One of the most common questions we get from photographers is “How do I find new clients?”
It’s such a BIG question! We could answer that one single question for hours upon hours (and we do! in our business course!) but one important tool we use in our business to help us find new photography clients (without paying a dime for advertising!) is blogging.
Blogs Are Dead, Right?
Before social media took off, blogging was everything, because photographers didn’t have an easy, online way to share content and give readers a way to interact with it. Go look at photographers’ blog posts from ten years ago. The “comments” section looks the way a Facebook or Instagram thread does today. Now, because social media made it easier for users to access and engage with content than blogs, and conglomerated everything into one place, comments on blogs are fewer and farther between.
So we should all stop blogging, right?
In the current age of social media, it’s easy to believe the myth that blogging is dead or dying. And, therefore, a waste of time. Don’t buy it. Photographers have been declaring the death of blogs since Facebook added galleries and comments, and Instagram added long-form text — and that was a long time ago. We remember people saying things like, “Instagram is the new blog.” We didn’t believe it then. We don’t believe it now. And we don’t want you to believe it, either.
Just because the primary purpose of blogs — a platform for people to share content and people to engage and interact with each other — has changed, and a better alternative (social media) has emerged, doesn’t mean that blogs don’t have other valuable business uses or purposes.
In today’s world, photographers judging a blog by its comments is like judging a fish on its ability to walk, as the saying goes. Fish aren’t the best walkers. Blogs aren’t the best interactive platforms anymore. But that’s not why we blog!
So, as photographers, the longer we compare blogs to social media on that basis, the longer we’ll believe the lie that blogs are dead and social media is the new blog. We just don’t believe that. And here’s why:
What Blogs Do Better Than Social Media
Unlike social media, which is always changing, our blog is a permanent home we can count on. You see, social media platforms will come and go (think Myspace!) Blogs are here to stay.
As business owners, the purpose of social media shouldn’t be to get people to just stay on social media. We should use social media to get people to leave social media for a few minutes and go to your website or blog instead!
Our blog not only allows visitors to see our current work, but click all over, get to know us personally, and helps us build trust with people we’ve never met.
Our blog gives our current clients a way to share about us to their own friends and family, which introduces us to potential new clients, and drivers overall traffic to our permanent online platform.
One Way Blogs Bring New Business
Every time we photograph a new session, we select our favorite images and share them on our blog. Before we share the photos, we usually write a little bit about our clients from our perspective, describe what the shoot or wedding day was like and point out things that stuck out to us about them or their session while we were shooting. It’s such a fun way for us to “feature” each one of our clients and gives them a moment in the spotlight.
This does five main things that are beneficial to our business:
5 Ways Blogs Can Benefit Your Photo Business
1. Makes our clients feel even more excited for their images by showing them the best/our favorite ones first
2. Helps our clients feel special, loved and important (as they should!)
3. Gives them a permanent, shareable link to be able to share their photos with their friends and family
4. Shows future potential clients what they can expect from us
5. Helps build SEO (search engine optimization) for our local area
But what if I don’t have clients yet?
When we were starting out, we didn’t always have paying clients! We were photographing people we knew for free so we could gain experience, build a portfolio and have images to share online.
We never would’ve gotten new paying clients (or growth would’ve been much slower!) if we didn’t blog each time we had a shoot. Our first paying clients were typically friends of our friends, and the way those people found out about us was by seeing photos that we took of our mutual friend on our blog.
We blogged the images, our “clients” (aka friends at the beginning!) would share the link on their social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) or even text the link to their friends, and before we knew it, our blog was introducing us and our business to more potential clients who we’d never met for free!
Real-World Example of Blogging in Action
Let’s say we did a free shoot for our longtime friend, Melissa.
We blogged our favorite photos of Melissa.
Melissa shares the link to her blog post on her social media accounts.
People who know Melissa click the link to see the new photos of her.
Now all of a sudden, people she went to kindergarten with see our blog post. People she works with every day are on our blog. People she went to high school and college with see it. Melissa’s parents’ friends see it. With a few clicks, our photos are in front of an entire network of people who probably didn’t know about us. The next time someone in Melissa’s life needs a photographer, we’re top of mind. When Melissa’s friend Jackie gets engaged, we’re the first name she thinks of. When Melissa’s friends need new headshots, they remember the photos they saw of Melissa. This is one of the ways “word of mouth” spreads in the digital age. One blog post at a time.
As a bonus, all the people who aren’t in Melissa’s social media network can see the photos, too. Because even if her Facebook and Instagram accounts are private, she can still the link to her blog post — because it’s on our website.
Our blog is such a better introduction than an online gallery because our blog is so much more personal. They’re reading our words. They’re hearing “our voice.” They’re seeing a curated version of our best photos. There are easy opportunities for them to click more posts, get to know us better and build trust in a personal way.
Imagine if, in 2008, when Myspace was the most trafficked social media site in the world, photographers declared the death of blogs, stopped blogging their clients’ sessions and just created Myspace pages for each client’s session.
THAT PHOTOGRAPHER WOULD BE SORRY THEY DECLARED THE DEATH OF BLOGS!
A Word of Encouragement!
Do the new clients come overnight? Of course not! We remember when the only people who read our blog were us and our moms. Seriously.
But just like compound interest, it takes a while to pay off; but when it does, you’ll be so happy you were disciplined enough to do it. The more you blog, the more potential clients you will be introduced to for free. The more clients you get from those posts, the more sessions you have to blog. The more blogs you have, the more people see it. See how that momentum builds?
If you’ve never tried blogging before, and you’re looking for ways to book more clients without paying for advertising, we really encourage you commit to blogging each and every one of your shoots.
If you’ve blogged in the past, but you’ve gotten behind and pushed it to the side, maybe this would be a great time to recommit to blogging once a week!
As always, we’re cheering for you!
Yeeees!! I did not expect the title to lead to the topic of blogging but I’m so glad it did! Blogging is my favorite daily routine, and I love blogging/writing just AS much as I do photograph families, so it’s so encouraging to see this! I still comment on blogs all the time ( #oldschool ) and does anyone else still check in on bloglovin? xD Love following your words, thanks for sharing!
Aw!! Blogging is the best!! So glad you agree 🙂
I am a total newbie, just starting out. So glad I was given this piece of advice (by you guys)… now to go and dive in head first!