These days, blogs are a lot more than just a way to chronicle your life or express yourself. If you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner of any sort, they’re also an important part of staying in touch with your clientele. This is especially the case for independent professionals in the creative arts.
However, while it’s clear why a writer or poet would want to establish and maintain a written blog, the benefits are less obvious when you’re in the visual arts. Wouldn’t an active social media presence on a site like Instagram, DeviantART, or 500px be a lot more beneficial if your work is about images, as opposed to words? How can photographers benefit from blogging and what can you do to make your blog work better for you?
Becoming Visible and Staying That Way
A standalone portfolio site is certainly one way to get your work out there. However, such solutions have a way of becoming stale over time. They can also seem cold and impersonal. People looking to hire or buy from a working photographer want to see what you’re doing right now. They want to hear what you were thinking when you set up your latest shoot as well.
That said, a blog is everything a portfolio site isn’t. It’s a living entity that is frequently updated and gives people a reason to come back on a regular basis. It’s also the perfect way to let people see what you’re up to currently and share in the passion you have for your work.
Blogs are a lot more effective from an SEO standpoint as well. Google and all of the other major search engines like content – content that is frequently updated and added to. Adding a blog to your existing website is a great way to establish yourself as an authority in the eyes of the search engines, keep your site fresh, and make sure you’re seeing plenty of traffic.
Building a Solid Brand Identity
Branding is just as important for independent creative professionals as it is for big corporations. Elements like logos, taglines, and so forth are only a part of brand building. The rest of it is all about building an identity and creating a dynamic your target demographic wants to connect to.
Blogging on the regular is one of the best and easiest ways to build your brand (or better establish the brand you’ve already built). It’s your chance to let your customers know why they should pick you. What about your shots sets you apart from every other photographers out there? What do you bring to the table that the other guys don’t? Let your photography blog be part of how you tell people why what you do is worth a second look.
Getting Your Blog Started on the Right Foot
As with anything worth doing, there’s a right way to run a photography blog and a wrong way. Let’s take a closer look at how you can make sure you’re maximizing your chances of success.
It’s not enough to simply start a blog and post in it only when you feel like it. Successful blogs are updated regularly. Don’t get your audience all excited about something you’re doing and then leave them hanging. Commit yourself to becoming a part of their lives and giving them something they can look forward to each time they pay you a visit.
Of course you want to show off what you’re working on and creating. However, it’s important to make sure your blog as a whole has value for your readers beyond just “hey look at this”. Alternate posts about projects or new services with helpful resources or posts meant simply to inspire and entertain. Resources and educational posts are great ways to establish yourself as an authority in your field as well.
Be Clear on Who and Why
Have a clear vision in mind as far as your blog before you jump in. Ask yourself what exactly you want to ultimately achieve by starting a photography blog. Knowing why you’re blogging in the first place can grant you an amazing sense of control over what you’re doing. On the other hand, having only a vague understanding of your goals can leave you directionless.
You also need to decide who you’re blogging for. Are you blogging because you want to keep friends and family up to date as far as what you’re working on or are you hoping to drum up business and keep clients up to date as far as your business? The answer matters a lot! Make sure you’re properly tailoring each post for the audience you have in mind.
You’ll also want to make sure your blog is informative and easy enough to navigate. Make sure it’s clear how to contact you if people have questions or are interested in your services. Don’t forget to include basic information like your location, info on the types of services you offer, and links to your social media accounts.
At the end of the day, a blog is an essential part of building a solid web presence for your work and putting yourself out there as a service provider, regardless of the business you’re in. Make sure it’s part of your plan for your photography.