How to Spend Your Time Wisely When Working on Marketing
Here’s what I see struggling photographers do with their time when it comes to creating content and when it comes to marketing in general: they kind of block out a certain amount of time that they’re going to work on marketing, they sit down and they’re like, “I probably should post on social media.” And so they’re thinking…
“What do I want to put on social media about? Should I make a reel? Should I make a carousel? What about Facebook? What do I want the caption to say?”
“Tavia is always talking about an email list. I should probably send an email newsletter to my email list. But what am I going to say? What am I going to write about? What am I going to post in this?”
“Oh, blog post. Yes, blog post. I just did that training with Tavia about blog posts. Okay, what should I create my blog post about? It’s been forever.”
“I should make a Facebook ad to drive traffic to my website and try to get inquiries, but what should I write in the ad?”
And it’s like we’re spending so much time on all of these individual tasks because we’re thinking about each task individually. But what successful photographers do is they use their time differently.
Successful photographers think about their marketing as an ecosystem that starts with a blog post.
It starts with one core piece of content. And so the successful photographer prioritizes blogging and they think of this as their core piece of content.
So then writing emails, Facebook ads, posting on social media becomes so much easier and it takes so much less time because they’re basing it all on this one core piece of content. So you’re not thinking of a new idea to write about every time you need to create something, you’re just repurposing what you already have on your blog.
Let me give you an example off the top of my head:
Let’s say, “10 ways to prepare your house for a new baby.”
You have this one core piece of content that you’ve written for your blog, and you’re not just posting this blog one time and running away. You’re repurposing this, so you’re taking pieces of that and putting it into your email newsletter and telling people to click over for more. Or that core piece of content is what you’re running a Facebook ad for to build an audience of people who know you, or you’re taking one or two of those points to make it into a carousel post, or you’re sharing an opinion on one of those points. So it’s not just copy and pasting this blog post, but you’re taking it and repurposing it multiple different areas, so you’re spending your time wisely with this one piece of content.
Is Blogging Still Relevant?
Now, a lot of people are kind of like, “Isn’t blogging dead?” And here’s where I want to talk to you about the power of not only creating this one piece of content so you can repurpose, but other reasons why blogging is still relevant and still really, really powerful.
Blogging helps your SEO
First of all, blogs live on forever and they help your SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization. Unlike the average social media post, which lasts 24 to 48 hours, you got to keep making stuff for people to see. But this piece of blog content, actually can get more powerful over time.
It gains traction over time. It can get you found in search when you blog, it refreshes your website, which makes Google happy. And when we’re trying to rank on Google, we want to please Google. And so whenever you’re blogging, it refreshes your website and Google looks at you as relevant because you’re updating your website.
So when someone searches ‘(your city) baby photographer’, you are more likely to pop up because you’re pleasing Google. Blogs are keyword rich. Whenever you’re creating this content, you’re using words naturally like ‘newborn’, ‘baby’, ‘photography’, your city, and those are the types of things that people are searching for so that you can get found on Google.
Blogging allows you to sell without being salesy and build trust
This is why I love blogging – It allows me to sell without selling. So a good question to ask yourself is, how can I get my business in front of ideal clients without pushing a sale, without talking about a promotion, without saying, ‘mini sessions, one spot left…’ all the time?
So what can I put out there to get in front of them to sell without selling and build trust? And the answer is content marketing. Nobody wants to be the used car salesman. Nobody wants to be like the slimy salesperson and content marketing doesn’t feel like sales and marketing. It just feels like you’re helping a friend figure something out, answer something that they’ve been trying to figure out, and you get to be the resource for them. And we’re going to talk about how to do that, but I just wanted to talk to you guys about how valuable for so many different reasons blogging can be.
Three Ways to Come Up with Juicy Blog Posts
Blog Client Sessions (and have them written for you!)
“Okay, Tavia, I see the value. I see how powerful blogging can be for getting found on Google for having content to share that lasts a really long time, but what the heck am I supposed to write about?”
