Let’s kick this off with one basic assumption: as a professional photographer, you need to be blogging. Your competitors know it. Your clients know it. And now we both know that you know it.

Sure, there are those who disagree on this, and that is actually awesome! The great news for you is that their lack of blogging gives you a tremendous opportunity to out-perform them in the marketplace.

A bad blog is like a boat anchor that will drag your business down to the bottom of the proverbial professional lake. But even a decent blog will do better for your photography business than no blog at all. And a decent blog with regularly updated content will do even better.

But a decent blog isn’t going to represent your business the way you want it to. And a decent blog certainly isn’t going to launch you into 2016 the way you’d like to be launched. So today, let’s dig into three strategies to improve your blog this winter. Before spring, you can have an awesome blog.

1. Focus on your WHY

Everybody is saying that you should blog. And you believe them. You have probably done some blogging, and have a plan for future blog posts. But why? Have you really zoomed in on why you do it? We’ve listed a few common reasons that photographers are blogging. More than one of these will likely resonate with you, and that’s okay. Maybe your Why isn’t even on this list. That’s okay too. The key is to figure it out for yourself and articulate your Why. Once you know Why, you’ll find it easier to make time to blog and also easier to create blog posts that accomplish your Why.

Strategies to Improve Your Blog1. For your past clients, family, friends and fans
• Share what you’ve been doing
• Show growth, show what you’re learning.
• Inspire the masses!

2. For the current client
• Make your clients feel special, important.
• They have something to share now
• They have something to point to later

3. For the next client
• They need to find you, because they need you.
• They need to find you through a friend…
• They need to find you through the socials…
• They need to find you through a search…
• They need to find you through the crowd!

4. To be an Industry Leader
• You’re a a pioneer, a conversation starter, a teacher, so teach them something!
• Share your thoughts, insights, technical know-how and artistic inspiration.
• Build your personal brand cachet as well as growing and serving your tribe.

5. To attract traffic to your website
• Blog content with good SEO is a Google Magnet
• Nobody can find what isn’t there
• More content = more traffic
• More traffic = more inquiries
• More inquiries = … :)

6. To generate buzz on your socials
• If you blog, you have something to share!
• If you share, they have something to share
• If you get shared, you get found.

7. To keep a record of your photography journey
• Demonstrate your longevity. “Est.1981”
• Display your progress
• Curate your body of work

Strategies to Improve Your Blog

2. Know your WHAT

Now that you have a firm grasp on why you blog, it’s time to get serious about what to blog. This ties into your brand, your personal and professional communication style(s) and your comfort with writing words. One helpful step in determining what you’ll be blogging is to define your blogging style.

5 Types of Blogs & Bloggers – which are YOU?

The Storyteller
This is a very common wedding photography blog style. Telling your couple’s story is the key to this one. This would be a great time to use a Questionnaire.

The Chronological Blogger
Walk your readers through the wedding day. Give little tidbits along the way as your readers progress through the photos to the dramatic finish.

The Gusher
I love Everything! Everything is beautiful. All the feels! Very emotional! This often requires fewer words and more emojis. :D The key here is to let loose and say everything you’re feeling. If this is you, chances are, you’re already doing this. ;)

The Minimalist
Few words. Many photos. Crafty SEO.

The Motivational Speaker
Inspiration is Everywhere! I’m learning, you’re learning, we’re all learning together. And you, as an inspiration magnet, will turn yourself inside-out to share the things that make you sing. It’ll be fun!

You can be a combo of these things, and you probably are. The key is to find out who you are and what works for you, and stick with it.Strategies to Improve Your Blog

Create an Annual Plan

1. Actually write this down. Step 1 to creating a plan is to create the plan.
2. Brainstorm on blog subjects – create a note on your phone and keep it going!
3. Create a style doc. Align your blog style with your company’s identity
4. Add blogging into your weekly schedule
5. Think of a series you want to create. Create it.
6. Commit to blog every shoot within a reasonable time period. One week – or a day.
7. Commit to take blog notes and blog shots while shooting
8. Forecast the year, month by month. Forecast the month ahead, week by week
9. Use a slow month to create blog content for busy months.
10. Improve, Refine and Define your style as you go.

