What is Content Marketing?

What is this Content Marketing anyway?

Content marketing is not new. Back in the 1890’s the brothers Michelin in France wanted to sell more tyres – so they created the a small book of helpful information for motorists, inclluding lists of places to eat. Thousands of copies were printed and given away free. No charge. The thinking was that readers of the guide would drive to the restaurants, cover more miles and need more tyres.  So that wonderful secret sales funnel that is endlessly promoted online is not new either – offer something of value to get an email address, then run some kind of automated email campaign. Of course most consumers are onto this today, they will sign up, get the ebook, and unsubscribe. Anecdotally, the Michelins found that their book was not valued as they would have liked – they found a tyre reseller was using them to level a bench – so eventually they put a price on the guide. Seven francs, whatever that was worth at the time.
 
So what is content marketing today? There are many definitions to be found on the web, many of them conflicting. But in broad terms, it is the use of content to attract the attention of a targeted group of customers, with content including text articles and ebooks, videos, images, infographics, indeed any medium for the transmission of information. Content marketing is not focussed on selling. More detail at https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/content-marketing
 
Content can be delivered through many channels: blogs, facebook, instagram, YouTube, even television programs. Big companies have large marketing deparments with teams dedicated to management and development of content. Small businesses do not have that luxury, often one person has to take on all the roles in the business. Where is the time to devote to content marketing?
 
Mostly, small businesses will try to post regularly on Instagram and Facebook. It tends to be fairly random, whatever pictures happen to be available at the time. Results will be unspectacular.
 
Content marketing, like any marketing, has to start with a strategy. And that should be part of an overall marketing strategy. A few random posts each week on Instagram doesn’t cut it.
 
This is where small business has to seek outside help. Someone who can not only created content – images and video – to order, but who can assist with the development of an overall strategy, a plan covering months of content delivery, with attention to purpose, channels, and frequency. And that person is often a professional photographer. Not just a professional photographer, but a commercial photographer, one who specialises in business photography, not weddings.
 
Stay tuned for the next installment.

Business Photography

Your Business Needs Photography – Here’s why.

More than ever, today’s world is visual. We communicate visually through images, still and moving. Text is not attention grabbing, images not only grab attention immediately, they convey information and have an emotional impact in fractions of a second, compared to maybe a minute or more to read an equivalent amount of text.
 
And more than ever, today’s businesses are online. They need to show their products, their services, and more than that, their brand, to their customer through their web presence. And the only way to do that is through imagery.
Take for example, a small restaurant or cafe. You would have a website, an instagram page, and probably a facebook page. Images you need:
Banner images, images showing the restaurant interior, pictures of the kitchen showing the chef at work, pictures of customers enjoying their meals, pictures of staff serving delicious looking food.
Photographs of every item on the menu – this is highly important – menu photographs must show off the food perfectly.  Descriptions are necessary but a photograph will stimulate the taste buds and  make the mouth water. And show the portion size.
 
Returns are costly for ecommerce: good product photography reduces returns by accurately showing the customer details such as size, texture, and colour of what they will be getting. That will also increase customer satisfaction and make repeat purchases more likely.
Great lighting will reveal texture. Rotating images will show every side of the product – much better than flatlay!
A professional photographer will take pains to ensure that colours are captured correctly: this is often crucial, especially online. The precise shade of colour is often important to the customer, and again, is this is shown accurately, returns will be reduced.  And using some common object in comparison will show size when that is an important factor.
A zoomable image allows the customer to examine critical product details that may not be visible in a small catalog image.
 
 It turns out that most buying decisions are emotional, not rational. So while an accurate product photograph is useful and necessary to avoid disappointment, it’s not enough to get the customer to buy.  A different kind of image is required, one that excites and engages the customer. Sell the sizzle, not the steak – an age old marketing principle. Two kinds of image are suitable here: the hero image, using lighting, setting  and compostion to really showcase the product, and lifestyle images, showing the product in its natural environment, or people using and enjoying the product.
 
Now you can use stock photographs. If you want to disappear into the crowd. Stock images are not of you, not your product, not your people, not your environment. You need images that accurately represent you and your brand. And that means having pictures taken locally. And if you want the best possible photographs for your business, you need a professional photographer.  Not just any professional photographer, but one who understands business – a commercial photographer.
 

Jessica Jones

Jones, Jessica Jones

I got together with Sophia Anna to create some Jessica Jones inspired images. Sophia is among other things, a model and an advocate for those suffering invisible illness. Check out her instagram at @sophiaannamodel

Jessica Jones on the Desk

Jessica Jones on the floor

Jessica Jones in front of desk

Jessica Jones in front of desk

Product Rotation for Artworks

Rotating product displays are useful for all kinds of products, but especially so for artworks such as bronze figurines, porcelain, any object where it is important to view from all sides. Product rotations are interactive, so that the viewer can rotate the object with their mouse and view any aspect at their leisure. The viewer can also zoom to a larger view to inspect detail.

This example is a French figurine in spelter, signed Fayral at the base. It is quite small at 25cm tall including the plinth. This particular item has no provenance, and many copies, both legitimate and unauthorised, were made of bronzes in the Art Deco period.

We photographed this artwork in our studio at Boffa Lane in Hyde Park, using our computer controlled turntable to make 72 images at precise intervals. Software from Magic360 on our website allows this interactive display to be shown. If this kind of product display interests you please contact us on 0413637775.

Adelaide Architectural Icons

As part of a personal project I ventured out to photograph two notable examples of modern architecture in Adelaide: the Convention Centre, and the Medical Research Institute. In between we happened on the Jeffrey Smart Building at Uni SA, so made a shot there. All three images were made on the venerable Nikon D3 camera, now over 10 years old, and only 12 megapixels. The lens was the Nikon PC-E 24mm tilt shift lens, hand held at full shift, shot at f11.

Shooting Film at Bone Gully

We went to Bone Gully in Kuitpo Forest south of Adelaide recently, specifically to shoot on Hasselblads: the relatively old H4D40 digital camera and the much older 500CM film camera, loaded with Kodak Portra 400. Twelve shots on the roll, one roll only. Focussing this camera is quite difficult, it has no autofocus, no auto exposure, no auto anything. No electronics, no battery. When I got the film back I found that 6 shots were a little out of focus, the other six were good. I did not shoot tight enough, so the resultant scanned images have been cropped in Lightroom, no other changes made.