Anybody feel that way? Especially when you don’t have like a ton of client sessions to blog? We often blog by taking session images and putting in some keywords that we know Google’s going to like, and call it good, but this is not quality content.
When you post a generic blog saying, “I loved working with this family Tampa, Florida baby photographer. Isn’t she so beautiful? Tampa baby Florida photographer?” It’s like you’re just stuffing in keywords and posting photos and trying to make Google happy. But the problem is that’s a blog post that people don’t want to read.
Client content must be interesting to read. And if this is how you’re blogging right now, I’m not here to guilt trip you. It’s how I blogged for a long time, and you’re blogging, right? So good for you. But I think that there is a better way to blog client sessions that’s actually interesting for not only the paying client, but for the potential client.
Blogging client sessions is important because it shows potential clients in a more streamlined way what it could be like working with you.
For example, a couple of years ago, we were going to the Gulf of Mexico. We were going to a beach in Florida and I was looking for a family photographer to take photos of my family in Florida. And it was really interesting because I haven’t been on this client side in a long time because I know photographers around here, we’ve had the same family photographer for forever.
And so it was interesting to be like, “Okay, where am I going to go to find a photographer? What am I looking for?” I would almost always, when I saw their website, click over to their blog. Maybe you guys have done this too.
I click over to their blog for two reasons:
(1) I want to see how recently they’ve worked. How recent is their most recent blog post? Are they still relevant and active in the industry?
(2) I want to get a feel for what my images might look like.
And so I don’t want you to stop blogging client sessions, but one of the things that I loved about reading those blog posts was when the photographer would tell a story about the family, where they came from, why they were there, why they chose the locations that they chose for the session, tips about finding a photographer, tips about what to wear for these types of sessions – those photographers stuck out to me because not only did I get a feel for what their sessions were like, but I also got a feel for them as a photographer.
So write the client blog post for the potential client just as much as for the paying client, because I think a lot of times we’re writing these blog posts for the person who paid us. And we want them to share it, and they will. But instead, I want us to start thinking about how can I blog for the potential client as much as the paying client to make it interesting for everyone to read.
WHAT TO DO:
So write these questions down. I want you to start thinking about…
- What stood out at this session for me?
- What’s something unique about this family?
- What stories can I tell about this family or about the experience that we had together?
And what’s really cool is your clients can basically write these posts for you whenever you set it up the right way.
So what I always did is I would send my clients a blog post survey for newborn and birth clients. I would send them a blog post survey and I would just say, “Hey, I would love to feature you on my blog. Can you answer these few questions for me so that we can put a story together about your session?”
And I would take notes before, during, and after the session, just about little things that we talked about, things the client said the way that we found each other, all of that kind of stuff so that I could formulate an interesting blog post for them. What’s cool is that I can eventually start to outsource that because I had a system in place to where I would have a process to have the client answer these questions and I would write them down. I then started to pass that off to somebody else to create those blog posts for me because they had all the content that they needed. I didn’t need to be the one writing it.
Strategically create Connection Content
So now that we know how to get clients to write their own content for our blog, there are two more ways to create blog posts the right way. But before we talk about the second way, I want to ask you a question. What do you think is the easiest and cheapest way to book photography clients without doing much work? What do you think is that? There’s no right or wrong answer here. I’m just curious.
The cheapest and easiest way to get high quality inquiries in my experience is vendor connections. Because when another vendor in your industry that serves pregnant women, highly recommends you, it’s usually a no-brainer ‘yes’ for the client to hire you.
Think about if a midwife said, “Yes, you definitely need to hire Tavia for birth photography,” that client is going to come to me for birth photography, right?
The problem with this is a lot of us know that vendor connections is a really great way to get clients, but usually asks how to get their foot in the door for that client to get in with that vendor and get that relationship started.
And the answer is the second way to create juicy blog post content – strategically create connection content.
