Let’s be honest! Running a free photo stock is a dream come true! Kaboompics is the apple of my eye, and I love it. However… Lots of people ask me the same question once they found out what do I do. The question usually goes like this – “Is it possible to make a living just giving out free pics?”
Well, it depends. I always treated photography as a passion first, business much much later. I think that a big part of me is a perfectionist, as I have a rather critical approach to the photos I take. That’s probably the reason why I started distributing them for free.
Kaboompics grew from a hobby to a full-fledged service over the years. I learned a lot during this time. About photography, trends, preparation of photo sessions, working with stylists, photo equipment, and other interesting stuff. What’s more, through the use of the trial-and-error method, blog-reading, guide-reading, and watching tutorials I managed to learn a few things about blogging and running social media.
Now I am way more confident about my photos but turning Kaboompics into a paid photo stock is not an option. Why? Because I’ve managed to build an online community. I know that there are people who know perfectly well what Kaboompics is, who stand behind it, and I want them to be sure that whenever they come to visit, there will be a new set of free photos waiting for them.
Today, I want to share 5 main rules that I followed when managing my website, blog, and social media.
They help me in building an amazing online community. You can try them out, modify to your taste, or perhaps they will work as a clue that will help you to establish your own steps.
Whatever it is, remember that there is a huge power hidden in people, so if you have a strong, reliable online community, treat it with care! If you don’t have one yet, start from here:
1. Find the right people
You surely have a hobby. Everyone does, though some hobbies are way more common than others. However, it is almost impossible to never come across a person that has similar interests to ours. And you know what? Since the beginning of the days, minds that think alike were being pulled towards each other by the unknown forces.
Now we have the internet and people don’t have to look far in order to find someone who has the same hobby – there are forums, websites, and there is, of course, Facebook with bazillions of groups full of people who like a particular kind of bird, for example.
Don’t know where to start? Make a Quora account. It’s a question-and-answer site. It will help you define your particular interests and assign you to groups of people with same hobbies. There you can ask questions and follow discussions, and you’ll find the right way quickly.
2. Let them see and hear you
So. Go and find your group!
Find people who are like you, and with whom you can share experiences. Learn from them, be active, present yourself from the best perspective and this can become your seed that will help you grow a greater online community in the future. In such places, you may even meet people, who can become your friends with time. And that’s more valuable than hundreds of subscribers.
Create your online personality and show it to the world.
If you don’t have one already, set up your website, go for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, maybe Youtube? Or anything else that can help you share your content and meet people, who are as positively wacky as you are.
Send a clear message – ‘Hey! I am just like you! And have a lot to say about this thing we like, I’m sure that we can learn a lot from each other.’ Be genuine about it. If you feel it, others will feel it too.
During your journey, you will have to face the Evil Google Crawlers! They will analyze your every internet appearance. They decide whether your blog gets to the top of search results, or will be downcasted into the oblivion that is Google second page. Whether you like it or not, you must have some sort of basic understanding of SEO. If you want your page to position in the top, high quality backlinks are something you definitely need.
3. Build a stronger connection
Well, now we come to the part that’s very important, but probably a bit dull.
If you managed to get through the first two steps, you should by now own an operational network consisting of your website, social media, and maybe some other channels like a Reddit account. It may become quite challengeable to stay active on all those channels. Especially when you consider that now all visitors live in the same time zone. Here’s when you need a plan.
You should prepare a content calendar that would include all your social media profiles and other sources that you use to stay in touch with your community.
Plan in advance what will be published when, and don’t miss any important events that you can connect with your niche. Let it become your routine so that your followers will know you’re a conscientious person.
There are tools that can help you share your content without you having to set everything manually. Facebook, for example, has the built-in tool that can be used to plan the exact time of entries publication. I can recommend Buffer because it handles all the main social media services.
4. Deliver good content
You have guests! People come to your website and want to stay for a while. That’s great. Now, you just have to make sure they’ll be cyclically coming back.
By providing unique, valuable content.
At Kaboompics, photos play the main part. They are the biggest piece of the pie I have to offer.
However, I must constantly remind my users that there are other, equally tasty pieces of the pie on my website. Therefore I keep sharing all the blog posts throughout the social media, add surveys, or inform about changes and novelties. I also publish both my new and old photoshoots on a daily basis.
I’m really glad that I started a newsletter, the results are promising. My subscribers receive freebies that are not available at Kaboompics, as well as the fresh information, updates, news, and best blog posts. The list is growing, and analyzing the newsletter stats helps me determine the best content for my users. You have something to share? Create a newsletter now!
There’s a lot you can do with an online form builder, which is a tool that helps you create the different type of forms. If you don’t have an idea for your newsletter ‘box’, or you want to include a contact form on your page, this can offer a solution. You can even set up a shop!
Always strive for more. Aim higher and higher.
Ever heard about the Law of Attraction? The positive things you do can multiply, if you believe in yourself and you put effort into everything you do, life is bound to provide you with more opportunities! Stay in touch with your community, and take it to the point when great numbers of people will decide that you are the person whose example they can follow. Offer your help, guidance, your sincerity.
Believe in yourself and you will be surprised how big an impact on your environment it can make.