To Blog or Not to Blog?

Blogging. If you’re in the wedding industry you’ll be hard pushed to avoid it. Still a relatively new medium, the first blogs (called web-logs back then) were launched in the late 90s. The wedding industry quickly adopted this format as their own with many wedding suppliers now using a personal blog to promote their work and to connect with others in the industry as well as potential clients. There are even people (like me!) who make a full time career out of blogging.

There are currently a reported 164 million blogs in existence, so how do you make yours stand out? Is blogging even right for yomu and your business? Two UK wedding photographers battle it out…

Sassy of Assassynation Photography doesn’t have a blog, preferring to use Facebook to preview her images to her clients and fans

Photography Credit: Lisa Jane Photography

Before I start I should say that I am in no way saying that it’s bad to have a blog, but it just isn’t for me right now. I have never ever had a blog and I can’t see me getting one any time soon. For me, I just can’t see how they will add value (not just workload) to my business. I know all the reasons that people give as to why I should have one (SEO, showcasing your personality, sharing your latest work etc) and I have basically been told that I am a total idiot for not having one. It is probably even more shocking for me to be of this opinion because in my previous life I was marketing manager!

Everyone seems to think I am breaking rule number one by not having my own blog. When I launched my photography business I wrote all the content on my site. I managed the whole thing myself, and being able to update my site as much as I like (I don’t have to go through a developer or anything) I am basically able to update it as much as I want. So instead of blogging, I constantly update my gallery with new weddings. For each of the weddings that I feature in my gallery my couples write a little bit about their day. I’m also very lucky that a lot of my work gets picked up by the big UK wedding blogs (thanks bloggers, I love you guys!) from my Facebook previews or when I submit weddings directly to them. These blogs have a much higher readership than any little blog I could write. I am not a writer, nor do I have any desire to be one. I want to tell my stories through imagery, not words, and having a blog would mean people would have to listen to me prattle on *yawn*.

The most important tool for me is Facebook. I always upload my previews to Facebook and encourage my couples to tag themselves and share the images. To me, that is far more powerful than a personal blog. All their friends are on Facebook so once they’re tagged in the images they’ll share them with their network of friends. That’s powerful viral marketing. Let me give you a couple of scenarios…

Bride One:

I’m Clair, a bride-to-be and I am at home looking on a photographer’s lovely shiny blog. I may even leave a comment… but who will know about it? How do all my friends know that I am looking at this photographer and that I have left a comment? Unless I tell everyone everything about my life about it (doubtful).

Bride Two:

I’m Jo, I am at work checking out photographers (naughty) on Facebook and I have commented on an image that I love or ‘liked’ their page. Now all my friends can see that I have commented or ‘liked’ this page which might intrigue them. “Oooh Jo’s looking at wedding photographers, I’m going to see who she’s thinking of booking” they might think. They too might like it and leave a comment… and then their friends might do the same…etc etc.

You see, with Facebook the reach goes beyond the immediate person. This is perfect when it comes to sharing wedding sneak peeks. If I posted my sneak peeks to a blog and not to Facebook first I may get hits on my blog, but the reach ends quite quickly. If I load them only to my Facebook people then are then encouraged to send other people to my Facebook page, people who might ‘like’ my page or leave a comment. This increases my reach and the number of people who will then get my updates automatically in their newsfeed.

Here’s yet another example of the power of Facebook, this is a true story that happened to me recently. I took a booking for a destination wedding where the groom saw a photo I took of his friend who was a best man at a wedding I had previously shot. The couple had tagged the best man in the photo, the best man commented on it and his friend (the destination groom) saw it. Perfect.

Putting it simply, I want people to continue to get updates without needing to do anything different to what they do personally with their friends. For me, not having a blog hasn’t detrimentally impacted my business. My advice to anyone wondering if a blog is right for them would be that if you want to write then go for it, but it’s your choice. Don’t feel pressured to have one because everyone says you have to. There’s surely nothing worse looking to potential client than going to a photographer’s blog that hasn’t been updated since 1986. It will look like you’re not working… which is probably far from the truth! You’re probably working so much you’re finding it hard to keep up with updating your blog… they won’t assume that though, they’ll think – no updates, they must have nothing new to share. But no matter how busy you are, I bet you still find time to go on Facebook! Why not use that time to help your business instead?

