SEO is Really Just Customer Service

Often when we think about SEO (search engine optimization), we think in very technical terms.  Keywords. Ranking. Metadata. That sort of thing. But the rules of SEO are changing, and more and more, creating an SEO friendly site means creating a site that appeals to real, actual people, not just robots and algorithms.  

In today’s post, we’re exploring this idea by looking at the concept that SEO is really just customer service.  Click on the video below to find out more!

 

P.S.  Remember, content is king, and your blog is a great place to add high quality content to your site.  

Not sure what to blog about? Download our 52 Blog Topics PDF (Yep, that’s a blog topic a week for an entire year!  You’re welcome.)

3 Steps To Better Blogging | SEO Strategies for Photographers

3stepstobetterblogging.jpg

Without a doubt, blogging is one of the best things you can do for your business.

Blogging is a great way to educated your clients, share recent work and boost your SEO.  But not all blog post are created equal!

To get the most out of your blogging efforts, there a three things you must do with every post.  And today we’re going to tell you want they are.

Create Engaging Content

In our recent blog post, Three Easy Steps to Creating a Google Friendly Website, we shared how search engines like Google are all about high quality content.  

In fact, Google’s own website, Webmaster Tools, outlines best practices for creating good SEO and states that creating high quality content is “the single most important thing to do” to boost your SEO.

Fun fact, your clients also love high quality content!  It helps them get to know you and your business, answers questions and establishes trust!  

So how does one go about creating high quality content?

Think like your client!  

What questions do they have about you, your style and your work?  What do they need to know in order to have a better experience working with you?  How can you help solve their problems and/or answers their questions?  Those are all things you can and should be blogging about!

Need some inspiration?  Be sure to grab this list of 52 Blog Topics that every maternity, newborn and family photographer can write about!  And yes, I said 52! That is a blog topic a week for an entire year! You’re welcome.

Be Smart About Your Titles

Let me ask you this…. have you ever sat down to your computer and searched for something like “Congratulations Smith Family”?  Or “Baby Toes Make Me Swoon”? Or “The Sweetest Toddler EVER!!”?

No!!

And guess what, neither has anyone else!

The job of Google and other search engines is to match what searchers (a.k.a your clients) are looking for with content they will find helpful.  So create content that people are looking for will find helpful and then be smart about your titles!

Choose titles that describe the content of your posts and that clients would actually be searching for.

For example… let’s say the Smith Family came in for newborn photos and you want to share the images on your blog.  Instead of calling the post “Congratulations Smith Family” and just sharing their pictures, write a post about how to prepare for a newborn session, call it “How To Prepare For a Newborn Photoshoot” and then share the Smith’s photos.

Using your blog in this way will help your clients out by giving the information they will find helpful, boost your SEO and showcase your beautiful work!  Win/Win/Win

Again, be sure to grab the list of 52 blog ideas! Hint:  Not only will this list provide you with a year’s worth of blog topics, it will also provide you with a year’s worth of searchable blog titles!

Lastly, don't forget to add what you do and where you are located to your blog posts titles (Example: How To Prepare for Your Newborn Photoshoot | Seattle Family Photographer) This will help you rank in local searches!

Summarize

The last thing you need to know to start blogging like the Lady Boss you are is the importance of summarizing!  

When writing on the internet it’s important to remember how people read on the internet.  For most of us, that means skimming.

The SEO bots love super long blog post… the more content the better.  But most people are reading those post on their phones or tablets. A lot of them are reading them while at their child’s soccer game or while walking down the street.  So write in a way that is easy for people to consume!

Using H2 subheadings within a post (like what I have done is this post) is a great way to summarize your content.  

Not sure how to title your subheadings?  

Think about what you want your readers to take away from your post… what are your main points? For example, this blog post is Three Steps to Better Blogging and my subheadings are Create Engaging Content, Be Smart About Your Titles and Summarize.  In theory, someone could just read my subheadings and know what the entire blog post is about.

Subheadings are also GREAT for SEO!  So use them!

A Gift For You

To get you on on your journey to better blogging, we’ve created a downloadable blogging template.  You can grab yours for FREE right here.

See you next week Lady Boss!

Three Easy Steps to Creating a Google Friendly Website

lady boss workshops 3 easy steps to creating a google friendly website with seo | sandra coan and elena s blair photography

I ask every single person who walks through my studio door how they found me and about 95% of them say Google or some other search engine.  

