If you’ve not heard of using content collaboration or combined services to grow your photography brand, prepare to get inspired!
In my last blog post, I spoke about joint ventures and outlined two ways to use joint ventures to grow your photography brand. A joint venture is basically when you partner with somebody who already serves your ideal client.
Today, we are taking that idea one step further. We’re talking about developing partnerships for content collaboration and combined services.
You can watch me talking about this over on my YouTube channel as well, if you prefer.
So, we’re looking for businesses in the same market as you to create content collaboration partnerships with.
Say for instance, you’re a wedding photographer, you could partner with a wedding venue, or a bridal shop, because these businesses are already serving your ideal clients before you in the client journey.
Your ideal client’s journey
Most clients go through a natural buying journey for any project that involves employing a photographer. The trick is to establish where your potential partners are on that journey, and to understand where you fit in as well.
This is important – you need to be partnering with businesses who serve your client before they decide about a photographer, and therefore come to you.
It’s no good partnering with a wedding cake shop or a DJ because by the time your client gets to choosing a DJ or getting their wedding cake, they already have a photographer in place.
Likewise, for commercial photography if you consider partnering with a commercial printer, the chances are that by the time somebody gets to a printer to get their brochures printed, they already have images in place.
In this case what you probably want to do is partner with a designer – a web designer, a graphic designer or someone like that.
There’s lots of different businesses who already serve your ideal client that you can partner up with for content collaboration and combined services.
What is content collaboration?
Content collaboration is a great way of creating content together with a business that you want to partner with.
As a photographer you have your knowledge and your experience that you can use to help educate customers of another business or vendor. These customers also happen to be your ideal clients. For example, a photographer I know who is using content collaboration really well – he’s a headshot photographer, and he partners with a gentlemen’s tailors.
He creates content for the tailor talking about how to how to look approachable in photographs, how to really enhance your LinkedIn profile with a great headshot, and talks about the benefits of a great headshot.
Likewise, the tailor is creating fantastic content for him to share amongst his business community about how to tie a Windsor knot and tips from the experts on the best fashionable, looking sharp suits for this year.
Have a think about businesses that you know – vendors and potential partners who already serve your ideal client. See if there is anyone that you could work with and create some great content collaboration.
How does content collaboration work?
If you’re a pet photographer, for example, you could team up with a dog trainer, or dog groomer. They could give you tips on how to keep your dog’s coat looking immaculate and glossy, or suggestions about the best shampoos and doggy conditioners to use. You then share that content to your social channels.
In return you can create content for their social media following on how to take better pictures of your pet with your iPhone. Or perhaps how to get your dog to sit and stay still or get their attention when taking a picture.
This content collaboration activity builds up relationships, it builds up trust. It sends over some of your followers to that business page and some of their followers over to your page.
This helps grow your authority and trust amongst their followers and you become known, liked, and trusted on another social channel.
It also helps you both keep producing some great quality content going out via social media, through your blogs and on emails. Another great form of content collaboration is to get involved in supporting each other with guest blogs.
Guest blogs are where you write or produce a blog post and your partner hosts it on their blog. Alternatively, your partner produces a post, and you host it on yours.
I have quite a few clients who write blogs themselves, and even provide guest blogs to their partners.
For example, you could be a wedding photographer and write a guest blog for a wedding venue. That might be something like “Top 10 ways to have a stress-free wedding morning”.
As a wedding photographer, you see what could potentially go wrong on a wedding morning. You have loads of experience. So, you give lots and lots of helpful advice.
Combined service offerings
Another way to joint create joint ventures and collaborations with people with other vendors and businesses is to create what are called combined service offerings.
As photographers we need to be thinking of ways to stand out from the competition on a regular basis. And what better way to do this than to combine your services with somebody else’s services?
This works well within the commercial sector. For commercial photographers especially, it’s now our duty to help our customers get as much engagement and as many eyes as possible on the content that we help them create.
So, when we create images for them, we want to help them make sure those images get seen.
One idea might be to combine your services together with say, a keyword specialist, so when you do your packages, your photography packages, you also provide your images professionally keyworded.
This means that the client receives not only your stunning attention-grabbing images, but you also help those images get seen. You help them show up on Google. You help people find them easier.
You know perfectly well that there’s no point in creating amazing content for your clients if that content isn’t getting found.
Another great content collaboration could be with a copywriter who helps you create content for the posts and the stories that you tell with images.
So that could be a service that you create where you have an image and copy package. When the customer comes to you, you’re able to offer your attention-grabbing beautiful images AND the content that creates desire and stimulates action.
You’d be able to explain that with this full package, the client is going to get more from every bit of content that they put out there. You could even combine the keywording service as well.
Think about ways that you can enhance your offering with other service providers who already serve your ideal client and create unique packages that make you stand out.
Here’s an example of a combined services collaboration.
I created a boudoir makeover package when I was running my own photography business.
I got together with a woman I know called Marissa. Marissa was a Mac hair and makeup artist. We created combined services bringing together my photography and her hair and makeup skills.
The first offering was a bridal boudoir hair and makeup package, and then we went on to create boudoir packages. We knew that women loved Mac makeup, so that was always at the centre of the offer.
In time, this combined services collaboration became a business, called Simply You Makeovers. I went into partnership with Marissa, and we ran the business together for six years, doing over 1,000 boudoir makeovers per year.
It was a real niche offering – one of the only ones in the whole of the Northeast of England offering these type of packages – using a quality product like Mac makeup to make us really stand out.
This offer made the photography business less of a commodity. We couldn’t be compared to other photographers because even if they were offering makeovers, they weren’t offering the quality of product (Mac) that we were. It made us stand out.
I suggest you think of ways to make yourself less of a commodity in the eyes of your ideal client.
So going back to the keywording partnership example, if you are offering keywording for all your commercial images, and other commercial photographers are not, that makes you stand out.
Combined services are a great way of utilising other people to bring a new service together.
So that’s a bit more on joint ventures.
You’ve got content collaboration – that’s a great form of joint venture, and you’ve got combined services. Two fantastic ways to help build your brand and stand out.
Get in the habit of reaching out
If you’re interested in developing your photography brand with joint ventures and you haven’t grabbed a copy of my book, The Ambitious Photographer’s Journal, it would be a great thing for you to order. The journal talks heavily about joint ventures and collaborations.
In fact, so much so that I make it part of the photographer’s routine inside the journal – every week, I encourage you to reach out for opportunity. I call these days “Opportunity Wednesdays”. It’s a case of getting in the habit of reaching out and approaching people.
I do this for my own business.
My own business is based on getting better visibility and creating joint ventures. It’s all about visibility and getting myself seen – I quite often use other people’s large followings to get my word out there.
I partner with podcast associations and magazines. These are all joint ventures and content collaborations and how do I get them? I send messages, I send emails; I send LinkedIn messages, I get on the phone – I contact people.
And you know what? They usually say yes, they usually say it’s a really good idea and they ask to have a call. This is because I’m coming from a place of value – what I am offering is beneficial to both of us.
So don’t be afraid to reach out. The worst anybody can say is no.
But the chances are, they’re probably going to say yes.
I really hope you’ve found this post useful.
And when I say I’m here to help, I really mean that.
If you drop me a message, I always reply to every message especially with just a little voice clip because it’s so easy to just press the voicemail button on Facebook Messenger and give you some tips and advice.