Take pictures at EVERY talk you give, every time you create a new product to sell, each time you donate a gift basket to an auction. Do not worry about the quality, just do your best. Why? Pictures will attract more customers (for free), get more opens when you send out a newsletter, attract more viewers on Facebook, and so much more. In most cases, pictures will cost nothing more than your time.
Sure, owning a fancy camera may result in better pictures, but not everyone can afford the newest DSLR. If all you have is a smart phone, start there. If you have a budget for a cheap point and shoot with a good flash, buy one. Pictures will help you gain more customers. More customers, means more profit, which means at some point you can invest in a more professional camera.
Make sure you designate a photographer at each event you are speaking at (if any). You can be the photographer, you can give your event host the responsibility, or you can hire an amateur.
Do not share the photos until you watermark them. Use something like FastStone Photo Resizer to watermark pics all at once.
Share the Photos
After your take the pics, share the images in multiple places so you can drive traffic back to your website.
- Post the pictures to an album or blog on your website.
- Post one picture in your newsletter and link it back to the album/blog.
- Post one picture on your Facebook page and link it back to the album/blog.
- Submit a few pictures and a press release to the newspaper.
Use pictures in your marketing materials. If you ran a group yoga event in May and you have another coming up in July, be your own graphic designer and use the pictures you took in May to promote the July event!
What to Photograph
Focus on taking pictures of people as much as you can. For events you are running pull 3-5 people together and have them smile for the camera. If you have extra time, take some candid shots and also take pictures of other things such as the venue, your welcome sign, the dog that someone brought on the hike, etc.
Pictures will help you gain more customers for FREE. Everyone loves pictures which is why they get so many views and likes on Facebook and why people will open your newsletter. So do not worry about the quality if you do not have a budget for a camera or a photographer, instead focus on the quantity of pictures at every opportunity.
Who doesn’t love seeing their name, or better yet the name of their business, in the paper. Over the years I have been in the paper, both online and in print, more than I can count. If you do what I do, then you, too, can garner free press that will likely bring you customers.
1. Submit a Press Release (especially for a free event)
Often local newspapers that focus on town events will publish press releases for free. First, contact the newspaper to find out what types of press releases they do and do not publish. Some papers may only publish your free events while others may publish anything you submit if you are a non-profit. After you find out their rules, set your calendar to submit fresh releases on a schedule so you are constantly in print.
2. Donate a Prize
Look for local non-profits who are holding fundraisers and see if you can donate a prize. The prize can be anything from a free service (ie, if you teach yoga offer a free one-on-one class) to a free yoga mat. The organization running the fundraiser will likely advertise your donation in order to draw people to their event. And on the day of the event, the attendees will hear about your prize.
3. Offer Press Passes
If you are selling tickets to an event you have coming up, you can offer free press passes to any local newspapers (online and in print). Reporters LOVE this and will often attend and then write a post-event story about your organization and event.
4. Sign Up for Help a Reporter Out,http://www.helpareporter.com/
As defined by Wikipedia, "Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is an online service set up for journalists to quickly gather feedback from the public. It is designed to enable journalists to connect with people who have expertise or experience in particular issues, so that journalists can obtain valuable advice and quotes for stories they are covering.”
In a nutshell, sign up as a “source.” Then, Help a Reporter Out will email you queries and you will respond to the ones that fit you. Hopefully a reporter will then quote you in his/her story and TA-DA, you’ll receive free press.
Please note that Help a Reporter Out is going to email you 3x a day. If you find this overwhelming, read my blog "How to Hack Help a Reporter Out".
5. Ask to Be a Guest Blogger (online press)
If the area your company covers has some local bloggers, it is a great idea to ask if you can guest blog. You can blog about something you are an expert on such as, “How to Clean Windows the Right Way,” or “How to Give Your Spouse the Perfect Massage.”
Free Press will not only drive traffic to your website but it can also improve your SEO rankings. Set a goal to try to get free press once a month. Remember that even articles that are in print are often also online so a little work you do now can still bring in new members months from now.
Laura Occhipinti is on a mission to help birth workers and holistic professionals grow their businesses.