- Many businesses opt for content marketing because organic traffic is free. But, this strategy makes them miss a great opportunity to grow fast because combining SEO-optimized content with PPC speeds up the lead generation process.
- Online businesses need to know specific use cases for content marketing and PPC to assess the value of the strategy.
- Less than half of small businesses (45%) invest in PPC.
- PPC and SEO content marketing can bring in more leads by capturing more quality traffic with more effective keyword optimization of blog content, lead magnets, and landing pages.
- To get the most value from content marketing and PPC, businesses need to master keyword research, searcher intent, and the consistency between the landing page and ad optimization.
As someone who primarily engaged in SEO and content writing for small businesses, I didn’t really care about PPC advertising.
Maybe because of people like me, only 45% of small businesses invest in PPC.
I thought that the best way to bring high-quality leads was with super optimized content, so paid advertising was the realm of bigger companies. That’s the mindset of many small business owners. With teeny tiny marketing budgets, they have to choose between SEO/content and PPC.
SEO/content often becomes their choice, especially of those with interest in content creation and a lack of real marketing experience.
SEO was my preferred choice, too, and I saw PPC as something secondary.
Boy, was I wrong about this!
After a couple of projects involving PPC promotion, my view of the strategy completely changed. No, they didn’t change how I thought about SEO, but they showed how amazing the results could be if you combine the power of both strategies.
To all SEO specialists still not using PPC and the other way around, here’s what you’re missing.
1. More effective content thanks to PPC-tested keywords
Developing a content strategy is one of the most complex and important tasks for any SEO specialist. They use keyword research tools, PPC tools, Google Search Console results, and other methods to find those precious keywords used by customers.
When they find the keywords they think are good for targeting SEO/content marketing, they begin a slow process of creating content. I wrote oh-so-many blog articles, eBooks, checklists, reports, and other content to find out the keywords that attracted the most conversions.
All of this takes a lot of time.
In fact, to write a super effective blog post, you need more than six hours.
When you’re done with writing the draft, there’s also proofreading, editing, making visuals, and keyword optimization. To cut a long story short, you might need a few days to complete a good article that can bring quality organic traffic.
But that’s not the end of that road.
Google, too, needs some time to index the article and rank it. In fact, it might take between two and six months to rank in the top 10.
That’s a bit much, agree?
To top it all off, the keywords you’ve chosen for your content might not the best ones to target. If you make this mistake, you’ll have to learn your mistakes and start all over again (welcome to the world of SEO content writing, folks).
Is there a way to speed this time-consuming process up? Yes. It’s PPC.
It can get you in front of the audience and allow you to test your keyword ideas much faster. If you have content to test, use PPC ads, and equip them with the keywords.
Get them out there and see what people respond to best. You can have some great results as early as a few days, which is pretty much impossible with SEO/content marketing.
Another great news is that you can run A/B testing. This means running ads featuring different keywords for the same content piece. If one performs much better than the other, update the content with the more popular keywords.
So, the takeaway here is that running PPC campaigns for content is a much faster way to test keywords. Start by finding keywords with research tools and make some ads, and you’ll be more likely to discover how your customers look for businesses like yours.
2. More leads from lead magnets
In content SEO, we often create lead magnets.
They are content pieces like reports, white papers, eBooks, webinars, videos, and other valuable content that people need to sign up to access.
You’ve seen tons of them before. A common example is a banner promoting an industry report with an irresistible CTA on a blog. It says that you need to provide your email address and name to access it instantly.
Click on that CTA, and you’ll go to a landing page with the lead capture form.
Like this “The Ultimate Agency Guide to Video Marketing” landing page, where everyone can download a guide with helpful tips on video marketing.
As you can see, the content is offered in exchange for some data. Not a bad deal of a guide packed with useful instructions for businesses.
Unsurprisingly, many content producers often turn to lead magnets for quick lead generation.
Ozan Gobert, a senior content writer at Best Writers Online said,
“Lead magnets work well for both B2B and B2C businesses aslong as they have some value for customers. You can generate some high-quality leads with them, as they typically attract those interested in insights and tips inside.”
If a blog has thousands of visitors every week, then there might not be a need for PPC promoting lead magnets. But is that true for your blog?
