Content Creation

Use Photo and Video to Shine Online

Use Photo and Video to Shine Online

By Lauren Shults 

When people find your site, first impressions are important. Your website is your first opportunity to communicate your brand, and folks will leave your site with just a click if they don’t absolutely love what they see. On successful and sleek websites, visual elements like photo and video are used to catch the eye, hook the reader, and communicate a firm’s personal brand.

On one of our favorite designer sites, TRIO Environments, videos and photos show what words alone won’t: personal flair, professionalism, and a stunning portfolio. So, how can you use visual elements to persuade potential clientele to choose your firm over the competition?

Photo and Video

Images engage, but videos captivate. Videos go beyond and give the audience more opportunity to understand you and your work. Remember, you’re an interior designer, so visually showing what you can do is extremely important, and your website should be your personal playground to show the client what you have to offer. Pristine images are also essential, but videos give life to your project. Seeing space in motion will allow the audience to feel the environments you create.

Where will the video be played? Take a look at your analytics to see where most of your traffic is coming from. Are most of your visitors coming from a desktop or mobile? A phone screen is only a few inches wide, allowing you to see less detail. Try to make mobile content more basic, showing whole ideas and not precise details. If you’re going to show detail, be sure to be close and zoomed in enough to allow the viewer to understand it. In contrast, with desktop content, there is more flexibility to show the world all you’ve got. Still image composition should generally follow the same guidelines considering mobile versus desktop traffic.

 

Parker Torres’ Ritz Carlton design photos show the perfect amount of detail for a desktop site – making all elements clearly visible. Click to see more of their exquisite work!

The Content

 Walking Clients Through the Process

Consider shooting a video clip of behind the scenes action, showing the authenticity of your practice and style. Allowing your audience to see snippets of your design process will make them more interested in your interiors, and make your work more personal – which is essential for crafting a personal brand.

Testimonials

Including testimonials will make people understand more of who you are while giving credibility to your practice. On your website, consider adding a video of people talking about their experience with you or quotes in text. These personal accounts allow people to see who you’ve connected with and give reality to your interiors. Honesty and transparency will make the people want to come back to you because you mean business!

Completed Projects

Potential clients will be looking at your projects to decide if they want to work with you. Be sure only to share your best work, highlighting what you prefer to do. If you specialize in residential, but also design for restaurants, put more emphasis on home interiors. Showcase your best work, but more importantly, the work you want to do. Remember, you attract the business you advertise!

Post!

You can shine online. Your content is the mass of what people are going to see at first glance, and you want them to stick around! Make your name memorable and one to come back to. Show your personality and brand online!

 

Interior Design Blog Challenge

Interior Design Blog Challenge

Time for an update on my interior design blog challenge. Well, it is not easy to keep this up, and I may not hit my goal of 30 posts and 30 links in 60 days, but I have been working on this every day, and I am really excited about some of the content that I have written on here and on the Walls by Design site. What do they say in weight loss…focus on progress and not perfection? It is hard to come up with good engaging content that might get you traffic, but I think it gets easier over time. The more I dive into this, the more good ideas pop into my head. I would suggest when a good idea hits you (and it can be at ALL hours of the day or night), email or text it to yourself. I find that while I might not have a pad of paper on me, I usually always have my phone or tablet.

Check out two of the posts that I just created this week for my painting Shiplap siding in the Imagine Home showroom in Atlantacustomers. The first one is called White Kitchen Cabinets. It is an article all about the rising popularity and frequently asked questions that come up around painting cabinets. The other article I wrote is about Painting Shiplap Siding. Shiplap has gained a ton of attention and has become a trend in the last five years or so. A friend of mine just built a house in Wisconsin (you may remember me talking about it on a recent show), and has had some problems with the paint. I helped her understand why it happened and thought it would make a good blog post for others.
The key to making a great interior design blog is to create content that people want. Too often I read blog posts about what people are doing (like a diary) and I’m not sure that is the best use of a blog. I believe you should have your personality come through in your blog, and personalize the subject (like mentioning my friend in the shiplap post), but it should not be the major focus. Not even close. You have to think through what your customers or potential customers would want to read, or what they are searching for.

