Sunday, October 16, 2011

Content is king

Artist Willem Vermandere delicately uses a small file to express himself through his marble sculpture
In my previous two posts I covered the topic 'the real value of social media to photographers'. These articles explored why and how you should use social media to engage with a specific audience.

The thing that I did not cover in great detail was content, which, as the title of this blog implies, is the most important element to attract people to your work. Once people have found your website or blog you have to give them a reason to return. The simple logic is they have to find something of value in what you write about.

There are many blogs that attract readers by simply being curators of content. In other words they find great content and then link to it and by doing this become a good resource, a one-stop-shop for people wanting to find valuable content.

I prefer to create original content. This does not mean that I never link to anyone else. It just means that I choose to publish my own thoughts and ideas. After so many years of writing Beyond the Obvious I've covered hundreds of topics and it's a challenge to keep coming up with original stuff. I really don't want to repeat myself.

It delights me to see how many of my old articles continue to be read. That means that people find real value in them. Of course other stuff I've written has been left dusty on a forgotten shelf in the great storage cupboard of the Internet. The barometer of how successful an article is over time is directly related to whether I've written about a subject that is regularly searched for on the Internet. It's a difficult thing to predict, however here are some subjects that people always want to find out more about:

  • Technology and gadgets
  • Camera reviews
  • Software articles
  • Techniques and tricks of the trade
  • How to articles
  • Personal experiences of professional photographers

If you write well about the above you'll probably grow an audience.

Although I do cover many of the above topics my focus on aesthetics, philosophy of photography and the attitude required to succeed as a photographer is certainly not mainstream. But then again I just write what I feel rather than what I think will make my blog popular.

Thanks again to all my regular and loyal readers. It's because of you I keep on writing.

I recently launched a new portfolio site of my photographic work ( Please take a look and let me know what you think.


Sunday, October 02, 2011

Real value of social media to photographers #2

Build a social community that lasts

In my previous post I asked what the real value of social media is to photographers, highlighting the challenges we face to make money from our work. If you've not read the blog post yet then I recommend nipping over and catching up before reading on. The focus of this article is getting a business benefit out of social media. If you just use social media because you like sharing your work for fun then that's a whole different ball game.

Nowadays it's not a question of whether you should use social media. The question is HOW should you use it to help promote your photography. I'll keep this brief. All of the points below are based on experience and backed up by personal research.

Steps to getting real value from social media:
Set clear goals - what do you want to achieve. The clearer your focus is the higher the rewards for your effort. For example if you're trying to sell work to advertising agencies but then spend all your time building a network of other photographers (your competitors), well it that is obviously not going to deliver a return.

Identify your target audience - eg couples wanting to get married, publishers, corporations, agencies etc

Concentrate on the most appropriate social media channel - Facebook works well for big brands focused on consumers, Twitter allows you to engage quickly with a wide range of individuals, LinkedIn is great for reaching business decision makers, Google + is for techies, early adopters and has strong photographic community...the key is to go where your target audience congregates. You'll need to research this.

Get people to come to your own website where you control the content, the way it is seen and you own all the intellectual property rights. Beware of giving all your precious content away on social media like Facebook. Don't drive traffic to Facebook and other social media channels unless you can funnel it into your sales process.

Engage with the right people - ultimately it doesn't matter how many followers, votes and Likes you have; it's about reaching the right people, the people willing to PAY for your work. What's worth more, a thousand votes or one person willing to spend a £1,000 on your photography?

It all takes effort, focus and time. Ultimately people will want to find out more about you if they think your work is good and crucially if they think they will like working with you. Social media is well suited to opening doors on both fronts but it is not the silver bullet to solve all marketing requirements. It's another channel, exciting and full of opportunity, yes, but it needs to be balanced with other channels.

That's probably enough to chew on for now... I'll write more on the subject if you say you're interested.

Here are some of the place you can find me on the net:
Till soon,
I'm a Getty Images Artist