Many people think they can manage without the ads (I was one of them). Basically, it’s because they think that great content will “sell” itself.
Despite what they might think, not so many blogs are that successful in attracting visitors. In fact, more than 90% of web pages don’t get any organic search traffic from Google.
As you can see, only about 1.3 percent of web pages out there get decent traffic. Just for that tiny share, promoting a lead magnet with PPC advertising might not be necessary every time.
Obviously, the situation is very different for the rest.
If your website doesn’t have a lot of visitors, too, then creating lead magnets might be pointless. They’ll just sit there only to be discovered by a few people per week.
Not good because you need more leads.
If you wish that there was a way to get more people to pay attention to, there is actually a way.
And it’s PPC, of course. To get some emails, you need a well-crafted PPC campaign that leads people to the landing page where they can sign up to receive the content.
You can try to bring people with keyword-based ads promoting the lead magnet. If you choose the right keywords, the ads have a much greater chance to attract leads than SEO alone.
This is how it works: PPC does the job bringing in visitors, the content converts them into leads by having them complete the capture form.
To increase the chance of people signing up, the value of content is critical. But, the visual appeal is also a major consideration. You need tools for creating visual content like images, graphics, and infographics to add to your lead magnets.
3. Better marketing campaign performance thanks to a smart keyword use
Many businesses out there don’t realize they can bring much more quality traffic to their websites if they focus on best-performing keywords in both SEO, content marketing and PPC.
Much more traffic.
When an SEO/content marketing specialist and a PPC marketer share a list of relevant keywords, they can decide how to divide them to:
- Target the most promising keywords together to bring the most traffic
- Identify the keywords that are the most difficult for SEO and target them with PPC and the other way around
- Define which search queries to focus on with each lead acquisition strategy
Ultimately, the cooperation between the PPC and SEO teams can result in a much more effective keyword strategy. In turn, this strategy could attract more traffic to your websites.
To make content keyword optimization work, you need to master searcher intent or purchase intent. Put simply, searcher intent is the reason behind a search query.
For example, the query “Samsung a10 review” implies that the searcher is looking to do some research but has not made the decision yet. If they search Google for “buy Samsung a10 cheap”, then they might be ready to buy.
Each intent defines how you should create content. It matters a lot for SEO because Google’s goal is to provide its users with the most relevant results.
Dive Deeper: Tapping into Google’s Algorithm for Searcher Intent.
4. Create landing pages that convert more visitors
A landing page is the heart of any PPC marketing.
But, in many cases, PPC specialists aren’t the best persons to write the copy for it. By engaging content and SEO specialists and having them work with PPC folks, you can create a keyword optimized copy that also appeals to the readers.
For example, PPC specialists can provide keywords and ideas for optimized headings and subheadings for attracting traffic. In turn, content writers contribute by creating a copy that’s easy to read and entices the visitors to act.
So, the collaboration of PPC and SEO/content teams can result in campaign landing pages that generate clicks and converts.
A good way to start doing PPC campaign landing pages is to create a checklist to cover all bases. This checklist can include images, copy, sign up options, etc.
SEO and PPC: Two are better than one
I’m not exaggerating when I say that SEO and PPC are a marriage made in heaven. I am positive that these points described in this article prove that.
Don’t make a mistake I made by neglecting the power of PPC advertising. Combined with SEO and quality content, you can greatly increase the quality of your traffic.
If you’d like to try them together, feel free to start by doing PPC ads for your best-performing blog articles. The results you’ll see will definitely impress and inspire you to try more. Thanks to this article, you’ll know your next steps.
Ana Mayer is a project manager with 3+ years of experience. She likes to read and create expert academic materials for the Online Writers Rating writing review website.
The post Tips and tools to combine content marketing and PPC appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Benefits of digital marketing virtual peer groups, roundtables, and masterminds
What’s in a label, right?
I’m not too fond of labels because they can be confining and, in some cases, discriminating. However, at the same time, they do serve a helpful purpose.
We use labels for different things and situations.
They can identify the dress size or a particular category of goods or services and allow us to find what we need quickly.
There are labels to categorize people by age, gender, race, religion, income, intelligence, interests, sexual orientation, weight, or fashion choices to group those with something in common.
Overall, labels are signals to those who identify or relate to them that where they are is a welcoming place or that an item is the right match for them.
