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Building Your Photography Business for under $3,000

Lesson 41 of 41

Maintain Your Brand through Publicity


Building Your Photography Business for under $3,000

Lesson 41 of 41

Maintain Your Brand through Publicity


Lesson Info

Maintain Your Brand through Publicity

The birth of a brand is achieved through publicity. We've talked about this a little bit. If you worked with an ad agency, if you had a budget and were able to do that, they would tell you to place ads, and place ads, and paid marketing and all of that, but I believe that a brand starts because it's newsworthy. Think about that. What are you doing that's newsworthy, that's new, that's innovative in your community? If you can do that, you can reach out to your local media, you can reach out to TV, news, radio, whoever, newspapers, and say there's this brand new business in town that is doing something incredible, you should do a story on it. Here are the bullet points on why this is interesting. You've written that down in your marketing plan. Why are you interesting? Why are you unique? What is the description of you? Now blast it out to the media, and let your brand be born through public relations and media engagements. That's free, and it hits a lot of people, and it gets your name ...

out there right away. Really, local news is always looking for local stories. It's hard to come up with something to report on every single day. Can you imagine what a hard job that must be? They're always looking for ideas to tell a story, so think about why your story's interesting, and share it with them. If they don't nibble on that then give a different angle and a different angle, until finally they're willing to share that out through their outlets. It may just be a little web blast, but a little web blast is hitting a bunch of new clients with your name on it. In a press release here's what you have to include, it's very simple. You do the contact us on whatever media outlet you're trying to use. You tell them what's new. Give them three bullets of why it's interesting, and then you include something to make their job easy. If you have a video clip or you have some photographs to accompany that it's like gold to a news agency. That's it. That's all it is to a press release. If there is a war breaking out somewhere that is going to surpass your ability to tap into that media outlet for awhile, but they may come back to you, hit them when it's not as busy of a time. A Sunday feature might be really nice. Keep that in your back pocket. New brands are born through PR not through advertising, so be newsworthy. If you don't know why you're newsworthy, make something up and follow through with it. (loud laugh) Make sure you do it! Get creative on why it's interesting. Publicity does have a lifespan though. It's the introduction of a new category, like FedEx doing the overnight delivery, that's really interesting at first, but now that overnight delivery is a normal thing that happens in all of our lives. That's definitely not going to be a headline story. What might be a headline story is the rise of that company that pioneered that category. The history of FedEx now might be interesting to somebody, but eventually that'll play out too. As your building this new thing you have a wonderful opportunity for PR. Why is it new? Why is it interesting? Then you'll have an opportunity for PR of what is the history of what was new and interesting that happened, and then you're PR days are over unless you do something else new and interesting. So PR has a shelf life. After it plays out advertising kicks in, because once you've had enough press then you need to just maintain your image in the community. You can do that by placing ads, by going to meetings, by doing instruction, networking events, hosting events, your image of the day or your tip of the day, or whatever that is, that's when the advertising comes in. I always think of advertising like insurance, all you want to do is hold your position in the marketplace and make sure everybody remembers you, and they don't say oh my gosh I wonder what happened to Famagogo, even though we're out there still going. That's where advertising comes in after PR when you build your brand. Here's a question that I always get. Quality is really important but brands aren't made on quality alone. I want you to think about Rolex and Timex. Both are quality watches. Both of 'em tell time. Why is a Rolex more desirable to some? It doesn't tell time any better, but it has prestige. The person that wears a Rolex is saying, "Hey I can afford to buy a Rolex." Quality is not king. It's important the perception of quality is king. The perceived quality. It's just like the purse we talked about earlier, the $3 purse and the $3,000 purse; it's the perception that goes along with that, not that it's made of materials that are that much more valuable. As you're thinking about your brand, when all things are equal the better name wins. The name can be the feeling that's associated with the name, or it can be the name itself. As you think about that, it has to do with when we talked about, let's think of a generic name, remember we said generic names aren't good like General Motors. It's kind of a generic name. A general motor, does anybody want to drive a general automobile? What about a Ferrari? It just feels different right? When you hold those two together if everything was equal and they were identical cars, the one with the better name wins. That's all that says. So just be careful in your name. Make sure it's easy to spell, easy to understand, easy to remember. This is important. High price builds the perception of quality. It's just like the Rolex. It costs a lot so it must be better. Do you really think it tells time any better? Probably not, but it must cause it's really expensive. As you are going through and working on your pricing structure remember this. Usually when we are afraid to raise our prices it's because of our own personal, internal struggle. High price actually builds a perception of quality. As you think about a fine art brand, if this is what you do, this is your niche. What is your specialty? How do you stand out from your competitors? Why are you better able to produce this product than anyone else? How do you do that? Is it that you've been everywhere in the world and you have examples or you have images from everywhere? How is it that you're standing out? Is it because your images on Instagram stand out better than anybody else's and you have a gazillion followers? Is it that you creating a higher-quality, maybe you're doing palladium printing with your fine art pieces and these things are going to last forever and they have that beautiful, iridescent quality; maybe that's why you stand out. What is it about you? That's your brand. It's how people feel about your business. It's your business' personality. Same thing about portraits. What is your specialty? What are you really good at? What are you better than anybody else at? What about you stands out? Why you among all these other people? You have to be able to answer that question. If you don't know ask your clients, they know. Weddings same thing what is your specialty? How do you stand out? Why you? So that's your brand, you guys have survived. (audience laughs) What's more is I know you're gonna thrive because of the questions that you've been asking and how you're putting all these pieces together. This is the puzzle of your business. You're bringing all of these pieces, the marketing plan, the business plan, the pricing structure, the products that you're going to offer, your social media, your website. You all have your salsa list of the things that you have to do right now, those things that I just listed that's what you have to do right now as soon as humanly possible, and then you're going to build this and you're gonna tell this story of your business. You're gonna give it wings. You're gonna share it with you target audience. And you're gonna go out and they are gonna fall in love with you, and they are gonna buy what you have to offer, because they love you and because you have an amazing product to offer.

