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.

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!

 

 

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

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!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes good blogging?

Good blogging has two distinct parts… Good content and search ability.

Good content is anything that your prospective clients, fellow wedding and event professionals and the press might find interesting. It can range from Real Weddings and Events, to helpful tips on whatever service you might provide, talking about trends in your area of expertise to “Top 10” lists that readers might find helpful.

Keep Calm - Wedding Ghost - Blogger - Wedding Blogger - Freelance Writer - Mark Kingsdorf -

What engages the clients in your target market? Are your wedding couples looking for a unique experience or a fun interesting location?

A few weeks ago, I spent the day at our local zoo – while this might not seem like anything that applies to a guy who is a ghost writer for wedding and event professionals; you’d be 1000% wrong.

The zoo has some fun, interesting options for something like a rehearsal dinner; imagine your family and friends enjoying dinner in a space overlooking a lawn filled with giraffe, zebra and elephants. How about bringing two families together with a scavenger hunt after dinner?

The zoo was decorated for Christmas and filled with beautiful Christmas trees; each area had a business as a sponsor. Some were small businesses and others large corporations; some were adorned with pretty decorations and others included amazing branding for their business.

Christmas Trees - Blog - Tampa Zoo - Wedding Ghost - blogger

Imagine blogging about your company being part of a charitable event or fundraiser and connecting with prospective clients with similar interests.

The second part of a good blog is search ability; does the blog post include words that people are searching for?

Being able to tell the same story about the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo helps you get catalogued in search engines when anyone is searching those terms; whether it is for leisure, or planning a wedding or event. Think of the plusses if you already do weddings and events there, or want to get on their radar. Including words like Tampa Bay Wedding (insert profession – planning, photography, floral design, film making, etc.) all help to get your business found on the internet.

Blogging about your team donating decorations to support the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo along with Tampa International Airport, Panera Bread, Aloft Hotel Tampa links your business to things in your region people are searching for regardless of the reason.

Knowing how to weave a story about you and your company that is interesting, engages prospective clients and has terms that people are searching for will increase your visibility with clients and on the internet.