If one sees the Muslim Mommies Virtual Peer Group, for example, but you don’t share the same religious “label” and you are not a mommy, you know that group is probably not for you.
Especially now, during COVID-19, group labels that help us quickly identify those who share a similar mindset, industry background, and profession to find common ground and support — that includes digital marketing and sales professionals.
While labels can sometimes come with different judgments, I know they can also bring people together.
I guess I am okay with them after all.
So, let’s dive into the role they play in marketing and how you can benefit.
The role of peer groups in marketing
The Lumen group defines the term group as any collection of at least two people who interact with some frequency and who share a sense that their identities align.
Throughout my marketing career, I have always been part of a peer group of some sort, whether in-person or virtual.
Although some may think these are a waste of time, they have helped me grow by leaps and bounds.
In some of the groups, I was able to lead and teach without having to second guess myself and, in turn, help me become knowledgeable, willing to try new things, and lose my insecurities.
When you find a professional group, you can also give you a sense of clarity and belonging as you connect over shared knowledge, language, and understanding of the circumstances and issues the others face.
You can talk through problems you’re having and most likely find someone who can easily relate or has a solution.
Plus, in the traditional networking sense, professional groups can present new job, hire, or partnership opportunities.
Not all groups are created equal, however, and each type of group has its purpose and ability to match your own.
In this article, we’re going to be focusing on three types of peers groups for digital marketers:
- Virtual peer groups
What is a digital marketing virtual peer group?
A peer group is a group that shares similar backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and in this article, a group of digital marketers whose experience, knowledge, and journey are shared.
The people also probably share the same title and are in a similar place in their digital marketing career.
An example of a digital marketing virtual peer group is the Social Media Today group found on LinkedIn that has over 264,000 members.
Here digital marketers unite looking to share tips and techniques about social media marketing.
It also attracts those who may be either early or middle in their social media career and want to learn from those who are on the same journey and those who just maybe a few steps ahead.
High-growth groups typically include people who are slightly ahead of you and some behind you—creating opportunities to learn and teach at the same time.
If you find this synergy, you can grow your knowledge and skills exponentially faster than even going to school.
If you are looking for a peer group where inbound marketers who are passionate about educating their customers then IMPACT+’s virtual peer groups are the place to be.
IMPACT+ is our new online learning platform. While available for free, our Pro users get access to our virtual peer groups where they can connect with fellow users over common pain points or the courses they’re taking on the platform.
Benefits of digital marketing virtual peer groups
The biggest benefit of virtual peer groups is that you can gain a fresh perspective.
By seeing how others in your field perform their jobs and how they conquer common problems, you learn how you may be able to improve in your own situation.
With shared knowledge and understanding, you have a group in which to share ideas, ask and answer questions, or even just vent.
Also, digital marketing changes daily. It’s almost impossible to keep up. A digital marketing virtual peer group gives you sources to keep up to date through.
Last, but not least, especially in this COVID-19 time, virtual peer groups can provide support, perspective, and information in a safe environment. They create a feeling of camaraderie and inclusion in a time that can often feel very isolating.
What is a digital marketing roundtable?
A roundtable is a closed discussion designed to dive deep into a specific topic or issue. It is typically by invitation only and is often between individuals from industries or job functions.
This is what makes a roundtable unique. Everyone is speaking to the same topic, but from different perspectives and contexts.
It’s almost like a little United Nations.
Before attending the event, participants typically thoroughly prepare their point of view and are ready to have a lively discussion and debate at the meeting.
While disagreements are expected, the purpose of roundtables is to create a safe space for these to happen to hopefully come up with a solution or perspective that takes them all into account.
A great example of a digital marketing roundtable can be seen from TopFloor.
TopFloor is a Milwaukee-based digital marketing and website company that holds a quarterly event for marketing executives and business leaders to gather and learn how others are leveraging the latest digital marketing tactics.
As they explain, “This event has been designed to address the challenges and interests of professionals who have the responsibility of crafting a marketing strategy, allocating budgets, overseeing the execution, and reporting on the results.”
Benefits of digital marketing round tables
One of the biggest benefits of a digital marketing roundtable is its intimacy.
With a small, closed group, roundtable panelists are usually more freely engaged and open to sharing, creating a safe space to share opinions.