In my last post, I talked about some ways to brainstorm, but here’s a list (Google loves lists guys!):

  • Look at competitor’s sites. Are they doingzillow website anything you like? Do they do anything you want to avoid? Do they have links on their site that can drive traffic? Can you get these same links?
  • Read blogs on sites like Houzz, Zillow, smaller blogs like Dwell Beautiful, and your local shelter magazine.
  • Make a list of FAQs that you get asked ALL THE TIME.
  • Type things into Google and see what auto populates. That is what people are searching for.

Give it away!

Don’t be afraid of giving too much info away on your interior design blog. I think designers are afraid they are giving out their ideas, and it’s just not true. You have to look at the bigger picture. Think about chefs. They give out their exact recipes, and they get more and more famous. Why? It is not the recipes that people want, it is the person. Engage. I love Bobby Flay. Check out his recipes here. I know it comes down to an idea of abundance or scarcity. You either believe there is enough for everyone or you don’t.

Great, that is easy for you to say, Nick, but are you doing it? YES. I just wrote a blog post that listed out at least 30 of my painting competitors in Denver. Check out the link here: Best Paint Contractors in Denver. I spell it all out, then I let people know why I am being so open with my competitors. BUT, there is a sneaky reason I did it too. I think it would be cool if people search for my competition, and my article about them pops up. How awesome would that be?
But that isn’t giving away my secret sauce Nick, you might be thinking. Well, I will be writing a blog post on exactly how we are painting kitchen cabinets. It is very unique, has been HUGE for us, but no one else is doing it.

Painting cabinet process

That is my secret sauce, and I’m going to tell people how to do it. Why? Because no one will do it. We all think we have these top secret ideas. There is nothing new under the sun. It is the implementation and action that gets things to happen, and the reason why people come back to you. That is why Bobby Flay is so successful. It is who he is, how he does it, and not what he does.

Back to brass tacks.

So, I built a list of potential blog posts. After doing extensive competitor research, I went back to my website and looked at it with fresh eyes. What did I not like? I changed out some pictures. I updated some old copy. I corrected things that were not accurate any longer. When was the last time you updated your site? Not just put up a new blog post (even though most of you haven’t even done that in a while), but put up new information, pictures of yourself, your team, etc? Google rewards websites that get updated on a regular basis. You need to update your interior design blog regularly.

Profile Pic Update

Your old profile pic from 10 years ago is not good! I know how hard it is to get good profile pics, but it doesn’t have to be. Have you been to an event recently that had a photographer? There is almost always a photographer that someone is paying to record the event. Ask them to take a few pics of you with a vignette backdrop. When I was in High Point for Market in the spring, I was waiting for my next guest to come, and I started talking to their photographer they had sent over. I asked him if he was getting a fee to just be there…he was. So I asked him to take some pictures of me that I could use. He did, and they are my new favorites! Here are a few of them.

Nick May in High Point

Once you have these updated pics, update your website with them and use them in your social media profiles.
Do you have a team? What about doing a page on each of your team members or at least your main leaders. I have a team page where we do this on our artists. Not everyone is online (that is a job in and of itself), but check out my Artist Page. When I go to do research on a designer to interview, I want to see their team; I want to know about them and read about them.

Back to blogging. Do you see how many things you could blog about? There are endless possibilities, and it is not just to fill a page and keep it active. Think through it, and figure out what keywords people are searching for. One last idea. Go to Instagram and look to see what images people are commenting about. What is trending? Write about it from your perspective. Now go write something! For the next post, I will talk about backlinks: What are they, and why you need them.

-Nick

If you want to connect with Nick May and The Chaise Lounge, please do so on our website at TheChaiseLounge.com where we talk the business of interior design.

60 Day Interior Design Blog – Get FAT- Challenge

60 Day Blog – Get FAT- Challenge

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE a good challenge. I want to challenge you to an interior design blog focus for 60 days.  self made podcastI just got back from vacation and I am fired up! I found a new podcast while I was driving called Self Made Entrepreneurs by Jason Bax, and I got a lot out of it. I will admit, a lot of the content is a bit advanced, but there are lots of actionable items in there too.