This comes as no surprise to me.  Ranking high in search engines is extremely important,  which is why I’ve spent years studying it. Building my SEO is how I built my business.  It’s powerful stuff! And It’s also easier than you may think.

What is SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process by which search engines like Google connect your business’ website to people who are searching for what you do.  To do this Google and other platforms use bots and algorithms to connect searchers (aka your clients) with content they will find helpful (aka you).

What is the number one thing you can do to build your SEO?

I know that you want to hear some super secret, add-this-keyword-phase-to-your-metadata-here sort of answer, but the best way to get your site in front of the Google Bot’s eyes is to simply provide high quality content.

How do I know this?  

Because Google told me!!

Content is King

Google’s own website, Webmaster Tools, has a page entitled Steps to Creating a Google Friendly Site on which they outline best practices for creating good SEO.  

Can you guess what came in as the number one thing you can do to improve your SEO?  

“Create High Quality Content”... and yes, thats a quote!

Google goes on to say that in order to rank high in searches you need to “Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do”

Let me just repeat that….  “the single most import thing to do”.

Why?  Because Google wants to make sure it’s putting really good information in front of it’s readers.  

What does this mean for us?  That the days of “keyword stuffing” are dead and Content is King

Three Steps to Creating A Content Rich Website

  1. Make sure your homepage clearly states what you do and where you are located.

    This lets clients know what you do and where you are, but it also give Google and other bots something to read!  

    If you are a newborn photographer in Seattle, WA  for example, then your homepage should say Specializing in Newborn Photography, Serving Seattle, WA.

  2. Avoid confusing language or tricky wording.

    This is a common mistake that I see all the time.  People will use cute or clever wording on their website instead of wording that is straightforward and clear.  Saying “Check it Out” instead of “Blog” for example may seem fun, but it’s confusing to your clients and confusing to the algorithms and may actually be hurting your SEO.  

    How?  Because one of the things Google looks at is how long people stay on your website. If clients come to your website and then immediately leave because they don’t understand what your links mean and can’t find the information they are looking for Google will assume your site is of no interest to its readers and will not prioritize you in searches.

    To attract and retain readers, think like your client.  What information are they curious about? What do they need to know about you and your services?  Most of my clients want to see my portfolio, know what my pricing is and know how to book a session.  So guess what I have front and center on my homepage? Tabs that say Portfolio, Pricing and Book Now… clear, and straightforward!

  3. Blog.

    Without a doubt, blogging is the best thing we can do to boost our SEO!  Remember, Google is looking for “High Quality Content”. It is “the single most important thing to do” and the best place to put lots and lots of high quality content is on you blog!  

    To do this, think like your client.  

    What questions do they have about what you do?  

    What do they need to know to have the best possible experience with you?

    How can you answer their questions and solve their problems?  

    These are all thing you can and should be blogging about.  
     

Now, I know  a lot of photographers have a hard time coming up with topics to blog about and so I’ve created a FREE cheat sheet to help you out!  In fact, I’ve created 52 blog prompts, that is a blog post a week for an ENTIRE YEAR!!  So grab your free cheat sheet now and start boosting your SEO today!!

3 Marketing Mistakes Most Photographers Are Making

lady boss workshops marketing mistakes that most photographers are making | Business tips for female photographers and advice for creative entrepreneurs

Do you find marketing is confusing?  A lot of us do!

The truth is there are many ways to market yourself. But we see many people make the same marketing mistakes every day.  Here are three of the most common:

  1. You are building your marketing plan based on what you see others doing. Raise your hand if this is what you are doing. It’s okay. If you are new to this, or even if you have been at this for a while, it seems like a good idea to go see what someone who has found success is doing and try and imitate what they are doing. But here is the thing, that person who is finding success likely has a strategy and you have no idea what that is. So simply following their lead isn’t going to get your ideal clients to your inbox. Today, stop building your plan based on what others are doing.

  2. You have no idea who your ideal client is and are speaking to anyone and everyone who will listen. When you post something on Facebook or Instagram, write a blog post, or send a newsletter, do you know who you are talking to? Are you being really intentional and speaking directly to your ideal client? If you are trying to speak to anyone who will listen and not that one specific client your marketing is going to get mixed up with the masses and lost. You need to get really clear about who exactly who you are marketing to right now.

