Ever since The Collative began in April 2013, content strategy has been one of this site’s key areas of focus. I’ve enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned in this area so far, both as a journalist and from working with various creatives as an editor.
Going forward, I want to dive deeper into different areas. In particular, I want to open the floor to creatives across different fields who are creating exceptional content, to share their insights and experiences too.
With this in mind, I’m kicking off a brand new interview series today about all things content marketing. We’ll be going behind-the-scenes with photographers, artists, designers and other creatives who excel in their platform(s) of choice to get the lowdown on how they approach their content marketing strategy.
First up, meet wedding photographer Laura Babb. I discovered Laura’s blog a few months back and was immediately struck by how she does an awesome job of showcasing her photography work while also providing lots of helpful information for engaged couples. And I’m thrilled to be able to share some of her story and insights on blogging for photographers with you today.
Here, Laura shares how she got started in photography, her approach to blogging as a photographer and her best tips for fellow creatives looking to up their content marketing game.
1. Can you give us a bit of background on you and your business. How did you get started as a photographer and have you always focused on weddings?
I’ve been a full-time photographer for just over four years. I feel incredibly lucky that I managed to turn a hobby into a career, after buying a digital SLR on a bit of a whim around six years ago.
Pete (my boyfriend then and now husband) taught me to use it, as he’d taken a photography class at university, and at the same time he dug out one of his dad’s old 35mm film cameras and we started going on photo walks almost every weekend.
A while after that a friend asked me to photograph their wedding and I decided that if I was going to do it, I’d do it as properly as I could. I bought books, hired in the equipment I needed for the day and planned the day to the best of my ability. Things just grew from there really and I shot my first paid wedding the following year.
Since then I’ve built my business, taken on an associate photographer, brought Pete into the business, traveled to places as far flung as Tobago to shoot weddings, been shortlisted for a few awards and I also started SNAP Photography Festival, the first week-long retreat, workshop and festival for photographers. It’s been a whirlwind!
2. At what stage did you start blogging for your business?
From the very beginning when I literally had no content to share! I’d do a weekly post about things I’d found online that I loved, I’d share loads and loads of my personal work and musings and I’d eek out weddings by posting them in two parts, over a couple of weeks.
I have almost religiously updated my blog once or twice a week since it started.
3. When it comes to your blog, who would you say is your ideal reader and how did you figure this out?
Contrary to popular advice I don’t really target my blog towards a specific demographic. It’s pretty much all centered around the way I work, the service I provide and the work that I create with some more general advice and musings thrown in for good measure.
My couples are quite diverse in terms of the types of weddings they have; I shoot everything from six person elopements to pub weddings to festival weddings to big London venues. I guess the defining factor is that they want laid back, documentary coverage of their day and they’re usually drawn to colour (which is a prominent feature on my website!).
I favour working with non-traditional clients but, actually, the main thing is that I want to work with people who like to have fun.
4. When it comes to blogging, many photographers stick to sharing their latest projects or shoots on their blog, and I love that your content also covers other areas relating to wedding planning and more. How do you decide what topics or types of content to write about?
A lot of it is actually stuff that makes my life easier and manages potential clients’ expectations. I share loads of information about wedding planning, specifically in relation to the photography aspect of the day.
I share information about how I like to work and what I need to get the job done. I try to reinforce the fact that I shoot the story as it happens, not a perfectly constructed editorial version of it. All of the information I share really helps to ensure that the clients who come my way know what I’m about and how I work best.
5. How do you stay inspired and come up with fresh ideas?
It really is pretty reactive and led by what comes up within my own business. A lot of it is sharing how I think and feel about certain issues. So last week I blogged about Pinterest and how I want to create original pictures for my clients, rather than copying images that they’ve seen on Pinterest.
6. What does your content planning process look like?
Ummm, ahhhh, well… I have a list of ideas in my phone and I blog about those ideas when I get round to it. This is an area for improvement for me and I hope I’ll have some time over the winter, when wedding season is over, to make a proper plan for next year.
7. What type of content do you find works best for your business and how do you measure this?
For me success is a client or potential client telling me they loved a post or that it helped them. If a post impacts on my clients then I’m really happy. One of my most successful posts traffic-wise is about wedding readings and while it’s nice that it brings lots of people to my site, most people have booked a photographer by the time they’re thinking about readings, so it’s not a post that converts to bookings.
8. Are there any rules, standards or principles that guide you when planning or creating content?
My main consideration is whether a potential post fits in with the tone and voice of the rest of my site and my work in general. There are things I would never blog about, like how to look perfect on your wedding day, for example, because it doesn’t align with what I believe a wedding should be about and it’s not what my work is about.
9. What role has your blog / content played in growing your business?
It’s been crucial really. It brings bookings my way, it filters out clients that aren’t a good fit for me and the way I work and it’s a brilliant showcase for my work.
10. What are your top three tools or resources for blogging?
Did I mention that I have a note on my iPhone… I don’t really use any resources, other than sitting down to brainstorm occasionally. I use Rafflecopter for giveaways and JPEGMini to make my images smaller but outside of that I’m pretty low maintenance.
11. What are your top tips for fellow photographers looking to get better at blogging or content marketing?
There are SO many topics that you can cover as a photographer and a million ways of repurposing the resources you have at your disposal. Have you shot at a venue you love? Rename the images and write a post specifically about that venue. Write posts about your favourite suppliers. Write FAQs. Write about your approach to shooting different parts of the day. Write about WHY you do this and what’s important to you. If you want to shoot more destination weddings, write about your approach to being a destination wedding photographer.
I’ve rolled all of my planning information into one designated part of my site and a lot of people find me that way.
There is so much information at your disposal that you probably think is really obvious but that potential clients have no idea about. You can add real value to your offering by sharing it.
12. And finally, where can we find you on the web?