Strategies to Improve Your Blog

3. Master your HOW

How To Blog A Blog

1. Sketch out a rough idea of what you want to show AND tell
2. Choose 4-20 photos that show it, drop them into a folder
3. Choose a search phrase you want to own
4. Incorporate your phrase into the title
5. Rename your photos something sensible
6. Upload, put in Title, Alt, use your search phrase
7. Write words! Use your search phrase, pepper it with gems!
8. SEO, yo! Is your Yoast green? Is your SEO plug-in happy?
9. Publish it to your blog! Hit the [Publish] button!
10. Share it! FB, business and personal? Tweet! Insta, Pinsta!

Strategies to Improve Your Blog

Some SEO Tips

1. Make URLs usable: lough_eske_castle_wedding.htm – NOT BloggityBlog.htm
2. Name your images in English – Bride_Groom_Lough_Eske_Castle_wedding_17.jpg NOT img_0467.png
3. Title Tags and Alt Tags matter. Use them with your SEO keyword phrase for victory.
4. Don’t make images too large. A good rule is 1000px/300k~ish. It’s a moving target, so just aim for something reasonable.
5. Make sure your site loads fast enough. gtmetrix.com is a good test for load speed.
6. Create good content. Create for your audience, and learn from their feedback.
7. Press Releases are a waste of everybody’s time. Don’t bother. Share on the socials.
8. Keyword vomit will do you more harm than good.
9. Ads are great, but make sure you’re getting your ROI. Track your campaigns.

Some SEO Tricks

1. The Address “Trick” 
• Get more citations and links back to you when you enter your address on every site you can.
• Facebook
• Google+, business, etc.
• Yelp
• Bing
• The Yellow Pages…?

2. The Schema Markup “Trick”
• This one involves writing code, you might want a pro to do it.
LoveAndScience.com can do it for something like $200
• Learn more at schema.org

3. Use these SEO Web tools:
• Coschedule’s Emotional Headlines http://bit.ly/1LKeZF3
• Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer http://bit.ly/12ruKPp
• Headline Generator http://bit.ly/1Hebljx
• SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool http://bit.ly/1qMcSEe
• Yoast SEO for WordPress http://bit.ly/1hX7D3pYassss!

How to SEO, though?

1. Think like a prospective client – what would you search for?
2. Write down 5-10 search phrases your ideal might use.
3. What phrases do you want to find you?
4. Pick one for the next blog post as the “SEO” Focus Keyword.
5. Incorporate that phrase into your blog’s title & URL.
6. Tag EVERY photo you post with this phrase… and your name, and your business name.

How to determine your SEO success

1. Set goals for traffic, inquiries, conversions & shoots. Track your goals – are you reaching them?
2. Google yourself, track your search rank.
3. Track keywords – are you owning your favorites?
4. Track your traffic every way you can – Google Analytics! If you get hired more, that’s success.
5. If you hire an SEO professional, use their fancy tracking apps.

Strategies to Improve Your Blog

So, professional wedding photographer, you should be blogging. You know this even more now. Blogging will get you more exposure, more search traffic, more buzz and more clients. And focused blogging with better strategy and badder SEO will get you more of the right clients. Throw in great photographs and a comprehensive marketing strategy and you’ve got yourself a recipe for an amazing next year!

You may not technically need to blog right now – and nobody’s saying you have to. Maybe you have all the 2016 brides you need and 2017 is looking pretty solid too. Just know that some where nearby, there’s an eager, young photographer reading this blog right now. And they’re going to spend this winter doing all of the things laid out above. It might take a while—years even—but they’re coming. And now they don’t just have a camera and a dream, they also have a blog.

Good luck to you, and if you have questions or thoughts, feel free to drop them into the comments.