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ahaug
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · To blog or not to blog


I'm going to be updating my website. I'm considering adding a "full weddings" tab or a blog page. It would be a bit more simple to just add a "full wedding" page vs blog. How important is it to blog vs updating the site with new content?


Aug 11, 2017 at 04:04 PM
InSanE
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · To blog or not to blog


Blogs are out, you should Journal


Aug 11, 2017 at 04:18 PM
ZachOly
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · To blog or not to blog


I'm blogging less and less these days.

Unless a wedding is really something special, I'm fine just using FB & Insta to milk all the engagement I can off a handful of images. But there's no point in publishing another generic wedding at insert generic venue here

I realize some have a different strategy (ex. market the blog towards planners and reception venues), so you really need to determine why you're blogging in the first place.



Aug 11, 2017 at 05:08 PM
amonline
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · To blog or not to blog


If I were active these days...

I would do a sample full weddings section, and add to or replace it on occasion with newer content. [image-based blog-like little-verbiage]

Another idea is to do occasional blogging (disguised as above) with "best of" slides/galleries or similar. These could be done at your discretion.

Blogs [lots of fluffy, fake, verbiage] seem to be dying out these days. Social media is where it's at these days.

[edited for clarity]

Edited on Aug 12, 2017 at 06:33 PM · View previous versions



Aug 11, 2017 at 05:38 PM
Tony Hoffer
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · To blog or not to blog


We blog everything we shoot. It's been the best thing we've done for our business by a mile and the easiest way to get referrals.

So no one else blog please!



Aug 11, 2017 at 06:35 PM
TheyCallMeJ
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · To blog or not to blog


What I am about to say might offend some of you, oh well so be it.

My observation with refreshed or updated wedding photographers' websites is that a lot of focus is put in the visuals, mainly to showcase their portfolio images. However, not much effort is put into the ad copy, to properly explain (in simple text), why should the potential bride hire this photographer.

When browsing such sites, it feels like walking into a museum. Notice how visitors just mindlessly go from one exhibit to another, rendering the experience forgettable. Even the images themselves fail to stand out, notice how everyone tends to use the same "preset"? What about those trendy poses with the couple looking away from each other, or the shot where we chop off the bride's head while focusing on the bouquet?

While studying posing and composition, I learned to have my subjects turn towards each other (Roberto Valenzuela calls it the X-factor with the noses) and avoid cropping at the joints, certainly not at the neck. Have the fundamentals of photography changed? I digress.

The struggle I see with current photographers is that they build websites to impress other photographers... You need to ask who is your target audience and what is the purpose behind your website? For me, it has always been for potential brides and Google.


Let's break them down:

1) Potential brides

Brides not only want to see your portfolio, they want to know what you can do for them and how you do it. They care about their wedding, so showing off fancy images of other people's weddings won't cut it. You need to explain the tangible benefits for contacting you, the problems you are able to solve and whether you are the right person to work with in the most concise manner, often that's just plain text.

Countless times I encounter websites where you hear the photographers only talk about themselves. Yes, the dreaded About / Bio page about their passion and their golden retriever. How does your dog help your client's big day in any shape or form? How are you different and what value do you bring onto the table? And where the hell is the Call-To-Action (CTA)? The bride just spent 5 minutes flipping through your pictures and reading your life story, is she expected to book you for her wedding or what?

2) Google

In short, Google doesn't understand images. If you care about SEO, you have no choice but to write quality ad copy with relevant keywords such that Google understands what the heck your website is about. It is widely known that Google loves long, detailed, in-depth articles or blog posts, in particular those that answer specific queries. 2000 to 2500+ words, give or take.

Splashing large, high resolution images will dramatically increase loading times, killing your SEO. Brides are becoming incredibly impatient these days, 3 seconds is considered too slow when loading your site and chances are they will click Back, hurting your Bounce Rate in Analytics, another nail in the SEO coffin.

Having a blog addresses such issues because Google will pick up important keywords such as the venues you have been (locations, property names), the clients you are targeting (elegant, fun, high end, cheap) and most importantly, Google understands that you are a wedding photographer looking for clients as opposed to a gallery of wedding photography images.


Be wary of putting all your eggs on social media. It's a great tool, but it's just another tool in the box. You are forever at the mercy of Facebook and friends. One day you are accused of violating their rules and they shut down your page, then all is vanished. Also, try searching for wedding photographers, does Google return a bunch of Facebook and Instagram pages? I bet no.

