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The Content Marketing Field Guide
by The Photo Life

An In Depth Look at Your Sales Funnel
by The Photo Life

You Don’t Fit In a Box
by Elizabeth Villa

Creating a Client Focused Content Strategy
by Erin Youngren

5 Tips for Killer Content
by Katie Humphreys

The Nimbus Dashboard (A Sneak Peek!)
by The Photo Life
The best marketing tells stories. In fact, the best marketing
departments are storytelling workshops where products are
viewed as characters rather than commodities. The iPad isn’t
just a technical tool, it’s a personal portal to the world and a
cherished comfort, like a favorite teddy bear on a child’s
bedside table.
Take that principle one step farther: share content freely and
you’ll catalyze conversations that build your business. When it
comes to content marketing, the more you give, the more you
receive. By sharing selfessly, you accumulate loyal followers
who view you as more than a company; you become a
character in your clients’ life story.
By crafting content that engages and enlightens your audience,
you’ll forge relationships built on trust. When you relate to
your clients on such a deep level, you delight them and you’ll
be top of mind when they are asked for referrals.
This Photo Life Dispatch will teach you how to be a content
marketing machine.
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The Content Marketing Field Guide
by The Photo Life
W
hen you started your photography business, you heard that your blog could serve as a valuable
marketing tool. Forum participants and industry peers preached that if you were authentic and
consistent in posting content on your blog, you could not only boost SEO, but also connect with a large
audience of potential clients. Then, hopefully, this audience would fall in love with you and become
paying clients.
With that in mind, you’ve been putting yourself out there, and have been spending enormous amounts of time and energy to keep your blog active. You’ve
hoped for good trafhc, loyal readers, and eventually interest from prospective paying customers.
But building your blog and posting consistently isn’t enough.
It takes more than authenticity and consistency to convert blog readers to paying clients; you need a disciplined process and approach. In this Dispatch,
we’ll explore how to successfully use your blog as an effective marketing tool using a three step process:

1. Creating and freely sharing valuable content
2. Building authentic and relevant relationships
3. Guiding potential clients toward the purchase decision
The concept behind this three step process is “Content Marketing.” Content Marketing can simply be described as creating and freely sharing informative
content as a means of converting potential clients into clients and clients into repeat clients.
Although we´ll be specihcally talking about effectively using a blog in this Field Guide, your blog is not your only content marketing tool! This process can be
successfully applied to many other media forms like newsletters, email auto-responders, podcasts, video, and more. Depending on who you are and who
your client is, these other tools might prove to be more successful for you.
As you read this Field Guide, we challenge you to think outside of the blog and refect on ways you can apply these principles to other online tools.
The hrst step to creating great online content is admitting that it´s not about you.
If you want to use your blog as a way to connect with potential clients, your focus must be on providing your audience with valuable content. The content
you share will determine whether or not readers come back for more, and ultimately whether you’ll be able to develop a relationship with them using this
online space. Eventually, this relationship will establish the trust needed for a blog reader to become a paying client.
So, what are the four characteristics that make content valuable for your readers?
It meets a need. If you want to create great content and reach your target audience, not only is it imperative to identify your ideal client, you must also
specihcally understand their likes, interests, and needs. When you´re trying to hgure out what kind of content to produce, ask yourself this key question:
What content can I produce that would make their lives better and meet a need they have?
To ensure your content is addressing their needs and interests, try keeping the core of each article informative; how-to and “list” articles are easy to write
and easy for your audience to implement immediately because there are tangible takeaways.
To get started, spend 15 minutes writing down 10 blog post topics that address a need or interest that exists for your ideal client. If you’re a wedding
photographer, your idea list might include a DIY decoration project or a wedding style inspiration board. If you’re a family portrait photographer, your list
might include an article featuring a healthy recipe for kids or a list of 20 things to do with your kids this summer.
It entertains. The content you generate on your blog is there to provide informative content for your potential clients-it´s not text book reading! Just
because it´s not about you doesn´t mean you can´t have a personality. So spice it up! Keep your writing entertaining by infusing your voice and style.
It’s easy to digest. Keep it short, organized, and (for the most part) grammatically correct. When your content is easy to digest, it can be read anywhere
at any time. If the content isn’t easy and accessible to read anytime, your audience will put off reading it and end up never coming back to it. Making your
content easy to digest means you format it so it can be easily read and you keep it at a length that can be read in one sitting (i.e. don´t write a novel!).
It leaves your reader wanting to come back for more. If your ideal audience isn’t interested in reading everything you’re sharing, then you might as
well not share it. Make sure that all the information on your blog will make your reader feel like they read something of real value. Whether the article helps
the reader feel more prepared for a situation, excited to take action, or inspired by a compelling story, the reader should feel it was worth the time spent
online so that they’ll come back for more.
#1 Creating and freely sharing valuable content
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The content you provide allows you to build relevant relationships with your target audience and prospective clients. If you’re building relationships with an
audience of ideal clients, then the likelihood of them actually hiring you is much higher.
So, how do you build relevant relationships with your target audience?
Be authentic. Infuse your voice, writing style, and personal stories into the informative content you share so that your readers begin to recognize your
voice. As readers start to recognize your voice and get to know you through the stories you share, they’ll begin to trust you and, more importantly, like you.
Your ability to connect with your potential clients so that they like and trust you will greatly infuence whether they decide to enter into a working
relationship with you.
(Remember: There´s a hne line between interesting storytelling and boring babbling or TMI! Decide upfront what you´re going to share and stick to it.)
Be strategic. You want the real you to show on your blog, but it’s also important to highlight particular characteristics and core values that you want your
clients to connect with. While you want your clients to fall in love with the version of you that is fun, energetic, and personable, you don’t want them to miss
out on the part of you that is trustworthy and credible.
Write down the specihc traits that you want to make sure come through in your writing. Keep that list by your computer or at your desk and make sure
that the content you’re producing consistently highlights these particular characteristics.
Take a stand. Don’t live in lukewarm water. Presenting your ideas and opinions allows readers to bond with you so that relevant relationships can form and
grow stronger. Naturally, this will also start to hlter out the readers that aren´t your ideal client; don´t be afraid of people not agreeing with you or not liking
you. Though you may turn off some readers, if you’re really writing for your ideal client, your target audience will continue to follow you.
Be consistent. When you consistently offer content that potential clients enjoy reading, they will come to count on and trust your content. Ultimately, this
helps your readers and potential clients believe that—if and when they contact and hire you—your products and services will absolutely meet their needs.
#2 Building authentic and relevant relationships
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#3 Guiding potential clients toward the purchase decision
Creating generous and valuable content for your audience is only an effective marketing tool if you follow up with opportunities for sales conversion. If you
don´t go farther and help guide your prospective clients towards purchasing, your blog will surely fail as an effective marketing tool!
Fortunately, providing generous content and building relevant relationships will help remove a lot of the apprehension that prospects have when making a
decision to purchase. Integrating your sales messaging into valuable content will give them the opportunity to purchase without you having to force it upon
them.
How do you guide clients through the purchase decision?
Think of the sales process as a funnel. The widest part of the “funnel” is the content that keeps a large group of prospects interested—this content is
easy for potential clients to read without making a commitment to purchase. As readers start to know and trust you through your blog content, they will
move further down the narrowing "funnel¨ until someone inquires about your products and services.
Provide potential clients with next steps. Strategically using your blog as a marketing tool means that readers will be able to take progressive baby
steps over a period of time as opposed to taking a single leap of faith. Instead of expecting them to jump from reading online content to immediately
making a purchase decision, a blog that’s been designed strategically will allow your clients to take one step at a time as they get closer to purchasing.
In order to make this process smooth though, you have to present clear opportunities for next steps.
Next steps that could lead readers into "the sales funnel¨ might be links to informational pages about your photography, a link to become a Fan on
Facebook, or a link to a page where they can ask questions about your products and services.
Draw a clear path. What specihc online location do you want prospects to visit when they´re interested in your products and services? For photographers,
this will most likely be the location a potential client will go to when they are ready to start a conversation with you—even if they aren’t actually booking you
for a job yet. In terms of the funnel illustration, this online location and contact point would be the narrowest point of the funnel.

