Wedding PR: Why Press Matters for the Wedding Professional

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.

Wedding PR Myths

Wedding PR, in the form of featured weddings in magazines and blogs, is an attractive notion to most wedding professionals. The idea of having our names in lights with the hope of building our wedding business and increasing sales has become a more popular notion over the last several years. In order to build a strong Wedding PR plan, however, it’s imperative to understand the top Wedding PR myths and challenges that you may face along the way.

If I have any amazing wedding, it will get picked up by a blog or magazine.

I’ve seen this time and time again. A wedding professional will come to me with a wedding for the ages- beautiful bride, memorable details and a great story to accompany it. In a perfect world, wedding blogs and magazines would be clamoring for this opportunity, but the fact is, sometimes it’s far more difficult to place than one may realize, especially if aiming for print.

Editorial calendars in the industry vary and you could have a fabulous fall themed wedding this past year that didn’t make the cut simply because the next round of magazines were aiming for submissions Spring/Summer 2012. Deadlines come and go very quickly and magazines often are working 6-9 months ahead of time, if not longer. Sure you could wait for the next round of Calls for Submission, but by then, the wedding may be far too old to be considered. This means the window of opportunity to submit to the right publication may be much smaller than you think.

The remedy? Keep track of the editorial calendars of local and national magazines to ensure you don’t miss that opportunity to showcase the very best of what you do.

If I have great images, my Wedding PR campaign will be successful.

Real wedding submissions are based in part on fabulous images but what most people don’t realize is that there are far more pieces to the puzzle. A beautifully shot wedding is a great start, but if they don’t include the fresh inspirational details in which the blogs and magazines want, then the odds of it getting published are greatly diminished.

A good submission will also include all of the details necessary to make life easier on the media- from a list of vendors and the contact information for the bride and groom to a general recap of the day’s events and why this particular wedding was so special.

Wedding PR will is a waste at the local level- I want to be BIG.

It’s easy for any of us to get the proverbial stars in our eyes when we experience the gratification of a national wedding blog or magazine feature. Look out wedding world, we say, I’m going big time. With this, we may start to put less priority on the blogs and magazine at the local level, simply because they won’t get the same traffic and prestige as the “big dogs.”

The fact is however, most wedding companies operate at the regional level. Their targeted brides tend to be the ones in their neighborhoods, who shop at their grocery stores and complain about the same expensive car shop down the road. They may certainly be spending their days perusing blogs and magazines from across the US, but they’re more than likely following the local media more regularly.

The local blogs and magazines may not give you the starry eyes you may get when you see your name on the national stage, but they are just as important in staying in touch with “your” bride.
Wedding PR has been found to consistently give wedding professionals a competitive edge while also building their brand. By understanding the above myths and how to overcome them, you will be the one with stars in your eyes in no time.

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.

Start Your Own Wedding Blog

So you live here and your fiancé lives five states away. Or, you both live in the same area, but only speak to your families through IM as the fastest way to communicate with them. With the distances between everyone, it’s simply practical to set up your very own personal wedding blog to keep everyone abreast of details leading up to your nuptials. Then your excited mother, your nosey aunt and all your friends will know where and when the wedding ceremony and reception will be, what to get you, and what to wear, among other important stuff.

While most wedding blogs are informative how-to’s that address much of the what-when-where (and sometimes even the why), they are often generic blogs brides like you would read to get tips and ideas for your wedding. Your personal wedding blog is different; it’s a planning blog, as well as a venue for announcements and cries for help. You can be as elaborate or as simple as you want, Either sign up for a free blog (with blogger or wordpress or livejournal – you choose what works for you) or register for your own domain and build your own blogsite from hard code html, which you might enjoy if you actually built websites for a living. Keep in mind, it may also cost you more money paying for the domain name and webspace. Whichever way you go, you can upload pictures and have personal message boards for interactive commentary from your friends and family.

Your choices of wedding reception hall, wedding ceremony designs, and other ideas can be backed up with second, third, and fourth opinions as you can post photos on your wedding blog and ask your friends and family for comments. This will help narrow down your choices and will make your family and friends feel more involved with your big date. They can also suggest wedding suppliers in the area and post their own experiences, giving insights useful not only to yourself but to other friends as well.