Finally, I always hear people say "an image is worth 1000 words" or "well I want my portfolio to speak for itself", sorry I never understood such concepts. Try reading news without text or watching live sports without commentators. If that's the case, all copywriters would lose their jobs and Wikipedia would cease to exist.

And Google is obsessed with Wikipedia.



Aug 11, 2017 at 08:24 PM
InSanE
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · To blog or not to blog


Reality check!
Brides in 2017. do not read copy. Copy is for serp.
Brides see, like, want!



Aug 11, 2017 at 09:09 PM
MRomine
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · To blog or not to blog


TheyCallMeJ wrote:
Brides not only want to see your portfolio, they want to know what you can do for them and how you do it. They care about their wedding, so showing off fancy images of other people's weddings won't cut it. You need to explain the tangible benefits for contacting you, the problems you are able to solve and whether you are the right person to work with in the most concise manner, often that's just plain text.


Your post all sounds good but how much do people really read these day? I constantly find, based upon the questions I get about my services and/or my contract, that clients don't ready much of anything these days. And how many buyers believe what the seller is saying about themselves anyway? So when you say you do this or you offer this services based upon this approach or that approach, because of all the 'fake news' out there how many people will listen to what we write? Or does it just go in one ear and out the other? They will believe and trust word of mouth comments from friends and family. But I really question, in this day and age, how much prospects trust what we say about ourselves or write about ourselves on our blogs.



Aug 11, 2017 at 10:09 PM
TheyCallMeJ
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · To blog or not to blog


MRomine wrote:
Your post all sounds good but how much do people really read these day? I constantly find, based upon the questions I get about my services and/or my contract, that clients don't ready much of anything these days. And how many buyers believe what the seller is saying about themselves anyway? So when you say you do this or you offer this services based upon this approach or that approach, because of all the 'fake news' out there how many people will listen to what we write? Or does it just go in one ear and out the other? They
...Show more


I swear I am not making this up:

3 hours ago an inquiry landed in my inbox so I called the potential bride. My habit is to ask how she found me (if it's referral then I would like to know who) and what made her decide to reach out. This gives me insight as to what works and what doesn't in my marketing. Anyhow, her answer was "deep" browsing Google for the typical keywords [location] + wedding photographer and compare all of them. Now I don't know how many sites she ended up visiting but she claimed that "how you sell yourself is so much different than others".

I guarantee that brides still take the time to read, if they believe the content to be helpful for their wedding day. I learned a long time ago that women in general, love to read. Someone is buying and consuming all these novels and magazines. Oprah's book club, NY Times best sellers, the list goes on.

To keep this short and to address your questions, may I invite you to check out http://www.copyblogger.com/ should you be interested in improving your copy writing skills?

It all comes back to your ideal client and knowing your audience. Lower end, price sensitive clients will respond to pricing and keywords like "cheap", "free", "Buy a session and get another free", etc. Value clients want to know what exactly they are getting in advance, high end clients care about heritage, prestige, brand power and so on. I have no doubt you know what I am talking about.

A contract is different because it contains legal blah blah so there's little wiggle room. Normal folks hate reading the fine print.

However, your website and your blog represent your voice and how you choose to resonate with your target audience is entirely up to you. To be honest, if someone doesn't take the time to read my copy (to learn what and how I do things and why), immediately that's a red flag and I know this person isn't my client.

As for establishing trust and authority, do you have testimonials and reviews? Brides are pretty savvy nowadays and they will dig up dirt on you if they have to. That's your social proof, in addition to WOM. I have been fortunate to work with brides who wrote really long, glowing reviews and I don't hesitate in featuring them.

EDIT:
MRomine, when you first read my post in this thread, was it "this person sounds like he/she is full of shit and why should I bother engaging?" or rather "this person seems to know a bit about copywriting and SEO, and I happen to be interested in learning more"?

Based on your reply that my post "all sounds good" it is safe for me to assume that you took the time to read my post, despite being a long one.

Remember that we aren't friends or anything, I am just another stranger on the internet. Yet, I am able to attract your attention, read what I have to say then get you engaged into a conversation.

I didn't even have to prove my "authority" yet and I don't intent in doing so.