Roundtables are a forum that promotes deep thinking and open collaboration between different departments and industries. Unlike virtual peer groups where people usually come from the same background, roundtables are designed to bring together people who are different.
Participants are not to judge but listen to opposing arguments, which allow for true collaboration and problem-solving that considers different angles to solve the burning issue, matter, or situation.
Plus, now that roundtables are primarily virtual due to COVID-19, people can reap these benefits from the comfort of their own homes.
What is a digital marketing mastermind?
A digital marketing mastermind group is a type of peer learning group that offers a mix of brainstorming, education, accountability, and support while working towards a specific milestone.
The mission of a mastermind is to see success. Therefore, each member creates a personal goal, holds each other accountable to it, and helps each other work towards achieving it.
In other words, it has a beginning and endpoint.
The group usually consists of 4-8 people, so everyone has substantial time to speak and a facilitator can give every participant feedback during a single meeting.
In each meeting, the facilitator will conduct a round-robin of updates from all members followed by challenges and may ask pointed questions to get members to self-discover how they may counter that challenge.
A prescribed solution isn’t the goal, but rather to give members the chance to share different solutions they have tried.
Unlike other groups in this article, a mastermind isn’t a one-way learning street and the experience is rarely the same for everyone.
The stretch goal each member creates is specific to their aspirations for their digital marketing success and the impact it has on their business. These are individual goals, not a collective one.
Throughout the mastermind, members will naturally get to know one another and may connect outside the group, but they are working towards their own individual finish lines.
Although there are instances where a digital mastermind may vote to bring in guest speakers or teachers, the mastermind group’s primary focus is brainstorming and accountability support among the group members.
A digital marketing mastermind functions very similarly to group coaching in this way.
Benefits of digital marketing masterminds
The benefits of joining a mastermind are numerous, both personal and for your business or work.
For starters, masterminds usually cost a pretty penny, and if you are fortunate to join one, it means you are likely surrounded by elite leaders in your field.
By joining, you gain an instant and valuable support network that could lead to new job opportunities or partnerships, as well as a place to collaborate and brainstorm ideas.
It also adds a new layer of accountability when it comes to achieving your goals.
Under pressure, it’s so easy to procrastinate or give up, but in a mastermind, you will receive encouragement, feedback, and support to keep at it even with the going gets tough.
Furthermore, joining a digital marketing mastermind doesn’t distract you from doing your daily work. Rather, it should become part of your daily activity since the goals you set within the genius are directly related to your work or business.
Which group is right for you?
Virtual peer groups, roundtables, and masterminds all have a positive impact.
Just by going at anything as a group is empowering and liberating and makes anyone less stressed. Being alone and tackling big goals without support doesn’t help with the mental and spiritual health.
But when should you use a virtual peer group versus roundtables or mastermind?
To help you choose, consider this question: What problem am I trying to solve?
If it is emotional, friendly, and non-committal support you are looking for, then a virtual peer group that you can find on Linkedin or social media may be a good fit.
If you have a burning or unexpected issue that you need to solve, then a roundtable may be a good option for you.
For instance, let’s say a consumer data security regulation is going into effect in one month.
Joining a roundtable may give you the chance to get in front of data protection officers, web and data technologists, marketers, senior leaders, and legal teams to help you troubleshoot your solution.
Lastly, if you’d like to see tangible results for your digital marketing efforts in a given period and don’t have the support you need in your current environment, then the digital marketing mastermind may help.
How to find a peer group?
Now that you know what kind of group you need, how do you find one?
Although we have Google at our fingertips, it still is a bit tricky in finding the best peer groups for you. So aside from doing a keyword search here is where I would start:
- Check out the Breaking The One Percent. This is a website that lists top Facebook marketing groups to join.
- Look to your favorite people, authors, and public figures. Dive into their content, their websites, and research to see if they have open groups to join. Typically public figures have groups on social media platforms such as Linkedin or Facebook, like one I am in on Akimbo around Seth Godin’s thought leadership.
- Look at the publications you read regularly. Many times there are groups that are exclusively for die-hard followers. An example is the Fast Company Impact Council that brings together founders, CEO, and some of the most creative people in the business.
- Look at your Linkedin feed. Look at those figures or articles that pop up continuously and go and check them out. The algorithms sometimes know more than you.