  3. You aren’t infusing yourself into your marketing strategy. It is commonly believed that business should not be personal. Of course, there are instances when this is true. But when it comes to marketing this is not true. You have to connect to your potential clients on a personal level. If your potential clients only know your work and they don’t know YOU then they are going to price shop you because the only thing that makes you different than your competition is your work. If they know YOU then they will book you based on who you are want to work with YOU because of your personal brand, not just your work. So don’t be afraid to put your personality into your brand story.  

     

Marketing is a Scary Word

lady boss workshops marketing is a scary word how to overcome your fear  | Business tips for female photographers and advice for creative entrepreneurs

Let's start this week off by talking about marketing
 

For some reason, marketing is very misunderstood. And I will admit that I didn’t used to know anything about it either.
 

Seven years ago I was a mom with a camera desperately wanting to gain respect in the photography industry and desperately wanting my business to thrive.

What I thought I had to do was be like everyone else… because hey, if they are finding success I will too.

 

But I was wrong. Instead of making it work and standing out I was blending in and being price shopped.

 

You see, if you look like everyone else, then when someone falls on your website they will absolutely go with someone who is cheaper. Because what are you offering that is different?

 

And if you are unclear about who you are marketing too, you are screaming to the masses and not speaking to that ideal client who wants exactly what you need.

 

Marketing is simply speaking directly to your ideal client. Take the word marketing out and use storytelling instead. You are telling your story to the person who wants to hear it. Once you can figure out what is that you do that is special, you can craft a marketing strategy that will speak directly to the people who can’t live without what you are offering.

 

So right now stop and think about what story you are telling. Is it unique or is it the same as everyone else?

 

That my friend is how you get started on marketing that is impactful. Marketing is not scary, it is necessary and if you want to succeed, you need to learn how to do it.

 

Xoxo,

Elena

How I Grew My List By 100 In 48 hours (And How You Can Too)

lady boss workshops how i grew my email list by 100 in 48 hours  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

How I Grew my List by 100 new sign ups in 48 hours (and how you can too)

 

We’ve been talking an awful lot about list building lately!  And that’s because it’s so important!  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times… the size of your list, not your social media following, is what you should be concentrating on growing!

 

Last week I decided to walk a bit of my talk.  I made the decision to focus on growing my list and guess what?  I added a little over 100 new followers in 48 hours!

 

This is how I did it.

 

1 ) I listened to what my people are telling me.  I’ve been teaching workshops to film photographers for the past five years.  In that time I’ve covered everything from film stocks to studio lighting and in every single class, despite how advanced it is, I’m always asked about metering. Metering is EXTREMELY important when shooting film and it freaks people out!  So I took that knowledge and…

2) I created content I knew would be helpful… I wrote a “How to Meter for Film” PDF and added it as an opt-in to my list on my website

 

That's it.  And in 48 hours I’ve grown my list by over 100 people.

 

What to grow your list?  

Get to know your people.

  • Who are they?
  • What do they struggle with? 
  • What do you know or do that can help them?

  Then create that content, and give it too them!  A simple “sign up to receive your FREE (fill in the blank) goes a LONG way!

If you would like more information on newsletters and email marketing be sure to sign up to get our FREE online training!

It Only Hurts If You Think It's True

lady boss workshops it only hurts if you think it's true how to overcome negative obstacles  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

I want to share something that just happened to me with you.

Back in March, I re-launched my ebook, The Missing Link: A Film Photographer's Guide To Off Camera Lighting.  The guide is the marriage of two things I'm very passionate about, film and beautiful light.  

I've worked on it for years, literally.  And I've spent a ton of time and money researching, shooting, testing and re-testing, writing and re-writing.  It's a bit of my heart and soul wrapped up in 90 pages and I'm very proud of it.

As I always do with a new project, I announced the release to my newsletter list first.  And, as alway, I got a few unsubscribes.  


Unsubscribes don't bother me at all.  

It is a natural part of maintaining a healthy list.  

But one unsubscribe came with a little note, that basically said that I was a greedy, money hungry person for charging for the new ebook and that I should be ashamed of myself.

And here is where this story gets interesting.


In the past, an email like that would have devastated me. 