Make an introduction. If your readers don’t know that you have a product or service to offer them, they can’t choose to purchase it or ask to learn more
about it. Gracefully introduce them to what you have to offer by integrating this information into the valuable free content you are producing. Use your free
content to let them know the benehts of purchasing the products and services that you´re offering, so that they can see the value of your photography as an
experience and necessity—not just a luxury purchase.
Answer questions and remove doubt. Potential clients weigh pros and cons of purchasing long before they engage with you and ask you questions. Use
your content to answer those questions and address those doubts so that these collective concerns don´t keep them from contacting you.
For example, it´s common for prospects to question making such a signihcant hnancial investment in photography. These questions arise because they
don´t yet see the full value you can offer them through your experience. Remove their doubts by creating content that helps them visualize the actual
experience. For instance, rather than simply showing portfolio images, you could write an article about how to prepare for a shoot that includes stunning
photographs, some basic tips, and a description of the shoot from your enthusiastic point of view.
Create a call-to-action. Your readers can’t take the next step unless you provide them with a clear opportunity to do so. Now that you have an ideal path
for your readers to take through the funnel, look at each step in your content marketing process and ensure that there is an obvious “call-to-action” that
makes it clear how they should proceed.
One example of creating this “call-to-action” might be to direct someone from a blog post over to your bio page to get to know you a little more. You
might include a link that says "Learn more about me here!¨ From the bio page, if you want readers to visit your FAQ page, then your call-to-action could
be a link that says "Visit this page to get quick answers to your lingering questions!¨
Read on for practical steps to set up and monitor your sales funnel as well as to see how photographers throughout the community are using their blogs and
other online resources to convert their audience into paying clients.
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An In Depth Look at Your Sales Funnel
by The Photo Life
W
ithout a properly identified sales funnel, Content Marketing won’t be eective! Mapping your sales
funnel can be overwhelming and confusing. To make it easier, use this article as your worksheet.
A sales funnel can be mapped out in a variety of ways, but for the purpose of this article we´ll use a bulleted list, with the potential client´s hrst
interaction (or entry point) at the beginning of the list and the conversion point at the end. Before you think through your sales funnel, start by identifying
those two points (below):
Where do I want visitors to enter my blog? Where do I want to drive ñrst time trafñc?
(Example: Blog post or landing page)
To identify the entry point, ask yourself these questions
Sample Funnel: (Starting with the entry point)
+ Blog Post
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Sample Funnel: (Adding the conversion point and the completed conversion)
+ Blog Post
+ Contact Me (LINK)
+ Completed Lead Form (LINK)
Next, you want to identify the steps between these two points and determine which pages will guide prospects from entry to conversion. Think about the
information your audience might need in order to feel comfortable and conhdent when arriving at the opportunity to contact you.
Now that you´ve identihed the beginning and ending points of the sales funnel, you need to determine the "middle¨ points of the funnel.
What do I consider conversion? OR What speciñc thing do I want my audience to do?
(Example: Fill out a lead form)
What speciñc location does a potential client need to visit in order to "convert"?
(Example: "Contact Me¨ page)
To identify the conversion point, ask yourself these questions
Sample Funnel: (Adding middle points)
+ Blog Post
+ About Me (LINK)
+ Portfolio (LINK)
+ Pricing (LINK)
+ Contact Me (LINK)
+ Completed Lead Form (LINK)
Once you have the sales funnel skeleton, you want to look at each step and make sure that they connect. If you want a prospect to move further down the
funnel, you have to ask! What calls to action do you include to guide your audience to the next step?
While you want to lay out your sales funnel to ht perfectly in sequence, you should understand that your audience will move in mysterious ways. Some
potential clients might need to visit every informative page in order to feel conhdent converting, others might jump straight from the beginning to the end!
To monitor the success of your sales funnels, consider using Google Analytic´s "Goals¨ and "Funnel Visualization.¨ Google does a great job of explaining
these here.
Read on to explore the wide world of content creation- the importance of hnding your unique perspective, the process of developing a content creation
strategy, and practical tips for Content Marketing.
If you have questions about all this funnel stuff post them here.
To identify the middle points in the funnel, ask yourself these questions
What information can I empower prospects with to remove any apprehension they might have?
(Example: Details about the experiences you offer, pricing and packages information, or information about you the photographer)
What pages do you already have, or can create, that offer this information?
(Example: Pricing, About Me)
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Contributors
Erin Youngren
Jeff and Erin Youngren are international wedding and lifestyle photographers running one of the fastest growing boutique
studios in the competitive Southern California market. Although based in San Diego, their deeply emotional style and passionate
partnership has taken them from the streets of San Francisco to the canals of Venice to the family suburbs of Chicago to
photograph extraordinary weddings and incredible couples. As leaders in the photographic community, they are passionate
about helping other photographers build viable, authentic businesses, while building a photography community built on integrity
and honest leadership.
Katie Humphreys
Katie Humphreys is half of the Chris Humphreys Photography team. For eight years, Katie and her husband Chris have been
shooting weddings all over the country. Whether they hnd themselves in New York City or in the mountains of Colorado, they
love every minute they spend documenting the relationships and connections of all the families they work with. Katie is also a
member of the Community Team where she oversees the PUG program and works on The Photo Life Dispatch to develop
business resources for photographers.
Elizabeth Villa
The photography industry is overfowing with educational opportunities and advice. As Content Curator of The Photo Life,
Elizabeth gets to collaborate with a team of photographers and creatives to provide valuable content for The Photo Life readers.
Passionate about Content Marketing, Elizabeth spends an embarrassing amount of time researching and experimenting with the
ideas of Content Marketing for small business.
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You Don’t Fit in a Box
by Elizabeth Villa
W
hen you think of developing your Content Marketing strategy, it may seem that in order to be successful
you have to follow a prescribed formula.
If you’re a wedding photographer, when you think of producing educational and entertaining content, you may immediately think of wedding planning tips,
DIY tutorials, and style inspiration boards. (You can´t help it - the world of bridal blogs is full of this type of content!)
But what if you don’t feel comfortable offering planning advice, or more importantly, you know that this type of content isn’t appealing to your ideal client?
The short answer to this question is: If the content you´re sharing isn´t consistent with who you are and who your ideal client is, then you shouldn´t be
