TELL ME IF THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR:
While thumbing through your social media feeds, you see several photographers who’ve posted a bunch of engaging and inspiring pieces of content.
…and then tongue lash yourself for about 27 seconds at how lazy and unmotivated you are with creating content!
Coming on the heels of that self-imposed trashing, you vow to create more content to drive attention to your photography business.
Without any rhyme or reason, you open up a status update window determined to write something.
Something relevant to your business and brand? Let’s people know more about you as a person?
Eh, no time to split hairs here…
…”I NEED TO POST SOMETHING…NOW…PERIOD!”
So, in a fever, you whip up a quick story from out of thin air about…
…uhhhh, makeup tips, yeah makeup tips is good!…
…and then look through your portfolio for an image to compliment the story.
Does the photo you choose in under 12 seconds visually punctuate the sentiment of the story you just blurted out on the screen?
Not sure, but who gives a shit? I’m a photographer, the photo is pretty, the subject is wearing makeup, and that’s all that matters, right?
You hit POST and sit back to wait for the WILD AMOUNTS of engagement to roll in…
…only to be massively disappointed that it was seen by less than 5 people in your network.
Deflated and defeated, you go back to muttering dirty words under your breath as you see other photographers posts receive a massive amount of engagement from their communities.
You then remind yourself why you believe social media is a waste of time and vow to not even bother.
I share this with you because this story is exactly how I approached creating online content for YEARS.
My motivation was 100% reactive to what other photographers – and business owners, in general – were doing.
And that got me absolutely nowhere.
I mean, unless you count all the bitching, moaning and complaining I did as I stormed feverishly around my apartment trying to figure out what was wrong, of course.
It took the help of a creative consultant to help me see the error in this approach.
Among the many lessons he imparted is this one:
Before you invest time and energy into creating tons of online content to promote your photography business, it’s essential to get the big picture clear first.
DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND STOP WINGING IT
[Related Reading: THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS TRAINING SYSTEM]
Although writing is a wonderful way to generate ideas that can be applied to all aspects of your business, writing without a strategy can put you in a position where you’re creating a lot of added noise and not a clear signal from which your audience would benefit.
You want to deliver a message that is consistent across all aspects of your digital footprint – from your social media feeds to your website and blog.
So where do you begin?
Use the following questions to set intentions and goals for yourself and your storytelling strategy:
What are you looking to achieve with your online content in the next 6-12 months?
Create a rapport and connection with your audience? Offer a place where potential clients can qualify your expertise and work? Generate more visibility? A combination of all three? Or is it something else? Promote a specific service?
Be as specific as you can in order to organize these goals and set out to achieve them.
How many times a week do you plan to post?
It’s not about posting every single day. Pick an amount per week and stick to it.
Consistency is more important than frequency, so don’t set yourself up for failure before you even start. Want to start only posting three days a week? Cool. Do that for a while and once you get the itch to up it, go for it, and then stick to that number.
Remember, you’re looking to build trust with your audience and being wildly inconsistent with your posts affects their levels of trust in you.
How will you handle your posting schedule? Schedule in advance? Post one-by-one?
Do you feel more or less comfortable coming up with content the same day you post it?
If more comfortable, you’re not alone – several clients of mine swear by this approach, and they stay consistent by manually posting on the days they plan to post.
If less comfortable, I’d suggest that you think about bulk writing and scheduling posts as a way to alleviate any undue pressure on yourself.
You can either write all of your posts in a document on your computer, and grab each one as you need, or you can invest in a content scheduling program such as Hootsuite or SmarterQueue and upload your posts and images in order to set it and forget it.
Figure out which method inspires the best work out of you and give it a go.
What do you want your audience to to do when they’re done reading the posts?
How do you want to leverage their attention once you’ve earned it by sharing valuable content?
Subscribe to your email list? Check out more of your work? Schedule a consultation?
Perhaps you want some posts to point them in one direction, and other posts to another.
In my case, I leverage social media as a way to drive attention to two places: my website and email list.
That way, I can control when my audience hears and sees my content, and no longer rely on the mercy of the various social media platform algorithms.
[Related Reading: Build A Better Photography Business By Focusing On Your Clients, Not You!]
Do you want to write a blog? If so, how many posts per month?
Again, don’t start with high aspirations and set yourself up for failure.
Start with an amount that you can comfortably achieve in a month, even if it’s once every 2 weeks. Allow yourself to get used to writing consistently and adjust accordingly.
If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of launching a blog while developing consistency with your social media content, take one step at a time. Build confidence in your ability to create content and build gradually from there.
How will your blog be different that your social posts?
If and when you decide to create a blog, how will you leverage it?
Offer deeper insights in your blog posts? Perhaps create a video blog? Maybe promote your individual packages?
Whatever your reason, make sure it will inspire your audience to migrate their attention over there for a damn good reason!
What do you want your audience to do after they read your blog?
What is the call-to-action for your posts?
Encourage engagement on the blog? Get people to set up a consultation call? Check out and sign up for something else?
Regardless of what it is, make sure it feels like a natural CTA that’s tied to the conversation started in the blog itself.
For example, at the conclusion of this article, I will be ask you to do something specific. After reading it, I want you to take note at how the CTA relates directly to the article content.
ONE THING TO KEEP IN MIND
These goals will grow and evolve alongside your photography business, so expect them to change many times over as time marches on.
Your personal experiences coupled with insights and advice that you receive from colleagues and mentors will constantly push you to deliver more focused and valuable content that will resonate with those you serve.
Another thing to keep in mind; keep your expectations low, especially if you’ve been extremely inconsistent in the past.
If you think that one post is going to change the landscape of your photography business, think again!
Aside from the fact that you have the social media algorithms working against organic visibility, it’s a long game building a community of advocates and audience members that will engage and share your content.
But it’s through that long game approach that you nurture your audience with valuable content that not only educates them on their need for images, but it also allows them a chance to get to know you.
And once they know you, they’re more likely to trust you…
…which means they’ll feel comfortable paying you for your services when the need arises.
(AHEM AHEM – call-to-action time…)
Like what you read here?
This type of storytelling strategy will be prominently shared during a workshop that Screw The Metadata Co-Founder, Maurice Jager, and I will be conducting during the PhotoPlus Expo in NYC in October:
Photographer Storytelling Strategy 101: Defeat The Blinking Cursor
During this 4-hour workshop, we will share our content creation framework for creating online content that provides your audience a well-rounded perspective on who you are, who you serve and why you do what you do.
This isn’t a workshop where you’re going to listen to lectures for hours and take notes that you’ll never read again.
We’re putting you to work in the room!
We’ll guide you through a series of brainstorming exercises that will help you present yourself as the authority in your space through your online content.
It’s through this process that you will discover your voice, which will help you create a memorable and referable online presence.
Want to learn more about it? Here you go.