If all fails, check out this list on the 17 Facebook Marketing Groups to join now from INC, the 7 Best Facebook Groups for Inbound Marketers from IMPACT, or the 20 Linkedin Groups Every Marketer Should Join from HubSpot.
You can also connect with others in the IMPACT community in the virtual peer groups of IMPACT+!
The 24 Modern Marketing Commandments
There’s something brand-new marketers need to know.
There’s a foundation for marketing—that when followed, it will lead to success. It’s a foundation that has transcended from traditional marketing to digital marketing and whatever comes after.
We call these the Modern Marketing Commandments. They’re the 24 pillars of marketing that you can base any successful strategy off of, like the necessity of inspiring action and the importance of talking to customers.
These commandments couldn’t come from just anyone. They’d have to come from someone with experience who has lived in the marketing world for a long time—and even helped shape it. Someone who’s spoken on hundreds of stages to the best marketers in the world, built his own company to teach marketers, and spent the majority of his career marketing to… marketers.
You guessed it—the only person we could think of that could lay out the Modern Marketing Commandments is our CEO, Ryan Deiss.
Time to give him the stage…
Here are Ryan’s 24 Modern Marketing Commandments.
#1: Thou shalt build revenue FIRST and brand SECOND. Brand matters, but the primary goal must be sales. It’s possible to sacrifice brand at the altar of sales and still recover, but you cannot sacrifice sales at the altar of brand and hope to survive.
#2: Thou shalt write offers… not slogans. Slogans might win awards, but they don’t make sales. Great marketing inspires ACTION! It does not merely inform or entertain. Also, there’s a special place in marketing hell for advertisers and marketers who stack up awards for their “creativity” but who have never owned or influenced a sales number. They would do us all a favor if they stuck to finger painting.
#3: Thou shalt balance data with gut. Data should rule the day 9 times out of 10, but sometimes you need to trust your instincts and do the things that can’t be tracked.
#4: Thou shalt be willing to pay for attention and awareness. Paid vs. organic… inbound vs. outbound. This is not a debate. This is choosing dessert at a buffet. The answer is, “YES!”
#5: Thou shalt endeavor to piss at least a few people off. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s apathy. If your brand doesn’t have any haters, it almost certainly doesn’t have any raving fanatics, either. Great marketing DIVIDES!
#6: Thou shalt be specific. Make specific in claims and deliver specific in content. If you want your brand to be respected, start taking stands and speaking in absolutes!!! (Like, for example, posting a self-aggrandizing list of “marketing commandments” on Twitter.)
#7: Thou shalt not stop marketing just because a lead is generated or a sale is made. Marketing shouldn’t stop at the order just like date nights shouldn’t stop after you get married. Never let the romance die.
#8: Thou shalt deliver BIG ideas using as few words as possible (F = ma)—“When you have nothing to say, for the love of God don’t let someone convince you that you need to say it.”—Roy H. Williams
#9: Thou shalt use as many words as needed… there’s no such thing as too long… just too boring.
#10: Thou shalt deliver at least 2X what thou hast promised. Under-promise and over-deliver… don’t let your marketing write a check that your product can’t cash. (NOTE: It’s in the spirit of over-delivering that I give you more than 10 commandments…)
#11: Thou shalt not chase shiny objects. Stop talking to marketers about what’s new and what’s hot, and start talking to and watching what your customers are doing.
#12: Thou shalt choose clarity over cleverness - see Commandment #2.
#13: Thou shalt talk to your customers. How can you know what your customers want if you don’t talk to them? Marketing isn’t “guess and test.” Marketing is research, research, test, research, research, test, research, test, then scale. You can’t call yourself a marketer if you haven’t talked to at least 25 customers.
#14: Thou shalt not confuse the reason people buy with the reason people stay. Customers quickly forget the real reason they purchased the moment you scratch that first itch. That’s why it’s essential that you speak with BOTH prospects and customers when writing copy.
#15: Thou shalt not propose marriage on a first date. Focus 70% of your time on the message, 25% of your time on determining the sequence of messages, and 5% of your time on targeting. Targeting is overrated. With the right message, the best targeting is always the untargeted target that is filtered by truly compelling, well-timed messaging.