Be wary of trying to do everything and spreading yourself too thin. Work out what you prefer and concentrate on that rather than giving in to peer pressure and trying to do it all.

Liz of Eliza Claire Photography loves blogging, and uses it to showcase her latest work as well as sharing her personality with potential clients

Photography Credit: David McNeil Photography

Sometimes I come across another photographer on twitter, and I check out their site. I land on their home page, and the first thing I do is look for a blog link. If they don’t have one, I may look at a few shots in their portfolio, I may look at their ‘about me’ page, but then I’m off. They can’t hold my interest. I can’t see a whole wedding story, I can’t see how they tell that story, and I can’t get an impression of them as a photographer, or as a person.

I started blogging pretty soon after I launched my business. I had a very basic website, but I had a wordpress template, and I soon learned how to customise it and make it tell a story. I’m able to show, in words and in images, how I work and how I see a wedding day. I’ve had amazing feedback from clients ever since. One recently said to me that after narrowing down a shortlist,

We trawled the blogs of the photographers to get a sense of their personality. The way I see it, your wedding day is a hugely personal thing and when you book a supplier you are essentially inviting a stranger to share that experience. As such, it was really important to me that we picked some one we liked, someone we thought we would get on with. Your personality shone through in your blog posts and I loved the way you talked about your clients like they were old friends. You clearly had a passion for what you do, not just the photos but the love as well. There was also one post that really stuck out. It was a personal post with pictures of your children. I think it made you seem really ‘human’ and real {if that makes sense?}, and convinced me that you were the right woman for the job. I think we booked you within 24hrs. The rest, as they say, is history….

This is what a blog can do – it can allow you to become a real person to your clients – not just a supplier that they’re ticking off their list. I think it also acts to show your clients your consistency, throughout the stages of the day, and throughout the entire season. This instills confidence from clients about your work. Another past bride once told me,

Your blog documents your work so clearly, and each entry glows like a perfect, clear little wedding filled snow globe!! I saw it and (along with your very pretty and well designed website) wanted to be one of your happy couples.

Of course, all social media is important – I have a twitter account and a facebook page - and all of these things are important to my business. But it’s only on my blog that I can create relationships with clients even before they book me. I use facebook and twitter to direct people to my blog.

The other thing to note is that blogs rank highly for SEO – the constant stream of new content is something that google loves, and the ability to write good content can’t be overstated. I must admit that I’m not great with the words – I’d rather let the images tell the story – but I have had clients find me by googling their wedding venue and discovering my images. It’s a great way of allowing your clients to imagine themselves in your images!

It also allows me to write about the job of being a photographer – a recent example of this was when I decided to do a video tutorial about how I use Blogstomp and LR/Blog to speed up my blogging process. This was a huge hit with other photographers, and brought me to the attention of my peers. This is vital for my business, because the links that I make with other photographers bring me referrals when those other photographers are already booked for dates (and vice versa!)

Finally, it allows me to build relationships with other wedding vendors, and with the wedding blogs and magazines. Bloggers and magazines can keep an eye on my blog, and can contact me when I publish a wedding that they’d love to feature. Other vendors get a mention in the blog post, and that builds further relationships which are essential in today’s industry.

I wouldn’t be without my blog. I’m not the most prolific poster, I try to sneak peek every wedding that I shoot, so that the bride and groom can see a few of my favourite images straight after their wedding day, and I try to blog at least once a week on top of that. I know I should do more – I’d love to write about venues that I love, about new season dresses and (my passion!) great caterers. I’d love to be a source of information to my clients, a first-stop-shop for advice before their wedding day. Maybe in the winter months, when I have more time, this will be higher on my to-do list, but for now I’m busy shooting, blogging and connecting with new clients.

