Having a website is a clear requirement for most photographers. It’s a way for clients to find you and see what kind of portfolio you have so that they can check if you’re suitable for their needs. But your website can grow in a number of different directions, one of which is through starting a blog.
A lot of business owners open a blog on their website, and will occasionally post there. Some even post daily or weekly for a long time without really knowing why they are doing it. They have a vague idea that this might help them to win clients, but they don’t know how or what techniques to use to make that happen. As a result, many photographers aren’t able to make any money from their blogs, thus rendering them almost useless.
Here’s how you can make smart moves to monetise your photography blog, ensuring that your effort is no longer wasted and you are rewarded instead.
Sell your work
The first thing you should be doing with your photography blog is to sell your work. It sounds obvious, but many photographers aren’t managing to do this.
How you sell it depends on what kind of work you provide. If you are a studio offering portraits and so on, or even event coverage, then you can blog about how you do it. Write tips for your clients on how to dress for a photoshoot with you, what trends are coming up for the new seasonal shoots, and tell them stories from behind the scenes in your studio. These blog posts will prove that you are an expert in your field, reassure clients about what to expect if they choose to work with you, and let them in on the ‘secrets’ of your trade. It costs you nothing to do this, but could easily bring you in new clients who like what they see.
If you are selling prints or stock photography, your approach might be different. You could write about why and how your potential clients should be using stock and prints, give insight into how you go about securing the best possible quality, and go behind the scenes in your process. Notice that in every example, we’re providing coverage of three points: questions that your potential clients might be searching for on the internet, reasons why they should work with you in particular, and insight into how you produce your work. These key points are a triple attack which will bring visitors to your website, make them stick around for more information, and then encourage them to work with you.
At the end of every blog post, be sure to include a call to action. You might encourage clients to sign up to your mailing list so they can get more tips, behind the scenes stories, and – crucially – notice of your new sessions and discounts, and so on. You might tell them how and when to book a session with you, or buy some of your work. You could ask them to get in touch if they have more questions or would like to collaborate. The call to action is essential to stop visitors finishing the blog post and then drifting away to another site.
By the way, since we’re trying to sell photography, you should absolutely include high-quality images in all of your blog posts. This should be a no-brainer, but many photographers can end up overlooking this aspect!
Sell training or tools
This one is a little less obvious, but it can be incredibly effective. There are a couple of different ways you could go with setting up a side business. One could be giving advice to fellow photographers, helping them to start their own studio and achieve success like you. Another could be selling resources, such as tools for post-processing or so forth. You might also be able to find an angle that will encourage clients to spend more money if you think carefully – perhaps selling exclusive access in some way.
The point of this is to set up a revenue stream that you don’t have to work on as much. Most photographers will use an email funnel to create interest – such as a free 7-part guide that you can sign up to via email, and which is released once every day for a week. Once you have written the guide and set up the email automation, it will go out whenever someone signs up, and you won’t have to lift another finger.
More importantly, you can use both the free guide and the access you have to their email address to now sell them another course or guide which is more extensive, more exclusive, and only available to paid customers. Again, it works best if you make this ahead of time – either an eBook, preferably a substantial one, or a pre-recorded video series which they can watch at their own leisure. Or you could be selling them access to your tools, as we mentioned above.
The idea is that you hook someone in with the offer of free advice, then you let them know that they can purchase more from you – having established yourself now as a helpful expert. If they enjoy the free advice enough and feel that it is truly helpful, then they will invest in your paid resources.
All of this is fantastic for busy photographers because once you get it set up, you don’t have to do anything else – it’s all done via automation based on who is reading your emails, who isn’t reading the emails, and who has finished the course. Every year or so you can refresh the resources and the free guide on offer so that you still continue to bring in revenue.
You can also use this as a platform for future earnings – doing one-off live webinars, for example, and charging for access. The mailing list you will gain could well become your most valuable resource, helping you to earn passive income and keep all of your studio space booked up.
Another way to get income from your photography blog is to sell reviews of various products or items. You approach a company (or they approach you, if your blog is doing well enough) and offer to review their item, or promote it in some other way, in exchange for either a free product or a monetary payment.
In order to do this successfully, you will want to build up a social following. You want good numbers on your social media accounts, as well as comments and reactions to your blog posts which you can use as proof that your blog is well-read. This will demonstrate to companies that you actually have the power to generate sales for them if you talk about their products.
You can review honestly, or you can choose to only review products that you genuinely like. Either way, this approach can really work for bringing in some more income. However, you will need to be confident about building your following, writing about technical aspects as well as giving your opinion, and perhaps also appearing on video to do video reviews.
Sell affiliate products
As well as reviewing products, you can also earn extra cash directly from selling them. Affiliate links are so called because they track the visitors who click on your particular, unique link – and this means that a company can tell exactly how many sales you have generated. They can then give you a payment based on the sales that you have helped them to make.
Affiliate links must be labelled as such: social media sites, Amazon, and even Google are quick to penalise those who don’t mark them, and you could even be given a hefty fine if you try to do this as a bigger influencer. It also makes you more honest with your followers, which is always going to be appreciated by those who are waiting for your reviews and posts.
You can become an affiliate marketer for just about any company that offers this kind of scheme. One of the easiest to start with is Amazon, as they pay out even if the customer buys a different product than the one you posted – so long as they clicked on your link before making the purchase. This is a good way to start building your revenue from your blog.
There are quite a few ways to turn your blog into a money-making machine, but be aware that it can be a lot of work in itself. If you are serious about making it work, you might want to dedicate at least one full day a week to blogging, preparing social media posts, and setting up new email funnels. You will also need to blog with consistency, releasing on a dedicated schedule and following up with social media posts and emails to promote each post. If you can handle it, it can be incredibly effective.