Case Study: Stefanie Diamond Photography - The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web (2014)

The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web (2014)

Case Study: Stefanie Diamond Photography

We’re going to end The Digital Crown by showcasing a woman who truly deserves to wear it. In this case study, you will meet Stefanie Diamond, who transformed her professional life by creating and distributing powerful content that grew her business from a part-time gig to a full-blown photography business in just 2 years.

Can you imagine deciding you want a major life change and then actually acting on it? Stefanie spent 13 years in marketing and public relations, her last role as the director of marketing and communications for the American Cancer Society. While she loved her career, there was always a voice in the back of her head yearning for something different. After years of dreaming about it, she decided to pursue photography.

Stefanie reminisces that as far back as she can remember she had a camera in her hand. “I loved taking pictures of friends, of places, even trying to capture my ‘favorite rock’ at camp. So many of my memories are based on photos I have.” As the mother of three girls, she has tried to document so much of their lives in photographs. Her mother would often tell her to put the camera down and actually watch her kids with her eyes, not through the camera lens, but to Stefanie that’s how she sees life—in the photographs she takes, in the memories she captures.

Stefanie started by taking newborn portraits. She called two friends who were at the end of their pregnancies and asked if she could take pictures of their newborns to start her portfolio. Twenty-four months and 240 clients later, Stefanie works full-time as a photographer at Stefanie Diamond Photography, photographing newborns, children, families, and events. She books weeks and often months in advance and is the most sought-after photographer in her area.

Stefanie has never advertised—not one time. Her entire business grew by word of mouth through recommendations passed from friends and families who were satisfied customers, as well as by posting her highly entertaining photographs on Facebook and her blog. Stefanie says, “Quality is your best advertisement. When you deliver a consistent product and your heart is behind it, that’s all the advertising you need.” Stefanie says that people come from all over and will drive for hours with their children to have family portraits taken by her.

Stefanie saw the popularity of her Facebook posts soar when she began writing a blog. She blogs after most sessions, as a way to showcase her images and tell her clients’ stories. “I was born a writer,” she said. “Everybody has a story and now I can tell it in both images and words.” Stefanie’s clients share their blog posts and photographs within their own social networks, creating exponential reach for Stefanie’s business, something we talked about in Chapter 5: Engagement Strategies.

Because of her marketing training, Stefanie knows she can’t manage what she cannot measure. She spends time every week analyzing her metrics, seeing which posts people shared and what blogs are most popular. She likes the stats package on her Blogger blog and checks Facebook metrics as well. Stefanie posts on Facebook daily so she stays top of mind for clients and potential clients. She blogs throughout the week, although she only promotes each image and blog post once because she wants to be respectful and not over-clutter her clients’ news feeds.


With posts like this one, it’s easy to see why Stefanie’s content is so popular.

“Sharing your content is a balance between tooting your own horn and focusing on your clients. I don’t say I’m the best—I need to focus on my customers. Instead of saying, ‘I did an amazing job making her eyes look blue, instead I say, look at how blue her eyes are’.”

“To me the customer experience has to be center to everything I do,” Stefanie says (Rule #1: Start with Your Audience). “People really care about the experience they have and the attention you give them,” she said. “When you make them feel like their experience is the only one that matters that day, they truly appreciate it.”


Stefanie’s relatable style makes her posts fun, even when you don’t get pictures of goose poop.

Right now Stefanie wears almost all of the hats in her business. She does have a process in place for managing and distributing her content: she writes her blogs and her sister edits them, as well as helps her choose the right accompanying images.

Stefanie knows that there are thousands of other photographers out there doing newborn shoots, cake smashes, and lovely family photos in autumn leaves. As she says, “Everything has been done. The challenge is putting your own spin on things and making them yours. My work has a unique look that customers recognize and come back to again and again.”


Just look at this cake smash. It’s hard to know who or what you want to eat first.

No matter what the size of your business, as we’ve seen in all of our case studies, content is challenging for everyone. Mastering it requires finding the sweet spot at the intersection of people, process, and technology.