If you don’t have it, don’t blog!
Remember the one word Rick Tuttle (@ricktuttle) talked about in yesterday’s video? No, it’s not content, nor audience, not even experience or a niche you think no one else is blogging about. It’s the one thing that will kill your blog, the one ingredient that will stop you from having a blog that matters.
- create content that shows you to be an expert
- put your services/products in front of clients
- monetize your blog in some form or another
Not one of them is better or wore than the other, you just need to know where you want to end up. Let me give you three specific examples from my experience:
… if I share how I took a photo, gear related posts, how I use a piece of software to capture images, it will establish me as an expert photographer, however you need to understand that my audience will most likely be other photographers that want to learn about the tools of our trade.
… if I show a behind the scenes video of how I work and what a potential client can expect from me, that type of content is what a new client may be looking for when they are looking to hire me for a project they are working on and how I can meet their photography needs.
… if I sell a product through an affiliate link (like the ThinkTank box on the sidebar on this page) I will make a couple of bucks in commission from a company who’s product I use, however this may impact my ability to be seen as writing unbiased reviews of equipment.
Know your audience. It will define the purpose of your blog.
What do I need to start writing a blog?
There are a million sources online that teach you how to start a blog, so we’ll keep this brief.
Write down your blogs purpose
Put a Post-It note on your computer that shows your blogs purpose. This affects how you connect with your audience. Your blogs purpose dictates your publishing model, your content strategy, your marketing efforts. Purpose determine everything else.
Decide on your publishing model
There are three main models:
- Expert model: you blog about your experience, sharing your knowledge with others – this blog is build on the expert model.
- Host model: you interview experts and create posts from your conversations – the interview with Rick Tuttle is an example.
- Publishing model: you find experts to blog content for you – check out ASMP’s blog Strictly Business blog as a model.
To some extent your audience and your blogs purpose will dictate your publishing model. However you can use all three in one blog, as long as you focus heavily on one of the three – this helps your audience know what to expect.
Read your blogs purpose
I don’t know how to stress this enough, your purpose is your roadmap. Your purpose will determine every decision you make in regards to your blog. Look at the Post-It note you stuck on your computer. Read it.
WordPress is one of the most often used platforms today. You can begin by blogging on wordpress.com, which gives you everything you need to start right now. It is a scaled down version of hosting your own wordpress.org platt form yourself. Wordpress.com limits you in certain aspects, but it’s a great place to start and you can move your blog to a self hosted set up later. There are other plattforms, but wordpress is pretty much industry standard. You will have the most flexibility if you host your own version of wordpress, you’ll need a hosting company for that – I use 1and1.com (and yes that’s another affiliate link).
Reread your blogs purpose
Ok. You get the point.
Aaron Hockley (@ahockley) from WP-photographers says “Figure out who your audience is, because every photographer has two big audiences one of which is the client you want to hire you – this is the art director, the bride, the event producer, the person that will cut you the check at the end of the day. The things they want to see on your blog posts is how you’re gonna meet their photography needs.” However many photographers like to talk about things, that are only of interest to other photographers. “That’s really a different audience” Aaron says “I generally tell photographers, if you want to write about these two topics you need to write in two different places.“
The (wait for it) purpose of your blog will dictate what your audience is expecting.
There is so much content on the web that helps you with WordPress and with content marketing – you really just need to look for it. Start with the services you already use online. I use PhotoShelter as my image delivery plattform they have ebooks, webinars, ect on many topics including blogging. Follow some people on social media that specialize in content marketing – here is a list of 72 people to follow about content creation on facebook from postplanner that will get you started.
My advice to you is just get started. Set up a simple blog on wordpress.com – don’t worry about how it looks. Just start writing. Once you have a couple of posts up, share them with some of your friends and colleagues and get some honest feedback. Focus on you purpose, imagine your target audience, think about your publishing model. Remember that blogs started as a personal web journal. Keep those early origins in mind, share your passion from your heart, soon you’ll read the first grateful comment of one of your readers.
We’ve been looking at blogging all week. How you get started, what you should write about, how to promote your blog. Come back tomorrow, we’re gonna get into “Anatomy of a good blog post” The first post in this series on blogging is Why creative professionals should(n’t) blog! Check it out …