Publicity isn't just about getting your name in the local paper, it's about everything you do to build recognition for your business. Your blog, if done right, should actually be a working component of your publicity plan. As a photographer, it's a key ingredient to creating buzz about you, your business and your images.
As I was thinking about what to write this morning I stumbled across a post from Scott Bourne two years ago with tips to make your blog more effective. A blog today is almost as much a necessity as your website. Remember, your site is about what you sell, but your blog is about what's in your heart. It's got more flexibility and you can use your blog to strengthen your brand, reputation and pull the community into things you're working on.
Scott's points are dead on about helping you build traffic and at the same time a stronger foundation in social media.
If you're attempting to become (or already are) a professional photographer, in my opinion you need a blog. But not just any blog will do. Your blog needs to be an extension of you. It needs to show off your work for sure, but it also needs to show off your personality.
Once you build a blog, it won't do you much good if people coming to it don't stick around, because you aren't giving them a reason. So here are five ways to increase your blog's audience.
1. Avoid too many ads, too much sales talk, too many banners and too many commercials on your blog. Make sure there is a nice content to marketing ratio. Read your blog as if you were someone else and ask yourself, would I find this blog to contain enough helpful, valuable information to put up with "X" amount of marketing.
2. Publish your blog on a dependable and regular schedule. While publishing new posts every single day will get you a bigger audience faster, it's not a requirement. What is important however, is publishing with consistent frequency. Publish every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for instance and let your audience know the schedule. Whatever day(s) you promise to publish, stick with it so people know there's a reason to come back and more importantly, so they don't forget your message.
3. Tell stories. Be engaging. Talk more about your subject expertise or your clients than yourself. Make sure your content solves a problem for someone else, not for you. Narrative is a powerful form of communication. Use it.
4. Be yourself. You can't make a blog work unless it's honest, transparent and truthful. It has to be written from your very own true perspective, NOT the perspective you THINK people want to hear. It's way too hard to be someone else and to keep it going. Just be yourself. Not everyone will like what you do. Don't worry about that. There's a big world out there. You only need to reach the people who DO like what you do - the rest can head on down the road to find someone or something else. Life goes on.
5. Be helpful. Make sure every blog post provides the possibility of help to your audience. Your content has to be useful, or nobody will care about it. The more targeted, and niche oriented, the better. The more problem solving the better.