Social media – no guarantees

The only thing in social media that’s constant – is change. Facebook can be an incredible source of referral traffic and growth, but there’s no guarantee it will last. If Facebook officially launches ‘Explore Feed’ which its currently testing in other countries, it will be the demise of all business pages, (IOHO), unless, of course, you have deep pockets for paid ads.

Although Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed for Facebook, says it currently has no plans to roll this test out further, according to this article from Techcrunch: “Facebook is downplaying this test banishing all Pages to buried Explore Feed. This same situation has played out a half dozen times on Facebook: Facebook saw users didn’t like viral game spam, so it turned off game virality and developers like Zynga imploded; Apps like BandPage let musicians stream music from the landing tab of their Facebook Pages, until Facebook banned landing tabs and BandPage lost 90 percent of its traffic in three months; It saw its Open Graph social reader apps were clogging the feed, so it removed most of their visibility and the apps plummeted; The desktop sidebar Ticker showed what friends were doing in third-party apps and was filled with Spotify listening activity, until Facebook muted the channel and eventually all-but-deleted it.”

Creating social currency

Do you rely on Facebook pages to get your marketing messages and images to your audience? You might want to rethink that strategy. Diversifying on social media is key. There is no reason to be on every social media channel out there. Just the ones your ideal customers are on and ONLY the ones that make sense for your business. The ability to more clearly identify your target customers will help both pinpoint your social media efforts and get a higher return on investment.

Like it or not, most customers go online to research their next purchase. As such, having the right online marketing strategy can help you secure new customers and gain a competitive advantage.

The four key components to consider for your online marketing strategy:

  1. Keyword Strategy: identify the keywords to optimize your website.
  2. Search Engine Optimization Strategy:  updates you make to your website so it shows up more prominently for your top keywords.
  3. Paid Online Advertising Strategy: the online advertising programs you use to reach target customers.
  4. Social Media Strategy: how you will use social media to attract customers.

Once you have you online strategy laser focused, you can use your social currency  to get your marketing messages and images in front of the right audience.

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About the Author
Deanna White, CM is owner and publicist for storylinePR and recognized as top marketing talent in Canada by the Canadian Marketing Association. She works with Ottawa’s most talented fine art photographers – “Because we know instead of marketing your work, you’d much rather be creating it.” www.storylinepr.ca

 

5 reasons why email marketing works

Of all the content marketing tools, I’m a big advocate of email marketing. Not only is it a cost effective as part of any content strategy… it works.  Here’s why:

Image of laptop surrounded with email marketing ROI symbols 1. Customer Experience

One of the best things about email, (and automated email marketing in particular), is that it enables you to create personal experiences that speak directly to your audience. There’s power in personalization.

2. Best ROI

The ROI is impressive – and then some. According to Forrester Research “…companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales ready leads at 33 percent lower cost.” What other tool can give you that kind of return?

3. Effective

Email far surpasses the social media giants where generating customers is concerned. In fact, it’s 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter. That’s because email is a less distracting environment for a conversation / transaction. Which is a good segue into our next point.

4. Targeted

Your audience is already engaged. They voluntarily raised their hands and asked to receive information from you (assuming they opted-in) and are potentially interested in buying from you. You can’t get more sales ready than that!

5. Traceable

Using the online email marketing tools, you can see who opened your email; when they opened it; how many times they opened it; and what links they clicked through to – indicating their individual interests. That’s pretty powerful information at your fingertips!

It’s not for everyone. It takes time and effort to build an effective email marketing strategy that’s right for your business.  Here’s a long list of email marketing tools available. We’ve tried a few and have our go-to. How about you? Please share your preferred and post your reasons for using in the comments.

