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.

 

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!

 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!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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!