"I read your blog!"
The first time I heard those words, I thought, "REALLY?? You really read it? So, you're saying that you took time out of your day to actually read what we had to say?" Although we started because we wanted people to read it of course, we began blogging without ANY expectations. We did it with the sole desire to share our photos and the knowledge/experience we have gained over the years as professional wedding photographers. We thought that if it helps just one person, it would be worth it. But, the more we blogged, the more we realized that it was doing a lot more than just that.
Our blogs are written in three main categories:
Yes! We share just about every single session and weddings. We have been doing this since day one of our business - consistently and faithfully for almost 10 years... There are so many of these that we have archives within archives of them. :) We average about 2 photography blogs a week! During peak season, it can become a daily thing.
2. Business Experience
The majority of our business revenue is obviously from weddings. When we began getting questions from photographers like, "Hey, do you guys offer classes or workshops?" on a weekly basis, we realized that maybe... just maybe we really do have a lot to share. As those inquiries grew and we ended up doing mini consultations with many photographers we have met, it gave us confidence that educating could be something we could go into. The more we blogged about various topics, we couldn't believe how much we had to share and how much our followers loved it and felt that it helped them or encouraged them. Knowing that it made a difference, it motivated us to do more and most importantly, we enjoyed doing it.
3. Personal Life - "Who We Are"
As social media has become a big part of our daily lives, our society has really changed a lot. People want to know 'who' they are following and not just 'what' they're following. Personal connection is crucial... especially in a business like wedding photography. Because think about it... When you hire a wedding photographer, he/she is with you the entire wedding day by your side. Wouldn't you want to know who that is and what kind of person they would be? What they believe in, what's valuable to them, their personalty, etc...? Through these blogs, we began to get a little more personal, a little more vulnerable as we started sharing with the world the WHOM behind the WHAT. Through these blogs, our business became more than just another wedding photography business, we began to develop a friendship with our followers. Now, I do want to mention however that just like anything else in life, there must be boundaries and balance. We do get personal in this category of blogs, but not so much that it invades our privacy. We don't share every detail about our children for example or some things that's simply no one's business. So, make sure that you place a boundary and stick with it. Everyone has different convictions about this and whatever it is, sticking to your conviction I believe is so important!
Over the summer, we stopped doing 2 out of 3 of these topics only because school was out and we felt convicted to just put it down for a season to focus on our family's quality time. I did jot down topics as they came to my mind, but the photography blogs were the only ones that we were continuing over the summer because that's always been part of our workflow and we love giving that to our clients as a gift. Well, as of this week, all three of our kids went back to school and I'm baaaaaack! :) It's so great to be back! We are so excited to share many new things about our business and us. We are stoked about this new fall season and I am more motivated now about blogging than ever before! So, get ready!
Now, let's talk about why we do this... WHY do we take time to do it and as an entrepreneur, is this really worth it? If you are a business owner and are currently contemplating about starting a blog for your business, consider the benefits that blogging has given us.
1. Clients LOVE it!
Just this reason alone is worth it. Customer service and experience is always our #1 goal and priority, so if this gives them something to look forward to and love, I'm going to do it! Blogging is the first and the main way we "deliver" our clients' photos to them. It completes their experience with us and we want to 'end' it well with them. We don't like just posting the photos... we want them to know that we remember specific things about them, that we really enjoyed getting to know them and that we genuinely are thankful that they chose us as their photographers. If it's a wedding blog, for example, we write down three unique things about them or their wedding and incorporate those things into the write up. The write ups make our photographs come alive and become stories. It moves our clients emotionally and makes the photographs that much better. Many of them text, email or even call us to let us know how much they appreciated what we wrote on their blog post BEFORE they even mention how much they loved the images. With these write ups, we sincerely do it for our clients. We mean every word and it means a lot to us that these words get delivered to them as much as the images. We want to give them more than just an online gallery for them to scroll through... we want to give them an experience.