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About the Author
Deanna White is owner and publicist for storylinePR, exclusive PR firm & marketing agent to Ottawa’s most talented fine art photographers. “Because we know instead of marketing your work, you’d much rather be creating it.” www.storylinepr.ca

 

Content marketing – beyond images

Most photographers share their images on their website in hopes of driving a ton of traffic to complete the ‘contact us’ form. Unfortunately, in today’s digital world that’s no longer enough. You need a content marketing strategy. What is content marketing exactly?

Definition of Content Marketing In my view, content marketing provides relevant, useful content to your audience online without actively pitching them. It’s about providing information that makes your target audience become more informed before they buy. By doing this in a consistent manner, you’ll earn brand awareness and they will ultimately reward you with their business.

I won’t lie to you – it takes work. Relevance and consistency are key. How does one get started? Here are some of our top go-to recommendations when building a solid content marketing plan.

Get social

Dread it or like it? Some photographers dread the idea of social media while others embrace it and utilize it to engage. It’s a necessary evil in an effort to reach your target audience.  Have a presence and aim for good engagement activity.

Share stories

Posting images online is no longer enough. Blog about the experience. Tell a story about the image in such a way that will entice your target audience to learn more about you. Provide useful content and tips on ‘how to’ for your audience relative to your work.

Educate

Despite what some believe and in the wake of CASL, the art of newsletter writing is not dead. Provide an opt-in mechanism in all you do to have people sign up. Make it educational in tone. What better channel to distribute your content than to the ones who raised their hands to openly to receive it.

Keep SEO in mind

This goes without saying, but a good content marketing strategy will involve search engine optimization. And, if all the above things are done well, they will help with SEO.

In our next few blog posts, we dive deep into each of these with some tips on how to implement.
Stay tuned.

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About the Author
Deanna White is owner and publicist for storylinePR, exclusive PR firm & marketing agent to Ottawa’s most talented fine art photographers. “Because we know instead of marketing your work, you’d much rather be creating it.” www.storylinepr.ca

The magic bullet for photos on social media.

I can fully appreciate how time consuming and frustrating it can be for photographers to market their own work. I understand that all you really want to do is create it. One of the many reasons storylinePR Photo Marketing exists.

When it comes to marketing, I know you’re looking for that one single magic bullet. Want to know what social content works best for your photography business? One word… experiment! You need to experiment to find out. Take advantage of the wealth of information at your finger tips using the built-in analytic tools of the social platforms you use.

How to REALLY attract and engage thousands of followers.

Image of bulletsPeople who offer ‘the’ one stop solution to fix all your social media woes with the promise of increasing your audience and generating thousands of engaged followers are not providing you value. I’ve known some so-called ‘gurus’ who use negative selling. That is, they show you what’s not working, (eroding your confidence in your own skills in the process), so that you buy their magic bullet, only to find it’s not magic at all. It’s a dud.

They use this technique to sell you, yet even more magical bullets – and guess what? They’re duds too and soon you will have spent good money after bad to be exactly in the same place you started. The e-books, programs, cheat sheets, courses and other short-cuts to social media success can sometimes be helpful with some good tips, but they will never give you the thousands of engaged fans they promise. Here’s the thing. There is no magic bullet.

Your audience is unique to you. No one else.

Don’t get me wrong. There are ethical social media consultants who work alongside you and who can show you the ropes. There are also wonderful virtual assistants that know how to expertly utilize social analytics & can manage your social media channels for you. You’ll learn very quickly if they are providing you value.

Listen, your audience is unique to you. No one else. Promote your brand authentically and organically. Have conversations and dive into those built-in analytics I mention. THEY hold the magic you’re looking for.

Image of Deanna White of storylinePR holding camera

About the Author
Deanna White is owner and publicist for storylinePR, exclusive PR firm & marketing agent to Ottawa’s most talented fine art photographers.

Learn more and connect at www.storylinepr.ca
Follow Deanna on Twitter @storylinepr

Networking to boost photography sales.

If 70% of sales comes from networking and building relationships, shouldn’t you be doing more of that?

This weeks blog topic: ‘Networking to boost your photography business’, (It’s not as scary as you might think). The most important thing to remember about networking is that you have to make a genuine effort to meet people and get to know them. Simply showing up isn’t enough.

We’ve rounded up some of the best tips to maximize your networking efforts.

Great places to find networking opportunities.

  • MeetUps  are informal and a great way to meet like minded professionals. Search for an  industry-related get-together.
  • Attend local chapters of formal business groups.  Sit on the board. You’ll learn a lot.
  • Volunteer your time by offering your services to a networking group that’s the right fit for you. A great way to gain instant exposure for your work, (if you target the right audience).
  • Join professional photographer groups – photo walks are a great place to meet other local artists without commitment or cost.
  • Events where marketing and communication folks hang out is the place to be. These are the people working for organizations always on the lookout for new shots to use in their marketing materials. Contact us! We’ll be happy to recommend some marcomm networks in the Ottawa area.

What to bring to your next networking event (besides your enthusiasm).

Be sure you have a good supply of business cards and goals. What do you want to accomplish? Set goals for yourself, such as meeting five new people. If there is a list available for attendees, such as on Facebook events or meetups, you should review it prior to the event so you know who will be attending and who you want to connect with. Heck, why not reach out to them in advance and let them know how much you look forward to meeting them.

Networking is an investment.

You’re in a room with people you don’t know. Walking up to a stranger and introducing yourself when you’re at a networking event is down right, heart pumping scary, right? Even though it won’t seem like it, everyone in that room feels the exact same way as you.  TRUTH: Expect to invest 6 to 12 months networking before you get to know people and start feeling comfortable.

The right stuff.

The ultimate goal is for you to generate revenue from networking, but you need to lead up to that. First, be friendly and conversational. Don’t focus too much on what you do; be sure to ask people you meet to tell you about their business, and ask intelligent questions. Secondly, take notes on who you met and any other details you can remember. That’s the stuff that builds business relationships.

3 things you can do right away.

Networking is going to be a much slower process if you don’t actively follow up with contacts after meeting them. Here’s three things you can do after the networking event you just attended:

  • Call them the next day to invite them for coffee to continue the conversation you started at the event.
  • Send them a handwritten note on the back of one of your best photos. Let them know you enjoyed meeting them and how much you look forward to working with them in the future.
  • Email a note inviting them out to lunch or another meeting to review your portfolio in the near future.
  • Stay connected. Invite them to connect with your business on social media while your meeting is still fresh. Your feed will show up in their social  networks and you’ll continue to stay top of mind.

What other networking tips do you have? Share them on the comments.

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About the Author
Deanna White is owner and publicist for storylinePR, exclusive PR firm & marketing agent to Ottawa’s most talented fine art photographers. Learn more and connect at www.storylinepr.ca

‘Thanks Universe’.

Remember when I said I had big plans for 2016? Well, I’m thrilled to announce that StorylinePR has refocused to become a marketing & PR agency for fine art photographers.

Some might say I have changed tack 180 degrees and strategic direction completely, to which I would answer – “Not really.”

You see, when I first created storylinePR, I tried connect my business to my love for photography. In fact, back then, it was known as Storyline Photo Marketing. Here’s a bit of background to that story…

image of storylinePR logo on canvas in art gallery Upon graduation, I had grandiose ideas with images of photos on a gallery wall and me doing the PR to make that happen. College was great at teaching us hands-on skills to develop our talent, (not so great at helping us articulate a vision.)

Right after school, I put that practical knowledge to work at a big brand company in marketing and PR for almost a decade. I absolutely loved my job and learned a great deal, but my quality of life began to suffer. I found myself packing my things (and my vision) and moving to Ottawa in 2000.

