More traffic on your blog means more eyes on your work. And if more people are looking at your work, you would hope that the increased exposure would lead to an increase in sessions booked. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case!
Lets take a look at a common problem and how to work around it!
The Photo Blog Trap
As you start to blog consistently you’ll notice that you’re slowly developing an audience. It will probably start with a comment here, two comments there. Then you’ll notice every post starts getting comments, until finally it seems like people are racing to comment on your posts! Hooray!
Comments are a great indication of the strength of your blog. If people are commenting, it shows that you’re providing useful, enjoyable content.
However, you have to remember that you’re not writing your photography blog exclusively for the commenters. You’re writing it for your target audience.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There will certainly be some overlap between who comments and who your target audience is. But blogging photographers face a unique challenge: other photographers!
The more you post and the better your photography becomes, the more other photographers will be stopping by to say hello. You may notice the abundance of comments by other photographers on your own blog or on some of your favourite photography blogs. There’s nothing wrong with that at all! It’s awesome to hear great feedback from folks who understand and love photography!
The problem is that you ideally want to be attracting high quality traffic to your blog. That is simply traffic that will convert to sales. If photographers want to leave comments, that’s awesome. But you also want comments from people who will actually book you to shoot them!
How can you do that? Give them incentive.
This solution hinges on aligning interests. You want more high quality traffic on your blog. Chances are that the friends of the client you’re posting about (be it a wedding, engagement session, portrait session etc.) are also your target market.
What you can do is offer a free print to your clients if they can get X number of their friends to comment on your blog post about them. It’s as easy as sending your clients an e-mail after you’ve posted their photos on your blog, letting them know that they’re up, and informing them of the special offer that if they can get 20 of their friends to comment you’ll give them a free 8×10 valued at $75.
It shouldn’t be an outrageously large number of people that need to comment, otherwise they probably wouldn’t participate. And it doesn’t need to be an expensive print either (but make it worth their time). Make sure you’re making it a win-win situation.
The beauty of this is that they’re probably going to share the photos with their friends anyways, so it’s not difficult for them to do. You’re just giving them a sweet prize for doing it through your blog!
This also does more than just get X number of commenters to your site. You’re gaining valuable social proof. First of all your clients love the attention and kind words that their friends are leaving on your site. The friends they enlist to comment see first-hand the quality of your work with people they know. And finally other potential clients visiting the site see the comments and what other people think of the photos! Win-win-win and all for the price of a print!
At first I was skeptical about this strategy. I was worried that it felt too much like a bribe. The change of attitude came after we noticed that every single client was enthusiastically taking the offer and winning the print. People love a challenge and they want to share their photos with their friends! This strategy is simply aligning interests and really benefiting everyone!
- This trick will work for blogs of any amount of traffic, just make sure you set the threshold appropriately. You don’t want to put it at 100 comments when you regularly only get 5. That said, there is room for experimentation. You can experiment with this strategy, and see how you can get the most traffic
- Keep the free print small enough to pop in the mail. Usually you’ll need to see a client again anyways (delivering album, or files etc) but in case you don’t need to make sure you keep the print small enough to be sent in the mail
- We let our clients pick the photo, they usually already have a favourite in mind. But for simplicities sake you may want to limit the photo selection to photos in the actual blog post, to avoid having to set up an online gallery. Whatever works!
- Make sure you actually deliver on the print! If the client makes the comment threshold, follow through! Take it upon yourself to check the numbers, and be quick to get their prize into their hands. It’s another opportunity to exceed expectations.
Bonus! – Facebook
One area we’ll be applying this strategy to this year is our Facebook fan page. Facebook is a fantastic place to show off your work, and there are people who will comment on Facebook who might not visit the blog, so you’re making sure to capture their interest as well. It also give your clients the opportunity to win one more print! Success all around!
So try this out on Facebook as well, and let us know how it goes for you!
Do you have an idea for attracting great traffic to your blog? Share it in the comments!