Once most photographers become serious about their craft — whether they are amateur, professional, or something in between — they usually start thinking about starting a blog. A photographer’s blog is a venue to not only showcase your work, but also to share your thoughts, in as few or as many words as they like, with their audience. And if you do happen to make money from your photography, a blog may serve as the primary method through which you communicate and interact with your clients after a session or event. You might use a blog to teach photography by offering books or tutorials. A photography blog can be whatever you want it to be; it's your platform, your soapbox, your gallery, your advertisement. But no matter what approach you take, you’ve got to have compelling content in order to be successful.
ideas by Sean MacEntee, on Flickr
Providing compelling content doesn’t mean that you need to compose dense, high-minded ideologies about photography. It simply means that you must give your audience material that they actually want to read or otherwise consume because they find it interesting and useful; they should then feel compelled to link to, “Like,” retweet, +1, Pin, or whatever their preferred manner of sharing that information.
But coming up with ideas isn’t always easy; in fact, sometimes that’s the hardest part: “What should I write about?”
If you’re in need of content for your blog, but you’ve hit a brick wall and can’t seem to come up with any good ideas, here are a few that might be of some value to you. Mull them over, alter them, use one of them, use all of them, set them aside for a rainy day — you never know when you might need them.
- Thank your readers. It’s nice to know that people are, indeed, visiting your blog. Surely you have a few readers who always bother to comment or always link back to you. Write a post telling your loyal readers how much you appreciate them. And if any of them have blogs, shine a little light on them in return.
- Lists. Lists are always great; top 5, top 10, top 7, it doesn’t really matter how random they seem, lists work because they’re easy to absorb, they get straight to the point, they’re easy to share, and they open-ended enough to allow your readers to participate. Make a list of your top 6 reasons to own a 50mm lens, and watch how quickly the list expands once your readers start adding their own reasons in the comments section.
- Tutorials. Photography enthusiasts like to learn. Since no one person knows it all, it’s a sure bet that you’re in possession of knowledge that someone else would like to have. So pass it on, especially if you have a unique or money-saving approach in mind. How-to articles will always garner quite a bit of attention.
- Behind the Scenes. This is particularly useful for photographers who regularly complete photo assignments. The audience, including non-photographers, is often interested in learning the story behind a great photo. Portrait photographers might take this approach as well. Lots of people find photo sessions nerve-racking; if you show potential clients what goes on behind the scenes of one of your photo sessions, it will go a long way to put them at ease.
- Reviews. It stands to reason that people keep coming back to your blog because they either enjoy your photography or respect your opinions (or both). So if you are someone whose views and opinions hold sway with your readers, consider doing a review from time to time. There's tons of gear out there to review; don't worry too much about reviewing some of the same things that others are covering. That's inevitable. As long as you're providing an honest account from your own perspective, your reviews are likely to resonate with your readers.
- Your products. If you make money from photography, don't hesitate to market your products; this is one of the most important uses of a blog. Use your blog as a means to do more than just showoff the pixels you captured. Show your readers all the different ways you provide for them to display your work should they choose to make a purchase. It's added value for your business.
- Interviews. An interview is an excellent method of spreading inspiration and new ideas. Finding intelligent, passionate people who have causes to promote and opinions to represent shouldn't be too difficult, and you can conduct a Q&A or an in-depth interview. Whether the topic of discussion is serious or lighthearted, the result will be the same: more exposure for the interviewee and more traffic to your blog. It’s a win-win situation.
Coming up with compelling content for your blog can be a challenge. Hopefully some of these ideas work for you or, at the very least, serve as a source of inspiration for your own ideas. Regardless of how you get there, remember your goal is to keep readers interested in what you post.