sharing it.
Content Marketing is most effective when it´s done from a unique perspective. The purpose of Content Marketing is to build relationships with a relevant
audience, not just to follow a popular blog formula!
What are some unique qualities of your business?
Refect on each step of your client experience that you´ve carefully mapped out. What are some of the ways that the experience you offer your clients is
unique?
For example, one photographer that I recently met with said the following:
“While others are focusing on stylized engagement sessions, I am focusing on offering a time for our couples to escape from a crazy planning season.”
Try this exercise and ñll in the blanks to this statement: While others are , I am .
You Don’t Fit In a Box, So Stop Thinking Inside of One!
By dehning this, we were able to rule out the idea of producing content that focuses on bridal style and planning, two very popular blog topics in the
wedding world. We then dehned ideal content for her ideal client: content that helps couples navigate through an emotional engagement experience.
But this particular type of content will only be effective because it´s specihc to this photographer´s individual business. The same goes for you. The content
you choose to share will only be effective if it falls in line with who you are and who your ideal client is!
Try this exercise out on your own, and get comfortable outside of the box!
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Creating a Client Focused Content Strategy
by Erin Youngren
B
logging is equal parts enormous joy and desperate frustration. Even though it can be the best part of my
job and has been one of the most eective marketing tools for our business, it’s also the most dicult and
painful task that I deal with on a daily basis. If only the artistic process was a little more reliable, you know? If
only I could be clever, humorous, insightful, and interesting with a delightful twist of my wrist and a dainty click
of the mouse. If only.
But in my experience, one of the most frustrating challenges of blogging is coming up with content to publish. As photographers, a big part of that content
is thankfully already hgured out for us-our shoots with our clients-but what about everything else? If the purpose of the content marketing strategy
is to give away free knowledge in order to feature our expertise and market our business, how do we as boutique photographers ñgure out
what kind of content outside of photo shoots we should publish?
The natural response for wedding photographers is usually to feature their shoots, and then publish content about their personality and/or write content
about the skill of photographing weddings and how to run a photography business. But sometimes these approaches don’t actually bring more wedding
business. Why? My response would be that the hrst approach usually isn´t focused enough to attract the right clients, and the second approach doesn´t
attract clients at all. It attracts other photographers. And unless you´re business model centers on making money on other photographers (many do), then
how do you attract the right wedding clients?
But no. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struggled with severe cases of writer’s block during the most inconvenient moments. Many times my writing
process is less of a fabulous fourish and more like banging my head against my desk, looking the blank computer screen in the eye and declaring,
“I am doing everything I can here buddy. I am showing up. I am doing the work. So could you PLEASE just meet me halfway?” Anyone else been there?
Anynone??
Despite it’s challenges, our blog has been crucial to the growth and success of our business.
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A rule of thumb that I learned from Copyblogger and use with our blog is this: what is your ideal clients’ picture of happiness and how can you authentically
insert yourself into that picture?
Over the lifetime of our blog, I’ve built a portrait of the exact person that I’m writing to – her hobbies, her favorite brands, her interests, her relationships,
and most importantly, why she thinks Jeff and I are different, interesting, and necessary for her wedding (and yes, our ideal reader happens to be a woman,
even though we also write to our ideal groom, knowing full well that our ideal groom will take a look at our blog when making the decision about their
wedding photographer).
By knowing what makes my ideal client happy, or more importantly, what my ideal client thinks will make her happy, I can narrow down the topics that I do
and do not share on the blog. Basically, I want to focus on the stories where my ideal client’s picture of happiness and who we are as people and as
photographers intersect.
For example, I write a series on our blog called Recipe Sunday where every other Sunday I feature a new recipe that I make and post photographs of
how I made it along with a story of my not-so-kitchen-goddess cooking skilz. It’s not an earth-shattering idea – there are plenty of blogs out there that
do this very same thing - but I think it has historically been one of the most successful series on our blog for a number of interesting reasons.
First, my ideal client loves to spend time in the kitchen with their hancé trying out a new healthy meal for two to share over a glass of summer wine that
they picked up on a trip to Paso Robles with their friends last year. How do I know this? Because this is exactly what meals look like at Casa de Youngren.
Our ideal client envisions their relationship the same way that we live ours. Their portrait of happiness hts perfectly with the stories that we tell.
Second, these posts include beautiful photographs of food and table details, which further display our expertise in and love for great photography.
Now I need to be careful here because I’m not saying that our ideal clients are the exact same people as us or that we make up stories to please our ideal
client. What I am saying is that our ideal client has the same view on life and love as we do, so I choose to write about the authentic stories that will
connect with that view. For example, I´ll talk about how much we love our Sperry´s knowing that my reader may not love boat shoes, but that they love the
authenticity of the Sperry brand. I´ll share stories about our two scooters that we take on long rides to new breakfast joints and how we love our cat Gracie
even though she’s completely nuts, and our ideal client will totally relate because they go on sailing trips to Catalina together and their Boston Terrier puppy
is the love of their lives even though she’s driving them crazy with her constant yelping.
In short, I´ll share about the intense love and friendship that Jeff and I share, because our ideal client also feels the same deep adoration for the person
they’re spending their life with. It’s all about bearing our souls in an authentic way that our ideal client will fall in love with.
So who is your ideal reader and where do your life and their life intersect? What makes you unique and interesting? And how can you creatively share those
unique and interesting things? It doesn´t have to be through creative writing like us - it could be through video or photographs or one liner posts. In the
end, your blog is about sharing YOU and your unique vision, artistry, and personality.
Focus on Your Ideal Client
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While part of developing content means knowing exactly what type of content does get published, it also means knowing what type of content doesn’t get
published. When developing your blog content, think about the things that are not only on the OK list, but also outline the things that will never see the light
of day out on the Internet.
For example, cursing and sex is off-limits on our blog, as well as saying anything negative about my husband, my family, my friends, and our clients.
