It’s no secret that viral marketing, social networking etc. is probably the most significant new way to get word out about your business. The problem is, how does a freelance photographer take advantage of this (almost) free opportunity and how valuable is it really, let me give you a couple of examples:
I was watching a video that Chase Jarvis put out recently HERE and it was running in the background this morning while I was doing some post for a client and something grabbed my attention. He mentioned that he made note of a favourite hiking shoe brand in a past blog post and that company called him and offered him free shoes for life. Now, companies don’t do that sort of thing unless you have some serious influence, and while Chase is a “meat eater” in the photography world, it surprised me that companies would give him stuff in exchange for mentions on his blog. That’s Juice!
Second, I was going through my web traffic stats the other day and noted the huge number of links into this blog from other blogs. I sometimes like to track back and see what other people are doing, what they are shooting and who is reading. Most notable, when I look at some blogs, I’m shocked at the number of people who are signed up for Flickr, Linkedin, Photoblogs, Myspace etc. and how much circular traffic is going on. If I follow some links back, I spend hours looking at dozens of interconnected sites. I think the “six degrees of seperation” theory needs updating.
Most notably, have a look at Trey Ratcliffe’s blog HERE, Trey has a tremendous amount of stuff linking into him and as a result, seems to have created a real destination blog for photo enthusiasts that seems to be raising the profile of his excellent photography, allowing him to monetize it with a Getty contract. Just check out some of the links on the right side.
Lastly, David Hobby also speaks on the Chase video I mentioned above and he’s another great example of someone who has created a tremendous brand for himself just by sharing information. I know he recently took a package from the Baltimore Sun in their last round of layoffs but, I suspect he’s doing great for himself since he’s built up a huge profile in the photo community.
I’ve always said that the best way to make money in photography is by selling stuff to other photographers and if you look at all the spin off businesses that have sprung up from the Strobist community, you’ll see what I mean. The point is this, I’d love to be able to take advantage of all the Flickr, MySpace, Facebook etc. etc. stuff going on out there but, frankly, I’m too busy with other stuff. If someone invented a service where they create all these links, pages and traffic for you and takes simple blog content and circulates it to the social media network, that’s a service you could sell to a lot of photographers (including me). Build myspace, facebook, flickr and whateverelse pages, package it up as a monthly price, with a set number of services, links or posts, hand it off to the 12 year olds who really know how to get the word out and you’re done. Website and blog owners would certainly see an increase in traffic and the most popular content would quickly rise to the top. Democracy and Capitalism, a perfect union.