To feel more at home than I already (instantly) did, I took a few weekend photography courses in the Gatineau Hills and registered my business as Storyline Photo Marketing. Through referrals of friends and colleagues, my business morphed into a communications and media relations company known as storylinePR. (my other love)

“The universe knows exactly where you’re going, even if you don’t”

As I grew my PR business, I continued to pursue my love for photography on a personal level while providing PR services to small business. Along the way, I met some pretty amazing local artists, (photographers in particular), that I deeply admired.

In conversation with this group, I often heard how difficult it is to get their work noticed by the right audience and how frustrating and time consuming it was to market their own work when all they really wanted to do was focus on creating it. And then that’s when it happened. That ‘ah ha’ moment. A partnership between marketer and photographer, both subjects I knew intimately well.

You know that saying? ‘The universe knows where you’re going even if you don’t?‘ It really does. Timing and experiences play a huge factor and I feel as if everything I have done up to this point has guided me here. That I’ve finally created the business I’ve envisioned with subject expertise I’m so passionate about.

The connections I’ve made and relationships I’ve built over the years with magazines, publishers, galleries and agencies was in some small way, significant.

Thanks Universe!

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About the Author

Deanna White is owner and publicist for storylinePR, exclusive PR firm & marketing agent to Ottawa’s most talented fine art photographers. Learn more and connect at www.storylinepr.ca

Passion creates purpose.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought it would be perfect timing for a blog post on passion and business and when that all comes together.

How it all started.

I fell in love for the first time when I was just 13yrs old. It was a 35mm Nikon FG20. I still have it (and sometimes shoot with it) today. Photography quickly become a passion. It’s a difficult feeling to explain, but when I get behind the lens of a camera, there’s this invisible connection for me. No matter what’s going on in that moment, nothing else exists.

Several years later I found myself at college, learning all I could about marketing, PR and dreaming about owning my own company one day. I had fallen in love for a second time and I considered myself lucky to have had fallen so deeply – not once, but twice. I continued taking photography classes while studying at school, working for the school newspaper as, you guessed it, photographer and then photo editor.

I would spend the next 10 years or so strategizing and executing marketing plans for big brand companies, thankful for the opportunity to glean knowledge and practical skills from the very best in business, while continuing with my love for photography.

When your heart is in it.

If there’s something I’ve learned about passion and purpose over the years, it’s that your heart needs to be in it. You need to be personally connected to be fully committed. The work you churn out is quite different when you are vs. ‘enjoying’ what you do. Sometimes that means choosing passion over money, (at least in the very beginning). Here’s quote that comes to mind by Howard Thurman;

“Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I tell my little one all the time… ‘Don’t just find something you like, find something you love.’ It’s important. Everybody should have a deep passion for those things that make an invisible connection for them to a place that has meaning. #PassionCreatesPurpose

I so look forward to sharing the next phase of my business that combines both these passions in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I would love to hear how you’ve incorporated your own passion into what you do everyday. Please share!

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About the Author Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Get more activity to your Facebook page through Twitter.

I’ve seen a lot of chatter online from social media consultants and marketers advising that you should never auto link your Facebook page to your Twitter account. I disagree. Here are the various arguments I’ve heard against syncing the two platforms and my thoughts on how it can’t hurt and only help gain activity on Facebook.

It looks unnatural when you feed content from one platform to another

If you were posting Twitter updates to Facebook, I would tend to agree. The @ symbol does not lend itself well when represented in  Facebook (nor are they clickable). Nobody wants to see every single twitter message you send to followers with their twitter handle. When you sync your accounts, make sure you’re syncing your Facebook business page to Twitter – and not the other way around.

They are different audiences that deserve different messaging.

I would say they are different channels and that if you built your following on your Twitter business account strategically, your audience should be fairly similar. Having the same message appear on both platforms helps with organic reach. Although,  I do need to preface by saying that you also need to log onto Twitter and send unique content in addition to tweets that engage your audience. Think of your Facebook updates you feed to  Twitter as a supplement, not a staple of your content management strategy.

It creates an ugly Facebook link that lets your audience know you’re sending them to Facebook.