#16: Thou shalt not pour water into a leaky bucket—OR—Thou shalt not amplify a turd. Optimize the offer FIRST… then amplify it.
#17: Thou shalt tell stories. Tell stories of transformation… stories of identity… stories of triumph over a common enemy. Humans do not take action until they have first imagined themselves taking that action, so paint a story of a more glorious future and then paint them into it. Do this, and they will ask you to take them there.
#18: Thou shalt remember that humans only ever buy one of two things: 1) transformation or 2) identity reinforcement. Know which thou art selling.
#19: Thou shalt be authentic. Speak like a human, don’t pretend to be something you aren’t, and above all else… tell the truth! (NOTE: Write in the King James version only when being ironical.)
#20: Thou shalt create movements. Don’t you know that movements are made when marketers stop talking about “drill bits” and “holes” entirely, and, instead, start talking about the evil bastard that created the need for the 1-inch hole in the first place?
#21: Thou shalt entertain. While information may capture someone’s attention for a moment, the only mechanism available to HOLD that attention is entertainment. As my friend Roy (see Commandment #8) likes to say, “Entertainment is the only currency available today that can purchase the attention of a too-distracted public.”
#22: Thou shalt make people laugh from time to time. The best marketers are able to pull off a joke at a funeral.
#23: Thou shalt make people cry, and yearn for things they do not yet have. It’s ok… it’s our yearnings that let us know we’re still alive. And most importantly…
#24: Thou shalt love thy customer and sincerely yearn for their happiness and success. Empathy is the most valuable skill in marketing, and the only one that can’t be taught).
These commandments are the foundation of marketing—they’re what you build the rest of the house on with the confidence that no matter how big you make it, your foundation will never break.
Come back to them whenever you feel yourself getting distracted by the latest and greatest marketing tech stack or the new social media app everyone is claiming will knock Facebook off its pedestal.
Because it doesn’t matter what the tech or platforms are. All that matters is delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
And that’s all that will ever matter, today and beyond.
The Best Tips for Setting Up a Photoshoot
How do you take high-quality photos of your, or another businesses’, products or services? It’s more than an expensive camera. In this article, I will cover the equipment, materials, content and planning that goes into planning a photoshoot that results in the perfect photos.
Cameras for Photoshoots
Camera equipment varies dramatically from price to purpose.
As we have discussed before, camera equipment varies dramatically from price to purpose. You could easily spend thousands of dollars on the wrong product and end up with a tool you can’t use properly. If you need some suggestions on which camera is right for you, check out this list from Tech Radar. I personally recommend using the Canon EOS Rebel T7i. I use this camera for photoshoots and taking video, and it has served me incredibly well.
That being said, many modern smartphones are perfectly acceptable as an alternative. Most have high-quality cameras and are more than capable of taking the photos you need, especially for those that are unfamiliar with more sophisticated equipment.
Regardless of whether you choose a DSLR camera or the camera on your phone, you need a tripod. Tripods allow you to set up shots with consistency and mean you don’t have to worry about taking a shaky photo. As HubSpot states in their article, “Don’t prop your phone against something sturdy to aim your lens toward the subject. It’s just too easy for this makeshift setup to slide around during the shoot and cause inconsistencies in your photos’ appearance.” Instead, invest in a small tripod, which are relatively cheap and easy to use in any photoshoot scenario.
Lighting Options for A Photoshoot
Natural Light Cons
To me, lighting is the most important aspect of any shoot. You can either decide to use natural light or artificial light. While it may seem more appealing to shoot in natural light, you are also leaving yourself vulnerable to the elements. The Digital Photography School agrees. In their words,
“While natural lighting is abundant and easy to incorporate into photography, it can be challenging for the simple fact that sunlight varies greatly. Depending on location, season, weather, and time of the day, natural lighting can produce differing colors and contrast in your images. For example, midday sun tends to produce neutral white colors and extremely high contrast, while golden hours of sunrise and sunset have very warm colors and medium contrast. Thus, the look you’re going for will determine the time and location of your photoshoot, unless you harness additional tools such as reflectors, diffusers, and lens filters.”
