4 Online Tips for Marketing Your New Photography Business

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When it comes to starting a new photography business, it can be fun and nerve racking all at the same time. Often the excitement in being a professional photographer is enough to get anyone’s feet wet. However, the reality is that you need clients. And that isn’t always the easiest thing to do when you are first starting out.

photographer marketing

Your first round of clients will often be friends and family. Even if they are for free, it is worth getting some initial portfolio together of everyone you’ve taken a photo for. From there, word of mouth may guide you along. However, without those initial few clients to help you spread the word, you may quickly hit a dry spell in booking more gigs. Before that happens, it helps to build up a repertoire of online avenues to help you book more photo sessions.

Get online with Facebook.

Step one should always start with social media. A Facebook page for your professional business can do wonders for you in many ways:

  • You can show off your photos
  • You can tag whoever the photos are of, furthering the reach of your photos as they like and share them. When their relatives comment, they spread even more.
  • Potential clients can contact you directly.
  • Your portfolio can live here free of charge.

Branch out with a website

A website will allow you to go in many other directions upon getting it set up. There are a lot of options when building a website (let me know if you need help doing so), but once you have one, you’ll be off to the races.

Your website will allow you to host your portfolio in a way that you can control and it allows potential leads to find you in a myriad of other ways.
A basic website will do with just a handful of pages.

  • Home page
  • Local area offerings (could be multiple pages – more on this later)
  • Contact page

Setup paid advertising to your website

Once you have your website up, you can now direct some paid traffic to it. This sounds daunting and expensive, but even $100 a month can generate you plenty of qualified traffic. Google AdWords and PPC is a great way to get your website in the eyes of people who are looking exactly for the services you provide.

Search engine optimization

Each individual page on your website should be optimized for a certain topic or keyword. Obviously, a photographer might not want to rank for “wedding photography” in California if they live in New York, so optimizing your page for “wedding photography NY” would be ideal.

You can even get more granular than that! Often individual cities deserve to have their own pages as well. Even wedding photographers that are will to drive a few hours away from their base town might have several pages for the different cities 50-100 miles away. Take Symmetry Co for example. This company has pages that branch out to many local cities that are several counties away.

There are endless possibilities with marketing online for your photography business. Many start with some basic tools and websites and branch out from there. The trick is to put in the time. You may need to learn a little bit of SEO or how to use WordPress, but once it is set up, you will be glad you did. Any way your website can get across the right eyes, you will be that much closer to booking your next session for your new photography business.

When to Give Up on PR

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Public relations is tricky. It’s gotten a lot worse over the years too.

With the speed of social sharing these days, it’s a whole lot easier to step on more people’s toes in a shorter amount of time. It’s often humorous to see how a big name brand can do something so inappropriate, offensive, and mindless.

The PR teams are frantically rushing around trying to correct whatever rubbed a few people the wrong way, causing eternal anxiety and stress to those who manage their company’s reputation.

But sometimes, you just need to laugh and own up.

Laughing is Good PR

Brands these days are trying to be even more personal, and they’ll do anything they can to look more like a “friend” to get in your pocket. When they goof up is when it reminds people that they may not necessarily be everyone’s friend. Or even that they are more human since they make mistakes.

What better way to show your “humanness” than to laugh at yourself? (Note: this isn’t always applicable! Don’t laugh if it seriously offends someone.)

But in other ways, certain things you say for your brand or company can and will be taken the wrong way. The Internet will be the Internet and what you say can and will be held against you. This is when you have no other choice than to join in on the jokes.

Prime example? Elon Musk’s latest tweets. Yes, this is a bit inappropriate.

See, Elon was trying to send a message on Twitter about the unveiling of a new Tesla model. Here’s the tweet:

As you can tell, this can be taken a totally different way if the majority of teenage humored Musk followers join into the conversation. And it was.