So yes, brides do read my long ad copy. If my posts on FM offer any indication, trust me when I say that I spend considerably more time and effort in writing for my own site.


Edited on Aug 11, 2017 at 10:55 PM · View previous versions



Aug 11, 2017 at 10:45 PM
 

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InSanE
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · To blog or not to blog


Ok so its spam mr copybloger


Aug 11, 2017 at 10:49 PM
glort
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · To blog or not to blog


TheyCallMeJ wrote:
My observation with refreshed or updated wedding photographers' websites is that a lot of focus is put in the visuals, mainly to showcase their portfolio images. However, not much effort is put into the ad copy, to properly explain (in simple text), why should the potential bride hire this photographer.


+ 1000

I have been saying the same thing for years. Everyone is trying to be different and capture the top end of the market but all doing the same thing! The belief is that as long as I'm the best shooter in the world, I'll be successful!
Wrong!

Brides not only want to see your portfolio, they want to know what you can do for them and how you do it. They care about their wedding, so showing off fancy images of other people's weddings won't cut it. You need to explain the tangible benefits for contacting you, the problems you are able to solve and whether you are the right person to work with in the most concise manner, often that's just plain text.

It's real easy to cut 99% of photographers and the majority of small business owners defences of what they are doing wrong with one, simple, pertinent question.... "Why should a prospective client book you over the other guy? Nearly every answer will come back with 1 or more of the same words: Quality, service, Price. They don't realise every other fker out there is saying the exact same thing so clearly it's NOT those reasons at all.

If YOU the business owner can't give people a real reason why clients should book you or even understand what your USP is or what a USP is at all, how in the hell do you expect your potential clients to know?

There is an old adgae in sales ( yes, you know, that dodgy thing only used car salesmen ever do that you don't want to be like because you haven't got the first damn clue what sales is all about) That he who tells, sells. You need to tell your clients why you are better than the other guy and what you do different. No, they won't just look at you pictures and know, YOU have to spell out the often intangibles and build some RAPPORT with them.

Countless times I encounter websites where you hear the photographers only talk about themselves. Yes, the dreaded About / Bio page about their passion and their golden retriever. How does your dog help your client's big day in any shape or form? And where the hell is the Call-To-Action (CTA)? The bride just spent 5 minutes flipping through your pictures and reading your life story, is she expected to book you for her wedding or what?

Exactly!
What people don't seem to understand is " About me" is really " about what I can do for you and a chance to build rapport and a connection".
No, your cute dog is not going to endear you to them because every other vulture out there has a dog as well.
Same as the " personal" landscape and other useless pics. They don't endear a shooter to the prospect, they just confuse the issue and increase the chances of them NOT liking you. Maybe not everyone likes cats or wants to see pics of horses in a paddock or whatever.

Another thing is shooters that "specialise" in Weddings, portraits, Industrial, automotive, glamour, Children, Animals, advertising, Chimpanzee and Boa constrictor, aircraft and weather photography. Specialise is specific, it does not mean you'll do anything and everything.
I shoot more than one thing as well but my websites only had one thing at a time. I just had 3 sites.

I want to come across as THE guy for XXX, again not be like everyone else shooting evertying animal, vegetable or mineral.

Be wary of putting all your eggs on social media. It's a great tool, but it's just another tool in the box. You are forever at the mercy of Facebook and friends. One day you are accused of violating their rules and they shut down your page, then all is vanished. Also, try searching for wedding photographers, does Google return a bunch of Facebook and Instagram pages? I bet no.

Been saying this forever as well. People think today that Faceboob and Co are the only advertising mediums out there. It's madness. What it really is comes back tot he fundamental problem. Shooters by and large are too lazy or conceited to get off their arses and educate themselves in basic business principles. They refuse to accept their whole success lies upon it, they have convinced themselves its all about having the prettiest pictures. Which is what the next guy is doing and the guy down the road from him and the ....

So many shooters know of every new bit of gear that comes along no matter how Irrelevant but suggest some they spend some time looking up sales, marketing or advertising and you would cause less offense if you suggested they should be cruel to small animals for thrills and kicks.

Finally, I always hear people say "an image is worth 1000 words" or "well I want my portfolio to speak for itself", sorry I never understood such concepts. Try reading news without text or watching live sports without commentators. If that's the case, all copywriters would lose their jobs and Wikipedia would cease to exist.

