This was prompted by a recent question from one of my Accelerator clients. We’d been delving into how she can create compelling content on her website and blog that will attract her ideal clients and we’d been discussing various ideas for topics her clients would enjoy and find useful. She’d come up with a big bank of ace ideas but was unsure about where and in which format she should create them, confused as to whether they should be regular blog posts, Cornerstone blog posts or Lead Magnets.
So, I thought I’d share the advice I gave her – both how to generate ideas for website/blog content in the first place, 3 essential types of content, then how to decide on the best type/format of content to bring each piece of content to life.
HOW TO GENERATE IDEAS FOR CONTENT
I’ve already created heaps of resources on this so I’ll signpost you to these:
How to create content buckets (free article)
How to use freewriting to generate ideas (free article)
What to post on social media (free article) and the Social Media Content Generator (done-for-you system full of prompts to help you regularly create fantastic content). While these are both designed for use with social media, many of the more in-depth prompts can be excellent topics for blog posts and lead magnets too.
Try to regularly (perhaps once a month) sit down for 5-10 minutes and brain-dump a load of content ideas using the resources above – keep this master list of potential ideas in a safe place so you can keep adding to and drawing from it.
Once you have your ideas, you’ll want to decide where and how you can use them. Here are the 3 essential types of content you can create for your website/blog and the differences between them, so you can decide which is most appropriate for each of your ideas. I’ve also included examples of each for wedding / family / personal branding / pet photography.
1) LEAD MAGNETS
Lead Magnets are valuable resources (usually pdf guides / checklists / workbooks / templates) that you allow people to access for free in exchange for them joining your mailing list. As people have to exchange their name and email for them and inboxes are precious spaces, a Lead Magnet topic and content will need to be seen as something instantly useful and compelling to make it worthwhile them handing over contact details for.
A lead magnet should address an immediate problem that your ideal client is already experiencing, a problem they already know they have. Not only this, but the Lead Magnet should provide easily and instantly implementable practical help to solve it. People should be able to take concrete action(s) as a result of it – so this is an action-based resource rather than a ‘nice to read’ resource. You’ll need to save these for your best, most useful, most implementable content ideas.
While in principle you can have as many lead magnets as you like, ideally you only need 1-3 in operation at any one time. You may like to test a couple of different ones and see which gets most traction (HINT: often the ones you think people will like the most aren’t necessarily they actually prefer! You can always do a poll on social media to gauge interest in potential topics before committing to creating one). They tend to be more time-consuming to create so I’d advising creating one at a time and then testing it over a number of weeks/months to see how successful it is before moving on to a new one. There is a training within The Shutterhood that leads you through every step of creating your own Lead Magnet if you’d like further support doing this.
- The fuss-free wedding planning guide (wedding photography)
- 10 simple steps to take better phone photos of your kids (family photography)
- 5 powerful ways to use photographs to grow your brand (personal branding photography)
- Checklist: essential items for your new dog (pet photography)
2) CORNERSTONE BLOG POSTS
Cornerstone blog posts are the best, most important article(s) on your website/blog. They are usually authoritative, longer-form blog posts (generally about 1000+ words) containing a lot of highly useful and/or interesting information that directly relates to something your ideal client is already searching for online.
You’ll tend to only have a small handful of these on your website (perhaps 1-5) as they tend to be more time-consuming to produce and are the ‘stars’ of your blog, the pieces you’re most proud of, that you feel are the most well-written and powerful. A Cornerstone blog post would be the thing you would direct potential clients to if you were only able to show them just one piece of content.
They should be based around keywords you want to rank for – words and phrases that you know your ideal client is typing into search engines (NB including phrases not necessarily directly linked to finding a photographer). Once set up with SEO, these will therefore drive new traffic to your website.
You should be able to link the topic to the service you provide and should be used as a springboard to show or lead onto the benefits of working with you. This type of blog post also must be evergreen – something that people can read at any time and it won’t date or expire, irrespective of when they read it. Cornerstone posts also often reference, signpost and link to other content and services of yours – so they act as a perfect ‘first port of call’ for new visitors to your website. There is a training within The Shutterhood that leads you through every step of creating your own Cornerstone blog post if you’d like further support doing this.
- 5 reasons why festival weddings are amazing (wedding photography)
- The 10 best days out for kids in Manchester (family photography)
- How to inject more personality into your business (personal branding photography)
- The best beaches for dog walking in the Wirral (pet photography)
3) REGULAR BLOG POSTS
Regular blog posts can be based on anything that your ideal client might find interesting or useful, including things they might not realise they need/want yet. They are there to help nurture your audience, help them to get to know you better and draw them further into your orbit so they feel more comfortable with you and excited about your business and what you offer.
They don’t have to be evergreen like Cornerstone blog posts, and can be relevant to only specific times and/or based on seasonal events, such as advice for an upcoming holiday/event, or details of a special offer you’re running for a limited time.
Regular blog posts might be sharing shoots that you’ve already photographed, and/or they might be more article-based posts sharing some information. They also don’t need to be especially long – these are fine to be smaller, bite-size blog posts. As such, you can (and should if possible!) produce these on a regular basis, perhaps once a week / fortnight / month, depending on your capacity.
- [Venue name] wedding photography: Sarah & Nic’s music-filled celebration (wedding photography)
- Unusual Christmas gifts for toddlers (family photography)
- 5 last-minute ideas for Black Friday offers (personal branding photography)
- Why Autumn is great for pet photos – and a special Hallowe’en offer! (pet photography)
I hope this has clarified the differences between these different content types and will help you to create some great content of your own for your website and blog!
Which type are you going to tackle first?
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