I don’t really know if Tesla has a PR team, but if they did, they’d probably be thinking, “Shoot.” Elon just messed up the biggest auto unveiling in the 21st century and this thing will forever be recognized as “Elon’s D.” But that’s not what happened. Elon thought it was funny. Nooo biggie!

Giving Up on PR

PR has gotten so prim and proper that you can hardly say anything unless it has to do with “how cute this cat picture is.”

Learning to laugh at your mistakes or even sharing in the jokes of the way you phrase something can be a valuable asset to your own version of PR: You’re a real person and you make mistakes. What you say might be taken the wrong way.

Laugh along and everyone will share that moment with you.

The Difference Between Journalism and Blogging

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Journalism is such a tough and competitive field – Not that blogging isn’t tough and competitive, but it doesn’t exactly take a master’s degree to become a blogger.

Content marketing and blogging is so much different than reporting on the facts. Yes, things have to be accurate, but you don’t have to be the next New York Times featured writer.

WordPress might call you an “author.” Though, you don’t by any means need to live up to the term. The writers and authors that are seen on any top websites like The Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, and even Mashable are experienced editors and journalists that have the resume to prove they’ve been at this for quite a while.

Blogging is different.

Blogging is much more personal

When you blog, you are establishing a relationship with your readers. Most often the typical blogger is writing to an audience they may personally know. Whether the audience is made up of friends and family or the blogger has simply connected with his audience on Twitter or Facebook, the connection is purely based on discussion.

Some websites will be directed towards a more journalistic style, and that is certainly a way of “blogging.” But the majority of successful blogs are simply created from an individual wanting to voice what they have to say to a larger audience.

The Internet allows them to easily do so which so many different websites and businesses have also taken up as a form of reaching their target audience.

People ask a lot of questions. That is exactly how many of these early blogs became so popular. Answering questions that hundreds of people are asking adds to the dialogue that you create between you and your readers.

Picture the New York Times answering a question like “How can I bake a cake in the microwave?” on the front page of their Sunday paper.  Can’t picture it? Good. The NYT is a medium that was based on one way communication, the newspaper. Readers couldn’t comment on the individual articles. They couldn’t share the articles easily and get the opinions of their friends (they could, just not as quickly as you can now online).

Blogging is a two way communication between you and your readers. Your content has to be unique and valuable to the reader, but it isn’t a NYT article.

Talk like you would in a normal conversation

Your blog is just another method of being personal. It’s another venue to reach other people and talk to them. Talk like you would in real life. Don’t use complicated sentences and big words. Answer questions and ask for responses.

Your readers may not comment individually on each blog post, however, they have access to so much more. Social media is their go to. If they want to talk, that is where they will say something. So give them something to talk about.

Sometimes the cold hard facts aren’t as interesting as a simple story that makes someone think or reminisce. Focus on the personal aspects of what your trying to get across. What would you tell them in person if you saw them?

Would you bother looking up all this information during your conversation to give accurate background information? Or would you simply show them with pictures and give them a narrative of what happened?

To give you some perspective, danshaf.com is mostly written totally off the top of my head. I generally don’t look anything up and I’m usually answering questions that have come across in conversation with others throughout the day.

Focus on being personable and being yourself. Other people will enjoy listening to you and engaging in the conversation after getting to know you.

Being a journalist doesn’t leave room for conversation. Blogging creates engagement.

Optinmonster Coupon Discount Codes

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If you’ve used any popup software at all, you know that it can be a bit of a hassle.

Getting the popup to look right is sometimes quite a chore and it often requires quite a bit of CSS magic. Then having the popup integrate properly with your email marketing programs is a whole different story.

Optinmonster Review

Thankfully, Optinmonster solves much of this. They have several themes that allow you to quickly throw a popup of any type on your site with hardly any design changes.

On top of that, they integrate with dozens of different email marketing platforms such as campaign monitor, mailchimp, and even aweber. That feature alone will save you hours upon hours of setting up custom forms and popups throughout your site.