2. It consistently makes us engage with our followers and it brings in new clients.
Yes, a website is needed in this business for potential clients to quickly get essential info about our business, our pricing, etc... As photographers, that's our "store front", so yes, it's important. Just like a real store, we don't 'renovate' it too often although we try to at least once a year. If you've seen it once, you pretty much have seen it. But, if you have a blog, it gives your clients, your potential clients and your followers a reason to keep coming back to your "store". But, just like anything else, consistency is the key to things like this. I plan to make blogging more frequent this season with many new interesting topics. Even as followers of other bloggers ourselves, we love reading new blogs from our mentors, vendors and photography experts like PetaPixel, Fstoppers and Engadget. Their consistency gets us hooked!
There will be times when you self doubt yourself and really wonder if anyone reads, but they do. Give them true and good content... don't write for the sake of writing and for the sake of blogging. Do it because you love to do it and give your readers content with good substance. People are not looking for perfection, they are looking for someone they can relate to. Share real life stories and experiences.... show your personality... don't be afraid to be who you are.... don't be ashamed of your failures... be proud of your victories. Share the good and the bad... just be real! Be YOU!
3. It reminds us why we do what we do.
It's like journaling our business journey... When a topic that we desire to share comes to mind and we decide to blog about it, it makes us slow down or stop and really think about that topic deeply and seriously. When we wrote about "Why Behind the What" blog post earlier this year, it really allowed us to reflect on the reason behind the hustle. Sometimes daily routines can become mundane, but this reminded us that we really love what we do and that we couldn't have a better job! It made us dig deep and ask the hard questions that we fail to ask ourselves because we are all so busy! But busyness can't be an excuse.... Before blogging, I never really journaled anything. It's something that I wish I had the discipline to do, but blogging allowed this to happen for me. I may not journal as much as some serious journalists out there, but I at least now have this to document some aspects of our business and our lives. It's just good for my soul.
4. It's a great educational and sharing tool!
Anytime a photographer asks us a question and it's a topic we wrote about, I send them the link. They're like, "Wow! Thx!" When a photographer asks about a blog that we haven't written about, we write it and send it to them! This has allowed our community within the industry to grow and create amazing relationships. Once, a friend from ShootProof asked me to send her the info that we spoke about because she was interested in blogging about it. Well, guess what? I already wrote a blog about it! I sent her the link right away and my work was done. :) No matter how much business is about entrepreneurship and making money, in our hearts, people is what matter most and we love that we can share any and all that we have learned. Just like the way our confidence grew over time with our photography and realized that confidence is key in our performance, it was the same thing with blogging. We had to believe that what we were sharing was legit, credible and something people wanted to hear.
5. It's a great sales tool!
It makes us organize our portfolio in an easily accessible way. I cannot tell you how many times we have looked in our own blog to show something to a potential bride or just anyone that asked. It's like an encyclopedia of the history of our photography. So for example, say that a bride is trying to decide on a venue like Chateau Elan. We then pull up all the blogs posts where the venue was Chateau Elan and viola! Remember, because our blog posts are a complete story for that wedding day, this bride now can see from the beginning of when that bride began getting ready to the moment they said their goodbyes. She can now envision her wedding day there and her confidence in us gets stronger that much more. Through the blog posts, we have proven that we are very familiar with the venue which assures many brides and that we can deliver fabulous photos to her. What happens after that? She books us!
Once blogging becomes part of your workflow, it becomes a good habit for your business. We live in a digital world.... a world where things have to be instantaneously accessible. One day, blogging may not be a "thing" anymore, but right now, it's something that clients and followers love and enjoy. Hope this blog about blogs :) was helpful especially to those of you who doubt it for your business or just can't decide. It may not work for every type of business or every type of individual, but for us, I can't even imagine our business without it. It's such a big part of us and the operation of our business!
As always, thank you for reading.... and if you have any topics that you'd like for us to cover, please let us know! If it's something that we have knowledge about, we will gladly share with you. Thanks guys and happy shooting!
With much Love,
Craig + Unchong