Tag, You’re It!

This goes out to all of the wedding pros who are blogging Real Weddings and Styles Shoots, submitting them for publication in magazines and online sites; or even posting them on social media.

You are not an island! I don’t care how talented you are, you did not do this alone. I’m amazed when I see features without all of the wedding professionals credited.

Seriously, the only way you survive in the wedding and events industry is by building relationships, and this can be one sure way to destroy them.

Roll Call

Did you miss anyone? If it’s a Real Wedding I’m guessing there was an officiant, someone had to marry them. Even if it was a personal friend and you don’t link to them it’s nice to list them if only to make the couple happy.

You may have escort cards, signage and menu cards that complete the details of your design. Have you credited the stationery designer or calligrapher?

Who Are You?

Somewhere in the planning process, regardless of what your role might be, you have interacted with the other wedding professionals leading up to the wedding.

Do you know what they call themselves? Are they a videographer or a filmmaker? If they were the photographer, did they provide videography too?

Was the “Coordinator” hired for only wedding day coordination or did they work with the couple planning {which would make them a Wedding Planner} or did they create the overall look of the wedding too? {which might make them the Wedding Designer}

If you are looking to build a relationship and looking for business referrals you want to make sure you get the details correct.

Get Hyper

Hyperlink to their website whenever possible, if you are an Insta-junky, you might want to list their Instagram handle too.

It’s good business and builds external links for your site, which can strengthen your SEO.

Be Proactive

If you are a wedding planner reading this, you might be in a great position to take the lead.

Most times you have all of the contact information coming into your office for timelines, and hopefully, you have copies of the client’s agreements too. Why not shoot all of the wedding pros an email after the wedding with a complete list and ask everyone if the information is all correct.

It’s an excellent project for an intern, it updates your database, and it builds equity with wedding pros you might need products or services from in the future.

Building great relationships with other wedding pros requires a little effort.

Tag, you’re it!

Mind The Gap

No, I’m not talking about riding the London Tube when I say mind the gap.

It’s wedding award season so I’m talking about taking a serious look at how you display any of the “Best Of” awards you might receive.

Wedding Professionals - Best Of Awards - branding your wedding business - marketing in the wedding industry - wedding blogger

If you have ever walked into a restaurant and seen them proudly displaying a Best Of Award from 2010; you might have some idea what I’m talking about.

My brain automatically skips from whatever is in front of me in the restaurant to what have they done wrong in the last nine years that they have not won again. Not even once in nine years?

Wedding Professionals - Best Of Awards - branding your wedding business - marketing in the wedding industry - wedding blogger

Did they just stop displaying them? Do they have new owners? Has it really gone downhill? Do I really want to eat here?

Same thing with wedding businesses!

If you have won a wedding award in the past and have a gap of more than one year before receiving that award again; get rid of the old ones!

Start fresh!

That gap of two years or more may be enough to wipe out all of the positive juju your beautiful website, social media, and blogging have put in front of a couple.

Be proud that you have won the recent awards and move on from there!

 

 

Are You Hard To Do Business With?

What obstacles do you put in front of potential clients that might be driving business away?

This year I took a card from our church’s “Christmas Giving Tree.” The card was an easy gift to fill – “Gift cards for fast food such as…,” and it listed a few companies by name.

So, I set out to a few fast food restaurants and had no issues getting gift cards. I was headed to an appointment later that day and saw a Burger King.

BK logo

When I went in and tried to purchase a gift card the manager told me that they were sold out, had been for a while and didn’t know when they would get more cards.

At the time it was fewer than 12 days from Christmas! Not the time to be out of gift cards!

A few days later, I was out and saw another Burger King. I parked, went in, and stood in line only to find out THEY had none.

Needless to say, I’m not going back to Burger King anytime soon. They made it too hard to do business with them.

In most cases the first barrier to doing business with wedding professionals is accessibility.

You cannot imagine how many times, in the past, I have gone to a wedding professional’s website only to struggle with finding contact information, only finding a contact form.

Nothing else, no email address, no phone number…NOTHING!

Most people don’t want to take the time to fill out a form. When I owned a wedding planning company or was a Director of Weddings for a resort; I certainly didn’t want to fill out a form to refer you business.

Put your email and phone number multiple places on your website so clients can find you; ideally on every page.

