Public Relations is, quite often, synonymous with the heavy hitters in the wedding industry- from celebrity planners to the five star properties. The tragedy is that wedding professionals may not see the need to diversify their business strategies to include the discipline of Weddng PR.
The good news? Because many wedding professionals do not incorporate it into their own agenda, it is all the more reason to jump on the bandwagon. In a potentially oversaturated market, wedding PR could very well be what makes you stand out from the rest.
Wedding PR should be a necessary component to every wedding company’s strategy, as it forms and fosters your company’s public image on an ongoing basis through various techniques and self promotion. In short, wedding PR tells the world how it should see you.
Wedding PR takes on many forms, and the easiest way to get acclimated is to become a resource for your respective media channels- be it the local newspaper, wedding blog or trade magazine.
I spend a great deal of time speaking with the media, as well as writing for them. What has always absolutely perplexed me, however, is that many of my phone calls end with a journalist’s standard lamentation that they can never get wedding professionals to call them back.
Free press is invaluable and often takes but a moment of one’s time. We’re always talking about the importance of being a resource to your brides, but what about being a resource to the media? If the local wedding publications and wedding blogs needs to get their hands on a red cake, then either provide it for them, or connect them with someone who will. The sooner you become seen as a resource, the quicker you’ll find your name in the headlines.
Not sure where to begin?
For local contacts, comb magazines, newspapers, web sites and blogs to find journalists who may benefit from your area of expertise. If you have friends and colleagues who may have pre-existing relationships with targeted journalists, ask them for assistance in an introduction. If you’re already advertising with certain wedding magazines and wedding blogs, ask your sales representative who would be a relevant contact from the newsroom.
From there, create, and continue to update, a wedding PR media list for when the time comes to share newsworthy information and events about your company. When you do find yourself featured down the road, this list will come in handy so you can immediately send along a thank you, expressing your gratitude for the press.
In the wedding industry, many blogs, e-zines and magazines already list instruction as to how to pitch them, often in their “contact us” page. This is exceptionally helpful for those with unique services and products, as the media is always interested in fresh content. Oftentimes, they also offer you the opportunity to contribute your very own article. Should you find that you have a particular knack for writing, this is a wonderful avenue to find yourself some instant press.
There are also several, sometimes complimentary, programs to assist you with your wedding PR strategies. Help a Reporter Out (HARO), is a free, online service that instantly allows you to become a source to nearly an unlimited amount of media outlets. HARO sends three sets of queries straight from the journalists, three times a day, Monday through Friday. It’s then simply a matter of finding one that matches, and pitching the journalist. If the journalist is interested in using you for his or her article, then will be in touch and suddenly, you’ll find yourself serving as a resource for the wedding industry.
You may also want to consider joining Two Bright Lights, a relatively new online marketing and public relations program that streamlines the process of submitting wedding photography to blogs and magazines. This is a particularly effective program that allows you to upload up to one hundred images per wedding, add all the wedding professionals involved and fun wedding details, and then submit to a host of well regarded wedding blogs and magazines. The cost to join is minimal and the return, invaluable.
Above all, remember this: do not assume that the rest of the world knows about you and your going ons, and by all means, don’t be afraid to broadcast it. Before long, you too could be front page news thanks to your wedding PR strategies.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. She is regular contributor to wedding marketing journal WedLock magazine and offers wedding marketing and wedding pr advice for wedding professionals in her Weddzilla advice column “Ask OFD.” She loves ruffle table runners and Royal Wedding Tchotchkes.