There’s a really awful rumor going around the creative community lately that blogging is dead. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to it. People talk after all, and I happen to find different opinions interesting (even when they are seemingly unconventional). Keeping my ear to the ground is part of my job, as it helps me stay in-tune with trends and hot topics. As time went on though, this horrible rumor that I expected to disappear, didn’t. In fact, it gained traction. So much so, that people have abandoned their blogs completely for Instagram.
It’s astonishing and scary.
Your Website Is Still Your Home
Instagram is powerful. I totally get it. It breeds influencers, can be an inquiry machine, and connects us with some of the most truly amazing people. However! Instagram is not your website. Instagram is not a replacement for your blog. Instagram is a sub-outlet of your brand where you can share behinds the scenes, micro thoughts, and snippets of your everyday. Instagram is not a place where potential clients can find a large, singular body of work from a session or job. Instagram is not a place where potential clients can find a pricing guide or session information super easily. Most importantly, Instagram is not a place where you should be spending so much time that you’re abandoning your brand’s home base completely.
While Instagram can certainly be a wonderful representation of you, do not forget that your website is your home. You rent Instagram. You own your website. Do not neglect the most powerful part of your brand that is actually yours. Instagram could get snatched away from you tomorrow. If you don’t believe that’s possible, or scoff at that statement, then you know at the very least that Instagram’s algorithms are not as generous as they used to be. Every quarter our precious algorithms change, and the social media game gets harder and harder. The platform is turning into a pay-to-play arena coupled with a post-as-much-as-you-can rat race.
Every day there are potential clients searching for someone like you via Google, Yahoo, and other search engines. These people are important too, and to be honest, it’s not easy to search on Instagram. In fact, I would argue that these potential clients, who are searching for you organically, are the most powerful of all. These are the people who will still pay your bills when the algorithms take a nosedive. They’re job security. The problem is, these people can’t find you if you’re not blogging.
You Must Blog Images and Words
This is for my photography clients especially or anyone who specializes in a visual trade. You have to go beyond blogging just images of your work. I understand that the art can often speak for itself, but your brand needs more than just images. If you don’t write anything with your work, how are people going to find you via a Google, Yahoo, or another search engine? They won’t be able to.
Supercharge your brand by adding words alongside your beautiful imagery. My photography clients should be blogging about what they loved about their client (to bring in more ideal clients), talking about the venue (for better SEO), mentioning preferred vendors (so you can work with the people you like more often), and explaining what made your heart sing about this particular session (to get more of the projects you love).
Words sell. They bring in clients, pay your bills, and give you job security when social media makes it harder to get seen. Words infuse your personality into you brand, give you a voice, and explain pointblank what makes your artistic heart sing.
Not Everyone Will Read Your Posts (That’s Okay!)
“People don’t read my posts, so I just stopped writing.” This is literally the worst thing you can do for your blog! You’re right, not everyone will read your posts. In fact, the majority of people will skim your posts or just look at the pretty pictures. That’s totally okay because the goal is to just get someone on your website to begin with, and the easiest way to do that is through the words on your blog. If you wrote smart, and talked about how lovely a venue was, guess what? That lovely passage about your favorite venue just appeared to a potential client who was hoping to find a photographer who might want to shoot there. That’s you! While they might not read your blog post’s words entirely, they found you through a Google, Yahoo, etc. search because of them. You catch my drift?
Some people will read all of your words. Some people will read some of your words. Some people will read none of your words. However, everyone will find you because of the words you wrote. Do not underestimate their importance.
The Number of Comments Do Not Matter
“I don’t blog anymore because people stopped commenting. I get more engagement on Instagram now.” You can’t take your follower count to the bank and get a check. I know people who have over 30K followers on Instagram who are barely making a living, and I know people who have less than 1,000 followers making six figures. Your influence does not determine your worth. Business is not a popularity contest. There are enough clients to go around, and you would be surprised how little of them you actually need to make a very comfortable living.
Getting admiration in the form of likes, comments, and direct messages is intoxicating. It feels amazing to have people who idolize you work, come to you for advice, and compliment you. It fills up our creative cup, energizing us to do more of what we love. It’s a wonderful thing. However, where there is light, there is shadow. We can get blind and start to base our talent or worthiness on how many followers, comments, or likes we have. This trivial nonsense was a large reason why people stopped blogging, and it was a grave mistake.
Blogging has certainly changed, and like everything, it will continue to. It used to be a place people conversed until social media took off. Just because people took their conversations to Instagram doesn’t mean blogging became worthless. Your blog didn’t stop being a fantastic marketing tool. It just stopped being the place where everyone talked. It’s important to know the difference.