I don´t share what we did on the weekend just to give a recap to the whole world, and we don´t write about photography tips and tricks (check out The
Photo Life blog to read articles on photography by us). I don´t share any personal stories that I wouldn´t want to share with a person sitting across the
dinner table, and Jeff gets to see every post I write before it gets published.
In short, unless it’s something that would interest our ideal client, it doesn’t get published.
Once you´ve hgured out your ideal reader/client and what you do and don´t write about, then go ahead and create a structure for your blog using different
types of posts and concrete categories. For example, we have six basic types of blog posts for The Youngrens:
1. Shoots (Weddings, Engagements): posts featuring our photographic work
2. Series (Recipe Sunday, Our Love Story): posts that readers come back to read
3. Quick Posts (Daily Life): less than 50 words about short, fun moments
4. Personality Posts (What We Love): less than 300 words that show off our personality
5. Introspective Posts (Sweet and Sour): ~1,000 words that are thoughtful refections, focused on creative writing
6. Wedding Related / Misc (Press): magazine and blog features, wedding inspiration from our brides, wedding industry news
We then have a handful of main categories that usually ht into these six types of blog posts. Our categories are things like Weddings, Recipe Sunday, Sweet
and Sour, and Casa de Youngren (which includes Daily Life, What We Love). When it comes time to brainstorm new content, I can use these categories as a
starting point. In fact, I have a running log in my iPhone of writing notes, and whenever I think of a new idea for the blog, I quickly jot the idea down
underneath a certain category and/or type of post.
Mind Your Do’s and Don’ts
Create Concrete Categories
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Keep a calendar for your blog so that you can schedule out your blog posts in advance. The biggest advantage to having a blog calendar is being able to look
at the overall schedule and make sure that the different types of posts are evenly mixed in an interesting fashion. Nobody wants to read our love story three
posts in a row, so make sure that things are mixed up with your chosen categories and types of posts.
While blogging isn´t easy - in fact, sometimes it can be the most difhcult task in your business - it can be an incredibly effective marketing tool if done right.
But make sure to focus your blog toward your ideal client, publishing content that connects - and steering clear of content that doesn’t connect - with their
picture of happiness. The more that you focus your blog on your ideal client and organize the types of posts that get published, the more simple, dynamic,
and irresistible your blog will become, ultimately impacting the bottom line of your business. And isn’t that the entire point?
Keep an Editorial Calendar
The Bottom Line
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5 tips for Killer Content
by Katie Humphreys
W
hat does it really take to use Content Marketing as a way to expand your audience, make them feel
connected, and eventually turn them into paying clients?
Here are 5 tips for creating killer content that draws in your audience and serves as an effective sales tool!
Start with a cake. Great content doesn´t just get distributed on your blog. In fact, when you´re trying to build an audience of readers, your
blog is sometimes not the best place to start. You can be more effective in growing your audience by starting with what the folks at Copyblogger
Media call “Birthday Cake” content. Birthday cake content is easily distributed and enticing. It’s an initial promise made to a prospective audience,
that then can be followed up with consistent valuable content on your blog. Email newsletters, podcasts, and online magazines all have great
birthday cake potential. What “birthday cake” content will entice your readers?
Consistently inform AND entertain. It´s important that the content you create has two important qualities: it´s informative and
entertaining. Informative content is rewarding for your reader because it offers a solution to a problem and is easy to implement. Informative
content that´s also entertaining is easy and enjoyable to read. This winning combination is what will keep your audience coming back for more!
Be brief. No matter how great your content is, and no matter how much your audience wants to read it, if it’s too long, eventually they’re going
to lose interest. I love this example from Ernest Hemingway: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.¨ So much is communicated in these powerful six
words. He didn´t need six pages to tell his stories and neither do you. The secret to being concise in what you´re saying? Think through what you
actually want to stay before you start writing.
Create content that brings your fans and readers together. What are you doing in your writing to help solidify your
image as a leader of your community? As you seek to build an audience, remember that a community is more powerful than an individual.
A community will grow your network and ultimately expand your reach because of the way information spreads online so quickly. Think about ways
that you can share information that your audience will relate to. This will help your audience not only connect with you, but with each other.
Don’t be lame. Be relevant. Although it’s important to infuse your blog with your own style and voice, make sure that you stay
focused on generating content that others will actually want to read. Just because you take the time to create it, doesn´t mean that it´s interesting.
Be critical and make sure that what you’re sharing is relevant and interesting to someone who doesn’t already know you.
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The Nimbus Dashboard (A Sneak Peek!)
by The Photo Life
N
imbus is not your grandpa’s website! It’s a business-in-a-box that gives photographers control over their
business in a unified place. Because it’s one platform, management becomes seamless and so does the
experience for a photographer’s client. Nimbus is a flexible online environment that matches a photographer’s
unique brand, style and personality — and forms a foundation for collaboration between photographers and
their clients.
Check out a sneak peek of Nimbus here and watch for the
Nimbus Beta to go live!
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Connect with Social Sites
Connect your Nimbus site to social networking and photo
sharing accounts to share data between them.
Upload Images from Wherever
Your Keep Them
The ñrst step to uploading your images is to select where
you’d like to get them from.
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Next, select the images you'd like to import.
When uploading images from Pictage, all you have to do
is choose the gallery and category of images you’d like
to import.
Still curious about Nimbus?
Check out this video and these frequently asked questions.
Nimbus is free to all ShootQ members. Not a member?
Take ShootQ for a free test drive and get ready for Nimbus.
Rachel LaCour Niesen
VP, Community Marketing
Twitter: @rachellacour, @shootq
Elizabeth Villa
The Photo Life Content Curator
Twitter: @elizabeth_villa
Katie Humphreys
Director of Community
Twitter: @katiehumphreys
Travis Schreer
The Photo Life Podcast Host
Twitter: @shootq
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Continue to connect with Volume 5 of the Dispatch by sharing your thoughts on The Photo Life Blog and on Facebook and Twitter of course, #ThePhotoLife.
1. What is your biggest content creation challenge?
2. What is your biggest challenge when creating your sales funnel?
3. What are your goals for using Content Marketing moving forward on your photography blog?
The Photo Life is powered by Pictage and ShootQ´s Community. The team behind The Photo Life strives to create and share resources that will help you
learn, connect and succeed.
Join the Conversation on The Photo Life

1

The Content Marketing Fi
by The Photo Life

eld Guide

6

An In Depth Look at You
by The Photo Life

r Sales Funnel
The  best  marketing  tells  stories.  In  fact,  the  best  marketing   departments  are  storytelling  workshops  where  products  are   viewed  as  characters  rather  than  commodities.  The  iPad  isn’t   just  a  technical  tool,  it’s  a  personal  portal  to  the  world  and  a   cherished  comfort,  like  a  favorite  teddy  bear  on  a  child’s     bedside  table. Take  that  principle  one  step  farther:  share  content  freely  and   you’ll  catalyze  conversations  that  build  your  business.  When  it   comes  to  content  marketing,  the  more  you  give,  the  more  you   who  view  you  as  more  than  a  company;;  you  become  a     character  in  your  clients’  life  story. By  crafting  content  that  engages  and  enlightens  your  audience,   you’ll  forge  relationships  built  on  trust.  When  you  relate  to   your  clients  on  such  a  deep  level,  you  delight  them  and  you’ll   be  top  of  mind  when  they  are  asked  for  referrals.

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You Don’t Fit In a Box
by Elizabeth Villa

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d Con Creating a Client Focuse
by Erin Youngren

tent Strategy

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5 Tips for Killer Content
by Katie Humphreys

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Sneak The Nimbus Dashboard (A
by The Photo Life

Peek!)

This  Photo  Life  Dispatch  will  teach  you  how  to  be  a  content     marketing  machine.

 In  this  Dispatch.  these  other  tools  might  prove  to  be  more  successful  for  you. hopefully.  video.  you’ve  been  putting  yourself  out  there.  Creating  and  freely  sharing  valuable  content 2. Forum participants and industry peers preached that if you were authentic and consistent in posting content on your blog.  podcasts. Then. this audience would fall in love with you and become paying clients.  email  auto-­responders.;  you  need  a  disciplined  process  and  approach.The Content Marketing Field Guide by The Photo Life W hen you started your photography business. With  that  in  mind.  Guiding  potential  clients  toward  the  purchase  decision The  concept  behind  this  three  step  process  is  “Content  Marketing.  Building  authentic  and  relevant  relationships 3. but also connect with a large audience of potential clients. you heard that your blog could serve as a valuable marketing tool.  and  more. you could not only boost SEO.   successfully  applied  to  many  other  media  forms  like  newsletters.  You’ve   But  building  your  blog  and  posting  consistently  isn’t  enough.  and  have  been  spending  enormous  amounts  of  time  and  energy  to  keep  your  blog  active.”  Content  Marketing  can  simply  be  described  as  creating  and  freely  sharing  informative   content  as  a  means  of  converting  potential  clients  into  clients  and  clients  into  repeat  clients. It  takes  more  than  authenticity  and  consistency  to  convert  blog  readers  to  paying  clients.   1 .   we’ll  explore  how  to  successfully  use  your  blog  as  an  effective  marketing  tool  using  a  three  step  process:         1.  Depending  on  who  you  are  and  who   your  client  is.

