The Decline of Social Media

Recently, while on vacation, we were discussing sharing photos from the trip, and nearly all of the people on our tour were on Facebook and interested in becoming friends.

That would be everyone except the 19-year-old who said he and his friends stay off of social media.

This is becoming more and more common with Gen Y, it’s just not their thing. They would rather text their friends and anything they want to know they can Google or watch on YouTube.

online searches are replacing crowd sourcing on social media

 

The Swing

The pendulum seems to be swinging back the other direction. So, how will this affect the way wedding professionals do business?

My blogging clients in the wedding industry are also seeing more and more couples come in for meetings carrying wedding magazines.

So, for anyone who completely abandoned print for online listings thinking print is dead, you might want to reconsider.

Irony

The irony is not lost on me that many of you will find this article on a social media outlet.

Social media, specifically Facebook, is the drug of choice for most of us of a ‘certain age,’ and that typically includes wedding pros. So, I continue to share my blogging tips through that channel, as wedding pros are my target audience.

Become Self Sufficient

Blogging is still the answer, it helps to make you self-sufficient. Blogging with great keyword infused content, ALT TAGS on your images, Tags, and hyperlinks will help search engines find and catalog your content.

In plain English, if Google finds your blog, Gen Y finds your blog.

Media follows media, and if news and wedding industry outlets are searching on a given topic, I’d rather they find it on my client’s blog and not a mega wedding portal.

Your Story

Blogging allows you to control your story. Couples are looking, more now than ever, to connect with real people, people who they know, like, and trust.

Blogging about you and your team, the charities, and causes that you hold dear and give back to help to make a great connection. Not to mention great search terms and backlinks to organizations. So, you might have to blow your own horn a little.

Get Real

Real Weddings, that tell a story, and show the process of how a client found you, and the planning and details you assisted them with, supported by images help to tell your story.

Be sure whenever possible to include quotes from the couple from online reviews or thank you notes.

And, absolutely include video whenever you can. This is the YouTube generation, so inserting video is key to your success.

Wedding planner working with bride to find wedding gown -

Blogging is affordable, it lives forever on your website and in search engines and allows you to sell you in your own voice.

So, invest some time in blogging, learn how to blog well or if blogging isn’t your thing reach out to Wedding Ghost to find out more about ghost blogging services for your wedding business.

 

What Story Are You Telling?

As a blogger and content creator for several national wedding websites, I see submissions from wedding pros daily.

Unfortunately, too many times, I see images that don’t support the story the wedding pro is submitting.

Bride and groom in the garden, bride, and groom exchanging wedding vows, the bride and groom’s wedding portraits and bride and groom at sweetheart table does not create engaging content.

selecting images to support your blog post - bride and groom - tell the story of the wedding day

It also does nothing to connect you to other wedding pros, build SEO and rarely showcases your work, unless you seel gowns and formalwear.

When submitting for publication images that support the details, you are talking about is a must. For your own website, you need to be mindful of a few other points.

Pick images that support your story and show interesting details that make that couple unique.

Show wedding details and create a narrative that includes things that your company provided. If you are a wedding venue, show your property and unique spaces. If you are a caterer show food items, food stations, clean well-dressed staff, and upgrades like linen or rentals.

select blog images that support the service your team provides - catering blog - reception display

Support the story of the service you provide with other wedding details, follow the timeline of the day so the reader can see what their wedding day with you will look like.

And lastly, create good SEO by linking to wedding venues and wedding pros, not only will it help your search visibility but it also builds good equity with those wedding pros.

You are telling a story, so give your blog a beginning, a middle and an end, weave the narrative around the images you are showing and be sure to focus on the product and services your business has provided.

Going Sideways

As a professional blogger, I spend a great deal of my time staring at wedding photographs and curating them to tell a story.

To be honest, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

If there is an exit sign or fire extinguisher in the background, I see it. If there are dirty plates on a table, they jump right out at me.

One of the biggest challenges in curating images for blogging is vertical images.

Have they been resized appropriately?

I see people posting HUGE vertical images which makes the reader have to scroll down the page to see the entire image. This is exceptionally important when you are looking at pictures on a mobile device, and most newly engaged couples are! {be sure to keep reading after the HUGE vertical image.}

Wedding Cake

Featured Image

In most cases, a featured image in a blog post loads best and uniformly as a horizontal image. If the images load at the top of the blog it keeps the reader from scrolling down too far to start the text and keeps the images consistent.