All Photography Credit (except where stated): Assassynation Photography & Eliza Claire Photography

12 comments

  1. It’s great to get two different points of view on this but yeah… they both seem to work well for each of you. I was one of those people telling Sassy to blog but after getting to know her at Photography Farm and seeing how well she uses Facebook and her site, I ended up seeing that she was doing what was right for her.

  2. I started blogging and tried to do it regularly but like Sassy I get more success through Facebook therefore during busy periods I use it much more than blogging.

    Awesome post as always dudes x

  3. Great post – really useful, as always! I was reading Sassy’s post, nodding in interest and agreement, then completely swayed back by Liz. Which just shows that you really do have to work out what works best for you and the clients that you are looking to work with. It’s so useful to hear the different points of view – thanks both of you for the advice :)

  4. Post author

    I love how sassy uses facebook and think it works so well for her. i personally like to focus on the blog (but i am a blogger!) But i do put a huge amount of effort into my facebook page to as i know how much traffic i get from it when i do. facebook is such a powerful tool

  5. A really great article ladies, read Sassy’s and started thinking right the blog’s going, all about facebook! Then read Eliza’s and I’m back to loving my blog again :) It has inspired me to step up my use of both the blog and facebook in conjunction with each other…now to find the time to do that! Thanks ladies, great read :)

  6. Doesn’t one lead to the other? SEO and Facebook viral marketing = bigger audience / potential client base. I’m still setting my business up but from looking at many different successful wedding photographers one thing is constant – a significant web presence. Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Flickr / Instagram / Formspring and too numerous other social media options to mention, all can be managed with ease and crossover. As we’re talking about blogs and facebook on this post I’ll stick to those, if you use wordpress there is a facebook plugin that allows you to tag facebook friends in posts so that they’ll appear on their timeline and also the comments will appear on their timeline too so you won’t lose any virality (ok that’s not a word , but you know what I mean ;))aspect and people will be more likely to visit your shop front (website) to see what’s on offer and get booked. However if you’re getting booked up just using Facebook without a blog then I can see the argument for not bothering but I’m not sure this would work for everyone?

    Also I’ll admit to only posting some of my content to Facebook. I worry sometimes about doing that though as my sister, yes my sister who always says how interested she is in my work, didn’t know I had a website!?! Some people are only living online on Facebook it would seem, so it’s my ambition to somehow drive people more to think about hiring me, maybe looking at the info on my website rather than just looking at my pretty pictures on Facebook :) Tx

  7. Great post – really useful, as always! It has inspired me to step up my use of both the blog and facebook in conjunction with each other.

    Thanks! great read

  8. Really interesting. I personally blog and find it fabulous for showcasing and for SEO, just like Eliza. I also have a Facebook page, but it’s nowhere near as well attended as Sassy’s. I like the idea of encouraging couples to tag themselves and use the viral capabilities; but I also like the idea of using Facebook to drive traffic back to your blog and website, rather than keep it on there.

    More thought on this needed here I think! I do also think that the good things about blogs is that it’s entirely under your own control. Facebook is a free medium which whilst you’re using it, you’re at the mercy of the site owners as to the longevity of it. Essentially, they could choose to delete your account, change the concept, charge for business pages, anything. Also – despite the concept of the world being on Facebook, I genuinely think that many of my clients don’t particularly use it. I do encourage clients to share the Facebook posts I put up (which are links back to the blog featuring their wedding) but only a small proportion do so.

  9. great information and i use both methods but i get most traffic to my website / blog via facebook so i don’t think i could one without the other. I also find that i get better search ranking with my blog that facebook page. Sassy has swayed me to do more on facebook tho so thanks for the info!

  10. this is really interesting, I am busy a lot managing a full time job and don’t have the time or sometimes a large amount of content for blogs but I try and keep up with the facebook side of things, that said I do enjoy blogs a lot but I don’t write very well. I think its something I certainly need to work out, this post is really insightful, thanks guys :)

  11. One thing to bear in mind is that many corporate employers block access to facebook on their corporate internet. So when you’re imagining your potential clients browsing facebook during their lunch hour, chances are they’re not. I think by limiting your marketing to facebook, you are definitely cutting out a big chunk of the market.

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *