Marketing 101: Value your Work

Hellissandur, Snæfellsnes, Iceland

How many times have you heard: “You will get exposure in return” for your time, your photograph, or your knowledge?

Last week I got an email from a so-called marketing expert that illustrated the extent of the problem. Here is what the email said:

I wanted to reach out to you about the “<clip> Marketing <clip>” podcast to see if you would be open to being a featured expert in a future episode. The podcast is aired on iTunes <clip> days a week, and is a daily interview featuring successful professional photographers and marketing experts. Episodes are short, around 30 – 40 mins. in length to maximize both engagement and action.

Here’s a link to the episodes so far: <clip>

I know lots of people would love to hear more from you about your educational resources and landscape photography, and I’m more than happy to help promote you in any way I can. The goal with this program is to bring solid marketing know-how to professional photographers, and your insights and photography tips can help breathe some much-needed new life into the industry.

After doing some research, I found out that the marketing expert was providing a paid service to other photographers to market their work. In other words, he wanted me to share my knowledge with his clients for free. I agreed to go on the podcast if the marketing expert could make it worthwhile for me to share my hard-earned knowledge. No sooner had I send him this email when I got the following response back from our marketing expert:

Hey, no worries, I found someone else, but thanks for responding anyway.

It is ironic that the marketing expert who wanted me to “help breathe some much-needed new life into the industry” is unwilling to pay for knowledge that he will use to make money from his clients. We have encountered this situation before and here is our advice:

Create Value for Your Work – Never give away your work for free. This could mean that you’ll lose out on some opportunities to gain immediate exposure, but it will help you become established as someone who is providing unique content… whether it is your photographs, article, techniques, or tips.

We learned this lesson a long time ago… and have declined several exposure-related deals. This is one reason why we pay our contributing authors for every article they submit… and help them sell their work on our website.

The Right Kind of Exposure – If you are giving away your work for just the exposure, ask yourself this question:

  • Will this expose my work to the right kind of audience?

Your return for exposure does not necessarily have to be an immediate monetary value. It may be to build up your client base for future return or to help you break into new markets.

Have you been approached by clients asking for FREE stuff in return for Exposure? If so, we would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below…