Young companies often can’t afford to hire a dedicated Content Manager. Here’s how Content Pros is helping them grow to the point where they can.
Folio Websites makes website building easy for professional photographers. A sister company to PhotoUp, which handles photo editing for real estate photographers, it aims to help photographers get their business up and running online.
In its blog, Folio Websites targets professional photographers, providing insights on how to build and run a photography business. Over the past year, Content Pros has worked to create a strong voice for Folio Websites that has helped them start making a name for themselves as an expert resource in the field. The growing content library developed by Content Pros has helped bring the clientele of this young company from zero to a couple hundred. Here’s what their journey looked like.
The Need for Consistency in Voice, Message, and Quality
Before they turned to Content Pros, Folio Websites made an effort to generate their own content. Several staff members including Devon Higgins, Chief Marketing Officer of PhotoUp and Folio Websites, had contributed content. However, balancing the monumental demands of content production between several busy individuals wasn’t working out. “We just didn’t have one consistent voice or message, or anybody who could dedicate the amount of time that content needed,” says Devon.
“I was really hoping to get more quality and consistent content,” he continues. Folio Websites wanted their audience to see them as a reliable expert source they could turn to routinely for guidance.
“We’d been really shooting from the hip at the early stages, not knowing what direction we wanted to go in and what we wanted to write about, or in some cases not having the experience to write on some of the topics we wanted to talk about,” Devon asserts. They needed someone who could focus purely on writing, and whose writing expertise would help them plan content that would serve the needs of their target audience.
They were facing the same dilemma that many organizations face when it comes to content production. Many companies don’t need a full-time writer; they need a couple of expertly crafted posts a month. The trouble is, their current staff don’t have the time or focus to produce quality pieces of writing. Also, staff may not have the necessary writing expertise to really succeed in that arena. Even if they do have writing skills, if they’re not handling content creation on a daily basis, they’re not honing the ability to research and write efficiently or staying closely tuned into what appeals most to their audience.
Only 37% of companies have a documented content marketing strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). The number one reason why companies have trouble developing a content strategy within their first 12 months of operation is having a small team, even though it costs 62% less than traditional marketing. That’s a primary reason why 56% of respondents to CMI’s survey said they outsource at least one content marketing activity.
“We did a free trial and really liked the post; from there, we jumped onto one of their plans,” says Devon. With the free trial, his team was impressed that by giving just a little basic info, they could get exactly the post they were looking for within just a few days. They got a couple of samples from other companies, but Content Pros post was the one that really shone—the one they could envision as the voice of their company.
A Game-Changing Alliance
In less than a year, the blog has already had a strong influence on the company’s success.
“With Content Pros’ help, we’ve been able to grow the product from zero users to a couple hundred,” Devon asserts.
Since their relationship with Content Pros began, they’ve hired a dedicated Content Manager to oversee content production for both PhotoUp and Folio. By helping them grow the company, Content Pros helped them reach the point where they could afford to hire someone for this role. And in the interim, Content Pros has produced high-quality, expertly crafted posts for them while the rest of the team focused on developing and growing the business. In this way, working with Content Pros took a huge burden off the shoulders of busy staff members.
They went from producing virtually no content to publishing a couple of posts a month. This has established a regular cycle of production that their staff could not have come close to achieving on their own, mostly due to time constraints.
A full 80% of consumers tend to develop more positive feelings about a business from reading custom content, according to Demand Metric. Furthermore, 68% of consumers read about brands they’re interested in. Like with a monthly print publication, posting fresh informative content on a blog encourages audiences to return periodically to read the latest news or expert insights.
Image Source: Demand Metric
“They’ve been able to help us offer more credibility to our clients, which has been huge,” Devon says. Working with Content Pros actually helped PhotoUp to grow their knowledge base. Content Pros paired them with a writer who fit the bill exactly. “We worked with a writer named Jeremy who was a photography expert and could run with any topic,” says Devon. The writer’s photography experience and industry knowledge let him hone in on exactly what their target audience needed to know. “We started asking him what he thought would be valuable to write about as a photography professional.”
Their team knew the greatest results would appear in the long-term. “Getting traffic to your site is a long game,” says Devon. “We needed content to start that ball rolling and show position us as a thought leader in the space.”
With quality content, a company’s ROI increases over time, because unless the company deletes the content, each piece will continuously amass more page views, as Inc. explains. By making small tweaks here and there, the company can keep content up-to-date. If it’s putting out a steady stream of content, traffic multiplies year by year.