Yeah heard it all before as well as the golden Chestnut I'll address in the next post.
Thing is though, the very next words out their mouths prove beyond all and any doubt what so ever that they haven't got the first clue what they are talking about.

Business and photography are the same. No one wakes up one morning and has 10 years experience and knowledge. one has to work at it, study, learn and put effort into it.
So many shooters seem to challenge that and fight against it. They want to believe all they have to do is take the prettiest pictures and they will be right and they will come up with any excuse, defense and fantasy to stick to that belief.

I don't know of any other industry where people work so hard at hurting themselves and making things so much harder than they need to be. :0)






Aug 12, 2017 at 04:00 AM
glort
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · To blog or not to blog


MRomine wrote:
Your post all sounds good but how much do people really read these day?


Same old thing I have seen people say for 20+ years and it goes back well before that.

If you write crap about loving taking pictures of your dog and other irrelevant crap, of course they won't read it. If you tell them about what they want to know, put ideas and inspiration to them they may not have thought of and address their concerns, they will read every word.

Sorry, but the only people that say " People Don't ready things these days" are the people that are uneducated in business, marketing and sales. I was talking to a mate last night who is starting his 3rd business related masters degree and he was talking about the importance of copy that builds rapport. he said this thing about people not reading anything any more is BS, they read whatever interests them because they want to learn about it. Go on with waffle they have heard before and you will loose them, give them good helpful info and they will become advocates even if they don't become your client.

Large companies and corporations don't promote themselves with pictures alone, they produce tons of literature. If no one read it, their marketing departments wouldn't still be doing it would they? All they would have to do to sell that new car would be put up lots of pretty pictures. their sites wouldn't have a word on them other than the brand, options and price.




Aug 12, 2017 at 04:08 AM
ahaug
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · To blog or not to blog


So, it seems that the discussion is between add copy and no add copy. As for blogging specifically, how important is it to have vs creating relevant information just on the website?
Also, what do you think are the most important topics that brides actually want to read about from a wedding photography?



Aug 12, 2017 at 03:11 PM
LeeSimms
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · To blog or not to blog


I love blogging and wish I had time to do it more often.


Aug 12, 2017 at 04:06 PM
MRomine
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · To blog or not to blog


TheyCallMeJ wrote:
I swear I am not making this up:

3 hours ago an inquiry landed in my inbox so I called the potential bride. My habit is to ask how she found me (if it's referral then I would like to know who) and what made her decide to reach out. This gives me insight as to what works and what doesn't in my marketing. Anyhow, her answer was "deep" browsing Google for the typical keywords [location] + wedding photographer and compare all of them. Now I don't know how many sites she ended up visiting but she claimed that "how
...Show more

I think that is called long tail searches. And for the most part I try to name/label my blog posts beyond just simply, mycityweddingphotographer.

TheyCallMeJ wrote:
I guarantee that brides still take the time to read, if they believe the content to be helpful for their wedding day. I learned a long time ago that women in general, love to read. Someone is buying and consuming all these novels and magazines. Oprah's book club, NY Times best sellers, the list goes on.


I've been married to one woman for more than 35 years so I know what you are talking about and I would agree. But I don't believe all brides do that regardless of their education, profession or financial position in life. I think it is more personality dependent than either education, profession or financial. I can point to many of my clients who are well educated, professional (doctors, dentists, attorneys, engineers etc) that read little to nothing on my website. They were WOM clients and they trust what their friends have told them.

TheyCallMeJ wrote:
To keep this short and to address your questions, may I invite you to check out http://www.copyblogger.com/ should you be interested in improving your copy writing skills?

It all comes back to your ideal client and knowing your audience. Lower end, price sensitive clients will respond to pricing and keywords like "cheap", "free", "Buy a session and get another free", etc. Value clients want to know what exactly they are getting in advance, high end clients care about heritage, prestige, brand power and so on. I have no doubt you know what I am talking about.


I would agree with the idea about using those kinds if key words. Although I have never used those so I can't say for sure, just making an educated guess. Even so that does not make one or the other group a better or worse client to work with.

TheyCallMeJ wrote:
A contract is different because it contains legal blah blah so there's little wiggle room. Normal folks hate reading the fine print.


That is probably true too.