One of the guests that inspired me was a guy named Chris Huntley, who is an insurance salesman. That’s right, an insurance salesman, or I should say, marketer. His websites create about 2000 leads for his team per month. He no longer writes policies himself.  On top of his main site, Huntley Wealth Insurance, he also is trying to help other insurance agents build online web traffic through eLifeTools.com. What stood out to me though, is that he is now able to work in his business only 20 hours a week and gross over $1M in commissions per year. He has built a great system.

Because of this, I decided if he can do it with insurance then I need to do it with my painting business. We already have some great traffic that goes to the site, but my fear is that we drive a lot of it with paid posts on Facebook. So I want to really build this with some action. And since I have two websites to build, I am going to try to do it in BOTH places: WallsbyDesign.com and here on The Chaise Lounge podcast site. I will attempt to share what I am doing over on the Walls by Design site as much as possible, but you will see what I am doing here in real time. My challenge to you is to keep up.  In 60 days, can you create 30 interior design blog posts and obtain 30 quality back-links? YES! And I am going to walk you through it. So if you want to keep up, please subscribe, and you will get every update I post. My goal is  3 posts per week, but maybe I will do more. One of the things I know we need to build into our goals is the OSLH (Oh Sh%# Life Happened) factor, so that is why my goal is 30 in 60. I know I can hit that.

Why would you want to do this? Because you need to build traffic to your website, and not just use it as a digital brochure.  Your social media should be a tool to send traffic to your site. Content creation, or blogging, is only one aspect of this.  Think of it as a spider web, with your website in the middle. You want all the social media activity, and your blogging, to bring people in. Then you need to convert these people into prospects. Then, it is your job to sell them on yourself and your business so that they pay you money for your interior design services.

So, I am going to start very basic, so that everyone is following me. If you get impatient, just hang on, and it will get good…just like a roller coaster. Remember the part where the car goes up the big hill very slowly? Then, all of a sudden, you crest the hill and scream down the other side. Yea! It will be just like that.

So, what did I do first? The first thing I did was set aside time each day on my calendar to get this done. Oh, and it’s early. I decided to get up at 4:45 each day, so I could be at my computer by 5:00 am. Need my coffee. Then, I read and figure out what I needed to start on. I would print it out and make notes so you can track what you are doing. I am doing that with the blogs I am reading.

You might need to set up Google Analytics on your interior design blog. I have this already on both of my sites. I am not technical, so if you need help, go talk to my friends at VA Staffer.  They do all the tech stuff on my site. I don’t think it’s hard, but I don’t care to spend the time to learn it. Anyway, you should have Google Analytics connected to your site so that you can track your performance. It will tell you what kind of traffic you have, where it comes from, and what pages people like. We are sitting at about 2,000 visits per year for my Walls by Design site right now, so that will be my baseline.

Next, you might want to do a competitive analysis, and find out who are the top designers in your area. I did this and found that I hit the top 25 painting contractors in Denver according to Expertise.com. Not sure if it will have data for you, but you can check it out. There are also tools out there that you can use to check out the competition: semrush.com. You simply enter their web address, and you can find out all sorts of data. It will only allow you to do a few for free, and then it will require you to join, so use it sparingly.

So what did I do today to move the needle?

  • I searched for any websites that listed me as a reference or quoted me but did not have a link to my website. Then, I reached out and contacted three that fit this criteria and asked them to include a link. This is great because you most likely already have a good relationship with them, so it can easily be done.
  • I made a list of companies I could do testimonials for and sent one out.
  • I reached out to two blogs that I could create content for that would then contain a backlink to my site.

I have not written my first blog post yet, but I brainstormed on topics. However, I am working on this one, so does that count? I also came up with a list of where to get blog post ideas:  Competitor sites, interior design blogs, Google search (the auto populate thing is awesome), and tried to think about what bloggers would like to link to.

I was contacted by another podcaster for content, so I will be recording something and receiving a link on his website. Not sure too many of you will have this option unless you started a podcast. Well, that is all for now. Let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to leave a comment below.

-Nick

If you want to connect with Nick May and The Chaise Lounge, please do so on our website at TheChaiseLounge.com where we talk the business of interior design.

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