"Usability" is a catch-all word that we throw around…
Creating compelling content for your photography blog is key to building traffic and getting new clients to check out your work. But what makes for compelling content?
Start by setting aside your literary ambitions and remembering your photography blog is primarily a marketing tool. You want views, clicks, links, likes, and other sharing mechanisms that will spread word about your photography business the farthest and widest. To that end, a successful blog entry should be total linkbait – content people will want to link to and share with others.
Time and practice has taught us a few topic areas that tend to hook the audience:
1. Top 10 Lists
Top 10 are highly clickable and easy to share – a list provides quick, easily understood context for exactly what the reader will find in your blog post. Added bonus: lists don’t need to be copy-heavy or heavily researched. Go ahead and give your own opinion on the 8 female photographers who changed the industry, and watch the hits roll in.
Examples of Top 10 Lists:
- 11 Simple Things You Can Do To Grow Your Photography Business – Rosh Sillars
- Top 10 Tips On Google+ For Photographers – Thomas Hawk
- 10 Principles of Beautiful Photography – Trey Ratcliff
2. Stir the Pot
If you’re not afraid to ruffle a few feathers, bucking tradition or authority with a controversial statement is a great way to get the community buzzing. However, don’t just say something provocative for the sake of getting a rise out of people. It is better to put forth your opinion on a topic about which you genuinely have something to say, and back that statement up with facts and illustrative examples.
Prepare yourself for a helping of haters, and make sure to respond to naysayers with the same intelligent clarity with which you crafted the article.
Examples of Stiring the Pot:
- Mini-Rant: Screw The Critics – David Hobby, Strobist
- Photography: What’s Real, What’s Not and Does It Matter – Matt Brandon, Digital Trekker
- Raw Perfection: The Photoshop Disclosure Manifesto – Greg Basco, Deep Green Photography
3. Offer Tutorials
The Internet is a DIY paradise, and “how-to” articles are their own cottage industry. If you have a creative and, even better, inexpensive method to completing a task or technique – people will take notice.
Don’t have a cheap, novel approach? Think about your specialty and the services you offer, and explain how you do what you do best – you will likely still find an interested audience.
Examples of Tutorials:
- How to Photograph Grizzly Bears – Robert Berdan
- Adorama Learning Center – Adorama
- Workflow: Green Screen Tutorial – Vincent Laforet
4. Write a Review
Clearly there is no shortage of photography gear reviews on the Internet. That should not discourage you from writing one yourself. Many photographers carve out a niche for themselves based on their reviews. It might be what you say, it might be how you say it, but if you write a great gear review, someone will definitely be reading.
Examples of Reviews:
- Should I buy An f/2.8 or f/4.0 Lens? – Travis Lawton, The Phoblographer
- Fuji X100 Review: The Greatest Digital Camera Ever Made – Zack Arias
- “Heaven, Earth, Tequila” by Doug Menuez – Miguel Garcia-Guzman
5. Compile Resources
Everyone loves to discover that all the information they need on a topic already exists in one place. If you don’t mind doing a little legwork, then try assembling a specific, relevant list of online resources. This may be a particularly useful option for photographers who do not consider themselves strong writers – a resource list is more about supporting the topic, and writing need not be heavily involved.
Examples of Compiling Resources:
- Taiwan Photographers – Resources – Craig Ferguson
- 13 Resources for DSLR beginners – Mandy Jones
- 50 Free Resources that Will Improve Your Photography Skills – Andrew Gibson, Smashing Magazine
6. Crack a Joke
If your friends say you’re the funniest gal/guy they know, why not test their theory on your blog? If you have a knack for it, there’s no harm testing your knack for making an audience laugh.
Examples of Cracking a Joke:
- Video: Nikon Girl – Joey Lawrence
- The Battle at F-Stop Ridge – The Camera Store
- 21 Signs You’re a Real Photographer Now – Peter Phun, Blackstar Rising
Move over Top 10 lists, infographics are the new linkbait. If you are any good at designing charts or graphs, an infographic is a great copy alternative to dissecting a topic, concept, or issue. You don’t necessarily need to be a skilled designer to present information in a clever, visual way. Flow charts usually require little design prowess but are a great way to illustrate a linear idea.
Examples of Infographics:
- “Yahoo! Reader on Facebook” – The Oatmeal
- Should I Work for Free? – Jessica Hische
- 40 Useful and Creative Infographics – Jacob Gube
8. Crowdsource Commentary
PhotoShelter’s Grover Sanschagrin asked the photography community what their favorite digital point and shoot cameras were. The result was one of the most highly trafficked posts of the year, and a numbered list at that! You can source your colleagues, pose a question to your readers, or blast your social media platforms. No matter the route, you will end up with content created for you that also proves to your community that you value their opinion.
Examples of Crowdsourced Commentary:
- 15 Digital Point-and-Shoot Cameras Used By Pro Photographers – Grover Sanschagrin
- Portfolio Updates and Crowdsourcing – Craig Ferguson
- 18 Great Examples of Humor in Street Photography – Eric Kim
9. Interview People Smarter Than You
The world is full of smart, interesting people with an experienced viewpoint. An interview with them can add depth to an issue and will likely bring new people to your blog that might not have found it otherwise. You could also email a photographer whose work you admire or a prospective client that you’d love to work with one day. As long as the interview is not a thinly veiled request for work, promoting them with an interview on your blog will at least get you on a few radars.
- Q&A With GSD&M Senior Art Producer Shannon McMillan – Jasmine DeFoore
- Future of Photojournalism Interviews – Gerald Holubowicz
- How charity: water changes lives through multimedia – Lauren Major, Major Multimedia
10. Go Behind-The-Scenes
Behind-the-scenes content usually resonates well with an audience, especially photographers who love to learn the story behind an image. Practically any photo assignment you’ve done has the potential to become a behind-the-scenes blog post.
Examples of Behinds-The-Scenes:
- Behind The Scenes Part 2 – Time Lapse/Live Action & Sliders – Vincent Laforet
- Behind the Lens Series – Greg Basco, Deep Green Photography
- The Making Of A Modern Wedding Video – Visual Masterpiece
Newsworthy content can create short bursts of link-building and discussion. Beware that a relevant topic today is yesterday’s news tomorrow. But if your particular field gives you exclusive access to breaking news, or even just an assignment, don’t discount the potential to generate buzz. Buzz is still buzz, and you want to generate as much of it as possible.
Example of News:
- Bunny Ears – Mary F. Calvert
11. Invite a Guest Blogger
Invite industry or relevant professionals to do a guest post on your blog. They get exposure to a new readership, you get a break from writing, and your readers get a fresh perspective. You will also get links aplenty from the guest blogger and his/her community.
Examples of Guest Bloggers:
- Guest Blogging Food Photography #12 with Soma of ecurry – Yummy Food Blog
- Guest Blogger: Pro-photographer Joseph Prezioso and shooting film – 1000 Words
- Setting up your new Canon 7D by guest contributor Doug Brown – Deep Green Photography
Want to more tips and strategies for your photography blog?
Download the free Photography Blog Handbook to learn how to create a successful blog workflow and expand your reach!
- Get inspired by photographers who are using their blog to promote their brand and generate sales.
- Learn strategies on how to target an audience and bring more potential clients to your website.
- Plus, key insights into how blogging can help market your photography business.