Welcome to the Content Diaries. I am delighted to showcase some of the talented businesses and entrepreneurs who are using content to build and grow their business.
Interview with Hannah Brooke Photography
Tell us about you and your business.
Hi, I’m Hannah. I’ve been taking photographs and documenting my whole life since I was old enough to be trusted with a camera. I set my business up because I was always the one behind the camera, never in the photographs with my children, and I knew this was the case for so many other Mums. I knew so many people who wanted the natural, in-the-moment photos that I just love taking, and so I decided to invest in the kit and the training, and go for it! I photograph weddings, families and small businesses and I love capturing candid moments, emotion and joy.
What is your mission?
I want to provide my clients with beautiful photographic memories of that happy event or snapshot in time, that won’t age (not a cheesy or forced pose in sight) and that they will treasure forever.
Who do you admire the most?
Hmmm I always find it really tricky to pin this down to one person because there are SO many talented people out there – but if I have to pick one, it would be my Mum, because she set up business age 48 whilst going through a divorce and raising two teens, and she made a bloody good job of it. She was so exhausted at first that she used to have a nap on the sofa bed upstairs in her shop to get her through and I used to handwrite all her signs for her – but over the years she built a big team, an amazing reputation and even took her business online. She’s retired now, and loving life.
What makes you happy?
1. My family. Sure, the kids drive me crazy a lot of the time but we have loads of fun together and they make me laugh with the things they come out with daily!
2. TAKING PHOTOS! For myself, my own family, for friends, and for clients. It’s the only job I’ve ever had where I find myself completely immersed in what I’m doing and not getting distracted by what I’m going to eat for tea that night!
3. Getting plenty of fresh air, I need regular outdoor exercise and vitamin D! I’m lucky that I live near the countryside and also have in-laws who live by the sea.
4. Good food and drink, can’t beat a cheeseboard in my eyes.
5. Writing – I’ve always kept diaries on and off and despite all the advancements in technology, I will ALWAYS have a paper diary and a to-do list on the go.
What difference has creating and sharing content made to your business?
It’s made me really think about my ideal customers and how I appeal to them, what questions they might have and how I can answer them. I love writing anyway, so the fact I can apply it to content for my business is an absolute win. I’ve really thought differently about how I run my social media accounts for the business too – I was just posting photos with very average comments, and I’ve realised that the picture alone is not enough to grab people’s attention. I’ve doubled my Instagram following and engagement within the last few months and have had lots of in-person comments from friends saying they’ve noticed I’ve really upped my game.
What content have you created that has really engaged with your audience?
The content I’ve created that’s about ME seems to engage people the most. I talk about what wedding photography meant to me when I got married, how I had a scrapbook and got a bit obsessed with buying wedding magazines and that really seems to resonate with people.
I’ve also created a photoblog series on Motherhood, that I’m really proud of. In a nutshell, I take the photos and participants write their own blog story on motherhood and what it means to them. I’ve connected with some really lovely new people online as a result.
What one thing have you done in your business that has made the most difference?
Invested in some training to get my business noticed and closer to where I want it to be. Sure, my profit margin might be higher, but I don’t think I’d have the future business booked in without learning how to create content to get me noticed in a busy marketplace.
What advice would you give to fellow business owners?
1. Always be kind and nice to people. It sounds so simple, but anyone you come across is a potential customer, so the last thing they want to see is you making unkind or unhelpful remarks on social media.
2. Network – eeek, scary! But not actually that bad, I’ve made some really good friends through official networking events, joined a really supportive community online and through tagging other industry suppliers (e.g. florists) in my posts I’ve built a trusted industry network.
3. Offer the odd freebie – because it might pay off. I’ve photographed a networking event for free but taken bookings on the back of that. I’m not saying offer freebies all the time, but used strategically it can be a good thing. Even if I hadn’t got a booking, it’s all good practice, right?
4. Most importantly, it’s a rollercoaster so buckle up and be in it for the long haul. During the “wobbly moments” write a list of your achievements so far and look at how far you’ve come. In fact, you should do this often, anyway!
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