Match that up with the ability to custom target your popups in all kinds of different scenarios and you have a popup that you can set and forget without worrying one bit.

Here’s their own promotional video that should give you a good idea for what the tool offers.

Optinmonster Pricing

You can spend as much as you want on popup software. I’ve seen some go for as much as $3,500 a month, which is just downright ridiculous!

Optinmonster is very affordable, and depending on the license you get, you can use it across as many websites as you would want.

Obviously, the higher cost packages you get, the more features you will end up with. But, the basic cost structure is pictured below:

optinmonster pricing

Coupons and Discount Codes

Now I know you hate spending any money whatsoever on your own website. But this tool is well worth it. Thankfully, I found a few discount codes for you to use that can save you as much as 35% off!

Just enter one of the following codes at the checkout and get your discount!

  • WPB10 – this code is for 10% off any Optinmonster package
  • BF2014 – this code was for Black Friday 2014, but it might still work!

So what are you waiting for? Go check out Optinmonster and buy it!

Using Font Awesome Icons as a Font

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Everyone online seems to be a little bit obsessed with icons. Anyone who does a little front end development has an icon set somewhere they can go to for adding them into their website. Font Awesome is one of the largest icon sets out there and they offer an extremely easy way of implementing them into your web projects. If you’ve never heard of them, definitely go check Font Awesome icons out and see what you think.

Their icons are pretty cool. It’s simple to add them into any website as long as you have the font set and CSS referenced correctly. But that is what makes this icon set so special. It actually is a font. Meaning, there are tons of other places beyond websites that you can use these icons! In HTML you need to specify the correct class in order for the CSS to trigger which icon to display. However, if you want to use Font Awesome’s awesome icons anywhere else including your desktop, it is ridiculously easy to implement them as just another font set.

If you have very little design experience, like me, and want to look like you might know something about it, this might help you out quite a bit!

Installing Font Awesome as a Font

Download Font Awesome IconsIf you want to start using these icons in other projects, you will need to download the Font Awesome kit. Just click the download button and you’ll end up with a zipped up folder that you need to extract somewhere on your computer.

After extracting the folder, you’ll end up with the four folders that are required for using them online: css, fonts, less, and scss. We only need the fonts folder, so feel free to delete the rest of them. Once you are in the font awesome fonts folder, you need to install the files that are actually font files. Depending what your preferences are, there are both OpenType and TrueType files for the font in the folder. If you aren’t sure, just install both of them. Give them a double click and install!

Font Awesome Fonts

Now you are ready to use Font Awesome icons basically anywhere you want!

Using the icons in Photoshop, Word, and PowerPoint

These three applications are my absolute favorite places to throw in a few of these icons. It really isn’t that hard and it just takes a few seconds to stick them in there. The icons in Photoshop can be an added design element for infographics or even for some logos, and using them in PowerPoint can be an added visual for your slides.

There are two different ways of adding them. Both are very easy to do and just depends on how you work and what you are doing:

  1. Copy and Paste
  2. Insert Symbol

Font Awesome Cheat SheetIf you have an icon in mind and need to find it from their large list of icons, browse through the Font Awesome Cheat Sheet. This has all 300-some icons that you can copy and paste into your projects. They might show up as weird little boxes (sometimes in italics?) but just highlight them and change the font to “FontAwesome.” Then you’re set!

If you are working in Word or PowerPoint, it can also be helpful just to use the insert symbol tool. Set the font to “FontAwesome” and then double click the different icons you want in your document.

Insert symbol font awesome

The coolest thing about this is that the icons are still font characters. This means you can easily change the size and color of these icons and they still look great.

Font Awesome Compatibility

Now, fonts can be a bit finicky. I have had issues in using this in PowerPoint, but only on certain icons. I think it gets mixed up with bullet points on certain ones, so just be aware of that.