I remember, early in my career, when I'd get a bad review or an unhappy client I would dissolve into a puddle.  

I'd question what I was doing, if I was good enough, if my photos were even worth anything... and the self-doubt and negative thoughts would last for weeks.

Now, a mean word or nasty email doesn't bother me in the least.  Why? Because I know it's just not true!

Do I think I'm greedy for charging for my work?  Nope!

Am I sad that the person who said that thinks that I am?  Nope!

I am confident in what I do, my products, what I sell and what I have to share with the world.  I am 100% proud, even if I make mistakes (which I do) and even though I know I have room to grow and learn (which I do).

But this is why I'm sharing this story with you...

Negative reviews and remarks only hurt when we think they're true. 

We all have self-doubt.  We all have something that makes us squirm about running a business, or asking for money, or sharing our art with the world.  To do our job and to do it well requires that we live in a vulnerable place. And that's hard.

And so when someone else says were are overpriced, or that we suck, or whatever, it often times feels as though they are speaking our worst fears out loud. 

That is why it hurts.

Once you can get to a point that you know exactly what you do.  And you know exactly who your people are. You will rarely ever get a bad review or a negative email... and when you do, it won't hurt at all.    

So spend some time focusing on your unique gifts.  Believe in what you do.  Know that whatever it is, it holds value.  And then pay attention.  The more you believe it, the more others will too... and pretty soon, a mean comment will just roll off your back!


xoxo,
Sandra

How to Create a Killer Marketing Plan

lady boss workshops how to create a killer marketing plan  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

Marketing.  

Love it or hate it, it's the most important part of your job.  It's what gets your name known in your community, brings in clients, and pays your bills.

It can also be very confusing.  Where do you even start?

I believe that to run an effective marketing campaign there a three things you must know. 

1. Know what you do.

This seems pretty straight forward but the reality is many of us are not clear on what we do.  Instead, we look around and try to do what others are doing, or what is popular, or what we think our clients want.  And I'm speaking from experience!

At the beginning of my career I shot "photo journalistic" weddings.  Why?  Because that's what was popular at the time.  Every successful photographer I met was a photo journalistic wedding photographer.  I wanted to be successful too!  So that's what I did.  

But guess what?  I hated shooting weddings.  

After two years of doing something I hated, I was burnt out and uninspired.  What I really wanted to do was work with babies and families, in a studio.  So I took a leap of faith, and started shooting what I love in a style that was 100% me!  And it made all the difference.  

When I figured out what it was that I did, I suddenly stood out in the crowd.  My work was unique.  I was happy.  And my business started to grow. 

2. Know who your people are.  

Just because you're a newborn photographer doesn't mean everyone with a new baby is your ideal client. Right?  Some people love posed images of newborns curled up and sleeping in baskets and some people love unscripted lifestyle images of diaper changes, nursing and first snuggles.  Two very different kinds of clients.

Your people are clients who love what you do.  They love your style.  Your point of view.  So get to know who your people are.

Look back over last year's contracts.  Who were your three favorite clients?  The ones who totally got you.  The ones that cried from joy when you showed them their photos and then bought your premium package without batting an eye.  Now ask yourself, what do they have in common?  Figure it out.  Write it down.  Create an ideal customer profile based on those similarities. 

Those are your people.

When you know who your people are, everything falls into place.  You know what images to share, what your website should look like, where your pricing should be, what social media platforms you should be active on... all of it.  Because you know what your people like, what appeals to them, what they can afford and where they "hang out" online.

And here is the best part, the more you share what you do with your people, the more your people will tell their people, and your business will grow! Yeah!!

3. Know how to communicate what you do to your people.

This is the marketing piece.  Know what you do, and tell your people about it.  That. Is. It.  

So, how do you tell your people?  

Blog about things your clients care about or need help with (like what to wear to a portrait session, or your favorite park for family photos).  

Share your images on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, where ever it is that your people are, and engage with your clients.  Talk to them.  Respond to their comments.  Build a relationship.  

Grow your list.  Capture client emails and send out newsletters that are full of beautiful photos and great content.  

Become known in your community.  Sponsor a local event or little league team.  Host a fundraiser.  I always love using my marketing budget to help out my community.  

Most importantly, don't feel bad about marketing.  Marketing is just sharing what you love with people who want to hear about it, and there is nothing wrong with that!

 
 

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