Elise O'Flinn teaches us how to begin Market Research when creating content for our businesses!

Why Market Research Matters When Creating Content (w/ Elise O’Flinn)

Have you ever thought to research a topic before you write on it? And this goes for EVERYTHING – including your Instagram captions! We chat through that, and how you can apply this method to your content repurposing strategy so you can “work smarter, not harder” (spoiler for our new course just launched in the Vault all about this!). Tune in as Elise O’Flinn (my virtual assistant) dive into our strategy here, and how you can efficiently and strategically build a content strategy that changes the game for your business.

Welcome back to the show Elise!

Let’s dive in to a hot topic people want to know more about. How should photographers go about finding what topics to talk about in their content?

Yeah that’s a great question! Where do we start? You don’t even know where to start. Your long form piece of content is so important and you want to put in the research and the time into it – because you want to work smarter not harder. That’s where “Work Smarter Not Harder” comes from. You want to create a high quality piece of content so that it can be broken up into bits and use elsewhere strategically.

Before you even write anything or create anything, instead of just throwing something out there and seeing how people respond – you wanna do it strategically so that you can use it down the line. So that’s why we do this work now. And so I would say start with writing and talking about something that you’re passionate about.

Elise (03:26):

You don’t want to force yourself to make something high quality and it honestly won’t be if you don’t care about what you’re talking about. It’s super helpful to start with those categories. Start with something you want to write about. And usually what you’re passionate about is what your audience is passionate about. And that’s why they’re there listening to you talk. So don’t feel like, “oh, no one really cares.” They probably do. That’s why they’re there!

When you write about something you’re passionate about – it give you MORE content to work with.

Elise (04:09):

When it’s something you’re passionate about – that you can’t honestly shut up about, that’s a good thing because that means it’ll be easier for you to pull from instead of feeling like you’re starting with nothing. We never want you to guys to feel like you’re starting with zero cuz you never are. We’re always strategizing with stuff that you already care about or that you’re already using.

What are some good examples of this?

Elise (04:52):

You can write on quick tips or an “about you”. If you haven’t written anything and you’re just starting out – it’s really great to do. Write about your passion for photography and why you started and why you have to offer pulling from different pages on your website. That language is just already there. You can pull from guides that you already have as well! If you have a guide of “what to wear your engagement session”, etc – pull from things like that that already exist!

Elise (05:39):

Another thing you can do is just a gallery story. Just tell the story of a shoot that you did that was really fun that still kind of touches upon your belief system and reemphasizes that! Once you have an idea of what you’re gonna write about, that’s when market research comes in.

How do we start Market Research?

Elise (06:25):

Market research starts with easy things. It doesn’t have to be anything serious, you can just pull from information you already have. So you can look on Instagram or your insights. You can go on Pinterest and see what are your high performing pins to see what are the type of things that might your clients are looking at. You know, they really love this one photo of this ceremony – so maybe you’re gonna talk about ceremonies and unity, things that you can do and having someone officiate your wedding, all that kind of stuff.

There’s so much, it’s like it’s out there already. You just have to be a detective and know where to look to pull the content from. This is why we call it market research – you’re researching what people are looking for so that you can provide them with what they’re already searching for, whether they know it or not.

Elise (07:10):

Think about what you talk about on a sales call, think about the pain points that they’re experiencing. Think about what posts you’ve done that have gotten really good interactions, comments, things like forwards, likes, etc and then also look at what other photographers are talking about in the industry – hot topics that are coming up, or even trends. If you’re a wedding photographer, trends in the wedding industry, guest experience is something that people are talking about a lot.

Think about it this way – what is everyone talking about? What is my audience saying? What are my clients and their testimonials? That’s another place to look. What are they saying that they loved about working with me?

Dani (08:49):

I love it and I love how you said start with what you’re passionate about because it’s true. You could probably write paragraphs on that. And when you’re writing something like your blog that you want to be that long form content that you pull from for future, you know, reels or captions or whatever it’s gonna come easy to you. If you pair that with using something like Google ads, keyword planner and seeing what people are actually searching for on Google, not only when you write that blog is it gonna be great for your SEO (which we talk about in the SEO course), but it’s also gonna live for you forever and ever and ever.

Blogs are the gift that keeps on giving for SEO.

That’s the thing with blogs, when you create something that’s so quality driven and has all of the things that you could ever pour into it and it’s just gonna live there on your website forever. You’re gonna see the fruits prosper from that!

