Branding with Blair: How to Set Yourself Apart with Strong Marketing Strategies
June 16, 2014
Blair deLaubenfels, the co-founder of the popular wedding planning resource Junebug Weddings recently sold Junebug to a media investment group and launched Get to Bizness, a consulting company that helps artists and entrepreneurs grow their brands and revenue online. The main focus is on marketing, SEO-friendly content that drives sales, smart web design, social media strategies and solid business planning.
Photo © Sue Bryce
With more and more clients looking for their photographers online, I decided to ask Blair, one of our 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography nominators, for a few tips on developing a strong brand that attracts the attention of clients, photo editors and wedding planners alike.
Jacqueline Tobin: How can a photographer make their website or blog more impactful?
Blair deLaubenfels: You have to create a cohesive look that incorporates your logo, layout, images and search engine-friendly content. Your design should celebrate your distinctive style and highlight the kind of work you want to pursue.
The most common mistakes I see photographers make online include the use of disparate design elements, showing too much work in galleries and blog posts, the failure to develop navigation based on a client’s perspective and the lack of a clear call to action.
Great photographers who are also effective at creating online sales know how to edit their images for maximum impact and how to communicate their brand throughout the user experience. They also know how to write content based on what people are searching for and how to connect with them through their bio and contact pages.
Effective branding can make a photographer with even average skills stand out, while the lack of it can make even the most outstanding photographer look bad.
JT: Do you discourage photographers from having multiple sites?
BD: If a photographer can show an extraordinary body of work in more than one area, or if the subjects they shoot are very different—like weddings and professional sporting events—it’s best to keep the sites separate in order to attract potential clients. If the subjects are similar, like wedding and boudoir photography, show them on the same site in order to capture additional sales from the same clients while demonstrating versatility.
JT: What are some tips for attracting potential clients to your website or blog?
BD: First, learn basic SEO techniques for writing content and creating titles and meta descriptions. Having a website or blog without attention to these elements is a little bit like building a beautiful house with no road. It may be a lovely place to visit, but no will come to your party if they can’t find your address.
Next, create interesting, consistently updated content. Don’t show one similar shoot after the other. Find multiple creative ways to speak to your audience. If you are a wedding photographer, show more images from weddings than from other types of shoots. Five engagement shoots in a row or ten posts of family photos can confuse your audience and dilute your ability to get more of what you want.
JT: Is it hard to get work published?
BD: No, it’s actually rather easy to do when you keep in mind the following:
• Identify the publication or blog that you are most interested in and then find the editors’ contact information. Be meticulous with the spelling of their name, title and publication.
• If the publication has an online form for submissions, follow the directions to the letter.
• Let the editor know why you love his or her style and how your brand matches it. Showing that you have enthusiasm for their vision, and that you’ve done your homework, can go a long way to developing a long-term relationship.
• Send submissions that make it easy to tell stories and identify trends.
• If you are submitting a wedding or editorial shoot that includes details, be sure they look harmonious together.
• Consistent lighting and processing are a must when it comes to editorial spreads that feature lots of small images.
• Always choose publications that match your brand. So, if the wedding is very high-budget, look to publications like Grace Ormonde Wedding Style or Town & Country. If the wedding is an outdoor event full of vintage details, consider submitting to Green Wedding Shoes or Style Me Pretty. Look into picture sharing platform like Two Bright Lights that helps you submit work to numerous blogs simultaneously.
• As soon as your work has been published, acknowledge the publication on your website, blog and social media. After you’ve been published several times, create an online press page or add logos with links to the publications on your home, bio or contact pages.
In the coming months, Blair will tackle a gamut of industry topics including “Women to Watch,” “Building Your Press Page,” “Getting Published and Winning Awards,” “What’s Trending Now in Wedding Photography” and more.