Yes, the ‘fb.me/’ link is a dead giveaway you’ve cross posted, but personally, I want to let my Twitter followers know I have other social channels and want to drive them my Facebook page. For a couple of reasons…

  1. Let’s face it. It’s a lot easier to get Twitter followers than it is Facebook fans and by cross promoting, you may convert followers to fans. With Facebook’s feed sorting algorithm, known as EdgeRank, the pay for play model for business pages makes it increasingly harder to get organic eyeballs on your Facebook updates. By sending your Facebook updates to Twitter, you’re gaining more reach and possible post clicks – you can even increase traffic to your blog. Why wouldn’t you want that? I would even argue this reason alone is enough to get you to consider syncing your accounts.
  2. Facebook lends itself to visually appealing pics in conjunction with content beyond the 140 character limit, allowing you to expand on the topic. I like to think of it as ‘mini’ blog post. If you take anything away from this post- it’s this: Ensure that your salient points are in the first 140 characters of your Facebook update with enough room for the ‘fb.me/’ link. You don’t want your message cut off mid-sentence when it appears on Twitter. That’s not helpful or coherent for your brand. Make sure you create content in those first 140 characters click-worthy, as you would when sharing any other content.

Here are a few examples of how a Facebook update will appear on Twitter with the ‘fb.me/’ link when full Facebook messaging is carefully thought through within the 140 character post limit on twitter.

image of facebook and twitter posts example one

image of facebook and twitter post example twoWhat do you have to lose?

So what do you think you have to lose by linking your Facebook page to your Twitter account? Perhaps a few new followers from Twitter gained as fans to  your Facebook business page? Increased traffic to your blog and possibly some new business? Just sayin🙂 Connecting your Facebook page to Twitter is just plain smart for business. IMHO. In case you are wondering how to do that – here’s the link -> https://www.facebook.com/twitter

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About the Author Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

3 Essential Steps to Media Coverage

Image of keyboard with news buttonGetting media coverage for your story is hard work. It takes initial and continued effort to build your relationship with reporters and media outlets.

Below we provide you with 3 essential steps to telling your brand story to media. From laying the ground work to pitching your story and following-up, we outline best practices along with some helpful links to our blog.

Step 1: Lay the groundwork

Step 2: Pitch your story

Step 3: Leverage media coverage

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About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Storytelling – lessons from my 10 year old

I was recently helping my daughter with some research on a topic for her class presentation. As we googled the subject, I was teaching her how to develop story content by pulling out the salient points on the topic to include in her report.

What I found interesting about the topic, she obviously didn’t with the response…

“Mom, they already know that. I don’t want to bore my audience to death. If I include that, they’ll all fall asleep on me.”

She continued to draw on facts and tidbits she thought her class might find interesting. The fact that she didn’t pull the key elements to the story in chronological order didn’t matter to her.

What did matter to her was that she was telling the story in her own way, creating a story that she thought would engage her audience with information she felt was relevant and interesting.

Image of kids shoes

Wow! At age 10, she already knows the fundamental concept of storytelling.

Put yourself in your their shoes

As this little 360 degree lesson taught by my daughter reminds us, you have to put yourself in your audiences’ shoes… it will give you a new perspective when developing your story. To effectively get your ideas across, you must first figure out who your audience is, what they currently know and what more they want to know.

Then, think about how to guide them from their current knowledge to what you need them to know to get them to respond (call, visit, sign-up). To do this, try answering the following questions:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What does my audience already know about the topic?
  • What does my audience need to know?
  • What questions will my audience have?
  • What’s the best outcome for telling my story? What do I need to say to get my point across?
  • What’s the best outcome for my audience? What do I need to say to get them to act?

Identifying your audience needs will do more than ensure that you write clearly. It will help you create a story that is relevant, engaging and personal, directly targeted to your audience.

Elementary, isn’t it?

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About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.