Dani (09:42):

An example of that is a blog that Elise actually wrote for me. It’s called “How to Elope Without Hurting Anyone’s Feelings.” And we go over this in the content repurposing course and we break it down. I actually used Google ads or we used an actual phrase that we saw was being searched!

Dani (10:26):

The topic of not hurting anyone’s feelings was already a topic on people’s minds. Once you write it and it lives on your website forever, then you can pull from it and use it for captions, for reels and just use it for pins – all of the different platforms! The content’s already written and that’s the power of content repurposing!

Elise (11:33):

Yeah, and you can come at it from different angles! Again, we start with an idea – something general and something really big that you’re passionate about. And then from there we pull the keywords and what we think the keywords are aren’t always the keywords that we end up using.

Do we start with keywords in order to write the material or vice versa!? What is better in your opinion Elise?

It just depends. But most of the time I’m pulling from the material and then figuring out what keywords I should use that showcases that material!

Elise (14:04):

It’s funny, you have to learn to think like your audience and write for them. Photographers use a language with each other that their clientele doesn’t use. So you have to think about, “if I’m a bride or if I’m a couple looking for a photographer, what would I search in my area?” “What would I search for in this category?” And half the time it’s not what you would necessarily think right away. You have to go kind of in their head. The more specific you get – the better the keyword will usually perform on your website. And that’s why you pull from this general idea.

Dani (16:10):

When you’re using like keyword planner or Uber suggests – you can see if the competition is high or low. And that’s what I always do when I’m ready to write a blog. I’m writing a blog on how to start a photography business and I looked up phrases on how to get started, etc. I threw in five different phrases and eventually I got to one that was like 5,000 to 10,000 searches, low competition. I just knew I wanted that to be the title of the blog. I knew the general content and then I looked it up and I just kept searching and searching for that sweet spot!

Dani (16:56):

And then from that post, I can now pull little points from there. I think one of them is like, define your niche. I could do a whole caption on just define your niche, right? And do a whole Instagram post on that. I could even do a pin on that and link back to the blog, right? And that’s just an example of content repurposing. But when you actually do the work and you do the market research, the content is gonna go farther for you because it’s going to be what your clients are already searching for. Not only on Google, but probably also on Instagram too. If it’s trending on Google, there’s a high likelihood that it’s also gonna do well on Instagram or some other social platform as well.

What are some other ways people can go about brainstorming content ideas?

Elise (18:12):

You can pull from your sales calls, you can pull from testimonials, you can use your client pain points, look at hot topics in the industry, etc! So all of those are places that you can pull from when you’re trying to find new ideas and when you’re choosing your keywords. Once you have those ideas – you can organize them in a place where I call it “the ideas inventory.” So having a place thats digital, that always goes with you, that you can always like store what you want to talk about. It’s good to have a place where all of that lives so that all of your ideas stay in one place.

Elise (18:58):

So whenever you need to start writing you can pull from that. And the actual process that I go through to write is I have the topic, and then from the topic I start brainstorming the headline. And from there I use that to then determine what my keywords are. Because if the keyboards don’t make sense in a sentence, I can’t just force it, it gets awkward really quickly.

Elise (19:45):

And then I use a free headline analyzer to make sure that my headline is scoring well, that it’s readable, and that it’s skimmable because everything has to be skimmable. All my subpoints come from that.

So it’s basically market research, choose your topic, pull from your ideas that you save as you go along. And then I write, I test out writing the headline and test out different keywords.

Dani (21:03):
Yeah, I actually mentioned this in the course, but my ideas come best when I’m in the shower.

Dani (21:10):

They also come to me when I’m driving in silence and it’s because it gives me time to think and reflect. Also when you get off of a session – if you want to just voice memo what happened real quick, that’s also great writing material too. You can use it for gallery blogs and all of that. It’s fresh.

Let’s talk about AI and how it ties into all of this.

Chat GPT and other forms of AI are actually really great for writing a blog and getting ideas. Would I just put what it spits out directly in the blog and call it good? I probably wouldn’t. You want to be original and that AI is grabbing it from someone else who has created on that topic.

The more original you can be, the better. So I guess like to speak on AI, if you need help writing a blog, AI’s not bad, totally use it to spark ideas.