 the  reader  should  feel  it  was  worth  the  time  spent   online  so  that  they’ll  come  back  for  more.  If  your  ideal  audience  isn’t  interested  in  reading  everything  you’re  sharing.  then  you  might  as   well  not  share  it. 2 .;  how-­to  and  “list”  articles  are  easy  to  write   and  easy  for  your  audience  to  implement  immediately  because  there  are  tangible  takeaways.  If  you’re  a  family  portrait  photographer. It  entertains.  not  only  is  it  imperative  to  identify  your  ideal  client.  If  the  content  isn’t  easy  and  accessible  to  read  anytime.  your  audience  will  put  off  reading  it  and  end  up  never  coming  back  to  it.  try  keeping  the  core  of  each  article  informative.#1 Creating and freely sharing valuable content If  you  want  to  use  your  blog  as  a  way  to  connect  with  potential  clients.   at  any  time.  Eventually. To  get  started.  this  relationship  will  establish  the  trust  needed  for  a  blog  reader  to  become  a  paying  client.  your  list   might  include  an  article  featuring  a  healthy  recipe  for  kids  or  a  list  of  20  things  to  do  with  your  kids  this  summer.  excited  to  take  action.  what  are  the  four  characteristics  that  make  content  valuable  for  your  readers? It  meets  a  need.  and  ultimately  whether  you’ll  be  able  to  develop  a  relationship  with  them  using  this   online  space.  you  must  also   What  content  can  I  produce  that  would  make  their  lives  better  and  meet  a  need  they  have? To  ensure  your  content  is  addressing  their  needs  and  interests.  If  you  want  to  create  great  content  and  reach  your  target  audience.  your  idea  list  might  include  a  DIY  decoration  project  or  a  wedding  style  inspiration  board.  spend  15  minutes  writing  down  10  blog  post  topics  that  address  a  need  or  interest  that  exists  for  your  ideal  client.  your  focus  must  be  on  providing  your  audience  with  valuable  content.  Whether  the  article  helps   the  reader  feel  more  prepared  for  a  situation.   So.  If  you’re  a  wedding     photographer.  or  inspired  by  a  compelling  story.  Making  your   It  leaves  your  reader  wanting  to  come  back  for  more.  Make  sure  that  all  the  information  on  your  blog  will  make  your  reader  feel  like  they  read  something  of  real  value.     It’s  easy  to  digest.  The  content   you  share  will  determine  whether  or  not  readers  come  back  for  more.

 Infuse  your  voice.  like  you.     relationship  with  you.  then  the  likelihood  of  them  actually  hiring  you  is  much  higher.  more  importantly.  energetic.  and  personable.  they  will  come  to  count  on  and  trust  your  content. Take  a  stand.  Don’t  live  in  lukewarm  water.  If  you’re  building  relationships  with  an   audience  of  ideal  clients.  your  target  audience  will  continue  to  follow  you.  While  you  want  your  clients  to  fall  in  love  with  the  version  of  you  that  is  fun.  they’ll  begin  to  trust  you  and.  You  want  the  real  you  to  show  on  your  blog.  this   helps  your  readers  and  potential  clients  believe  that—if  and  when  they  contact  and  hire  you—your  products  and  services  will  absolutely  meet  their  needs.  As  readers  start  to  recognize  your  voice  and  get  to  know  you  through  the  stories  you  share.  how  do  you  build  relevant  relationships  with  your  target  audience? Be  authentic.  Ultimately. 3 .  writing  style.   that  the  content  you’re  producing  consistently  highlights  these  particular  characteristics.  Presenting  your  ideas  and  opinions  allows  readers  to  bond  with  you  so  that  relevant  relationships  can  form  and   you.  if  you’re  really  writing  for  your  ideal  client.  Though  you  may  turn  off  some  readers.  you  don’t  want  them  to  miss   out  on  the  part  of  you  that  is  trustworthy  and  credible.   Be  consistent.  and  personal  stories  into  the  informative  content  you  share  so  that  your  readers  begin  to  recognize  your   voice. So.  When  you  consistently  offer  content  that  potential  clients  enjoy  reading.  but  it’s  also  important  to  highlight  particular  characteristics  and  core  values  that  you  want  your   clients  to  connect  with.#2 Building authentic and relevant relationships The  content  you  provide  allows  you  to  build  relevant  relationships  with  your  target  audience  and  prospective  clients.   Be  strategic.

    Draw  a  clear  path.  Instead  of  expecting  them  to  jump  from  reading  online  content  to  immediately     making  a  purchase  decision.#3 Guiding potential clients toward the purchase decision Creating  generous  and  valuable  content  for  your  audience  is  only  an  effective  marketing  tool  if  you  follow  up  with  opportunities  for  sales  conversion.  they  can’t  choose  to  purchase  it  or  ask  to  learn  more   experience  and  necessity—not  just  a  luxury  purchase.     In  order  to  make  this  process  smooth  though.  If  you   decision  to  purchase.  you  have  to  present  clear  opportunities  for  next  steps.  The  widest  part  of  the  “funnel”  is  the  content  that  keeps  a  large  group  of  prospects  interested—this  content  is   easy  for  potential  clients  to  read  without  making  a  commitment  to  purchase. How  do  you  guide  clients  through  the  purchase  decision? Think  of  the  sales  process  as  a  funnel.   this  will  most  likely  be  the  location  a  potential  client  will  go  to  when  they  are  ready  to  start  a  conversation  with  you—even  if  they  aren’t  actually  booking  you   for  a  job  yet. Answer  questions  and  remove  doubt.  If  your  readers  don’t  know  that  you  have  a  product  or  service  to  offer  them.  a  blog  that’s  been  designed  strategically  will  allow  your  clients  to  take  one  step  at  a  time  as  they  get  closer  to  purchasing.   Make  an  introduction.  Strategically  using  your  blog  as  a  marketing  tool  means  that  readers  will  be  able  to  take  progressive  baby   steps  over  a  period  of  time  as  opposed  to  taking  a  single  leap  of  faith.  this  online  location  and  contact  point  would  be  the  narrowest  point  of  the  funnel.  they  will   Provide  potential  clients  with  next  steps.  As  readers  start  to  know  and  trust  you  through  your  blog  content.   4 .  Integrating  your  sales  messaging  into  valuable  content  will  give  them  the  opportunity  to  purchase  without  you  having  to  force  it  upon   them.  In  terms  of  the  funnel  illustration.