The second biggest barrier tends to be how you respond to potential clients. If they email you, email them back. If they wanted to talk to you on the phone, they would have called.

I’ve even gone as far as listing a phone number where potential clients can text. Working with millennials texting is HUGE to be able to communicate with them in a method they are most comfortable using.

You want to remove as many barriers to doing business with you as possible.

Look at your website like a potential client and see how easy it is to do business with you.

Better yet ask a millennial.

All I Want For Christmas

The ONLY thing I want for Christmas this year is for wedding, event and catering professionals to learn how to set a table.

Wedding Ghost - Ghost Blogger - Mark Kingsdorf - Master Wedding Planner - wedding blogger - curated content - freelance writer

Don’t get me wrong, a winning lottery ticket and world peace would both be nice, but I’m OK with manageable pieces.

As a blogger and content creator for the wedding industry, few things make me this crazy. Also, from what I’ve heard in some of the wedding groups I am part of I’m not alone.

I see hundreds of submission of styled shoots that have AMAZING tablescapes; breathtaking floral designs, luxurious linen, vintage or interesting china, unique flatware, and even fun glassware.

It is pretty apparent these professionals have painstakingly taken the time curate a tabletop design that fits with the overall theme of the shoot.

However, then there are glasses placed on the wrong side of the plate or the knife is on the left and the fork on the right. Ah-mazing!

As someone who is curating images for submission, this often means that I cannot use some of the best pictures you have submitted.

I have had to select images with the specific intention of not showing that setting. Too often that means that an awesome charger plate, custom menu card or napkin accent is not showcased.

Could I go ahead and use the image anyway? Yes, I absolutely could.

But the idea of a styled shoot is to showcase the creativity and expertise of a team of professionals. Is it fair to the rental company, linen company or stationery designer who lent their talent to this team?

It’s a pretty simple process, most weddings or events follow an Informal Dinner Place Setting.

Wedding Ghost - Ghost Blogger - Mark Kingsdorf - Master Wedding Planner - wedding blogger - curated content - freelance writer

We’ve taken liberties with napkin placement and folds and often add a champagne glass to the setting but nothing else in the setting changes.

So this Christmas, take a few minutes and share a little knowledge with your colleagues; and help grant my Christmas wish!

 

 

Count Your Blessings

I woke up this morning in a warm bed.

Our dog Kali was curled up, pressed against the small of my back and our cats Chip and Dale were sleeping at the foot of the bed.

Chuck was already stirring and got up to let the dog outside.

I got out of bed with a snap, crackle, and pop, but no worse for the wear. A childhood of springboard diving, years on my feet as a chef and countless hours of overseeing weddings have stiffened my hip and knee joints.

I started my day with fresh coffee as we talked about wanting to plan a trip to India in 2020, dinner plans for today with Chuck’s dad and weekend plans with amazing new friends.

I sip coffee as I look through hundreds of pictures of Chuck, his ‘Wheeling Warriors” teammates and nearly 500 cyclists who biked their way 165 miles from Miami to Key West to raise over a million dollars for Florida AIDS service organizations.

We’ll miss today’s Thanksgiving church service as we’ll already be on the road to see my father-in-law but will see our awesome church family on Sunday morning.

This might be the first Thanksgiving in ages that we aren’t cooking, but life is good.

I am blessed with good health, a fantastic husband, three fur babies, great family and friends and a desire for new experiences over material possessions.

Wedding Ghost is just a year old and has really taken off. Not only am I working with amazing people but it offers me the flexibility to spend more time with Chuck and the people we love, to travel, enjoy good food and enjoy life.

Life is truly good. Take a minute today to count your blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving!

give thanks

STOP IT, JUST STOP!

Stop turning business away with your website and your blog.

On a DAILY basis I look at someone’s blog post, and while I’m reading I come to a hyperlink, this is a good thing.

Hyperlinks connect your blog post to other entities on the internet. Things like the venues where the weddings were hosted {which is something couple’s are probably searching} or a fabulous wedding gown shown by a famous designer.

However, I see one major, MAJOR mistake.

When you click the “insert hyperlink’ button…

blogging - blogger- wedding blogger- SEO - hyperlinks

You then add the URL to wherever you are linking…

But, you have to click the “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” tab…

blog - blogger - blogging - wedding blogger - adding links to your blog - wedding ghost - ghost blogger

PLEASE If you do not click the tab a reader will click on that link in your blog post and be swept away to that site, it takes them away from you and your business.

