The to-do list of a professional photographer is absurdly long: advertise, meet with clients, scout locations, edit galleries, oh, and you know…actually take the pictures! With full schedules and a long line of clients excitedly awaiting their photos, tasks like managing a website and maintaining a blog end up ranking fairly low on the priority list. However, for most prospective clients, your first impression, prompting them to either push that “Contact” button or move along, comes through the content you produce online.
As a copywriter and blogger for photographers, trust me, I get it! No photographer first picked up their camera because they adored writing, so producing written content can quickly become a massive headache. But by following these five important tips, any blog post will shine with professionalism, help you connect with new clients and add value to your posts. Don’t publish another blog post before you follow these steps!
1. CHECK FOR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR
Please, please, PLEASE do a proofread before you hit publish. When you’re writing quickly and in a rush to post new content, it’s all too easy to write “though” instead of “through” or “teh” when you meant “the.” It seems insignificant, but a typo-riddled post can poke holes in a potential client’s impression of your professionalism and attention to detail.
Check each post carefully more than once, and for an added layer of typo prevention, run your post through a spelling and grammar checker like Grammarly. It may take a few extra minutes of your time, but even a single typo sticks out to many readers like a flashing neon sign.
2. FACT CHECK NAMES AND INFORMATION
It seems like such an obvious point, but you’d be amazed how many misspelled national parks and famous landmarks I’ve seen in blogs. While those misspellings are off-putting, they just signal a lack of attention to detail. But incorrectly spelling the name of a client, vendor or venue can leave those you’ve worked with feeling hurt and devalued. It can also signal laziness, a label no solopreneur wants to be stuck with. A quick Google search or check back through email can save you from leaving a bad taste in a client’s mouth or offending a future styled shoot collaborator.
Additionally, if you aren’t absolutely positive or able to source a piece of information you plan to use in a blog post, it’s probably best to omit it altogether. Not only is including inaccurate information irresponsible, but it can drastically injure your credibility when people come to realize that the average photographer doesn’t actually take six months to deliver their galleries or that, nope, a 50 mm lens isn’t the only lens used by photographers at weddings.
3. LINK OUT TO NOTABLE VENDORS
A great way to build relationships with vendors and venues (and make your way onto those coveted preferred vendor lists) is to mention a few vendors by name in each of your blog posts. If a couple got married under a 10-foot arch made entirely of lilies, take the time to find out what florist the bride used, and be sure to include a link to that vendor’s website in your post. As an added touch, send an email containing a link to your post to the vendors you mention telling them what an impression their work made on you. While this may bring new clients your way, more than anything we creatives have to look out for each other, and building up another artist is an awesome thing to do.
4. SCAN FOR REPETITIVE LANGUAGE
If I had a piece of glitter for every time I saw the word “gorgeous” repeated multiple times in a photography blog post, I’d look like I was on my way to Coachella. Y’all. Please. For my sake, your clients’ sake, and your own, use Control+F on Windows or Command+F on Macs to scan for words that you tend to involuntarily reuse.
Repeating the same words too closely in a piece of writing gives readers the impression that, well, you’ve used all the words you know! Particularly when the words are emotional in nature, repeating them too many times gives them a disingenuous quality and leaves the subject of the post thinking, “Was my hair really beautiful, or is that just the word she uses to describe everything?” The thesaurus is your friend! There are plenty of other words that mean “lovely” or “excited” or “fun.”
5. READ YOUR POST OUT LOUD
After following steps 1-4, it’s almost time to click “publish.” But before you do, give your post one last read-through, this time out loud. It seems like an unnecessary step, but most of us write very differently from the way we speak. When we are putting our words down in print, we often adopt stilted ways of speaking and awkward sentence structures. If you read through a post and it sounds too formal, too bland, or too stiff, that is probably how it is going to come across to your reader. Reading your post aloud also slows you down, forcing you to focus on every word, which can help you to catch misspellings or repetitive language you may have missed earlier.
I know, I know. “But Ericaaaaa! Who has the time to do this for every single blog post?” It may add 15 extra minutes to your blogging process, but I can’t stress enough how much each of these steps can pave the way toward making a better first impression with potential clients and warm the hearts of the clients you are writing about. Just as in photography, editing with care can make all the difference between an average piece of content and one that a client turns into a 24″ x 36″ poster and hangs in their living room. And when your photography is already knocking socks off, your images deserve to be surrounded by writing to match.