of your latest images, and then link them to the larger portfolio on your website. In the world of photography, it’s the soft sell that’s going to get you results in the long term.
Start a photo contest on your website
Photo contests are a great way to get your customers, and social media followers engaged. You can reach out to them over email, on a dedicated page on your website, and of course via your social media channels.
Launch your own catchy hashtag, and then engage with every submission. It’s these little touches that will make all the difference and can lead to you having half a dozen customers for life.
Contact other photography blogs, and create feature pieces
Feature pieces are a great way to get your name and skills out there, so why not approach some established photography blogs. Asking to write a piece that showcases one of your latest collections is a great way to break the ice. The worst that’s going to happen is that the editor is going to say no. And ultimately you could find your work showcased on a blog that has 100,000 unique readers every month. What do you have to lose?
Be yourself, that’s the most important thing
We’ve saved the most important tip to last — be yourself. A photographer is creative at heart, so never forget it. Of course, you want to grow your business and increase your revenue, but don’t market yourself in a way that loses sight of why you got into photography in the first place.
If you find that you’re constantly inundating your customers with discount codes and vouchers, you’ve probably gone too far. Showcase your skills, and get people to take the time to sit and enjoy your work. Once they associate what you do with a positive feeling or emotion, they’re far more likely to contact you to discuss how you can help.