Also keep in mind that these icons won’t show up if that computer doesn’t have these fonts installed. So carry around the fonts file to install so you are prepared when you give a presentation to your boss at your yearly review. However, if you are saving these as images or pdfs, you don’t have to worry since they will no longer be rendered as fonts anymore. This makes it great for making ebooks and adding the icons to your Photoshop projects.

Overall, these icons can be used in several different places. Whether you include them in your dev projects or in some of the documents described above, they can add helpful visuals for the end user. Let me know if you find these to be useful in your projects or if you’ve found other great places for these icons!

Why Junk is so Popular on the Internet

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Junk on Yahoo!

As an Internet marketer, I get really jealous when I see junk that goes viral on the internet. Everyday I work and strive to create things that lots of people will find useful and share, then some cat picture gets shared a million times and it makes me a bit upset.

There are also websites like Buzzfeed, ViralNova, and UpWorthy that literally just share absolutely unoriginal things. UpWorthy’s “authors” don’t even have to write more than two sentences. It’s just video embeds from YouTube and Vimeo.

All that these sites post every day is curated junk. They just collect junk that people like and it goes viral. Even mainstream news sites have caught on to some of these tactics. Some of these suffering websites might need a traffic boost for the week, so they share something kind of viral that they didn’t create. Yahoo! does this at least once a week, and there is always at least one feel good video about someone’s pet on their news slider. The Onion even wrote about this topic when CNN’s traffic was boosted for writing about the latest Miley Cyrus stunt. Not to say it is bad, but this junk isn’t useful to anyone especially on these “trusted” news sites.

But then again, it’s hard to ignore this all at the same time, especially when some of these sites’ owners are making $400,000 in one month. Buzzfeed, ViralNova, and UpWorthy have found the literal jackpot on the internet. No it isn’t easy to constantly keep up with a site like this. But the efforts they have put into this have created more value than any other websites on the internet today.

Why?

1. It’s just easy. In more ways than one.

– It is easy to consume. Readers can just hit the play button and watch a video that will make them feel good. They don’t have to read hundreds of words and paragraphs of text. Our short attention spans can focus on an easy video that makes us happy.

- It’s easy to share.

Most of the traffic for these sites is coming from Facebook. All it takes is a user who shares it, and you have instantly multiplied your reach. Except, these things are shared by thousands of people at a time every single day. The titles are optimized not for search, but for viral sharing. Some titles are only a few words apart from each other and other times they are formed only to make you interested in clicking on them. This breaks every SEO rule out there. But that is the strategy they chosen.

- It’s easy to create.

Some sites just scrape the web for good stuff. Other things you can easily find on Reddit a week before they are posted. They just find the embed button on the YouTube videos and provide an attribution link to that not-so-popular blog they got it from. Even bloggers in general struggle to find stuff to write about. If something is easy to write about, they’ll publish it just to fill the space in their blogging schedule. It is just too easy post and share to their millions of followers.

- It’s easy to promote.

UpWorthy Facebook Page

Again, simple shares are all it takes. And it only gets easier when you have more people each and every week. The rich get richer – the more Facebook followers, the more shares, likes, comments, and views. Money.

2. It grabs your attention

When you see something that one of your friends has shared, you might think about clicking on it, depending on who your friend is. But when 5 of your friends have shared the same thing, and your newsfeed is jam packed with the same video link or list of “43 things you think are funny,” you have to see what it is all about.

3. It gets a hold of your emotions

People are suckers for feel good stories, and if the titles say, “You won’t believe what___” you WILL click on it. Seriously, this works. Proof? There is 20 search results just from Upworthy for posts that say that exact thing and the first one has been shared almost 5,000 times. If it is something that will get you to hold back a tear or think it’s cute or make you laugh, it will do well on Facebook.

If there is a science behind going viral, these sites have found it. While it isn’t necessarily easy, it works, and it works well. $400,000 a month well.

