It is said that Content is King, and photographers know this better than anyone else. The imagery a photographer produces is perhaps their most valuable asset, but many aren’t using this asset to market and grow their photography business.
In my CreativeLive course Content Marketing for Photographers, we outline a multitude of ways to utilize this approach to grow your photography endeavor into a successful and sustainable business.
However, before deploying this as a strategy in your business, it’s helpful to better understand what content marketing is, and why it’s perfect for professional photographers.
Content Marketing Overview
Content marketing isn’t a new concept, and has been the marketing buzz phrase for awhile now. However, a lot of photographers still don’t fully understand how to use it in the business.
There are also a lot of misconceptions around what is and what isn’t content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
I personally love this definition, as it clearly outlines everything you need to consider for content marketing:
- Valuable, relevant, and consistent content: this perfectly defines what your focus should be in the content you create.
- Creating and distributing: it’s not just about creating the content; you have to have a plan for how to distribute it!
- Attract and retain: the goal of your content is two fold: attracting new clients and retaining current clients.
- Clearly defined audience: you have to know your target market in order to produce relevant and valuable content.
- Drive profitable customer action: the goal is not traffic or likes or opens… it’s profit!
With this definition in mind, let’s outline why it is so important to focus on.
Why is Creating Content Important?
At its core, creating content allows you to show the world what you’re an expert at. Whether its blog posts, videos, or helpful guides, the content you produce establishes your position as an expert in your space.
And this is important in establishing trust. Being an expert and establishing trust go hand-in-hand for attracting business. Together, they are a powerful combination that can help you grow your photography business.
Beyond establishing expertise and building trust, creating content also allows you to showcase what makes you unique. Your personality and unique differentiators will come out in the content you create, which allows your target market to learn more about you.
Consistently creating content builds a connection between you and your target market. Over the long run, content helps you create a steady stream of leads and clients for your business.
Content Marketing for Photographers
At my marketing agency, we work with clients in all different niches and verticals. Creating content is core to almost every digital marketing strategy we recommend, and it is always a big investment for companies to make.
But photographers have a leg up… they already have the content. They just have to pull it together in a way that can be distributed.
The content is your images, and the stories behind the images. The way the images were created and how that related to the images the clients wanted. The stories behind the clients or the brand, and how that played into the images.
This is what makes content marketing perfect for photographers – you have a leg up over other industries because you are paid to create content for your clients!
Content Marketing Benefits for Photographers
Lets look at six incredible benefits that utilizing content marketing can have on a photographer’s business.
1. Stay Top Of Mind
Content marketing has so many long term benefits, but it also has quite a few immediate benefits. Content is powerful because it gives you an immediate way to stay in touch with your current clients.
While it might take time to build out an email funnel or get organic traffic from Google, you can get immediate benefits from your existing audience. Here is a tangible example:
- Write a blog post on a recent shoot
- Share it on social media
- Send an email to your list
Each time you do this, you get back in front of your target market. And, you do it with something that is valuable and relevant.
2. Build Trust
Your content will build trust with everyone that sees it (assuming its good). Lush Content says it best:
“Creating valuable, relevant and consistent content is a building block in building trust with your clients and prospective customers. Providing your information and expertise willingly with a view to building trust goes a long way towards future commercial return.“
When others are inspired or learn from what you produce, there is an instant trust increase. For photographers, trust is a huge factor in turning leads into customers.
3. Establish Authority
Being a really good photographer makes you an expert. Being an expert along with having others think you’re really good at photography makes you an authority. Content marketing bridges the gap between being an expert and being an authority.
There are lots of ways to establish this authority as a photographer, but producing consistent content is one great way to stand out from the crowd.
Photography is a very subjective topic for most people. For many, they know they like an image or a style or a photographer, but they don’t know why. When you put words to your pictures (content), you give your target market a way to talk about your work.
4. Gain Operational Efficiencies
Content marketing allows you to gain a lot of operational efficiencies in your marketing efforts. In other words, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Let’s go back to our example of writing a blog post from a recent shoot you did. Here are a bunch of different ways you can use that single piece of content:
- Pull out several key points and share on different posts on social media
- Write an email summarizing the post and include a link
- Make a video around the same topic and post to YouTube
Once you have several blog post live, you can expand into even more areas, such as:
- Take several blog posts and put them together into a guide
- Use the blog posts to create an auto-responder sequence for your email marketing
- Schedule a rotation of social media posts surrounding the blog topics on Buffer or a similar software
In terms of efficiency, producing content gives you a tremendous amount of value for a relatively small investment.
5. Gain Long Term Traffic
Over the long term, consistent content starts to rank well and produce organic search traffic to your properties. Writing content that is search engine optimized is a skill, but even just applying the basics can help you capitalize on search traffic.
Writing search optimized content doesn’t just help your individual blog posts rank. As the popular phrase goes, a rising tide lifts all boats, and ranking content helps your website to rank higher as well.
The same can be applied to other platforms driven by search results. YouTube (owned by Google) operates in a very similar fashion: produce high quality content that people are searching for, utilize optimization techniques, and gain long term traffic as a result.
6. Build Sustainability
In a day and age where Facebook ads are a quick and (relatively) easy way to make a quick buck, long term marketing objectives often get put on the back burner. As the photography market continues to adapt and change in the coming years, how sustainable is your marketing strategy?
Content marketing is still subject to fluctuations as well. Google algorithm updates, email deliverability issues, and diminishing social media visibility are all very real concerns. But, at the end of the day, you own your content, and that is what makes content marketing so sustainable over the long term.
Facebook and Instagram can change their algorithms, but you will always own your content. Over the long run, you’ll be able to adapt your strategy to apply to which platforms are performing best, provided you have content to market with.
Wrapping It Up
Content marketing is the perfect strategy for photographers to deploy because you already create content for your clients. With the right strategy and consistent content creation and publishing, you can get both short and long term benefits for your business.
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