5 Ways Blogging Beats Traditional Advertising

5-ways-blogging-beats-traditional-advertising

Considering dumping dollars into traditional advertising? Think again. Try blogging instead. Of course, blogging isn’t a new concept, but you may be surprised to find out that it can be even more effective for your business than traditional advertising tactics. If you’re strategic in your approach, your blog may be your best source of advertising – and save you lots of money in the long term. Here’s why…

1. Blog posts help you reach other networks through social media channels.

By adding social sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc to your blog posts, it’s easy for readers to share your blog content with their own networks. This is a free way you can extend your reach beyond your own network. Traditional online advertising isn’t shareable in the same way, since conventional ads aren’t usually compelling enough to share.

2. Blog posts can help you rank for terms that your target audience …

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3 Keys to Effectively Monitoring Social Media (without losing your mind)!

3-keys-to-effectively-monitoring-social-media-without-losing-your-mind

Let’s face it: social media is an essential part of doing business today. But if you don’t want to waste hours on Facebook and Twitter, scheduling social media messages in advance is a smart practice for staying active on social media channels.

But if you’re trying to build real relationships with your audience of prospective clients, simply scheduling messages in advance isn’t enough. You’re not a robot after all and you’ll miss out on real time communication! Therefore, it’s also important to monitor your social channels for timely, relevant conversations.

But monitoring social media doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Start by setting aside thirty minutes at the beginning and end of your work day to monitor and respond to social media conversations. You might find that time to be sufficient!

To maximize the return you get on those 30 minute check-ins, it’s important to have a clear idea of how you want …

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How to Use Keywords to Attract New Leads

Flickr User SuperBoreen http://www.flickr.com/photos/superboreen/

Photo by Flickr User SuperBoreen

In the online marketing world, everyone seems to be talking about keywords.

But they’re missing something.

Everyone is talking about search engines and the importance of SEO. And while it’s no secret that good SEO can go a long way in helping people find you, it’s not just about the search engines.

It’s about the people who are searching.

That’s where long tail keywords come in. Long tail keywords are very targeted search phrases that are usually easier to rank for and specifically focused on your niche audience.  For example:

“inbound marketing” = generic keyword “generate leads using inbound marketing” = long tail keyword

If you can focus on long tail keywords that YOUR target audience is likely to be searching for, you can avoid the slow months or years that it can take to see any meaningful growth in targeting a highly competitive keyword. Although you may not see the same …

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How to Increase Brand Awareness Using Blogging

How to Increase Brand Awareness for Your Photography Business Using Blogging

If you haven’t heard, blogging is one of your greatest advertisements. (Actually, we think it’s even better than traditional advertising. Seriously.)

But while there’s huge potential for your blog to be your greatest tool to increase brand awareness, there are also A LOT of blogs out there. So how do you effectively use your blog to help more people get to know your brand?

1. Create offers. An offer is the most effective path for lead generation and your blog is a great place to share these offers and build buzz around them. Offers are premium pieces of content that your reader can get for free in exchange for his or her contact information. Offers are designed to guide your reader through your sales funnel and are the most effective way to turn a lead into a paying customer. Offers shouldn’t be product-centric (meaning focused only on the benefit of your product or service) but …

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How to Engage Your Audience and Kickstart Social Media Conversations

How to Engage Your Audience and Kickstart Social Media Conversations

If you’re tirelessly working on ways to capture the attention of your target audience on Facebook and Twitter, welcome to the club. You, along with millions of other businesses are in the same boat, trying to turn the social media microphone into a way to make more money. While many companies make the mistake of thinking that the number of fans and followers they have is what’s important, true social media ROI (the kind that translates into dollars and cents!) isn’t just about popularity. It’s about ENGAGEMENT. In other words, is anything meaningful happening with those fans and followers?

Audience “engagement” can mean anything from someone re-tweeting your content, replying to your posts, clicking on a link or getting more information from your website. This type of engagement is meaningful because it can help you see if you’re reaching your target audience. This engagement also is a starting point for tracking whether …

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Three Ways to Increase Your Business Likeability Factor

Three Ways to Increase Your Business Likeability Factor

At the end of the day, people want to do business with companies they like.

Of course, it’s important to have a great product or service and consistently deliver on your promises. But when someone is comparing your service to a competitor’s, how much they like your company is going to be a huge factor in determining if they choose to purchase your product. Whether it’s a conscious decision or not, emotions play a huge role in the buying process, so it’s important that your company has a personality that your audience wants to get to know and can connect with.

Tim Sanders, in his book The Likeability Factor, says that in all areas of life, it’s proven over and over that people choose who they like. That’s why it’s important to work at increasing your business’ likeability factor.

It just so happens that the content you share is a great way to let people get …

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Three Business Books Every Photographer Should Read

Never Eat Alone

If you’re like most photographers, you got into the business of photography because you love taking pictures.  But as we all quickly realize, owning a photography business is about a whole lot more than understanding the in’s and out’s of your camera.

Over the years, I’ve heard the old adage that “leaders are readers” more times than I can count, and as cliche as it is, it’s the truth.  When I look back, the phases of life when I’m doing the most reading are the phases of life where I’ve grown the most and been most innovative in the work I do.  There are a lot of books that could have made this list, but here are three of my favorites that I think are a must read for any photographer looking to keeping growing and building their business.

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

This book was a game changer for me. …

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What Your Email Auto Responder Says About You (We’re Ready for a Debate!)

Photographer Katie Humphreys

I’ve been a photographer since 2004, and I’ve walked more than a mile in a photographer’s shoes.  Now that I find myself regularly working with photographers, I’m able to see things from a different perspective while still being able to empathize with the day in, day out challenges that photographers face. And it’s from that perspective, that I invite you to consider the following.

I’m not sure how, why or when. But, somewhere along the lines, photographers—lots of them—decided that it was a good idea to set up email auto responders to automatically reply to each and every email that they receive.

These automatic responses look something like this:

“Due to the large volume of emails I receive, it may take me awhile to respond to your email. If it’s urgent, please call me. Otherwise, I appreciate your patience as I dig through my pile of emails.”

In theory, these messages are supposed …

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Three Essential Skills for Today’s Wedding Photographer

Photographer and Pictage & ShootQ Community Team Member Katie Humphreys

Times….they are a changin’.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard some of the doom and gloom that’s been rumbling in our industry. And although the photo industry is different than it used to be, this isn’t necessarily bad news. The photographers who are able to successfully navigate the changing industry landscape are still running successful businesses and have adapted to ensure that their business will still be around in the years to come. Whether you’re just jumping in and are new to the industry or you’re a seasoned pro, here are three essential skills that will help you succeed.

1. Choose your Words Wisely.

As you’ve built your photography business, at some point you probably were told about the exercise of choosing a few words to describe and characterize your brand so that you promote a consistent message. This is a great exercise and useful in helping you define …

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Three Lessons I Learned from a European Cafe

Three Lessons I Learned in a European Cafe

It was the danishes that made me think.

Well, the coffee too. (But mostly the danishes.)

This past winter, my husband and I took a trip to Europe to celebrate our five year anniversary and over the last week of our trip, we developed a morning routine that consisted, quite simply, of danishes and coffee. We’d sit at a nearby European cafe on bar stools facing the window and watch people pass by on the sidewalks. We watched grown men biking to work, children running up the sidewalk, and young teenagers in love. We would sit, enjoy our danishes and people watch. When we returned home after our trip, I realized that even compared to so many great tours and activities, these mornings at the cafe were perhaps my favorite memory of all.  Somewhere between our danishes and the quiet walks in the city – in the middle of my “not doing” …

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