This post is part of a series on branding and marketing in the run up to my teaching on the RPS ‘Introduction to Business for Photographers’ course in April.

 It is preceded by Developing your brand – Part 1: your values and messages; Part 2: your brand’s identity and strategy and Developing your marketing strategy – Part 1: Your website

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An effective way of getting people to hear about your business and see your work is through sharing your images, and creating opportunities for others to share them via blogging and social media (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram etc).

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a) Blogging

A blog allows you to publish individual pieces (‘posts’) on events or projects regularly, and to showcase your most recent work. This gives you the opportunity to connect with your potential ideal clients through the story you tell, and allows your current clients to share your work. If you emphasise your brand messages clearly in your posts, it can be a powerful way of connecting with the people you want to work with. Remember, while blogs give you the opportunity to share more of your work than you might present in your website portfolio, it’s best to show only your best work and the work you would want to shoot again.

To attract and keep regular readers, you’ll need useful and interesting content. Decide on a clear focus for your blog, whether is it sharing the work you produce, sharing stories to connect with your ideal clients, or sharing insight into your industry. Remember, simplicity and clarity in association with your brand messages will put you in the best position.

Creating outward links to venues, locations and collaborators within a post will encourage others to link back to your blog, and this network of outgoing and incoming links will help you rise higher in search results.

A successful blog requires regular, consistent posting so it’s best to have a clear strategy: plan for how often you will post and the content you will share. You can create posts in advance and schedule them to go up on a particular day of the week at a specified time.

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b)  Social Media

Word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing, and social media is a free way of getting your brand message out in to the global marketplace. Key social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, with Instagram and Pinterest becoming increasingly important for photographers. Create accounts and business pages on these key platforms, and enable share buttons for these platforms on your website and blog. The aim is to get the conversation going with your ideal clients and industry peers on many different platforms. This will ensure you reach as wide an audience as possible.

Do simplify your approach to social media. Be clear on who you want to talk to and the best way to reach your ideal clients. Who you are and what your brand is will inform what type of images you share and how you interact on social media. This extends from to the captions you give your images and the tone of what you say.

How you interact and what you share on social media will reflect directly on your business. While it can be good to share some personal images and stories on social media to allow your ideal clients to connect with you, make sure that the quality and message of your images align with your brand identity, and always step away when you are feeling negative.

Do think about using different platforms for connecting with different groups: Facebook is a good way of connecting with your existing clients and creating word of mouth referrals through tagging your clients in your images; Twitter is useful for connecting with others in your industry.

Remember there are lots of timesaving applications to help you pre-schedule social media sharing on multiple platforms or post from one social media platform to another, but do tailor what you post where to the audience you are trying to engage with on each platform.

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This article was written by Ria Mishaal ARPS – website | facebook | twitter | instagram

To learn more about how to set up and run a successful photography business, why not sign up for the RPS course ‘Introduction to Business for Photographers’

I love Lisa Hannigan’s music. I’ve been to a couple of her concerts, first time was at the Royal Festival Hall in London. As she filled the enormous room with the power of her voice I realised that no matter how much I like her albums, hearing her live was something else entirely. She played an incredible version of Personal Jesus that gives me shivers just remembering it. And when she sang a traditional Irish folksong unaccompanied, dedicated to her parents who watched her from one of the boxes, I bet there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

The second time I saw her was at a tiny venue, the Norwich Arts Centre, a converted church. That time it wasn’t her power that overwhelmed me but her passion for what she does. Just like me she’s a geek who stands up there and gives it her all.

I also love her music videos. They always appeal to my quirky side. Here’s one of my favourites.

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This post is part of a series on branding and marketing in the run up to my teaching on the RPS ‘Introduction to Business for Photographers’ course in April.

It is preceded by Developing your brand – Part 1: your values and messages and Part 2: your brand’s identity and strategy and will soon be followed by Developing your marketing strategy Part 2: Sharing your work.underline

Why is marketing important? Social photographers, such as those in the wedding industry, must secure new clients every year. Commercial photographers, such as wildlife or product photographers, must stay in the forefront of the minds of art directors, magazine editors and other commercial businesses that might use their images or services.