So connection content is where you are interviewing or highlighting another small business that serves your same ideal client.
Connection content connects with similar businesses.
In my opinion, photographers are sleeping on this method. And it was one of the best ways that I not only created content in my photography business, but I created relationships with people who would go on to later refer me.
Here’s what’s great about it: it’s easy because they’re basically doing the writing for you, right? And it gets you on the radar of businesses that you can create a partnership with in the future. This is a double whammy when it comes to creating this content.
The key to when you’re creating this is to make it interesting for the reader, not just a mini commercial for the business.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
A huge mistake I see people make when they very first get started with this is they’re just dumping everything word-for-word that they say on the interview. Hear me on this, please don’t do that, because that is not making it interesting for the reader.
That’s kind of just making it a mini commercial for the business, and nobody wants to read that.
WHAT TO DO:
You’re creating this content for the reader, so I want you to think about the types of questions that the reader would be asking or thinking when it comes to this type of service.
When you’re creating this type of content, think about what questions, concerns, hesitations, or ideas the reader would have about the service of the person that you’re interviewing.
For example, when you’re interviewing an OB, when creating the interview questions, get in the head of your ideal client and think what would they be wondering about this? And then format in a way that’s interesting to read, not just like word vomiting all of the answers.
Like I said, creating this type of content was a double whammy for my photography business because it helped me build these relationships and blog really great content that my ideal clients wanted to read.
And another cool thing about this is the vendor is going to share it, they’re going to tag you, and you’re getting free exposure to their audience.
So it’s really not that hard and it’s really, really powerful. And I love the strategy because this is one of the things that I talk to my Marketing School students about is kind of the challenge it can be to create a partnership with a well-known vendor like a birth center or an established midwife, or a 3D/4D ultrasound or a maternity boutique.
These places that you’re like, “I would love to partner with these people, but they have established businesses and I’m kind of just getting started,” this is a way to get on their radar. If you approach them and you say, “Hey, could I highlight you on my blog? Could I interview you on my blog just to share with my audience sort of what you do and help get the word out?” Nobody’s going to say no to that, especially if you’re like, “Can I take photos of you for the blog? Can I take photos of your space for the blog and ask you a few questions?” People are not going to say no to that, and that’s how you get your foot in the door with them, even if they’re a little bit more established than you are right now.
Create Impactful Value Content
Honestly, this is one of the most interesting for the reader, but it can be one of the more challenging to create. Essentially, value content is creating the answer to what your dream clients are asking or searching for on Google, are looking on Pinterest, what they’re asking their friends. It’s what they’re curious about in this phase of life.
So if you were newly pregnant in a new city, what would you be searching for? And it doesn’t have to be about photography.
Hear me on this: so many people are like, “What’s my ideal client thinking about when it comes to hiring a photographer? Okay, here’s 10 reasons you should hire a birth photographer.” Is your ideal client googling ‘reasons to hire a birth photographer’? Probably not.
Either they’re not hiring one or they’re thinking about hiring one. They’re not searching that, and this content does not need to be about photography. This is the content in general in this phase of life that they’re searching for.
Imagine you’re a wedding photographer. Think about who are going to hire you for wedding photography googling before they even get engaged. Probably things about engagement rings (best engagement ring, trending engagement ring, stylish engagement rings, best place in my city to get an engagement ring). That has nothing to do with photography, but you’re meeting them where they are in that phase of their life.
So imagine they Google best place to buy a wedding ring or an engagement ring in my city, and your website as a wedding photographer pops up, where you’ve created content around this, now they’re getting their questions answered and they’re on your website clicking around. They’re not even thinking about a photographer yet because they’re not even engaged yet.
Whenever you’re creating value content, it gets you in front of your ideal clients before they even think about hiring you.
That’s what makes it so, so powerful. Value content builds trust because imagine that example of the person looking for engagement rings and they’re on your website. It’s like, “Man, this girl really knows what she’s talking about. She has this content about this that I’m going to go look at her portfolio.” It’s building that trust.
