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.

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!

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!

 

 

A Blog Is More Than Real Weddings

Wedding Ghost- Mark Kingsdorf - Mission Inn Resort - same sex wedding - rhodesstudio

Recently an article I wrote was featured on the Perfect Wedding Guide Wedding Professionals Blog.

Too many times wedding pros complain that they have nothing to blog about because they don’t have enough Real Weddings to feature. Truthfully, there are a lot of other options that will help brand you as a wedding expert in your market.

Having an FAQ blog post is a great way to answer all of the questions prospective clients constantly ask. You can share that link with potential new clients and not only save time answering their questions but encourage them to read other posts on your blog.

Check out the whole article HERE.

BTW, the photo above is me with my amazing husband Chuck on our wedding day at Mission Inn Resort. The photo is by the awesome Edmund Rhodes of Rhodes Studios

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

 Swimming In The Deep End

As I look at more and more wedding professional’s blogs and web content, I quickly realize that most are swimming in the deep end of the pool, barely treading water actually.

Wedding Ghost - blogging - content creation for wedding professionals - SEO - key words - search terms

With a little work, they could be swimming in a much shallower pool with fewer people.

So, what exactly does that mean?

It means that I am STUNNED at the number of wedding professionals who don’t mention the city or region where they do business anywhere on their website.

Except maybe once, in tiny letters at the bottom of their contact page… maybe.

That means that if you are a wedding planner, and you are not including your location in your home page text (you do have text on your homepage don’t you?), the internet is now lumping you in with every other wedding planner in the world.

Narrow the search by talking about locations of where you are working on your gallery, or in the descriptive keywords on your blog.

Text on every page of your website is critical; web crawlers read each page as a separate entity.

Infusing each page with descriptive text that talks about where you are doing business will get you noticed by search engines.

So make your way into the shallow end of the pool instead of treading water in the deep end!

Need help with creating new search engine friendly content for your wedding or event company’s website?

Wedding Ghost can help!

Call me at 215-421-1295 to talk about affordable ways to refresh your site.

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!