A blog is good for you. I don’t mean in that chicken soup for the soul kind of way. (Although there’s something nice about sharing your thoughts and stuff you’ve made with others.) But what I really mean is that a blog can be good for you professionally. If leveraged, it can be a great asset to your marketing efforts.
Blog vs Portfolio Site
Typically, the work featured on your website is categorized, formatted and displayed within a particular gallery structure. It’s often static for a period of time. And that’s great and appropriate for your online portfolio. But sometimes, you just want to show something you’ve made and maybe even talk about it and provide a little more info about the work, the process and/or yourself. A blog provides a quick and easy way to do that. Your portfolio site is like a gallery, but your blog can be opening night. It’s an opportunity to show yourself, talk about your work and have a conversation. You can post stuff when you want, in lots of different formats and sizes and talk about it or not. It’s active, casual and organic. And a great way for a client, art director or anyone else to get to know a little more about you – what makes you tic, what you’re passionate about, what’s going on inside your head. Think about it this way, a portfolio site is often all buttoned up while a blog gives you an opportunity to let your hair down.
Tips for Leveraging Your Blog
Keep it Fresh
The expectation for a blog is that it’s current and active. So if it’s it not, it could give the impression that you aren’t either.
Be Yourself, But…
You should feel free to be yourself on your blog, but keep in mind your audience. That may limit your ability to speak as, ahem, freely as you may want to.
Give Us More
This should be a place to take a peak behind the curtain. Show people more about what you do and how you do it. This could include process shots, personal projects, “behind the scenes” images or video, and other random tidbits.
Be a Show Off
Show off your new work, recent promo, or just that shot you took or thing you designed and love. Mention if you’re in a show, won an award, or participated in some event. Go ahead, talk about yourself, it’s ok.
Connect It All Together
Obviously, connect your blog to your portfolio site and vice versa. Make sure there’s a way to contact you from your blog. Think about connecting to your social channels, like tumblr, facebook, twitter, youtube, etc.
If you’re new to all of this it’s pretty easy to get going. Here’s a great resource I found that goes over the basics. http://the-best-web-hosting-service.com/blog/2011/08/how-to-start-a-blog/
Some Great Examples
It’s great to see such a talented and local photographer. He really utilizes both his portfolio website and accompanying blog. Both work well together to showcase his work. His blog is set up as a “photo feed” and always fresh with new work. His portfolio shows the curated final images in a more structured manner.
Tom says, “On my blog I post photographs documenting life experiences, places I’ve been, people I meet and events I attend. Also it’s a place to put work not worthy of my portfolio. For example when I do a photo shoot, I may post four or five of the final selects on my blog whereas the portfolio would only get the best one or two. You could argue that you should never publish anything other than your absolute best work, but I think it is nice to see alternates and experiments as it tells more of a story overall.
A good example of this is this shoot I did:
You can see I didn’t select any of the full body shots for my portfolio, but they were still interesting so I wanted them to live on my blog.
I keep the design of my portfolio and blog fairly neutral and similar to each other, but I go back and forth with this. Sometimes I think it might be nice to have the blog predominantly white so it is almost the inverse to the portfolio. “
Ryan Hughes uses his blog to mention a feature in PDN, show “behind the scenes” video & photos, and more. In both this example and Tom Kershaw’s, both the portfolio website and blog share similar visual features. This consistency helps to orient the audience and visually connect the two.
Reena Newman’s blog, The Hungry Photographer gives Reena a spot to talk about the work, tell stories and share a bit about her process, challenges and successes. It’s a great way to get to know her as a photographer.
Jessica Hische’s blog is an important part of her brand. She’s a typographer, designer and illustrator and has made a name for herself creating great work but also talking about it. She’s often asked to speak at conferences and workshops. Her blog is full of articles, examples and musings.
Amongst other things, Josh shows “behind the scenes” video footage on his blog, such as the shoot for the Nike BMX team out in LA.