HAPPY FRIDAY, FRIENDS!
Y’all… I am SO excited about today’s Friday Chatter post! This is an idea that I have been dreaming about bringing to the blog for quite some time now. I have been getting so many questions about marketing and what I do and how I do it, so I knew that the time was right for me to start bringing this content to you! Marketing is such a HUGE topic to dive into, so I wanted to start with something small and close to my heart: how in the world to you market consistently when you feel like you have a million things going on?! This post was actually an idea that came to me back when I was working my old full time job, and I finally felt ready to share.
A little background for you: I seriously started pursuing growing my business when I was working a full time 40 hours a week job and a part time fitness job that took up about 20 hours of my week. On top of all that, I was also shooting weddings on the weekend, was trying my hardest to stay on top of my inbox, social media and editing. On top of ALLLL that, I was also trying to take care of myself in a brand new city while making new friends and trying to be a “normal” twenty-something. It was A LOT, and I learned so much about myself as a business owner and a person. It was a season filled with lots of sacrifice, late nights, frustrated breakdowns and exciting breakthroughs. I don’t know if I would ever want to live life the way I was again, but I am so grateful for the lessons I learned at the time.
Today’s post dives into everything I learned about growing a business through content production when you feel like literally every single odd is stacked against you. There are layers and layers to this, so for today, we are going to focus primarily on production of marketing content as a wedding photographer! In the future, I definitely want to do a post on how I market through the way I love my clients and the experience I provide.
I’m hoping that today’s post will be encouraging for those that may be in a season similar to what I experienced just about a year ago. OR, maybe you have a solid foundation and are hoping to streamline a few things in your life. If you have been wondering how I managed to market my business while everything in my life was telling me I didn’t have time, here’s what I can recommend!
Just a little spoiler alert/disclaimer before we get started: the process is far from glamorous! There are hundreds of thousands of ways to establish a marketing system for your business. These are just a few tried and true methods that worked (and still work!) for me!
Determine your priorities
Determine your business and personal priorities often. When it comes to promoting and marketing your business, what will you prioritize? Is it blogging? Social media content? Email lists or newsletters? Website updates? In person events or networking? Maybe it is something brand new for you or pouring into an already established part of your business! Are you focusing on growing a following, increasing your profit or finding new clients?
Whatever it is, establish your focus and run with it. It is OKAY to put some things on the back burner. It is OKAY to focus on one thing at a time. We’ll talk about this soon, but quality content that you are so much more excited about is way more valuable than quantity content that you are feeling a little EHH about. Trust me: people CAN tell the difference here.
On the other end of this point, establish your personal priorities. Is there anything that you are willing to sacrifice in your personal life to get “all the things” done? Unfortunately, growing a business DOES require sacrifice. I wish there was a kinder way to say that, but it is just a fact.
Even more so than that, what are you NOT willing to sacrifice? I wrote about this briefly before, but it really helps set and stick to what I call life “non-negotiables.” These are things that you absolutely must get done to continue feeling happy and fulfilled in your own life. For me, these fall more into the self care and relationship fields but are just as important to me as my work and business to-do’s. For me, some of my personal non-negotiables are currently: gym time, quality sleep, calling my parents at home, and eating dinner (I know that last one sounds ridiculous, but I can’t tell you how many times I skipped out on dinner to answer emails).
Determining your professional and personal priorities is absolutely vital. Remember: these are absolutely going to look different for everyone!
Quality Content vs. Quantity Content
We hear this all the time, but when you are feeling busy and/or overwhelmed, this point really is so true: QUALITY Content far outweighs QUANTITY content. Bouncing off of the above point, once you determine your priorities and focus, your content should be geared towards driving these points home to your audience. There is no need to post or share things just to have something on your media platforms for that day! Less is more, especially when you have so much going on.
Your audience can tell when you are excited about something and when you may be forcing a post or content just to have something up that day!
Thoughtfully putting together a quality content calendar that will serve your business with intention will go so much further in promoting your brand. Think about it: what kind of media do you prefer to consume on a regular basis? What kind of content does your ideal client enjoy consuming on a regular basis? How do you want people to view your brand? How often do you want people engaging with you?
DO make sure that all of these questions add up and speak to your short and longterm priorities. I’m going to be bold here and say: quality content production during a crazy season of life may not look like posting daily for you, and that is okay! I’m here to give you permission to pull back on the amount of posts that you share in exchange for fewer posts with more heart.
Set and stick to a realistic schedule
Before we get started with this point, note the most important word in the heading: REALISTIC. Setting and sticking to a schedule that is realistic for you is a great way to keep you motivated.Setting and sticking to a schedule that is NOT realistic for you is a sure fire way to lead to burnout. Trust a sista here. I cannot tell you what this will look like for you because everyone’s life, goals and schedule are truly unique.
Setting and sticking to a schedule is an amazing way to build trust amongst your followers. Your content and marketing schedule should be similar from week to week. Creating a routine for yourself AND your audience is absolutely vital because it goes such a long way in engaging your audience.
Think about the priorities and goals you’ve set, the sacrifices that you are and are not willing to make and your short term and longterm business goals. What kind of content will you need to produce to meet the expectations of each of these categories? I highly recommend setting a regular schedule. Create a content and content production schedule, put it on the calendar or planner you use regularly. Take these deadlines just as seriously as any other appointment on your calendar.
