One of the things that we’ve been hearing come up over & over in our mentoring sessions, is that people have no problem sharing their work with the world…but when it comes to sharing more about themselves, the fear sets in and they get STUCK.
A lot of people will talk about whether it should be the photography or the photographer that gets marketed in a business, with people setting up camp in strong opinions on either side. But we actually have long believed that it’s BOTH. That you start with incredible, powerful, purpose-based work that leaves a legacy, and then you show the heart and love behind it that are responsible for how you create. Or to quote my good friend Hope Taylor from her talk at The Event (which you can still grab a copy of by the way!), “People might come for the work, but they will stay for your heart.”
And yet, when it comes to putting yourself- your heart, your personality, your face– out there, it can become terrifying. It feels raw and exposed and very vulnerable. And the lie that gets put on repeat in your head is “who is ever going to care about this?” And so, we stay hidden behind the work. And never share the person who is responsible for creating it in the first place. But a couple of really powerful things happen when we share more of ourselves:
*People get connected to YOU, so they start to want YOU in particular to shoot for them. It puts you in a market of one.
*When people realize that the way you see the world shapes the way you shoot, they become more connected to the stories you tell because they can almost hear your voice describing them.
*It gives people more ways to connect with you. If the work is all that they have to have in common with you, then you are limiting yourself to one connection point. When you share your life, your likes, your tv shows, your quirks, your own relationships, it gives people all of these other chances to connect with & fall in love with you.
*It makes people fight harder for you. When they are connected to the person behind the business, they want to see YOU succeed not just some corporate business entity. So they fight harder and go out of there way to cheer you on.
Ok, so that’s great! Sharing more of US in our brands is clearly important. Now how do you go about actually doing that? Where do you even start? It’s definitely a BIG job to undertake, but here are 10 Small Steps that can get you started!
1. Share photos of yourself, your marriage or relationships, and your life. This is also a great excuse to have updated headshots, or even better yet, an anniversary shoot done (like the photo above that our dear friend Annamarie Akins did for us!)
2. Share the stuff that you love. You can even have a page on your website dedicated to this. (Fun fact: when we launched our first real blog in 2008, we were the first people to do a stuff we love page in the photo industry & when we re-launched our brand last year, we did an updated one!)
3. Have a blog series about how you see love. You can have a multi-part series about how you met your spouse, or what marriage should be, or what you hope to have in the future. Just tell the world how love looks through your eyes.
4. Don’t be afraid to be quirky. We love save the world movies, Madam Secretary, golden retrievers, junior mints, and we’re currently obsessed with Pellegrino fizzy water after our trip last year to Italy. Those things are pretty random, but chances are at least one of them just connected us to most of the people reading.
5. Have a promo video made so you can share your heart for your business.
6. Do a few video blogs so people can hear your voice and look you in the eye while you’re talking to them.
7. Share something unexpected on your about page. So for example, instead of talking about where we went to school or when we first picked up a camera, we talk about “You Wash, I’ll Dry,” and how that division of labor for doing the dishes has become our mantra for life & how we take on the world together.
8. Blog your vacations, family get togethers, adventures. Take your audience along with you as part of your life, and don’t be afraid to introduce them to your friends & family who have nothing to do with your business but have made you who you are.
9. Tell people a few key things they should know about you & repeat them often. Give people the stories they can tell about you, so that when they are talking about you a few specific things always come to mind. Like for us, we’re restoring an old home, we love J.Crew, we have a golden retriever, and we love each other!
10. Write a letter to the you of 5 years ago. Share what you’ve learned along the journey of the past few years, let people come along with you for that, and best of all let them learn from what your story can teach them.
Happy Thursday friends!