Thumbnail

When you load a vertical image into a gallery with smaller thumbnail images or if they post as a thumbnail image in a sidebar you might want to look at how much detail shows.

For instance, a wedding cake might cut out the top and bottom, showing only the middle layers leaving out a lot of detail. A tight shot of a tall centerpiece may cut off the flowers at the top and the tablescape at the base only showcasing the riser.

Wedding Cake

So, Keep in mind, for blogging and also for the body of your website horizontal images tend to work best.

Hello, My Name Is

Confucius once said:

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.

And, this could not be truer when it comes to branding your business and especially concerning your website and blogging.

business branding - business name - abbreviating your business name - SEO and your business name

When I launched my wedding planning company in 2000, I very specifically chose the name, mostly because of the need to register it with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

I chose the name The Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants because there was already a company called Queen of Hearts and a catering company with a similar name.

It was a long name, but it was mine; we shortened it to QOHWeddings for our URL because we were afraid that people wouldn’t type out the whole name. Websites were still pretty new, and I was naïve.

But, in every situation we spelled it out entirely; so we wouldn’t be confused with anyone else.

Recently, I’ve seen businesses shortening their company names on their website or their blogs.

I get it, I’m a LOL and TTYL junky when I instant message or text with friends and colleagues.

However, search engines don’t get it. Shortening it to QOH and Queen of Hearts would have been easy, but it would have confused web crawlers cataloging our writing.

Potential clients were not searching QOH, people searching for the caterer were probably searching Queen of Hearts, and I’m sure people searching for a Juice Newton song were too.

Every time search engines cataloged our writing, our name written out entirely helped our SEO and visibility on the internet.

Don’t get cute by referring to your business in slang or initials. It’s not benefitting your business, and unfortunately, some of the best attributes of your business and all of your blogging efforts might go uncatalogued.

How do you Google?

I love reading people’s blog posts and some of the keywords (or lack of keywords) they infuse when creating blogging content.

When you are writing think about some of the things you type into Google when you are searching for a product or service.

Check out this recent article I wrote for Perfect Wedding Guide’s Wedding Professional’s blog.

What Do You Search For?

Wedding Ghost - ghost blogger - freelance writer- content curator - wedding blogger - food blogger- travel blogger

Diversify Your Portfolio

What you put out you attract!

When was the last time you looked at the gallery of work you share on your website and social media? I mean really, really looked at it?

When I had my wedding planning company, I had a bride who liked the style of a vendor’s work but had some concerns as none of this vendors work showed curvy women.

If I break it down to the most basic level, it looks like this. If all of the work you feature on your wedding business website is of basic, DIY looking weddings; you are very likely to continue to attract reasonably basic, DIY weddings. The price point you can charge will typically remain reasonably low as well.

The reason being is that higher-end clients, clients who may have booked venues with higher package prices will not see the wedding they envision reflected in your portfolio.

As your business begins to grow focus on showcasing work that is more décor and detail intensive, more opulent linens, more ornate wedding cakes and be sure to mix them up. 2018 might be the year of the purple wedding; however showcasing different color palettes create broader interest as well.

 

Now that I have been PC for as long as I can stand.

The vendor I had mentioned was someone I had worked with many times but never really looked at the body of work on their site. I was astonished to see that all of their galleries showed size 00, blond, petite, white women… so I called him on it.

Does your portfolio show African American couples, South Asian couples, Latino couples, Jewish couples?

multi cultural weddings - wedding blogs - ghost bloggerIs your language inclusive to make same-sex couples feel comfortable? I’ve found that unless I am talking about a specific wedding with a bride and groom, I refrain from using terms like the bridal party or bridal suite. Instead, I opt for gender inclusive terms such as the wedding party and a ready room.

mission Inn Resort - Rhodes Studio - same sex weddings - lgbtq friendly wedding vendors
Yes, that is my husband and me

If my husband and I were looking for vendors for our wedding and saw no same-sex couples and the entire site referred to bride and groom; we would have probably moved on. Much the same way my African American, curvy bride saw no one that looked like her on the vendor’s website.

