Last year at this time I wrote a post about what we had learned from our first year as full time photographers. We spent lots of time wandering around in the dark and took a few wrong turns along the way. Our subscription community did not work out the way we had hoped and marketing on social media produced very little return on investment.
Our second year in the photography business was quite different. Over the past year, success came from a few unexpected sources and we spent more time fine-tuning our business model to take advantage of those sources.
Refining our Content Creation – Varina was responsible for starting our content creation strategy a few years ago by creating a simple blog on her site. This year the content creation strategy took a giant leap forward. Besides content from Varina and me, we also have a team of some of the world’s best landscape photographers contributing content to Visual Wilderness.
Creating InFocus Magazine Earlier this year we transformed our newsletter into the more formal InFocus Magazine. We used blog content to tell stories and to deliver consistent high-quality photography tips to our newsletter subscribers. This content keeps our subscribers engaged and creates a value for subscribing to our newsletter.
InFocus Deals – This year started with a strong focus on expanding our marketing efforts with the creation of InFocus Deals. InFocus Deals partners with other landscape photographers to offer a landscape photography educational package with steep discounts. This was our first year running InFocus Deals and, like all new ventures, we messed up a few things with our first deal. But we continue to refine our approach and we look forward to more of these deals in the future.
Era of Partnerships – In 2015 we started forming a partnership with other photographers to create more value-added content for our video course. This gives the partners the opportunity to jointly market their courses. Today that partnership is limited to producing post-processing videos, but we have plans to expand it in the coming year.
Scaling up Finance and Logistics – In 2014 we had all the financial logistical tools in place to deliver eBooks and video content for our customers. In 2015, our logistical and financial systems were scaled up to handle several terabytes of video downloads from multiple photographers. We did go through a few operational glitches before getting this right.
End of Workshops – With our renewed focus on our content marketing strategy, we led our final workshop in October of 2013. We still speak at events and we’ll attend workshops organized by others if they are profitable for us, but for now we are not organizing our own workshops.
This year, there were fewer strategic mistakes but more operational ones related to scaling up of our content delivery on Visual Wilderness. Our goals for the third full year of operation is to create more value-added content for our customers and to bring more marketing opportunities for Visual Wilderness contributors.
And, if you are a photographer or business who is interested in working with Visual Wilderness, feel free to send us an email. 😉