If you want to be known and recognised as a go-to photographer in your niche, then keep reading. I’m going to be sharing five ways to build your expert status and to be seen as an authority in your space.

Authority matters!

Now, I know. Being seen as an expert doesn’t necessarily pay the bills. But, let me tell you, it certainly helps!

In a time when trust matters more than ever in our buying decisions, it’s crucial to be working on building your perceived authority and expertise. Why? Because your clients want to buy from people and companies they trust.

  • They want to avoid risk and to feel reassured that their money will be well spent

  • They want to be assured that YOU are the very best photographer for the job in hand

  • They want to feel reassured that you are the best option for them, out of all those other photographers that offer a similar service or have similar expertise

Without confidence and trust that you will deliver on your promises, you’ll struggle to make regular sales. It’s as simple as that!

How to become a go-to photographer

To be seen as a go-to photographer in your niche and to build that essential trust, your focus needs to be on the following:

1. Client testimonials and positive reviews

An obvious first point perhaps, but it’s crazy how little time and energy we small business owners (yes, me included) dedicate to collating positive client testimonials and reviews. That’s despite the huge benefits they bring!

Of course, your online audience and potential clients will be impressed if you can share many raving reviews of your photography. Praise from others speaks volumes about the service or the products you offer. Plus, they are far more credible than any words you can write on your own website or in your social media content.

Ultimately, positive client testimonials and reviews of your service can help you to secure more photography clients. They are incredibly powerful. They do the selling for you!

Testimonials reveal what it is that past clients have enjoyed about working with you. Plus, they give a potential customer an indication of what they might experience if they chose to also work with you.

They minimise the risk a potential client may feel and help to reassure them that you are an expert worth investing in. Fail to make securing, and sharing, them a prioirty in your photography business at your peril!

Related: Testimonials from my photography clients

2. Referrals

Referrals are another brilliant way to boost your credibility. They will help you to become known as a go-to photographer in your niche.

You would ideally be the first person that springs to mind when poeple you know are asked for a recommendation for a photographer who does what you do.

A photography niche can be handy because if your service is very specialist, you can more easily become known for that one thing that you do. That might be weddings for tattooed couples, black and white wildlife photography or pet photography for whippet owners, for example.

Related reading: Is a photography niche right for you?

Having said that, referrals will still come even if you’re a multi-passionate photographer and don’t have a specific niche. Become known for your photography style, unique approach or exceptional service and this will help your name stick in the minds of people who could potentially refer you.

Organic referrals, hopefully, are a source of business for you already. But, having a formal referral scheme in place is one way you could potentially boost your referral rate.

3. Create useful and engaging marketing content

I couldn’t leave this out of my list! After all, I’m passionate about helping photographers to leverage the power of marketing content to grow their businesses. Marketing content will help you to build up the know, like and trust that is essential in modern-day marketing.

Gone are the days when those seeking a photographer would pick a few random names out of a telephone directory and make a decision to hire someone without doing thorough research.

The internet has now changed how we all buy products and services. The purchasing decision is usually made before we even get in touch to make an enquiry.

We base our purchasing decisions on information we obtain from Google, social media and other sources. We have the means to check out potential suppliers well before we commit to spending any money with them. And, we have more choice than ever before.

This means that if you’re actively creating informative, inspiring and engaging content on your website and social media channels – in the form of blog articles, social media posts and videos – you’re already doing well in the authority-building stakes.

Your marketing content will convey so much. It will demonstrate your style and tone (how you speak), show your expertise and give a flavour of what it is like to work with you.

If you aren’t already, I urge you to commit to creating authoritative marketing content to help build that know, like and trust. Choose a platform that you enjoy and show up consistently.

4. Get featured

There’s nothing quite like the power of publicity to build your perceived authority. Which is why my other passion is to help photographers like you secure PR opportunities.

Being featured is a huge authority signal! It could be in the media (in newspaper or magazine articles, on blogs and on third-party news or editorial-based websites). Or, it could be on social media. For example, you might get your photography shared on highly popular Instagram accounts. Or, be invited to ‘takeover’ another account for the day.

You’ll reach more people than you might through other types of marketing. Plus, your online audience will be impressed! So, share the news that you’ve been featured in reputable and well-known publications, on industry-leading websites or on popular social accounts.

Even if they know very little about how getting featured works, they’ll probably know that those opportunities don’t come easily. They’ll assume that to have secured a feature you must be doing something right. This will bolster how you are perceived by them.

Online media features can boost your SEO too!

Backlinks to your website from online features help with your SEO too. They indicate to Google that your domain is a trusted source of information. Authoritative signals like these will help your site to rank higher in organic search results in the longer term, which can contribute to higher levels of traffic to your website.

This is why I always encourage you to consider PR as a means of growing your photography business. It helps to build trust, authority and to position you as a go-to photographer in your niche.

Related reading: Why your photography business needs a content marketing and PR strategy

Zoe Hiljemark

5. Speaking opportunities

Similarly, speaking opportunities are another great way to boost your credibility and build your expert status.

Get featured on podcasts, speak at an event or an industry conference, or participate as a guest expert in an online summit. These are all brilliant ways to demonstrate your authority in a particular topic.

All the better too if you can grow an audience off the back of the speaking gig. For example, by capturing email addresses of those who attend, watch or listen. Don’t forget to share photos and videos from the event on your social media channels and website to leverage the opportunity longer-term too.

Are you a go-to photographer in your niche yet?

If you’re an ambitious photographer who wants to attract more photography clients and grow a thriving and profitable photography business, then you’ll need to get serious about marketing, if you aren’t already!

Credibility isn’t something you can buy. You earn trust, and, it takes time. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight. It requires commitment and consistent action.

Commit to building trust and authority and you’ll attract clients

Ensure that you have these five elements in your marketing mix. You should then be well on the way to securing trust in the minds of your ideal photography clients.

Remember, they need to see evidence of how good you are in order to feel confident about reaching out to you. Keep working on this and on building your authority. You’ll soon come to be seen as a go-to photographer in your niche.

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