Shameless Self Promotion
Wait a minute! I have shame. No, not shameful but I have shame. I went to Catholic school so I am pretty sure I have a double dose in fact. I think many people have a hard time warming up to the notion of shameless self promotion, many are most comfortable when they don’t draw any attention to themselves. But that is in conflict with making great bird photos and getting others to see,enjoy, and maybe even buy them. So do we desperately search for painless self promotion? Sure we do, just look at all the websites and services that claim to promote your brand in exchange for your money. That begs the question: does any one do shameless promotion on your behalf? Not so much. Right?
I am currently in the process of dropping the Smug Mug service this month because I can’t justify the price. They don’t do anything to promote your work. I have been there for years paying the maximum fee and there has been no attempt to promote products. The interface is OK, main appeal is a shopping cart but setting it up is complicated and time-consuming. Spending hundreds of dollars and a cut of every print sale for a shopping cart is not that great, and besides, I am really looking for shameless promotion.
Flickr. What can I say about Flickr? I have heard “if you want a hug go to Flickr”. Once the hottest thing in town Flickr was the place a photographer had to be. There were plenty stories of photographers and artists getting work through the service but also many a stolen picture that started public life on the service. That was back in the day though, as time passed Flickr became a has been and today is in the process of reinventing its self. Probably not going to end well as the official purpose of a social site is now data mining, where you are the product not your product.Grab a hug and move on.
500px and G+? Yeah, they are great places to be if you need other photographers to see your work. There is value in that, but you have to know that other photographers have zero interest in buying or promoting your work. Good for networking but not for selling or promotion.
Bottom line is unless you are a miracle worker or wealthy enough to hire an agent you will have to warm up to the idea of shameless self promotion. The two best ways to get your brand out in the internet are to a) build your own website and b) use a popular blogging platform like this one. You own website will be totally under your own control you can even have a shopping cart if you wish. The biggest drawback is that it takes views to get views. Somehow you have to drive some traffic to get a high enough Google or Bing ranking to be noticed. Good content and design helps a lot. On the other hand, popular blog platforms like WordPress generate a lot of views and rank well right off the bat. Combine the two and you will get your best results. Keywords and tags are vital too. The can make, and I firmly believe, break you. Be sure to keyword every photograph and every blog post, keyword your website with your specialty and location because that will help those who want you find you.
Thanks for stopping by everyone, don’t forget to download my iPad application if you haven’t already. Wildlife HD is available in the iTunes store worldwide. Spanish edition is coming soon.