While being technically competent and artistically creative is essential to thrive as a professional photographer, those who are good at marketing and self-promotion will always do better in business. Make it easy for your potential clients to find you by executing a strategic marketing plan.

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In today’s marketplace, the focus of your marketing strategy will involve a strong online presence. At the centre of your online presence is your website, but your full online presence incorporates other key components of sharing your work – blogging, social media streams and publication on other people’s sites/blogs. The more your business is positively referenced in different locations online, the more clients will build trust in your brand.

Developing your website

Your website represents the virtual shop-front of your business. It must communicate your brand messages clearly. Work to display the most salient information simply and make your site easy to navigate. Above all, it must communicate four things: who you are; what you do; how to contact you; your portfolio.

Create a professional and personal ‘About’ page. It is a good idea to include a recent picture of yourself, and essential to make it easy for clients to contact you. Consider addressing the following: Who are you?
 What is your background?
What are you offering your clients? Why should they trust you? What do you have in common with your ideal clients?

Display your best portfolio, and update it as often as you can. It is a good idea to show only your very best work, remembering less is more, and also to show only what you would like to shoot again. This will help target your ideal client and drive your business in the right direction.

It is crucial that your website is accessible on mobile devices as well as different web browsers, so do use HTML rather than Flash, and consider using a WordPress based platform.

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This article was written by Ria Mishaal ARPS – website | facebook | twitter | instagram

To learn more about how to set up and run a successful photography business, why not sign up for the RPS course ‘Introduction to Business for Photographers’

 

It is haunting, arresting and beautiful. It was directed by Heidi Stohr, and animated by her, Daniel Snaddon, Chris Ntuli and Sifiso Motaung for City Slang Records in Germany.

I came across this music video for ‘Great White Bear’ by the band Dear Reader when Jake came back from visiting his cousins in South Africa. One of them, Daniel, had worked on the incredible animation seen here.

I absolutely love the feeling of the animation, the way the story board nature of production, the beautiful parallel stories, the tragedy and the nuances you pick up after watching in several times. A stunning production that is, well, inspiring.

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This post is part of a series on branding and marketing in the run up to my teaching on the RPS ‘Introduction to Business for Photographers’ course in April.

It is preceded by Developing your brand – Part 1: your values and messages and will soon be followed by Developing your marketing strategy Part 1: Your website; Part 2: Sharing your work.

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Once you have identified the key values and messages of your brand, the next step is to work out a clear identity for your brand, and a strategy for how you communicate your brand’s messages at to whom.

a) Create your brand identity

The brand’s identity it’s the outward expression and represents how you, the owner, want your business, service and product to be perceived by your clients. Building your brand with authenticity, on who you are, allows you to use your own preferences as a starting point. Take inspiration from the brands you are attracted to and use everyday. Identify elements you can incorporate in the presentation of your brand that will clearly show your brand values.

b) Outline your brand strategy

The next step is to develop a strategy: how you communicate your brand’s messages at to whom. Communication of your brand is through your logo, online presence (website, social media), marketing material and packaging, as well as your demeanor and interaction with clients and within your industry.

Design a logo and colour scheme that remind your clients of your business values and messages. Write a tagline that clearly states the essence of your brand messages. Create consistency by taking time to design standards and templates for your marketing materials, using the brand colour scheme, logo, and specific fonts. Simple, consistent design is often the most effective. Simplification is key. Confusion causes hesitation, so make everything about your business, from its messages to the pricing, simple and clear.

branding-650A selection of the branding used for Ria Mishaal Photography

Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business. Every point of contact that potential and actual clients have with your business should reconfirm your brand values. Decide how you will communicate with your clients and develop the tone of your written communications. List all the points of contact you will have with potential and actual clients and identify how you can emphasise your brand messages at every point of contact. How you build your brand and what platforms you use should be directly informed by your brand values and your identified ideal clients.

underlineThis article was written by Ria Mishaal ARPS – website | facebook | twitter | instagram

To learn more about how to set up and run a successful photography business, why not sign up for the RPS course ‘Introduction to Business for Photographers’