Class Description

When starting a new business, you will make hundreds of decisions, and many of those can be costly and affect the future of your business. Most photographers have little direction available on how to take these critical first steps to set themselves up for success.

Kathy Holcombe and her husband Peter have built multiple photography businesses over the last 15 years. Kathy will share what they have learned so that you won’t waste time, money and resources trying to find the perfect formula.

You will learn how to:

  • Define your brand
  • Set up social media channels and a business website to support the vision of your brand
  • Develop an effective strategy for marketing to your ideal client
  • Develop a product line and profitable pricing structure
  • Develop a sales strategy to maximize your time and sales average

This class is for anyone who is standing at a crossroads, wanting to start a photography business, but not sure exactly how to go about it. You’ll not only learn how to get you started but also how to turn a profit through your photography in your very first year of business. Skip years of trial and error and invest your precious startup dollars in strategies, tools, and equipment that will immediately start making you money.


Amanda Beck

Kathy was a wonderful instructor. She was engaging and someone who was precise and incredibly helpful. We have a full time photography business and are always looking for new ways of running our business. Her information was insightful and forced us to have conversations about our business that we have haven't had in several years. She is fantastic and someone who has the information needed to help you start or expand your business. Thank you for a wonderful class!!


Thank you Kathy for yet again another very thought provoking class. You are such an inspiration, teaching us the right questions to ask ourselves so we too can be brilliant photographers / entrepreneurs. I was a fulltime RVer for seven years, traversing 44 states and seeing some of the most beautiful places on our planet. It gave me a great opportunity to meet some extraordinary people and to hone my photography skills. Now I have put down roots in Stapleton - Denver, CO and am soon to launch my own Family Lifestyle Photography business. Your course has definitely given me the courage to just charge ahead and go for it!

Tristanne Endrina

I am VERY impressed with this class! The structure of the class is well done. Each segment was thorough and backed up some knowledge from the previous segments. Kathy breaks everything down into understandable knowledge and also makes it very enjoyable to watch. I HIGHLY recommend this class if you're unsure about what to do to start your photography business. $3000 may sound like a lot of money, but you'll going to find yourself in a determined state to raise that money if you're REALLY passionate and serious about starting your photography business. Thank you, Kathy & Creativelive, for this class. I'm excited to get the ball rolling and build my photography business.