The bottom line is that diversifying the weddings you showcase will help you attract additional clients from varying orientations, ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Jewish weddings- luxury weddings- Cliff Mautner Photography
Image by Cliff Mautner Photography

So at the end of the day attracting more business is the primary business goal for most people I know.

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Blog Harry and Meghan’s Wedding?

If not, you may have missed a Royal opportunity!

royal wedding- Prince Harry - Megan Markel - Royal wedding - wedding blogger - blogger - blog - wedding

Seriously, it is sort of like being a sports writer and ignoring the World Series or the Stanley Cup.

When couples engage wedding industry professionals they most often want to work with professionals who are up to date on the trends of the day and what is going on in their industry.

Regardless of what it is that you do, there was some element of the wedding for you to focus on what relates to your business.

The fact that nearly everything they did will set trends in the industry is reason enough to look at the entire day.

Focusing on personalization of the wedding is a great start. Meghan potentially picked the gown designer for some very specific reasons. The designer she chose is British and the first female artistic director of the iconic French design house Givenchy, and she is a working, single mom.

The gown was simplistic in style and allowed the rest of the day and the personalization to take center stage. The sixteen-foot veil had nods to Great Britain and California in the floral patterns in the lace embroidery.

The floral décor was simple and had some of the same nods to flowers handpicked from Kensington Palace including white peonies, forget-me-nots and garden roses. The flowers were favorites of Princess Diana, and Meghan’s bouquet was placed on the Grave of The Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abby. The flowers from the wedding were made into bouquets and sent to hospice patients.

Special, meaningful details of the ceremony and the music reflected the couple.

The first of the two receptions was hosted by the Queen. It was a light luncheon featuring canapes and “bowl food”. Guests at the Queen’s luncheon enjoyed:

  • Scottish Langoustines wrapped in Smoked Salmon with Citrus Crème Fraiche
  • Grilled English Asparagus wrapped in Cumbrian Ham
  • Garden Pea Panna Cotta with Quail Eggs and Lemon Verbena
  • Heritage Tomato and Basil Tartare with Balsamic Pearls
  • Poached Free Range Chicken bound in a Lightly Spiced Yoghurt with Roasted Apricot
  • Croquette of Confit Windsor Lamb, Roasted Vegetables, and Shallot Jam
  • Warm Asparagus Spears with Mozzarella and Sun-Blush Tomatoes

The evening reception was a formal sit-down dinner prepared by the royal chef. It consisted of multiple courses selected by the couple, which included seasonal ingredients sourced from the Queen’s estates.

The couple opted for a DJ and the music selections reportedly included Prince Harry’s favorite house music.

So, regardless of what you do in the wedding industry, there were elements included in the wedding that will set trends in the upcoming year that you could be discussing in your company’s blog post and helping your SEO.

Relating everything back to what you do in your business is key.

And do not forget. A call to action to call you for more information on your services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reporting Weather Where You Don’t Live

When doing research for an upcoming presentation, I always like to look at the list of attendees. I look to see how many are from large companies who might not have blogs, who blogs, how often people are blogging and who blogs well.

Those who set up a blog, write an introduction and never blog again rarely surprises me. I am also not surprised by people who toss up a bunch of images, add two sentences and nothing more.

However, the one thing that STUNS ME, are the people who blog consistently but do not blog about anything that ties back to their business.

One of the recent blogs I read talked about national data, and what I will call “DYI hazards” in their industry.  This provided the opportunity to discuss how their company could help mitigate these hazards or talk about their team and what sets them apart…and they did NOTHING!

If you are going to blog about ANYTHING, national data, trends, planning tips, ANYTHING… relate it back to your business, focus on how you and your team exceed the standard or products and services you offer that tie into the data.

Blogging for the sake of blogging and filling space is a waste of your time and energy. Prospective clients will stop coming back because the first thing they look at is ‘What’s In It For Me’?

If you are not relating the information back to your city or region, including search words to make people find you in the area you serve, it is a waste.

At a minimum, tie the article back into a call for action that brings in your location, the name of your business and a hyperlink to an email for more information or your phone number.

Email me today to talk about consultations to help you improve the way you blog and how to improve your SEO.