Folio Websites has aimed to amass a large body of content on growing a photography business so that when users come to the website to read a new piece, they can also sift through past articles on other topics they want to learn more about. This encourages them to stay on the site longer. It also makes them more likely to return, and ultimately might persuade them to try Folio Websites’ service.
Topics cover everything from social media insights to how to build and manage a website. They primarily tackle aspects of running a business where photographers may not yet have expertise, although they sometimes provide tips on the craft of photography as well.
Here’s a sampling of the posts Content Pros has created for their blog:
How to budget better in developing a photography business
Best practices for using social media
An intro to digital marketing strategy
How to use long-tail keywords in web content
The best ways to share photos with clients online.
Many of the topics appeal even to seasoned experts; photographers at all levels need to learn about promoting their business online. Meanwhile, other posts provide tips helping budding photography professionals to improve their craft; like one post that outlines the most crucial gear they should invest in.
One particularly impressive post that Jeremy wrote compared Folio to WordPress. It provided a thorough and honest overview of each platform’s strengths. “We wanted to go head-on after these guys and explain why Folio Websites might be better than WordPress in some ways and how WordPress might be better than Folio in others,” Devon explains. By crafting a piece that delved into each platform’s strengths and weaknesses with candor and honesty, the writer equipped readers to make the best decision for themselves. The piece didn’t read at all like a sales pitch; it read like advice from a well-informed friend, helping build readers’ trust in the company.
Image Source: Folio Websites
Another great piece focused on community blogging. The writer aimed to inspire photographers to start their own blogs, giving them ideas on what to write about. “We want to actually prompt photographers to blog, because we know how important it is to their SEO, how it drives traffic to their website,” Devon explains. For that reason, they’ve also provided a review of inspiring photography blogs to help readers get the juices flowing.
A Painless Process That Guarantees Satisfaction
Folio Websites really got to know the writer they worked with, Devon emphasizes. At times they’d hop on a call with him to talk through ideas. Having a fifteen-minute call here and there helped the writer to understand exactly what they wanted. It also gave everyone the chance to bounce ideas off each other.
“The connectivity, the communications, was really fantastic,” Devon asserts. Content Pros’ staff always responded quickly and were on-point about checking in with him about each month’s topic ideas. Staff would ask if he wanted the writer to pitch ideas to him that month or if he had a burning idea for the writer to tackle. Once the piece was done, the writer quickly worked with any feedback Devon’s team gave him. He made sure to the content was 100% ready for publication.
Giving the writer the authority to create and pitch ideas to them was huge, he says. This is because the writer was so dialed in to the photography community as well as the digital marketing realm. Thus, the writer could anticipate what photography professionals needed to know about running a business and explain it to them in language that made sense.
Future Strategic Directions
Because their blog is still fairly new, their strategy for sharing the content is still evolving.
Folio Websites has been approached fairly frequently by other companies wanting to repost their content, Devon says. That shows the content is getting attention and that others recognize its value. They don’t currently have any partnerships for making reposts or linkbacks. However, they are considering that option with a few companies that have reached out. They’re treading very cautiously because it’s important to be mindful of whom they’re working with and the quality of the content on their site, Devon emphasizes.
Other than sharing content on their own blog, they primarily share it on Facebook. They also use Instagram, which provides a creative inspirational space where they’re able to reach numerous photographers.
In the future, they aim to provide more in-depth tutorials on a broad range of topics so photography professionals can find resources on virtually anything they need to know about on their website. When users who are new to digital marketing don’t even know what topic they should be learning about yet; the website will show them.
Folio Websites is also considering featuring posts from brand ambassadors who become guest bloggers for them. Some companies have already reached out about being featured in posts, implying that they see the blog as an important resource in the field already.
As Devon underscores, smaller companies and startups that don’t have an in-house content generator can leverage Content Pros to bridge the time and skills gaps. Rather than limiting themselves to what their current staff can handle, which impedes growth; they can turn to Content Pros to accelerate their digital marketing strategy through expertly crafted content.
Some companies might be nervous about whether an outside writer can truly represent the voice of their brand. Folio Websites’ experience affirms that a skilled outside writer can actually represent this voice better than busy in-house staff. As Folio Websites’ experience testifies, a Content Pros writer can even help them create their voice and hit the right tone every time. All this while producing content that establishes their thought leadership in their field.