When it comes to scheduling, there are actually TWO areas that are really important to focus on here:
- Content Schedule
- What content will you be producing on a regular basis? When will it be published and what will its focus be? Hint here: your content should be serving both your short and longterm priorities!
- During my craziest season, I chose to publish blog posts on Friday’s (HEYYYY #FridayChatter!) and posted on Instagram daily during the week. This is simply what worked for me and my short and longterm goals and will probably look different for you! I will say though that, if you are blogging, having a specific day with a blog post deadline really motivated me to get something written each week! I also learned that there were quite a few people looking forward to these posts each week! This was a huge motivator in getting these posts out each week.
- Production Schedule
- Once you decide what you are going to post, you have to decide when it will be created! When will you be writing blog content? When will you be selecting your content for Instagram? Facebook? Other platforms? If you have a newsletter, when will you be curating content for this? Will you be posting everything yourself or will they be scheduled out in advance? I would argue to say that your production schedule is MORE important than your content schedule! DO make sure that you will have the time to thoughtfully produce your content throughout the week. This is where we have to go back to the quality vs quantity content point! Realistically, how often are you able to produce engaging content? It is OKAY if the answer to this question is only “once a week” or “every other week” or “once a month.”
Plan your content in advance
This has been a theme for this entire post, but I’m going to really drive it home here: Plan EVERYTHING in advance. From what you will be posting, to when it will be produced, to when it will be published, and when you will respond to messages and comments. When you have limited time, planning in advance is nonnegotiable. Stock pile and prep content like your life depends on it when you have the time to curate and create. These days, I typically have one content prep day a week, I highly recommend implementing this in your life. Once the content is prepped, it is prepped and all you have to do is press publish!
When I was working three different jobs, I would actually carry a small notebook with me everywhere. I used the notebook to jot down blogpost ideas, blog post frames, content schedules and everything in between. It really helped to have a barebones frame ready when I got home late at night to put together my content!
If you are looking to help automate this process, these are a few apps that I love:
- Instagram feed planning: PLANN— I use the free version! I’ll often plan posts a few days in advance and will just push the content live when I am ready.
- Facebook: I always schedule posts in advance on my business page! Send me a message if you have questions on how to do this!
- Blog: I definitely used my trusty notebook method here and built many posts in advance. Many platforms will allow you to schedule posts to go live on their own. There are also apps and plugins that will push your posts directly to social. This varies, depending on the blog platform that you use!
- Portfolio curation: When you finish a final gallery, go through and select a few of your “WOW” images! Put them in a folder on your desktop. Having a folder filled with your strongest images makes it really easy to pepper these in throughout your web presence when you have a free moment.
- Client management: This post was primarily focused on marketing in a very content heavy way, but, a lot of my marketing happened and still happens from the client experience I provide! I use Honeybook to track my client experience. You can also use it to automate emails, invoices, contracts, questionnaires and other portions of your client experience. Click here to receive 50% off your first year!
- Other apps that can help but that I don’t currently use:
- Hootsuite is a great app for scheduling social media posts! (Especially Tweets!)
- I’ve heard that Tailwind is great for Pinterest!
- Convertkit and Mailchimp are great platforms for email marketing
Find your voice, and don’t be afraid to use it
Ok… this post is getting really long, really fast, but I promise, this point might be the most important one of all of these. I’m here to tell you that your followers want to get to know you… whether they know it or not. Developing a personal brand voice is absolutely vital in producing effective, quality content. While all of your posts don’t have to be fun facts or personal content, they SHOULD all sound like they have been written by the same person, and this person should be you. The voice you are using should also be very similar to how you act and speak in real life! Your voice should be used in EVERYTHING you share: from emails to clients, to Instagram, blog posts, Facebook, Newsletters, and everything in between.
After reading through some of my online content, wouldn’t you think it was a little weird if I met you and was cold and uninviting? DO make sure your online voice mirrors who you are in real life as you work to develop your style! If you are having a hard time with this, I highly recommend writing captions via voice to text or voice memos! DO incorporate details about the work you are sharing and highlight your clients by sharing what makes them special and unique. DO share your face and relatable details about your life (Fun fact: This is the content that I get the MOST engagement on!). DON’T feel like you have to share every single aspect of your life! It is okay to be selective with what you are sharing.
I did a fun little experiment over on IG the other day where I asked people to share what it was that they thought about when they thought about me and CKP! It was so interesting to see what it is about both me and my brand that has stuck with people! If you feel like you may be stuck when it comes to using your voice online, don’t be shy about checking in with your audience every now and then. It was really encouraging to know that certain things I share actually land and stick with people!
If you get anything from this post, friends, it should be this: marketing is such a personal thing, especially in the creative industry. There is no one magic formula to make things happen overnight. Make your plan, know your audience, and give yourself grace when needed. While regular content production is a great way to market your business, you do need to be realistic!
I would love to hear from you now! Do you do any of these things in your own business? Have you tried something different that works well for you? Don’t be shy! Feel free to share in the comments. I would love to hear from you!
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