Natural Light Pros
Natural Light vs Artificial Light
Natural light makes the products look, well natural, but getting the right shot will depend more on luck than skill. However, there are benefits to using natural lighting. When you use natural lighting, you have a lot less equipment to lug around. This makes tearing down and packing up easier. If you decide to shoot using natural light it will also cost you a lot less, since you won’t have to invest in a lighting kit.
Cons of Artificial Light
As someone who has had several photoshoots ruined by poor weather, I prefer using artificial light. However, that’s not to say that’s it’s a perfect solution.
There’s a lot of gear associated with artificial lighting. I recommend using a lighting kit that has three sources of lighting, that way you can more easily manipulate shadows and where the light comes from. This will include a bevy of instruments that you will need to use.
Pros of Artificial Light
Artificial light gives you complete control over how your shoot looks. While using natural light is cheaper, there is almost no control. Using artificial lighting you can set up set in different ways and get the most bang for your buck.
In addition to your equipment and lighting, figuring out where you are going to be shooting is equally important. Will it be in a studio where everything is under your control, the outdoors or at a specific location? This will largely decide how your shoot goes. If you are in a studio, you’ll need to plan accordingly and maximize your time. Unless you have your own space for a studio, you will probably need to rent a space for a period of time. If you don’t plan well, you may end up needing more time and this will end up costing you a lot more money.
If you are shooting outside, check the weather in advance of the photoshoot. As stated before, weather can ruin a shoot on short notice. Bring plenty of supplies and consider if you will have access to power if you need it. Shooting outside will give your pictures a lovely natural feeling to them, but there may be some variables you can’t plan for.
If you plan to shoot on location, make sure you and your team have open communication with the business you are doing the shoot for. Many times, you will be doing a photoshoot for a business when they are in normal operating hours which means there will be customers and workers around. When you get to the location, find a spot in the back room, or in a corner, where you can place all your equipment and start setting up for the shoot. If you plan on getting action shots of customers or of the staff working, make sure you get their permission first.
Using A Background
How do you use a background in a photoshoot?
If you are doing a product photoshoot, where you will be focusing on either your, or a another company’s, products, you may want to invest in various backgrounds to use. You can use pretty much any color you want, but I would suggest either black, white or a green screen background. Black and white backgrounds will help focus attention on the product, while a green screen allows you to change the background when editing the photos after the shoot.
Another important thing to know when using a background is how to make use of a “sweep.” According to HubSpot, “A sweep is a large bendable sheet of paper, whose bottom acts as the surface beneath your product and then curves up into the same color wall behind the product. On camera, the sweep’s curve is invisible, emphasizing key product details and allowing the item to own all of a website visitor’s attention.
A reflector card is simply a white card that helps bounce light around your photoshoot. Shopify offers this helpful tip regarding reflector cards during photoshoots: “This simple white card is the single most important light modifier we have in our studio and I use it for every shoot. The light will bounce off the card and fill in all the shadows. How you position this card is a matter of taste, so try it at different angles to the product.”
Take More Photos Then You Think You Need
If you think you need 100 photos, take 200. You never know how one photo is going to turn out. Taking plenty of photos allows you to choose from the best when you are done. HubSpot also shares this opinion saying,
“My last ecommerce photography tip to you is to not stop at one photo per product. Just as your customers look, hold, use, and even try on merchandise in a store, your website should shoot a variety of images to simulate this very experience.
If you’re shooting clothing, for instance, capture the garment of clothing alone — that is, spread out on a white surface — as well as on a mannequin whose color contrasts the color of the product. Then, for additional photos, have the clothing modeled on a person, allowing you to take pictures of the product from the person’s different poses and angles.”
Touch It Up
Your job is not done when you finish the photoshoot.
Your job is not done when you finish the photoshoot. When you are back in your office, upload your photos and back them up. Losing all the photos from the photoshoot from a glitch or accidental deletion is more of a headache then any photographer wants to imagine. After you’re done uploading and saving a backup, it’s time to go through all the images and select the best ones. Use a critical eye and looks for things like shadows, people in the background, blemishes on products and other issues with any image. Once you select all the photos you want to use, touch them up using Adobe Photoshop, or another photo editing software. If you do not have experience using these types of products, you should consider outsourcing.
Posting Images On Social Media
Once you are done touching up your photos, you are ready to post them on websites and social media pages alike! Just make sure you grab the correct dimensions for each social media platform so the image looks the best it possibly can.
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