So let me give you a like more birth-centered example: imagine a newly pregnant mom types in ‘best places to give birth in Denver’, and you’re a motherhood photographer. Maybe you don’t even photograph birth, but you’re a motherhood photographer and you have a blog post on best places to give birth in your city, or best places to have a natural birth in Denver.
And now this person is scrolling through your website and you’ve met her need and you’ve probably built a little trust with her already because you served her when she needed help. That’s the power of value content. And like we said earlier, then this content lives on forever and people continue to find it while searching. So you’ve made it one time and people will continue to find you through this one piece of content that you made one time unlike a social media post.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
There is a big mistake that I see photographers make with value content, and that is creating content for a phase of life that happens after you need the client to hire you.
Let’s go back to the wedding ring example. What if you’re writing a blog post about best places to celebrate your one year wedding anniversary? It’s like, “Wait, but I’m a wedding photographer. They’re already married.” At that point, it’s too late, right? So we’re thinking about our person a little too holistically. We need to get a little bit more specific.
Here’s another example: A newborn photographer writes a blog post about best places to have a first birthday party. Same concept, right? It’s too late. You’re a newborn photographer and their baby’s turning one, it’s too late. So this is a mistake that I see baby and motherhood photographers making.
Hear me on this: the value content that they’re creating is really good. It’s just reaching people too late in their journey. Understanding the timing of it, don’t get into the how yet. And that even if you’re a newborn or maternity photographer, things about birth are still relevant because your person’s still giving birth, right?
So create value content for your ideal client, let’s say six months before they need to hire you. You don’t want to make it too late if they’ve already had their baby, and you’re a newborn photographer. And the good thing about this is you’re getting people into your sphere, into your ecosystem, and they’re warming up to you, instead of it being like, “I had a baby two weeks ago and I need a newborn photographer right now.” And you’re like, “Cool, I charge $1,800.” And they’re like, “Who are you? Never heard of you. Don’t want to pay that.”
This way, they’ve been in your sphere, they’ve been in your ecosystem, they’ve been seeing your content, they’re on your email list because you were targeting them 6 months ago.
Is this the way to get fully booked in the next two months? No. It’s a long-term strategy, but it’s one that turns into this ecosystem that runs without you. In six months to a year, to 2 years, because you’ve done all this work upfront and it’s so, so powerful.
So as a newborn or baby photographer, how can you create content that will catch them much earlier in their journey? What would someone thinking about getting pregnant be looking for, or someone planning for their birth or dealing with morning sickness? Do you see how that type of content works so well for newborn photographers?
It gets them into your world well before they need to hire you. The good news is, like I said, birth, newborn, pregnancy, trying to conceive content is all interchangeable, and this is important because something that appears to be birth specific content is still relevant for newborn, maternity photographers. Because even if they’re not photographing the birth, like I said earlier, their clients are still giving birth. So a good rule of thumb is to think, “Will this content apply to people three to six months before I need them to hire me?”
Save Time Blogging with The Content Club
So now my question for you is, do you want to keep DIY in your blog and spending time trying to figure out what to write and how to write each content pillar? Or do you want to save some time by getting these three content pillars mostly done for you each and every month?
If you’re the person who wants to create content every month that attracts dream clients, I want to invite you to join me inside of The Content Club for photographers.
Inside The Content Club, I simply hand you my process and questions to masterfully create your client blog posts, and every month I’m going to give you three fully written blog posts that are written specifically for motherhood photographers, so that you don’t have to worry about what to post every month to bring in ideal clients.
To learn more ahead over to this link to see the special offer that I have for you, and this is the lowest priced offer that I have. We’re going to have all of that linked up in the show notes as well.
And my friend, remember, if you have a passion, it is not an accident. Not everyone loves the thing that you love, so whatever your passion is, it’s there for a reason. I hope that you will get out there, pursue that passion, and make it happen. Have a great week!