Guest Tip • How to Create a Story for Your Business

Shaun Baker is an award-winning photographer and founder of Circa17, “The Photography Business Coach.” He shared with us some of his top tips for telling your story as a photographer, and continuing to grow your business. 

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© Shaun Baker

When marketing a product or service, you are selling a “story.” A story that resonates in the buyer’s mind which goes on to tell a “new story” of why they need your product or service. Nobody really “needs” a pair of $250 sneakers but we convince ourselves that we do. We tell ourselves stories about how they will help us run faster or even make us look cooler. Once we “buy in” to our story, we also buy in to the product or service.

BMW vs. Kia

BMW tells us that they are “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” They also tell us that they are a luxury vehicle and they price themselves accordingly. This story resonates in our minds. We begin to picture ourself driving this vehicle on the roads that we drive on everyday. We imagine the way it would make us feel when arriving in a BMW. It’s a status symbol. All BMW had to do was get the story started. They branded themselves. It’s now left up to us to continue with the story and associate with it on a personal level. Once this happens, the vehicle is as good as sold.

All business strategy is a sales and marketing strategy. As wedding photographers you are in the sales and marketing business that sells photography. To be successful, you have to sell a story. If you aren’t intentionally telling a story, your website is telling one for you. There is a good chance it is NOT the story you want to be telling.

Photography is an art. As the artist, you have a connection with the images you create. They have a special meaning to you than they do with anybody else. The difficult part is to separate yourself emotionally from an image and make sure the images that you decide to share on your website are contributing to the story that you are telling. Are you the BMW of wedding photographers or the KIA? That part is up to you. But you have to decide on who you are, focus on those clients and sell them a story.

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Tell Your Story

We can’t be everything to everybody. So here are a few steps on how to begin telling “your” story:

1) Narrow your focus: Decide who your target audience is. Are you going after the super wealthy? Are you a budget photographer? Whatever the case, you can’t be both.

2) The power of the few words: “Just do it” is known all around the world. Same thing with, “I’m lovin’ it.” These three words have so much power that I don’t even have to mention what companies are behind them because I’m sure you already know. Come up with something that will sit in the minds of your potential clients. This is where the branding begins.

3) A picture is worth a 1,000 words: The images that you choose to display must correlate with the message that you are sending. Like a book, the author is telling a story, yet every reader interprets it their own way. Make sure your story is well constructed so the minds of your viewers can carry it on without getting off track.

Just by taking these three steps your differentiating yourself. You now have a definitive place in the market space. Now you can focus on your clients and fulfill their needs because you know exactly who they are.

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© Shaun Baker

For more information on Shaun Baker and Circa17, visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.