02
Feb-2009

Your Audience Mirrors You

It doesn’t really matter whether you are reading this because you are in the process of growing an audience. This piece (I hope) could spark an idea in anyone, even if you’re just thinking about your friends or the company that you keep, however it comes from a music marketing seminar I attended this week where online music marketing expert, Leena Sowambur, blinded the audience with a myriad of marketing techniques and ideas for promoting artists and music related business via the Internet.

Amongst all that was said in a very informative session, was this nugget that got most of the audience thinking. She delivered it via an interaction with a Jazz artist and the point of the exercise was to get us thinking about ways to figure out the potential market for our products and services.

As photographers, we’re in the same position as a musician who wants to make a living doing something that they love doing. Basically, not to put too fine a point on it, who is going to buy our products, engage our services, come to our shows. So it follows that we should be examining ourselves, and coming up with a profile of the types of people who would buy our work, engage us to photograph them and attend any exhibitions in which we are likely to be showing work.

Hmmm, does this means that I have to begin navel gazing and deep thinking about my life? Again! Well not really, what it does mean however is that we can take different aspects of our life and see where people of like interests may be suitable receptacles of our marketing message.

Take for instance, the fact that I am an Arsenal fan. We’re having a hard time at the moment, not as bad as some, but compared to the glory years in the not too distant past, we’re in the uncomfortable position of not being in the top two or even four of the Premiership, currently outside Champions league qualification places, out of the Carling cup, dropping points in games we should be winning, the list could go on for a long time, needless, the point is as an Arsenal fan, can I market my services to Arsenal Football Club?

Well possibly, but there are lots of commercial and sports photographers out there in a better position than I am to market to a large Corporation such as AFC, and sports photography is not my specialism.

However let’s look a little closer, I like football. My nephews play each week in organised leagues, and besides cup final games, I don’t see many photographers on the sidelines, taking pictures of the little ‘Beckhams’ week in week out.

There could be an opening to be the ‘official’ photographer for my local under-11’s team. Most clubs who operated under FA guidelines and leagues, even at those ages have multiple age teams (I think my nephews club has at least 6). So, if I was of the mind to spend Sunday mornings freezing to death taking pictures of kids football games in the vain hope that I’ve captured a future star, I could probably find an audience, who (eventually) would feel obliged to reward my commitment to grassroots football by engaging me as the club photographer.

Most clubs have end of season awards events. If the team does well in cup games or wins the league, then there are opportunities to get your photos in the local press. There are team photos, profile write ups for players, the list could go on. The more work you do for a club, the more your work will get noticed by other clubs. There are opportunities to sell your photo’s to family members proud of what their kids are doing. The list goes on…

Now that wasn’t too deep, I didn’t have to navel gaze too long to get one potential audience for my photography services. Hmmm, Leena may have a point. Maybe I will have a go at recording some of my story in order to see where connections to a potential audience for my work could be found. If you’re in the position where you’re just starting out, or maybe thinking of turning your photography hobby into more of a commercial enterprise, then perhaps you could benefit from doing this exercise as well.

If you want to know more about Leena’s services visit her online marketing services website

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