The wedding blog is also a great coordination site. You can set up a message board which will serve as an official online RSVP. You can also post announcements about color, motif, dress and any changes to these, as well as downloadable maps and directions to the wedding ceremony and reception. You can also set up an online wedding registry, which several stores have already been providing, and even deliver, to your new home.

Finally, some wedding blogs out there start out as personal planning, pre-wedding blogs and are maintained after the wedding, as the bloggers enjoy commentary on other weddings and give their own tips and lists of things-I-should-have-done. You could end up with the same, also. Happy blogging!

Wedding Blog – What is It?

It is increasingly popular for couples to start their wedding blog. In fact it can be treated as your wedding website and you can put the information of their wedding on it such that the guests can be informed from time to time. On the other hand, you can also share your experience with other couples who are going to marry and it may lead to better decisions in your wedding planning.

There are plenty of websites which provide free blog building services. Even Google and Yahoo provide such free services. You can just sign up and start your blog immediately. On the contrary, there are also websites which provide such services with a small fee. You can also register your own domain and install the software you need so that you can have a more personalized wedding blog. You may need do a little bit of research on pros and cons of these choices. In this article, we will not talk about the technical issues. Instead, we will focus on what you write in your blog.

First of all, you should write with your sincere. The main purpose of your blog is to share your experience. You are not trying to show off anything. Instead you are expressing yourself. This is in fact one way to release the stress during your wedding planning.

You can talk about everything what you encounter during your wedding planning. You can tell others how you save money on items such as your wedding invitations. Besides the money saving tips, you may also share with the others how you choose your reception venue and wedding favor. You may even introduce shops, probably online shops, which provide elegant wedding items. You can certainly tell the others if you find a company which offers beautiful and unique wedding invitations.

The idea of sharing is indeed to encourage couples to help one another. Other brides or grooms may also leave their comments and share their experiences in your blog. You can also visit their blogs to see how they handle the issues they encounter during wedding planning. By doing this a community will be formed and certainly you may find a lot of tips and insight from the experience of the others.

For the comments to your posts, you should be critical when you are reading them. You should never trust any comment without a critical mind since the comments may be just given by companies which are trying to promote their services. As a result, you should always discuss with the authors of other wedding blogs to see if the comments are just spam from the wedding vendors.

There is no definite answer for the frequency of updating your blog. Some couples will update their blogs around once a week and some may do it everyday. You can start writing a new post when you encounter something new and exciting. At the end of the day it is not a job but a way to share your experience. Of course your readers will be a lot happier if you can update your blog everyday.

Wedding Marketing Tips and Ideas – Should I Blog?

How important is having a blog for your wedding business?

Your blog is ten times more important than your website. Surprised? Let me tell you why.

Every minute there are billions of bits of data being added to the volumes of information already online. If your website isn’t being changed, updated or added to regularly you can’t possibly expect it to keep coming up high in search rankings. If it’s all made in flash, forget about it. Spiders cannot read flash. Just a side note, to find out if your website is readable and search engine friendly just try highlighting the words on it. If you can’t highlight the words then your website isn’t dynamic and you won’t ever rank high in search engines.

As everyone knows, your website doesn’t do you any good if no one finds it, so you must have good ranking. Also, if your website is just lying there and never changing, the search engines have no reason to revisit it. It has been indexed and forgotten.

If on the other hand your site is:

• dynamic and
• you’re constantly adding more information to it than it will constantly being reviewed by the search spiders.
• The more often they come by to index you, the higher you go in the rankings.
The problem is that most websites aren’t easy to update. By design they are more of an online brochure and you either have to be pretty tech savvy to update it or you have to call your webmaster, write a check again and hope he can fit you in and get it updated. Doing that weekly gets expensive and annoying.
Blogs, on the other hand are designed to be updated easily, frequently and BY YOU!

Every time you update your blog you are:

• adding more keywords and more relevant content to your site.
• Plus, a well designed blog sends a signal out to the search engines every time you change anything. The search spiders come to see what the buzz is and index your new information. The more information of yours they have indexed the better chance you have of popping up high in a search for your product or service.

With a website you cannot possible include every detail and off the wall search terms some bride may use.

In a blog, you are always

• talking about something different
• by default you are adding a very diverse list of possible terms they may put together.

Take for an example a wedding florist; on their website they probably have terms like wedding bouquet and wedding centerpiece and a few more well thought out keywords.

Now think about their blog. One post may be talking about the blue hydrangeas they used with pink roses to create a brides bouquet. The next one may mention simple country centerpieces with dahlias and daisies. Rather than just bouquet and centerpiece, the florist can add the search terms: pink roses, Blue hydrangea, Hydrangea, Simple centerpieces, daisies, Dahlias. If the florist was savvy enough to add good titles to the pictures they posted, they also added some fodder for Google Image Search. Now multiply this by 2 or 3 posts a week over the course of a year you are bound to have more keywords than a single website could ever possibly contain.

Are you starting to see why blogs work?

Blogging is easier than you think. If you don’t read blogs you may be a bit confused as to just what a blog is.

A blog is not

• a diary of what you had for breakfast; it is
• a place for you to share what you are passionate about. Now I am willing to bet that every one of you got into your segment of the wedding industry because you were passionate about it; Every week you do what you are passionate about, share it. Talk about it, give me 100 words about why those pink roses looked so good with that blue hydrangea. Or tell me why you hate it that brides want blue hydrangeas when they are off season and bound to look less than you would like.

Are you a photographer that just discovered a new toy on Photoshop? Show brides why you think it is so cool and how you knowing about it will benefit her photos. Are you a bridal salon that just discovered a dress style that does wonders on pear shaped figures? Show her. DJ’s, is there some song that suddenly has become a new favorite for the Father Daughter Dance? Let’s hear it.

Become a Top Wedding Planner – 6 Things To Include In Every Blog Post That Will Help Attract Brides

As a new wedding planner, you may have a beautiful blog, filled with photographs of brides and grooms, wedding design inspiration, reception food, and wedding gowns. Brides love to look at all of these things. But, you can’t just have brides stopping by once or twice to admire your photos. You need brides to read your posts, return to your blog often, recognize you as an expert in your field, and be motivated to contact you to be their wedding planner.

Here is a checklist of 6 things your blog posts should include in order to entice brides to read and return:

1) A headline that refers to the subject of your post and grabs a bride’s attention

Avoid headlines such as, “The Wedding of Jane and John.” A bride would more likely stop to read your post if it referred to an aspect about the wedding that would interest her. For example, use the theme as the headline, “A Country Chic Wedding,” instead of the names of your couple.

2) An intriguing opening paragraph

Start with a few sentences telling your brides what the post is about. As planners, we love giving details, but save them for later. Here, you want to get them interested in reading your entire post.

3) Great content

Don’t just post a lot of photos and say, “aren’t these pretty?” You must provide content. Tell brides why a photo is relevant to them and offer some expert advice. For example, if your photo features a wedding cake, talk about the cake in the photo, then give tips on selecting the right cake and the right cake designer or baker.

4) Relevant posts

Your blog is for brides, if you have other businesses and interests, write other blogs. Keep this one focused on helping brides with their weddings.

5) Information targeted to your niche

Don’t post information on everything that has to do with every type of wedding imaginable. Think about the brides you want as clients and write about the specific topics that interest them.

6) Good keywords and tags

Your posts should have keywords and phrases brides would enter when they search for information on the topic. This way the search engines will lead them to your blog.

Be sure you include your photograph and a short biography on your blog. Brides want to see what you look like, it helps them establish a connection to you. And, share some information about yourself, who you are and your background as a wedding planner, then explain how your blog will help them.

Blogging About Your Wedding

One way to make your wedding special is to blog about it. A Blog is merely an online journal that allows you to post text and photos regarding your occasion.

Blogging about your wedding is one way to disseminate information about people dates and schedules concerning your special day. It is a good way to keep in touch with those participating in the event. You can even alert the whole guest list about changes in the schedule or other important matters that concern them.

The word blog has changed the entire universe and as evident of its massive influence, searching the word blog in Google will yield an estimated 1.4 billion pages. And if you are getting married then starting your own blog about it might be a good decision.

There are a lot of reasons why you should blog about your wedding and here are some of them.

Documentation

If you want to document the whole wedding process from the planning stage (or even before that) to the actual ceremony itself and even the honeymoon then blog is the answer. You need not spend anything here except your time and devotion for as long as you have access to the Internet. There are lots of free blogging sites like WordPress, Blogspot and others. However, you may also opt to get your own domain and host your blog yourself.

Photo site

So you have new photos of your ceremony rehearsal? Show them to your friends and guests by placing the photos on your blog. Write about your apprehensions, frustrations and joy while planning the wedding and place them on your blog.

Put up the wedding registry

You can even use your blog to inform guests about the registry. Place a link to the stores where you have registered to make it more convenient for your guests without you actually telling them straight in the face.

Checklist

The blog is an ideal place for your planning checklist. This way, everyone concerned with the wedding planning can just check in the items that are still missing or haven’t been done.

Blogging about your wedding is also one way of de-stressing yourself from the pressures of the preparation. Talking about how you feel can somehow lessen the burden so blog it. Before you know it, you have created a well-thought of documentation of your wedding complete with unforgettable and priceless moments captured in words and photos.

Keep Up With the Latest Wedding News

When you are planning a wedding, it pays to keep your eyes and ears open. Potential sources of inspiration are everywhere, and you never know when you might stumble across an idea that would be perfect for your wedding. That is why brides in the know are careful to keep up with the latest wedding news.

The truth of the matter is that brides love looking at pictures of weddings. Planning a wedding tends to be all-consuming, so most brides are only to happy to have an excuse to check out what is happening in the romantic world of weddings. If you can also pick up a few helpful ideas along the way, so much the better. There are numerous ways to keep on top of the latest trends, celebrity weddings, and other wedding news of the day.

Blogs can be a terrific way to keep up with wedding stories and events. Unlike most wedding sites, they are updated daily, so you will know that you are not missing out on any current events. Why is this important? Let’s say that you are a New York bride planning her dream wedding. How great would it be to learn that your favorite gown designer is going to open up her showroom for her annual sample sale next weekend? And how disappointing would it be if you only learned about the fantastic opportunity after the event had ended? If you are doing a quick daily scan of local wedding blogs, you would be sure to be one of the first brides in the know.

A great way to keep on top of your favorite wedding blogs is to bookmark your top sites to keep them at your fingertips. Just don’t do this on your computer at work, or it will look like you are spending all your time on wedding stuff! Another option is to set up a service like Google reader which will alert you anytime a new entry has been made on your favorite blogs. This will save you a lot of time spent checking in with each bridal blog individually. If you prefer to spend just a little time keeping up with wedding news, there are some great wrap up sites which round up the top stories from a lot of different wedding blogs and post them all in one convenient package.

For more general wedding news, check out the big name sites such as The Knot, Brides, Wedding Channel, Martha Stewart Weddings, and In Style Wedding. They will all be great places to see the current wedding trends, along with lots of lots of pictures. If you are looking for your bridal eye candy, the big sites are fabulous. Most also have blogs which are updated daily, although the information is not always about current events. Some sites, like Brides, are updated more frequently than others. Your favorite site will depend on what type of wedding news is most interesting to you. For celebrity weddings and engagements, In Style Weddings is the place to go, for flower and decorating ideas, you can’t beat Martha Stewart, and for thousands of inspirational photos, check out The Knot.

Wedding related articles are another terrific way to keep up with what is happening in the world of bridal. The traditional bridal magazines are always jam packed with lots of fun tips, ideas, and advice. If you are looking for more fun articles, take a look at some of the online article directories like ezine. They will have a myriad of articles on every conceivable wedding topic, and fresh stories appear daily. After reading a few articles online, you may well find that you have a couple of favorite authors. Keeping up with their latest efforts is as simple as subscribing to an RSS feed or setting up a Google alert with their name. In the end, you will find that there is no shortage of interesting wedding news to keep your wedding planning fun and exciting.

Wedding Planner: Blog Topics to Promote Your Services

You are starting your career as a wedding planner and you want to be able to promote your services online. You decide to make a blog site for yourself. But in order to attract visitors and potential customers to your blog site, you will need to post interesting topics and articles. This is one of the best ways to market your services to potential clients out there.

Bear in mind that the person you are talking to is the bride. They are the ones who are mostly looking for a wedding planner to help them with all the wedding preparations. Your topics should catch the interest of the bride and here are some suggestions for blog topics: First is to write about what the bride needs to do and think about. This includes budgets, guest list, wedding venue, catering service, wedding dress, entourage, flowers, wedding cake and reception. As a wedding planner, you should give them detailed advice on how to deal with these things.

The next blog topic you can write about is something that is a favorite for most brides and that is budgeting. You should write a blog post about budget tips to help the bride save money on some expenses for the wedding. As a wedding planner, you should be able to give them helpful tips on how they can save money and where to get the best supplies for their wedding day.

The third topic you can write about is the do’s and don’ts of planning and organizing a wedding. Brides will often look at these topics to help them with their wedding preparations. A checklist of the do’s and don’ts in wedding planning can give them a heads up if they are doing anything wrong. As you are promoting your wedding planning services, make sure you put that hiring you as a wedding planner is one of the do’s they should do.

Another good topic to tackle is the family of both bride and groom. Cultural differences are unavoidable but should be equally respected when it comes to marriage. As a bride, you will need to consider your family’s cultural background as well as your soon-to-be husband as to not disrespect any member in both your families. You can give specific tips on how a bride can handle such obstacle in planning for her wedding.

Writing a Wedding Invitation Blog to Include in Your Wedding Invitations

Blogs have skyrocketed in popularity, with CEOs, teenagers, and even grandmothers blogging about their lives and interests. Why not write a wedding invitation blog to connect with your guests, keeping everyone updated on your wedding progress? Even after the wedding bells have tolled, you will have a lovely “diary” of all the moments and decisions leading up to your special day.

Why Write a Wedding Invitation Blog

Getting married is one of the most important life events you will experience, and keeping track of all the moments is equally important. One way to chronicle your wedding planning process is to start a wedding invitation blog. You should begin this prior to sending out your wedding invitations, perhaps closer to sending save the date announcements, so that guests can access it for travel information and keep up with your wedding plans as well.

Another great reason to write a wedding invitation blog is if you are planning a destination wedding or if you expect mostly out of town guests. For a destination wedding, it is a great idea to upload photos of your wedding destination, as well as accommodation and activity information. For a wedding where you expect many out of town guests to attend, a wedding invitation blog can serve much the same purpose and showcase your area, wedding location, as well as provide practical travel details in an easily accessible format.

By including links to travel information on your wedding blog, you can forego enclosing this information in your wedding invitation. This will ostensibly cut down on cost and postage – just don’t forget to include your blog URL in the invitation with a note to guests regarding it.

Wedding Invitation Blog Tips and Ideas

A blog is not usually a one-sided journal, but an ongoing conversation. Invite your guests to comment and respond, creating a dialogue that keeps you engaged with your guests. You should also upload photos of you and your fiancé. You could display engagement photos, as well as photograph your planning trials and tribulations. Take photos of the wedding party trying on tuxes and dresses for your blog photo album. Include photos from your bridal shower so guests who were unable to attend can still enjoy seeing you.

Don’t forget about short video clips. If you own a video camera and upload small scenes from various bridal events, your guests will feel included in the process.

If you are hosting a destination wedding, get guests excited by including beautiful photos from your destination. If you make a trip to both visit and finalize wedding plans, document this on your wedding invitation blog through photos and video clips. You might even succeed in convincing a few waffling guests to make their plans to attend.

Whether you go all out and include numerous photos and video clips or keep it simple with pertinent travel and wedding information, your guests will enjoy participating in your progress to the aisle, and your blog will give you an invaluable keepsake.