Let me start by saying this: Your blog is not that great. Your blog doesn’t stand out from the rest. Your blog is sometimes (maybe even often) boring.
I’m sorry. But somebody had to break the bad news.
The wedding photography world is filled with full timers looking for more clients, part timers wanting to book enough to go full time and people who picked up a camera yesterday. I’m going to throw out a guess here, but I’d say at least 75% of those people have blogs. I’m being conservative. That number is probably higher.
Of those 75%, at least 65% of those blogs are virtually indistinguishable from one another in terms of content.
“Jane and John are two of the most wonderful people I have ever had the honor of photographing. Their love for one another is so beautiful to witness. They’re so perfect for each other. Jane looked stunning in her Louboutins and designer wedding dress and John was the most handsome groom ever. Their friends and family overflowed with love for the happy couple. It was the most epic wedding EVER!!!”
[Insert standard wedding photos here.]
Does that sound familiar? That’s the sound of thousands of wedding photographers trying to recreate Jasmine Star’s magic blog formula for success.
If you’re guilty, quick,
punch yourself in the face raise your hand.
Put it back down now. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I was kidding.
So how do you make a truly exceptional blog?
The secret, magic, blog formula for success is that you need to stand out from the other hundreds of thousands of wedding photography blogs that already exist, not copy someone else’s recipe.
You need to find your niche.
Let’s look at some photographers who do this really well
Niche: Brilliant writer who puts forth a massive amount of effort into understanding her clients’ story and then re-telling it in the romantic way that they want to see themselves.
Niche: Photographer who blogs as much for other photographers as he does for clients, documenting his crazy technical tricks every step of the way and teaching his disciples.
Niche: Husband and wife duo who post zany stories and over the top blog posts with the craziest enthusiasm you’ve ever seen.
Niche: Someone who writes off the wall descriptions and uses adjectives that don’t always make sense – an eccentric commentary to match an eccentric portrait style.
Blogs without many words
If you’re not a good writer, don’t worry. Wait, let me rephrase that. If you’re not a good writer, don’t write. Look at Sean Flanigan. His posts average about a sentence. He’s doing very well.
If you’re not a good writers, surely you have other strengths. Don’t play to your weaknesses.
Here are a few examples of people’s blogs that are still very specific but more about the pictures than the words:
Niche: Photographer who keeps his audience constantly guessing by posting wedding photos out of order.
Niche: Photographer who has a tendency to document animal lovers in an extremely photojournalistic way.
Niche: Photographer who shoots films and takes great care to ensure that every wedding he ever photographs looks like it came straight out of a bridal and/or high fashion magazine.
Niche: Some of the most unique/off the wall portraits you’ve ever seen.
Niche: Photographer who writes insanely well, but does so on a whim, blogs sometimes regularly and sometimes inconsistently, is a crazy Swede takes such unique photos that it barely matters what he does with his blog because no matter what his audience will keep coming back for the eye candy.
All the above photographers’ blogs live in well-established niches. Except for Jonas’ blog. Using his case, I wanted to prove a point – if your photos are amazing enough, you are the exception to the rule and feel free to do whatever you feel like doing.
Most of us aren’t there yet. Not even close! Most of us need the boost from a unique online presence.
Get specific to get clients
Targeting a very specific niche market does not mean you’re limiting yourself.
By targeting a niche market you’re doing something important. You’re assuring that those who fit your niche and read your blog will become your long term followers and eventually and inevitably become your clients (that’s the idea, isn’t it?). They will be so crazy in love with you and your work that they will want to tell everybody they know – including people outside the niche. They’ll be your ambassadors to outside of your niche world.
YOUR NICHE PEOPLE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT. They are the people who will grow your business for you.
The 4 vital ingredients for an amazing business
So here are my four vital steps to make your blog stand out from the crowd in a way that will help your business explode.
- 1. Figure out who you are. Why you are unique. How you can translate that into your blog presence.
- 2. Then figure out who your newly unique blog now appeals to. That’s your target market. That’s your niche.
- 3. Deliver exactly what your niche clients want when they hire you.
- 4. Watch them spread the word. Watch your business grow.
Trust me – I am well aware that all that is so much easier said then done.
My blogging journey
Personally, I used to have a well-established niche. I was a Chile-expat blogger (one of the original three, and the one who posted more personal stories than any other blog out there at the time) who sometimes posted photos.
Then I became more of a photography blogger who also often blogged about expat life in Chile. I photographed primarily other gringa expats marrying their Chilean husbands.
Now photography is my full time career, and I still live in Chile, but I’ve been here about 7 years now, so I don’t have much left to say on the expat subject. Plus, I travel a solid 4-6 months out of the year. So my blog has become a sometimes photography blog, sometimes travel blog and very rarely a Chile expat blog.
It’s no longer a well-defined blog. And it’s stopped growing massively as it has been for the past four years.
I’m struggling to re-establish my niche. All my ideas are coming up short.
I’m not the best travel photographer out there.
I don’t tell the funniest travel stories there are.
I’m not an extreme budget traveler.
Nor am I an extreme luxury traveler.
I’m not the only wedding photographer who travels a lot.
I’m not the only person traveling for work and blogs about it.
My next step is to dig deeper – Why do I travel? Why does photographing weddings in other countries speak to me? Why am I attracted to multi-cultural couples in a way that makes me want to tell their stories?
And how can I use those answers to help me redefine my blog?
I wrote this article as much for myself as I did for The Modern Tog. I’ve yet to find an answer for my current dilemma. But I hope that my mulling it over with you has made you think about your own blog and where you’re going with your current blog presence.
What’s your niche? If you don’t have one, what questions are you asking yourself to help you define your niche? Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page and let’s help each other find clarity.
Kyle Hepp is an International Wedding Photographer based in Chile, specializing in multi-cultural couples and/or destination weddings. Her goal is to shoot a wedding on every continent. Yes, even Antarctica. Dream big, why not?