My first steps in blogging
In 2007, I started my first blog called Foute Huizen which translates as Hideous Homes. I found all kinds of terrible real estate photographs on the Dutch MLS Funda.nl, took them, added my sometimes witty, sometimes sarcastic comments, and just posted them.
My family and friends thought I was going nuts by insulting my prospects. Well, those prospects weren’t ready for professional real estate photography, and I had no clue how to convince them that great pictures were necessary, except by showing them what they did wrong.
Oh boy, was the MLS a source of inspiration! Some called it guerrilla marketing; some called it my biggest mistake as a startup. Whatever they called it, I kept going. Within two months, that blog got noticed by a popular satire website. As soon as they quoted one of my posts, all hell broke loose!
The agent that had listed the house that went viral threatened me with a lawsuit. You’re probably thinking: was that what you wanted? A possible trial? Hell, no! I was almost in tears when that lawyer called! But I stayed calm. I had things covered legally. By embedding the original listing and using the picture as a quote, I wasn’t committing copyright infringement. I told that with confidence to his lawyer, and the lawyer knew I was right.
From the moment that post got noticed, everything changed. Every major newspaper in The Netherlands covered my blog, and I even gave a couple of interviews on national radio stations. On Twitter, agents were talking about their fear of being listed on my blog.
My name was buzzing around! Not only did the blog go viral, but I also went viral! People called me to shoot their listings, and I’ve never been out of work since.
While my business was growing, I had less time to search for the ugly pictures. A colleague of mine took over the blog, and I was making a living and providing for my family doing what I loved most: shooting interiors.
A new attempt to blogging
When I revamped my live course Interior Photography with Natural Light last year, I started focusing on blogging for my business again to reach my audience. A lot has changed in the blogosphere since 2007, so I read many articles and spent a considerable amount of time on blogging courses. As an established brand, I felt I had to take it more seriously.
Again, I discovered the power of blogging. Let’s be honest; my audience in the Netherlands is small. I live in a tiny country with as many inhabitants as there are in New York City, and I’m working and teaching in a small photography niche. However, my audience seems to like my thoughts on running a photography business, because from the moment I launched my blog, I’ve been coaching, teaching, or speaking about interior photography every single week.
The first thing I started while expanding my business and starting Picture & Space is writing blog posts. Guess what? It works! Even you are reading this!
Well, now you know my blogging history and personal proof that blogging helps to establish yourself as an expert in your field. I encourage my students to blog. But – how do you start?
Why blogging is important
With blogging, you’re able to write down your thoughts, ideas, and insights into the way you work, in your style. You may be wondering why you should blog, given that you’re a photographer with a focus on interior photography or real estate.
So let me give you five good reasons why it’s essential in our field:
- Blogging gives your business credibility. Sharing your knowledge and insights is crucial in our sector where you have to stand out from the competition to get noticed.
- You’re able to create a “buzz” around your business and your niche in general.
- It’s useful for search engine optimization, making your website more visible. Who doesn’t want to be more visible online?
- You can grow your email list and thereby fill your funnel with potential customers.
- It keeps reminding people you’re out there.
My 7 steps to successful blogging for photographers
1. Who is your target audience?
As a professional, you have many different target markets. Many photographers seem to write for their colleagues. Sharing experience and knowledge is a great thing, but if you want to use your blog to showcase your business, you need to focus on your target audience.
As I wrote in my blog post on branding: you need to know your target audience. You have to figure out what websites and social platforms they tend to visit regularly. What would you like to teach your audience, and would they be willing to share your posts to increase your page views?
Also, if you know your target audience, you can also more easily focus your keywords.5 reasons why blogging is important for any business and how to be successful in 7 stepsClick To Tweet
2. What are your keywords?
One of the great things about property presentation and interior photography is this: there are only a few appropriate keywords out there. That’s good because that makes it easier to apply those terms.
For our field, the useful keywords are real estate photography, real estate presentation, home staging (preparing the house for the photo shoot), and interior photography.