 You   Read  on  for  practical  steps  to  set  up  and  monitor  your  sales  funnel  as  well  as  to  see  how  photographers  throughout  the  community  are  using  their  blogs  and   other  online  resources  to  convert  their  audience  into  paying  clients. One  example  of  creating  this  “call-­to-­action”  might  be  to  direct  someone  from  a  blog  post  over  to  your  bio  page  to  get  to  know  you  a  little  more.  look  at  each  step  in  your  content  marketing  process  and  ensure  that  there  is  an  obvious  “call-­to-­action”  that   makes  it  clear  how  they  should  proceed.photographs.  and  a  description  of  the  shoot  from  your  enthusiastic  point  of  view.  some  basic  tips.   5 .  Now  that  you  have  an  ideal  path   for  your  readers  to  take  through  the  funnel. Create  a  call-­to-­action.  Your  readers  can’t  take  the  next  step  unless  you  provide  them  with  a  clear  opportunity  to  do  so.

Content Marketing won’t be e ective! Mapping your sales funnel can be overwhelming and confusing.   To identify the entry point. use this article as your worksheet. To make it easier.An In Depth Look at Your Sales Funnel by The Photo Life W ithout a properly identified sales funnel. ask yourself these questions   Sample  Funnel:  (Starting  with  the  entry  point) 6 5 .

ask yourself these questions   Sample  Funnel:  (Adding  the  conversion  point  and  the  completed  conversion) Next.To identify the conversion point.  Think  about  the   7 .  you  want  to  identify  the  steps  between  these  two  points  and  determine  which  pages  will  guide  prospects  from  entry  to  conversion.

  strategy.  and  practical  tips  for  Content  Marketing. ask yourself these questions What  information  can  I  empower  prospects  with  to  remove  any  apprehension  they  might  have?     What  pages  do  you  already  have.  that  offer  this  information?     Sample  Funnel:  (Adding  middle  points) Once  you  have  the  sales  funnel  skeleton.  If  you  want  a  prospect  to  move  further  down  the       these  here.To identify the middle points in the funnel. 8 .  you  want  to  look  at  each  step  and  make  sure  that  they  connect.  or  can  create. here.

 As  leaders  in  the  photographic  community.Contributors Erin  Youngren   studios  in  the  competitive  Southern  California  market.  Elizabeth  spends  an  embarrassing  amount  of  time  researching  and  experimenting  with  the   ideas  of  Content  Marketing  for  small  business.   business  resources  for  photographers.  authentic  businesses. Elizabeth  Villa   Elizabeth  gets  to  collaborate  with  a  team  of  photographers  and  creatives  to  provide  valuable  content  for  The  Photo  Life  readers.  Although  based  in  San  Diego.  their  deeply  emotional  style  and  passionate     photograph  extraordinary  weddings  and  incredible  couples.  they  are  passionate   about  helping  other  photographers  build  viable.   Passionate  about  Content  Marketing.   9 .  while  building  a  photography  community  built  on  integrity   and  honest  leadership.

 I  am                                                                          .You Don’t Fit in a Box by Elizabeth Villa W sharing  it. So Stop Thinking Inside of One! While  others  are   . it may seem that in order to be successful you have to follow a prescribed formula. hen you think of developing your Content Marketing strategy.   But  what  if  you  don’t  feel  comfortable  offering  planning  advice. If  you’re  a  wedding  photographer.  when  you  think  of  producing  educational  and  entertaining  content.  you  may  immediately  think  of  wedding  planning  tips.  you  know  that  this  type  of  content  isn’t  appealing  to  your  ideal  client?       You Don’t Fit In a Box.  or  more  importantly.  I  am  focusing  on  offering  a  time  for  our  couples  to  escape  from  a  crazy  planning  season. “While  others  are  focusing  on  stylized  engagement  sessions.” 5 10 .

 and  get  comfortable  outside  of  the  box! 11 5 .   Try  this  exercise  out  on  your  own.

 Many  times  my  writing     “I  am  doing  everything  I  can  here  buddy.  and  then  publish  content  about  their  personality  and/or  write  content   about  the  skill  of  photographing  weddings  and  how  to  run  a  photography  business.Creating a Client Focused Content Strategy by Erin Youngren B logging is equal parts enormous joy and desperate frustration. But  no. insightful. it’s also the most di cult and painful task that I deal with on a daily basis. humorous. our blog has been crucial to the growth and success of our business. Even though it can be the best part of my job and has been one of the most e ective marketing tools for our business.  I  am  doing  the  work. If only.  As  photographers.  But  sometimes  these  approaches  don’t  actually  bring  more  wedding       how  do  you  attract  the  right  wedding  clients? 5 12 .  a  big  part  of  that  content   If  the  purpose  of  the  content  marketing  strategy   what  kind  of  content  outside  of  photo  shoots  we  should  publish?   The  natural  response  for  wedding  photographers  is  usually  to  feature  their  shoots.  I  am  showing  up. you know? If only I could be clever.  I  can’t  tell  you  how  many  times  I’ve  struggled  with  severe  cases  of  writer’s  block  during  the  most  inconvenient  moments. If only the artistic process was a little more reliable. But  in  my  experience. and interesting with a delightful twist of my wrist and a dainty click of the mouse.  one  of  the  most  frustrating  challenges  of  blogging  is  coming  up  with  content  to  publish.  So  could  you  PLEASE  just  meet  me  halfway?”  Anyone  else  been  there?   Anynone?? Despite it’s challenges.

