One of the nicest compliments somebody gave me recently was simply to ask, "How do you come up with so many topics to write about?"
It's really pretty simple...As professional photographers you're regularly changing poses, lighting and composition. You add more variables by changing lenses, the exposure and depth of field. Well, it's not much different when I'm writing.
There are so many topics under the umbrella of marketing and business, but the best source is listening to all of you. I'm constantly reading comments and questions in the various forums. I spend a huge amount of time reading emails and physically talking to photographers as much as I can. In fact, it's one of the best reasons to attend a convention...talking with photographers about what's going on in their markets.
I know I wrote about the following in a post once...Years ago I was part of the marketing department at Polaroid, back in the days when it was a real manufacturing company! I was the manager for the Photo Specialty Dealers, the camera stores. I wrote a few pretty good marketing programs, but in all honesty, none of them were really my ideas. All I had to do was listen to our retailers and the sales reps in the field.
I'd constantly ask, "What would it take to double your Polaroid sales next year?" The flood gates would open and idea after idea was shared with me. Whether a sales rep, a camera store manager or the sales clerk behind the counter, they'd simply open up.
The ideas were endless. I'd hear comments about packaging, pricing, billing terms, advertising and even suggestions about bundling with other Polaroid accessories and other manufacturers. The answers were all out there, but so few people ever asked and nobody ever really listened.
So, here are a few thoughts about how you can implement the same kind of feedback for your market.
Here's the point...everybody I've asked about business this year, if they answer anything positive, they always add, "But I've never worked so hard in my life!" I've heard that same answer for the last 4-5 years. Business is out there, but you've got to pay attention to what's missing in your market. You've got to promote yourself, be involved in community projects and make sure people know who you are.
It's not easy, but if you truly listen and pay attention to what's hot and what's not, you just might find a few of the answers you've been searching for all year long.
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