However, reaching the top of Google with these keywords can be tricky, so you’ll have to think outside the box. Make a list of your services and figure out how someone would look for your services in a Google search. This way, you’ll be able to come up with a list of specific terms, and there you are! You’ve found yourself a perfect starting point for your blog posts.
A cool tool to gather ideas for blog posts is Answerthepublic.com. If you type in the keyword “home staging” for instance, you’ll get a whole list of possible titles for blog posts. The questions you get are generated from search queries people typed into Google.
3. How will you attract the attention of your target audience?
Nobody wants to read plain text. In an era of short attention spans, your article needs to be visually appealing and readable! Here are things that can attract and hold attention:
A good headline – This is crucial! Online tools like the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer help you write a compelling blog post title. And be sure to use headings! Not only will your text be more natural to absorb, but Google also scans the header tags (H1, H2, etc. ) so, incorporate your keywords into your headings and subheadings.
Visuals – As a photographer, you’re part of the visual industry. A picture says a thousand words, so make use of it. As a pro, you will have a reasonable knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, and you can use this to create imagery that matches your brand. You could also take a look at canva.com. Canva is a free online tool that lets you create blog graphics. In the paid version, Canva for Work, you can add your fonts and design templates that you can use again and again so that every blog post you share on social media is instantly recognizable as one of yours.
Readability – Make sure to install the Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress site. It’s probably the best tool to help you with search engine optimization, making it easier to get a good ranking with search engines. It also scans your writing for readability.
Grammar – The need to publish grammatically correct texts should speak for itself. Always remember to do a spell check and read your blog posts several times before you press the publish button. If you can, read it out loud! It will probably sound awkward, but when you pronounce your words, you’re more likely to find the mistakes. Because English isn’t my native language, I invested in a Grammarly subscription. Boy, that is indeed a helpful tool! I wish it were available for my Dutch blog as well!
4. When should you post?
This question isn’t so much about the time of day (though I prefer to post in the afternoon) than it is about: how often?
Blogging takes time, so you can start with twice a month or once a week. Plan ahead, develop a blog planner based on the ideas you brainstormed in steps 1-3, schedule time for writing your blog posts, and stick to your planning!
Post regularly. There’s nothing worse than a website whose last post dates back to 2012. To prevent your reader ignoring old but valuable information, you can turn off the date on your blog, so you don’t give the impression that you haven’t posted new content in a while.
5. Share your blog posts on
The key to successful blogging is not only the ability to write well, but it’s also making sure your texts reach your target audience! It makes sense to share your content on your Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter profiles. Don’t forget to post to LinkedIn when you are aiming to reach real estate agents, the pros hangout there. You can also share your content on Facebook or LinkedIn groups your audience hangs out.
6. Reach out to traditional media
Don’t forget to reach out to traditional media. Editors of local newspapers are always looking for content to fill their pages. Contact the editors and ask if you can occasionally provide an interesting article with images that will be helpful to their readers.
7. Schedule your social media
There are several social media planners you can use to share your blog to all the different platforms at once. You can start with the free plan of Later. Later on, you can switch to a paid subscription with more features.
I use a combination of social media schedulers: For Facebook, Linked-In, and Twitter I prefer Missinglettr, a tool that creates nine posts and drips those over a year. Tailwind is my preferred Pinterest tool; I dive into it once or twice a year for a day, and it posts all my content about 30 times a day. And, the one I mentioned before, Later, is in my humble opinion, the best planner for Instagram because it posts automatically with having to add pictures from my mobile phone.
Create a worksheet in Excel, Numbers or Google Sheets. List down your social media profiles, what copy you had used for each, and when. Don’t be afraid to share your content more than once. Due to the algorithms, your audience is unlikely to see all the things you share. To reach your crowd, keep sharing on different days; you can even share your blog posts several times a day on Twitter!
Download you Monthly Blog Planner
To make your life easy, I created a Monthly Blog Planner. It is a fillable PDF, so you copy the file each month. No need to print it out! You can if you prefer to of course.
Just leave your name and email below, and I will make sure it ends up in your inbox!
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