Elise (23:45):

I don’t use it personally because coming up with ideas is not something that I struggle with – for myself or for clients. But it’s a great launching point for ideas. You just have to keep in mind that they’re not doing the strategy for you and they’re not doing it in your voice. They’re not thinking how to stay in line with your brand, your values or your philosophy.

Elise (24:30):

So that’s the thing that’s missing in AI – is it’s not original. It isn’t you and it isn’t necessarily doing any SEO strategy. So it’s a great place to start and then filter that out and use what you can from there. But it’s a good like launching pad for ideas when you feel like you’d need a place to start.

Sometimes we feel too sales-y as entrepreneurs but it’s okay because the goal is to sell to someone. You just want to make sure that you’re selling to your ideal client. So knowing who that is and then providing them with the answers to their questions, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Elise (25:18):

They want you to solve their problem. So I would think of it not as being sales-y, but think of it as “I am solving problems and meeting needs and if we don’t fit then someone else will solve their problem for them.” This is all writing based and that can be overwhelming for photographers because they might not consider themselves writers. They might be more visual based. When I’m writing – I always have whatever photos I’m using for the blog right next to me and pulled up – because a picture is worth a thousand words. It helps me write when I can visualize what I’m writing about. Don’t be afraid to pull from the visual.

What is the difference between content and copy?

So content is what you write that doesn’t necessarily sell. So it isn’t necessarily selling them on anything, but it’s on the path to that. Whereas copywriting is more directly like, this is a sale. I’m trying to get you to, you know, take this step and buy something or book something. So you’re always thinking about “what is my to go into sales and marketing? What is my sales funnel? Where do I capture them and what product or journey do I put my client on?” Starting big and then going small into them making a purchase or booking a service. And so your content is the stuff that raises brand awareness, it establishes your authority. Three questions that I use as a guideline that you’re always kind of answering in any piece of your content are:

Elise (32:01):

  1. Who am I? What are my beliefs? What’s my brand? What are my values?
  2. What do I do? So what am I an expert in? What do I specialize in? How am I different from other people?
  3. What can I do for you?

    So that’s kind of the progression that you’re walking people through as they get introduced to you. They learn what you’re about, they see that what you can do, and then you offer “this is what I can do for you” based on these tips, examples, stories, whatever that may be.

Dani (33:05):

And then you’re just sharing more of your expertise, which again builds that trust. Which is a big factor when people make a big purchasing decision as hiring a wedding photographer, etc. We go through all of this and more in the course that’s now launched in the vault. We’re so excited to get this out to you. It will live in the vault for a very long time and we’ll be updated accordingly, but we’re so excited to have it for you. If you’re feeling really overwhelmed, especially with where to post content and how to have a strategy with content – this is for you! The vault closes on July 31st. Make sure you get in, check out the course with Elise and myself.

Any closing thoughts Elise?

Elise (34:16):
Something else the course covers is that it’s okay to outsource! If you want to do it all yourself – this course can help you do that because it will walk you through. But if a lot of this is still too time sensitive for you and your business – it’s totally okay to outsource. The biggest thing with outsourcing is making sure you understand the foundations of your business so that you can easily pass off the job to someone else who has a solid understanding of your brand tone, voice, and mission.

Elise (36:35):

This is such a big piece that once you have this understood it interweaves into the rest of your business and makes everything easier and lifts a weight off. Creating content and putting yourself out there and marketing is such a core piece of your business. So that finding a way to do this more easily is not another thing to do, like an extra thing. It’s the thing that makes all the things easier to do and that’s why we’re emphasizing this. All of the courses in the vault are so interconnected. And what’s great about this course – is it provides the tools so that when you have this running smoothly, you can add on more things because your baseline is set up and your foundation is secure.

Dani (37:25):

It’s so time efficient, honestly. And in the course we actually have like a workbook and a roadmap for you. We wanted to provide something visual for you to be able to write on and work through so that can see the progress you’re making.

Thanks for joining us Elise – I can’t wait to see how many photographers are blessed by this course!

Join the Vault!





Wondering where you can search keywords for content?! Look below!


Google AdWords

Where you can find Elise and learn more from her

Joy Solutions VA

Elise’s Instagram

Multiple online courses,
Multiple educators.
All in one place.

Every photographer has different experiences, methods, and processes that work for them. but There isn’t a “one size fits all” for running a business. That’s why this vault is changing the photography education game.

check out the vault!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *