First Byte: A "first byte" is an introduction to a topic to give you more information. I like first bytes because they give a post a little more dimension than just something you read. Plus, this is one of my favorite topics.
I've read a lot about blogging over the years and also written several posts about the topic. This post, just published recently on the Marathon blog written by Andy Bondurant, hits on several key areas, but I'd like to expand on the terrific points he makes.
First, your website is about what you sell while your blog is about what's in your heart. The two, if done right, can help you build a stronger brand. Your target clients don't care about what awards you've won, how you got started or what gear you use. They want to know why you love photography. They want to know if they can trust you to capture the kinds of images they want of themselves, family or friends. Your blog gives you the perfect opportunity to share what you love most.
Second, I love Andy's comment about consistency: "If you can't commit to consistency...don't start." Here's what happens, a client who checks out your blog wanders into a site that hasn't been updated in months. The first thought will typically be, "I wonder if they're still in business?"
Don't start a blog unless you're going to post consistently. I disagree with Andy, only in that 3-4 times a month isn't enough. Blog twice a week and on the same days. Work to build your readership with consistency along with good content.
Last on the list, build a stash of blog posts in advance. Every post doesn't have to in real time that morning. Take the time to build a stash of 20-30 posts about different topics of interest to your readers. Use one a week to ease the pressure of being consistent. Then, with your other post each week, make that closer to real time, talking about events in your area; sharing techniques you like; sharing images of clients; providing photography tips to your readers, etc.
A great blog combined with solid images on your website can truly help build your reputation and with each new reader you gain a potential new client. Take the time to do it right, or wait until you can make the commitment. A half-baked blog is going to make you look unprofessional and in the end may hurt the growth of your business.
Tips For Blogging
In his article “How to Write a (Better) Photography Blog Post,” Andy Bondurant gives six areas that every new and veteran blogger should focus on. You can read his full article at http://www.phototalk.biz/phototalk/how-to-write-a-better-photography-blog-post-by-andy-bondurant/.
- Blocks of Time:
“Blogging done well needs a block of time devoted to it.”
“You must determine to write no matter what is happening that week. You must fight through apathy, writers block, fear or anything else thrown your way.”
“You MUST update your blog. Ideally, this would be 2-3 times per week. At the least it should be 3-4 times per month. If you can’t commit to consistency…don’t start.”
- System and Structure:
“There are multiple different types of blog post structures you can create. I encourage you to choose one to be very good at, and occasionally add another in for spice.”
Here are 5 different post structures you can model: Story , List , Tutorial , Opinion , Big Thoughts
“Your blog will be at it’s best when you allow your personality to shine. It starts with being open, authentic and honest (while being careful to not share too much). This is your writing voice. The more you refine and define your voice, the better your blog will be.”