TheyCallMeJ wrote:
However, your website and your blog represent your voice and how you choose to resonate with your target audience is entirely up to you. To be honest, if someone doesn't take the time to read my copy (to learn what and how I do things and why), immediately that's a red flag and I know this person isn't my client.


I guess you can take that position, but what you write sounds from this side of my display and I could be totally wrong and hopefully I am wrong, as being a bit snoberish (made up word) even if you are not that way in person. If you feel that you need to find those brides who are of a certain mindset that aligns so closely with your disposition and personality for you to be happy and successful in life, I would think that would make the potential client pool a little shallow. I have never really understood the who 'red flag' thing. I have worked with some 500 couples in my career and I can easily count on one hand the number of problem clients that I have had over the years. Basically if they are willing to pay me what I want I can generally accomplish what they want to make them reasonably happy. At least happy enough that they are not complaining to me.

TheyCallMeJ wrote:
As for establishing trust and authority, do you have testimonials and reviews?
.

Yes, lots and lots of them and that reminds me that I haven't added any from the last 2-3 years.

TheyCallMeJ wrote:
Brides are pretty savvy nowadays and they will dig up dirt on you if they have to. That's your social proof, in addition to WOM. I have been fortunate to work with brides who wrote really long, glowing reviews and I don't hesitate in featuring them.


I have thirty some on my site now but based upon my Google Analytics they are rarely looked at and not much time is spent there by the visitor, so I can conclude that they are not reading any more than 3, 4 maybe half a dozen. It's not like they are hard to find or access on my website, they include a photo of each couple and a link to their original wedding post.

It's because of my Google Analytics and the questions that I get asked by potential clients and even by clients that have booked me, that makes me think that they are not reading much or they all have a worse memory than myself.

TheyCallMeJ wrote:
EDIT:
MRomine, when you first read my post in this thread, was it "this person sounds like he/she is full of shit and why should I bother engaging?" or rather "this person seems to know a bit about copywriting and SEO, and I happen to be interested in learning more"?

Based on your reply that my post "all sounds good" it is safe for me to assume that you took the time to read my post, despite being a long one.

Remember that we aren't friends or anything, I am just another stranger on the internet. Yet, I am able to attract your
...Show more

Whoa, you are drawing some big conclusions here. Don't pat yourself to hard on your back, I didn't read your post for either of the two reasons that you mention. I read it simply because it was the next one in line in the thread. I had an overall interest in the topic of this thread and I was interested in reading what everyone has said including your post when I got to it. I didn't single your post out from the others.

TheyCallMeJ wrote:
I didn't even have to prove my "authority" yet and I don't intent in doing so.

So yes, brides do read my long ad copy. If my posts on FM offer any indication, trust me when I say that I spend considerably more time and effort in writing for my own site.


I'm sure you do and I'm glad that it is working for you. But it is not the only method that works. I am not a good copy writer and never will be but I don't think you have to be either. I have many more important things to do in my life than spending time writing lengthy blog posts with the idea of somehow connecting on some esoteric level with future clients. I actually rarely if ever book anyone from doing a cold internet search and 90% of those who find me via a cold internet search do not have or do not want to spend what I'm asking for in the way of compensation. In fact my Google ranking brings me mainly tire kickers. Therefore, I primarily use my blogsite as a portfolio for my work to share with those WOM prospects.



Aug 13, 2017 at 09:16 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · To blog or not to blog


I think it is important for a business to show they are active, busy and in demand.


Aug 13, 2017 at 10:35 PM
ZachOly
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · To blog or not to blog


Mark_L wrote:
I think it is important for a business to show they are active, busy and in demand.


I don't disagree. But is a blog the best avenue? Is a 1000 word preamble necessary? Should you blog/post everything?



Aug 14, 2017 at 11:37 AM
Mark_L
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · To blog or not to blog


ZachOly wrote:
I don't disagree. But is a blog the best avenue? Is a 1000 word preamble necessary? Should you blog/post everything?


I think a blog is, but minimal words (certainly not the stupid OTT gushy rubbish we often see). Definitely not everything, just what you want to shoot more of.

One of the first things I want to know when I look at business pages for services is "are these guys still trading?" and "are they legit" I think a blog can cover these well shwoing you are trading/busy and yes you can turn out work like your portfolio.I find otherwise a site doesn't convey enough personality or inspire enough buyer confidence with just a slideshow and 'about me'.



Aug 14, 2017 at 11:48 AM







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