If you think that this might just be a passing thing though, you might be surprised. Every day these guys rake in the bucks, the more websites trying to do the same thing will pop up. While these original sites have certainly gotten a head start, more are showing up every week. Not to mention, the useless news being passed on by major networks like CNN and Yahoo. The more that junk like this does well, the more previously established sites will want to do the same thing. They have the viewership, they just need to start sharing more junk to reap the benefits that ViralNova has shown in recent months.

Junk’s only weakness

It does make a lot of money in a short amount of time. The ROI on a content piece of junk like this is much higher, though temporary. While it depends on Facebook and other social networking sites, it doesn’t go any further than that. A piece of content only lasts for a little while, and it won’t be revisited ever again without efforts from SEO or other more diverse traffic strategies.

While you certainly might see an influx of sites like this, they will only come and go. If a site can’t keep up with the need to continue posting junk, they will easily be replaced by others. They can grow quickly, but can go just as quickly as they came. Who knows? Maybe Facebook will change something in their newsfeed algorithm that will totally disrupt the way these sites operate.

Right now, there certainly is a market for this type of website. But they will get replaced, and fizzle out. However, that  doesn’t mean that there still won’t be other sites still posting junk.

Start Writing

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I know exactly what you’re thinking… “Another blog? Really? The internet is full of them. We don’t need anymore!” But I don’t care. Let me tell you why.

I started this blog for several reasons actually. No, I’m not going to be gushing out my feelings everyday. I hate blogs like that. Honestly, I could care less if anyone reads any of these posts. It’d be nice I suppose, but again that’s not the reason why I started it.

Entry Level Beginnings

I just graduated school with a bachelor’s in Business Information Systems, which is kind of a weird major. It’s too general for anything really, however I kicked my butt into gear and learned some extra stuff in order to do what I wanted. I had an internship at the company I work at now last summer, which thus led to a job thankfully. Officially, I have only been there a little over a month as a full time employee, but the people are great and the work is exactly what I had hoped of doing upon graduating. I am very passionate about the work I do and I often have a lot of pride in what I do. Many of the hobbies I had before learning anything about what I do on a daily basis now were very related to my current position, I just didn’t know I would enjoy it so much.

I took up the position of Web Marketer at WebpageFX, an internet marketing agency in Harrisburg, PA. It’s a cool place and they established my position as the start of a new WebpageFX Marketing department.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, one of my to-dos on a weekly basis is to post on the company’s blog. Another part of my daily work is to create tons of cool content to help generate links and traffic to our website. As I said above, I am very passionate about my work, and I want to be proud of the content I create. My supervisor recommended that it would be a great idea to start writing on a regular basis to keep me fresh in between blog posts and establish my blogging voice.

So, that being said, it is time to start writing.

Writing Topics

I like technology, gadgets and all that jazz, but this is going to be a marketing blog. Anything that won’t make a super awesome post on other blogs I write on will most likely end up here. But it generally will always relate back to marketing. I’ll try my best to stay on topic. I promise.

Past Writings

This isn’t my very first blog post ever. I’ve actually written quite a few things all over the internet. Some early experimental blogging was done in college, but they didn’t turn out to be exactly what I had hoped. With this blog, my hopes are basically non existent. The main point of this is to keep me fresh, not to gain a following.

I have worked on lots of different blogs in the past. Check out some of the other things I have worked on in the past including some of the blog posts I have written:

During my internship, I needed to write some guests posts for some client work. There are a few here and there that ended up being pretty cool. This one in particular was my favorite: http://muckrack.com/daily/2013/09/17/a-handy-checklist-for-evaluating-bloggers/

I’ve started other projects here and there. I have also posted several times before on WebpageFX’s blog. Check out some of my favorites:

So in the end, I’m basically just trying to further my passion for writing, blogging, and creating good content, which just so happens to be what I do at work too! If you enjoy this stuff, go ahead and share or let me know on Twitter!