The site you are sending them to could have multiple pages or another article or wedding gallery of interest and before you know it they have forgotten where they started.

SQUIRREL!

You are now completely out of their mind!

Stop sending your hard earned SEO juju away from your blog post!

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.

Your Authentic Self

My friend in my head*, Kellie Daab of the I Do Collective,  recently made a huge point in a recent conversation about blogging.

If you are going to whine about it, blog about it. I LOVE IT!

Wedding Ghost - Authentically Mark - ghost blogger - content marketing- wedding blogger

So, this has set me off and running.

In looking at potential clients, I always check out their websites. I looking to see if they already have a blog built into their platform, if they do I look at things like how often are they blogging, are they incorporating keywords and phrases to help their SEO, as well as what the content looks like.

However, I also look at the About Us page. This has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves, somewhere right behind not holding the door for the person behind you, not saying please and thank you and saying sure, uh or yup when someone says thank you!

I’m AMAZED at how many professional websites talk about “Us” in some vague terms. I get it some smaller companies are trying to look like bigger companies and some bigger companies are genuinely an ‘us’ and might offer bios of key players someplace else.

I’m talking wedding companies, many of the companies I’m speaking about are sole proprietor wedding planners, cake artists, photographers, and decorators.

These are companies where there is one primary person who you plan with, design with, do engagement photos before your wedding with, and they are the face of the business.

It’s straightforward, look at your reviews! If there are one or two names that appear consistently in your online reviews you are About Us page needs to reflect that. It’s that simple.

People do business with people they know, like and trust! This is a fundamental law of human attraction. Our online reviews prove this time and time again.

Millennials are reading online reviews of our businesses, from people they don’t necessarily know; but they feel a connection to them because they are sharing intimate details of the biggest day of their life with us.

{side note: this is another fantastic reason to share quotes from client reviews in your blog post; including at least a first name (or couple’s first names) and possibly a venue}

Why are so many people shutting out potential clients by posting an About Us page that says we are the best blah, blah, blah in our city?

We have the best most up to date DJ equipment on the market and keep the dance floor packed! Good thing, that’s what they pay you for!

I cannot tell you how many people I connected with when I shared that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was eight and fought like hell until losing her battle when I was 27! The connections, especially with brides and moms who were intimately connected to this experience amazed me. And this escalated when I founded a charity wedding cake competition, for a cancer hospital in her honor.

To this day, the most significant response I have ever had to a Facebook post was of our late West Highland Terrier sitting at the steering wheel of our Mini Cooper.

Most of the world knows that I am a pizza junky, that I love cooking and that my husband Chuck and I live to travel the world.

Mark Kingsdorf - Wedding Ghost - ghost blogger- travel blogger - Thailand - visiting a school in central Thailand

I actually started a blog for fun called Authentically Mark, and we also have one where we chronicle our travels called In Search Of Neverland.

Letting people into your world and being your authentic self helps to build professional relationships with clients who can relate to you and you would be amazed how much you will enjoy spending time with them.

 

*Kellie and I are actually Facebook friends and PM on a pretty regular basis. We’ll FINALLY get to meet in person at this year’s Association of Bridal Consultants Annual Conference, held here in Tampa later this year. And I can’t wait!

 

 

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.

 

Investing Time and Doing It All Wrong!

True Confession:

Very little frustrates me as much as looking at someone’s blog, seeing that they have good content, a few links, good keywords and that they have invested time in renaming their images…

Only to open the images in a new tab and seeing that they have renamed them ALL WRONG!

No one, I repeat NO ONE is searching for Susie + John’s wedding except for Suzie and John, and they probably have seen the images already!

Very, very few people are searching the name of your company, most likely they have been on your site already OR are searching wedding photographer in Atlanta. or Central Florida.

Try adding items that couples are searching for. Start with the name of the city using Cleveland weddings, or Key West sunset wedding ceremony, or terms such as pink peony bouquet, and Groom in a blue suit.

Or, try renaming a photo of a bride using the gown designer, or the venue where the wedding was.

When was the last time you searched for John’s Plumbing and not a plumber in St Petersburg Florida?

Think outside the box when renaming your images. Look at how you search for something you’re looking for.