January is a big month for making changes and setting goals, isn’t it? We look back at the previous year, evaluate what worked and what didn’t work, and find ways to improve and grow many areas of our lives and businesses. This time of year reminds me of this quote:
“Cheers to a new year and for another chance for us to get it right.” – Oprah Winfrey
I posted this quote in my facebook group last week and asked group members: “What aspect of your blog would you like to “get right” this year?” The resounding answer: blog consistency. It’s no surprise that one of the common goals among photographers is to blog consistently this year. I hear this every single January. Sadly, one year later, photographers look at their blog stats from their previous year with disappointment, set the same goal again for the new year, and hope the new year will be different. Keep reading to find out how you can ensure it *will* be different this time.
Why photographers fail at blogging consistently
We all know that blogging is important, so why is it that so many photographers fail at blogging consistently? Well, according to a survey I recently did in my facebook group, here are five reasons why you don’t blog as consistently as you’d like:
- You don’t know what to blog about.
- You don’t have the time.
- You don’t know how to make your blog stand out.
- You’re terrified of writing.
- You’re afraid of pushing people away.
Personally, I think that the reason why most photographers fail at blogging consistently is because they don’t know *why* they need to blog consistently. It’s important to first determine the reason for blogging in order to identify the driving force that will keep you motivated and focused on your blogging goals.
Why you need to blog consistently
I get it. Blogging is hard. It took me a long time to figure it out. Actually, when I started blogging in 2010, I would include 1-2 sentences as an intro with a handful of images and hit publish. Don’t believe me? Click here to see my first ever blog post. I more or less blogged that way for three years. Then, in 2013, I discovered how important blogging is to driving traffic. That’s also the year I signed up for Google Analytics and began to track the traffic to our website and blog. And that’s also the year that our business started to grow in ways that we never thought possible. Because, my friends, blogging = traffic = exposure = bookings. Blogging is the top reason why, I believe, we were able to grow our business to the point where I felt confident in quitting my $90k/year teaching job last year in order to chase my dream. Writing content for our blog consistently for the past four years has undoubtedly increased our website and blog traffic, put our work in front of more and more potential clients each year, and allowed us to attract our ideal clients.
Now, I’m not a numbers person. I majored in French, minored in Spanish, taught high school for 14 years, and I’m now a full-time photographer. None of that points towards someone who likes to analyze numbers and create graphs BUT I think it’s important to show you how our website/blog traffic has grown since I began tracking it four years ago. Check out the bar graph below, keeping these terms in mind:
- Users: Users that have had at least one session within the selected date range. Includes both new and returning users. (i.e. the number of people who have visited our website and blog over the last four years)
- Sessions: Total number of Sessions within the date range. (i.e. the sessions, or periods of time, that a user was actively engaged with our website and blog over the last four years)
You don’t have to be a math whiz in order to see how much our blog has grown since that day in January of 2013 when I started to realize the importance of blogging. Every year, I continue to be amazed by the number of visitors who find us or come back again and again for the content on our blog.
I bet you’re curious about how blogging consistently has translated into bookings. Well, since 2013, we’ve booked an average of 28 weddings per year and last year alone we turned away over 60 weddings, which we referred out to other photographers in our local area. Isn’t it amazing that through our efforts, not only do we get to do what we love but we also get to help other photographers, too? Sadly, many photographers forget why we have a blog in the first place, and because of that, they miss out on an amazing opportunity to grow their businesses while connecting with the people who love their work. Our blog’s greater purpose may be to provide engaging and helpful content for our readers, but, ultimately, our blog exists because we need to generate leads in order to do the job we’re called to do.
How to Blog Consistently This Year
Alrighty then. Now that you understand why blogging consistently is key, let’s talk about how you can do it.
First and foremost, you’ll need a blogging strategy. I know that sounds scary but don’t worry, I’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you create your blogging strategy for this year:
10 Steps to Creating a Blogging Strategy
- Identify your ideal client. Make sure you know who you’re writing to, plain and simple.
- Determine your blog’s purpose. Once you’ve spent some time identifying your ideal client, you can determine the purpose of your blog and how it will benefit your ideal client.
- Set SMART goals for your blog. This part is key, don’t skip it! Writing down goals will make you more likely to achieve them.
- Brainstorm blog topics that align with the needs of your ideal client as well as the purpose and goals of your blog. The more possible topics, the better!
- Narrow your focus. Now that you have plenty of ideas for blogging topics that will be helpful to your ideal client, determine which topics to prioritize by creating 6-12 main categories.
- Determine content format. What type of content do you plan to include? Here are some examples: guides, checklists, resources, tutorials, checklists, videos, infographics, etc.
- Create a blogging schedule and an editorial calendar. This will help you figure out how often you will blog and what you’ll blog about. This will also help you avoid the dreaded question on Monday morning: “What am I ever going to blog about this week?”
- Write your content. I find that writing blog posts in batches is the most effective way to stay consistent. Pre-blog and pre-schedule your content so that your blog doesn’t suffer when life gets in the way.
- Create a blog content promotion strategy. Once you have your content, how will you drive traffic to it? Optimize it for search engines? Send it to your email list? Promote it on social media?
- Track your results. Use tools like Google Analytics and Bit.ly to measure the effectiveness of each blog post.
Blogging Jumpstart Challenge
I hope this post was useful to you in determining why you need to blog consistently and the steps you can take in order to build a successful blog this year. I know it’s a lot of work and it probably feels overwhelming. That’s how I felt when I first realized everything I should be doing in order to make our blog successful. Luckily, I don’t think you should do it alone so I have good news for you! I have officially launched my Blogging Jumpstart Challenge and I invite you to join me as I help you prep your blog for success this year. I’ll be walking you through the steps in my blogging strategy by providing daily lessons and a supportive community and you can work through the challenge at your own pace. Click here to learn more.