 or  more  importantly. Now  I  need  to  be  careful  here  because  I’m  not  saying  that  our  ideal  clients  are  the  exact  same  people  as  us  or  that  we  make  up  stories  to  please  our  ideal   client. they’re  spending  their  life  with.  It’s  all  about  bearing  our  souls  in  an  authentic  way  that  our  ideal  client  will  fall  in  love  with. 5 13 .Focus on Your Ideal Client A  rule  of  thumb  that  I  learned  from  Copyblogger  and  use  with  our  blog  is  this:  what  is  your  ideal  clients’  picture  of  happiness  and  how  can  you  authentically   insert  yourself  into  that  picture? Over  the  lifetime  of  our  blog.  her  relationships.  her  interests.  knowing  full  well  that  our  ideal  groom  will  take  a  look  at  our  blog  when  making  the  decision  about  their     By  knowing  what  makes  my  ideal  client  happy.  and  our  ideal  client  will  totally  relate  because  they  go  on  sailing  trips  to  Catalina  together  and  their  Boston  Terrier  puppy   is  the  love  of  their  lives  even  though  she’s  driving  them  crazy  with  her  constant  yelping.   how  I  made  it  along  with  a  story  of  my  not-­so-­kitchen-­goddess  cooking  skilz.   Second.  which  further  display  our  expertise  in  and  love  for  great  photography.  Basically.  I’ve  built  a  portrait  of  the  exact  person  that  I’m  writing  to  –  her  hobbies.  her  favorite  brands.  what  my  ideal  client  thinks  will  make  her  happy.  I  want  to  focus  on  the  stories  where  my  ideal  client’s  picture  of  happiness  and  who  we  are  as  people  and  as     photographers  intersect.  What  I  am  saying  is  that  our  ideal  client  has  the  same  view  on  life  and  love  as  we  do.  these  posts  include  beautiful  photographs  of  food  and  table  details.   even  though  we  also  write  to  our  ideal  groom.  I  can  narrow  down  the  topics  that  I  do   and  do  not  share  on  the  blog.  It’s  not  an  earth-­shattering  idea  –  there  are  plenty  of  blogs  out  there  that   do  this  very  same  thing  -­  but  I  think  it  has  historically  been  one  of  the  most  successful  series  on  our  blog  for  a  number  of  interesting  reasons.  so  I  choose  to  write  about  the  authentic  stories  that  will     even  though  she’s  completely  nuts.

  5 14 .     In  short. Create Concrete Categories   underneath  a  certain  category  and/or  type  of  post.Mind Your Do’s and Don’ts While  part  of  developing  content  means  knowing  exactly  what  type  of  content  does  get  published.  it  also  means  knowing  what  type  of  content  doesn’t  get   of  day  out  on  the  Internet.  it  doesn’t  get  published.  unless  it’s  something  that  would  interest  our  ideal  client.

 so  make  sure  that  things  are  mixed  up  with  your  chosen  categories  and  types  of  posts.  ultimately  impacting  the  bottom  line  of  your  business.  Nobody  wants  to  read  our  love  story  three   posts  in  a  row.  The  more  that  you  focus  your  blog  on  your  ideal  client  and  organize  the  types  of  posts  that  get  published.   and  irresistible  your  blog  will  become.Keep an Editorial Calendar at  the  overall  schedule  and  make  sure  that  the  different  types  of  posts  are  evenly  mixed  in  an  interesting  fashion.  publishing  content  that  connects    -­  and  steering  clear  of  content  that  doesn’t  connect  -­  with  their   picture  of  happiness. The Bottom Line But  make  sure  to  focus  your  blog  toward  your  ideal  client.  And  isn’t  that  the  entire  point? 5 15 .  the  more  simple.  dynamic.

 podcasts. Don’t be lame. What  are  you  doing  in  your  writing  to  help  solidify  your   image  as  a  leader  of  your  community?  As  you  seek  to  build  an  audience.  Informative     Be brief. 5 16 . Although  it’s  important  to  infuse  your  blog  with  your  own  style  and  voice.  What  “birthday  cake”  content  will  entice  your  readers? Consistently inform AND entertain.  if  it’s  too  long.  but  with  each  other.  This  will  help  your  audience  not  only  connect  with  you.  and  no  matter  how  much  your  audience  wants  to  read  it.  make  sure  that  you  stay     Be  critical  and  make  sure  that  what  you’re  sharing  is  relevant  and  interesting  to  someone  who  doesn’t  already  know  you. No  matter  how  great  your  content  is.5 tips for Killer Content by Katie Humphreys W 1 2 3 4 5 hat does it really take to use Content Marketing as a way to expand your audience.  remember  that  a  community  is  more  powerful  than  an  individual.   that  then  can  be  followed  up  with  consistent  valuable  content  on  your  blog. Be relevant. Create content that brings your fans and readers together. entertaining.  eventually  they’re  going   actually  want  to  stay  before  you  start  writing. blog  is  sometimes  not  the  best  place  to  start.     that  you  can  share  information  that  your  audience  will  relate  to.  Email  newsletters. make them feel connected. and eventually turn them into paying clients? Start with a cake.  It’s  an  initial  promise  made  to  a  prospective  audience.  and  online  magazines  all  have  great     birthday  cake  potential.  Informative  content  is  rewarding  for  your  reader  because  it  offers  a  solution  to  a  problem  and  is  easy  to  implement.  Birthday  cake  content  is  easily  distributed  and  enticing.  You  can  be  more  effective  in  growing  your  audience  by  starting  with  what  the  folks  at  Copyblogger   Media  call  “Birthday  Cake”  content.

style and personality — and forms a foundation for collaboration between photographers and their clients.The Nimbus Dashboard (A Sneak Peek!) by The Photo Life N imbus is not your grandpa’s website! It’s a business-in-a-box that gives photographers control over their business in a unified place. Because it’s one platform. 5 17 . Nimbus is a flexible online environment that matches a photographer’s unique brand. management becomes seamless and so does the experience for a photographer’s client.

Upload Images from Wherever Your Keep Them you’d  like  to  get  them  from.   5 18 .Connect with Social Sites sharing  accounts  to  share  data  between  them.

When  uploading  images  from  Pictage.   free  test  drive  and  get  ready  for  Nimbus.  all  you  have  to  do     is  choose  the  gallery  and  category  of  images  you’d  like     to  import. Still  curious  about  Nimbus?     Check  out  this  video  and   . 5 19 .

  Elizabeth  Villa VP.  What  is  your  biggest  challenge  when  creating  your  sales  funnel? 3.  connect  and  succeed.  What  is  your  biggest  content  creation  challenge? 2.   The  Photo  Life  Content  Curator Twitter:  @elizabeth_villa Travis  Schreer Director  of  Community   Twitter:  @katiehumphreys Twitter:   5 20 .  Community  Marketing Twitter:  @rachellacour.  What  are  your  goals  for  using  Content  Marketing  moving  forward  on  your  photography  blog?   learn.Join the Conversation on The Photo Life 1.