» Announcing the New WeddingWire Rated!

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WeddingWire is excited to announce the new WeddingWire Rated™ awards program! WeddingWire Rated recognizes wedding professionals across the U.S. and abroad for their commitment to providing quality service, and is an opportunity to showcase great reviews and  a strong overall WeddingWire rating from previous clients. Based on the number of reviews, wedding professionals receive a WeddingWire Rated badge to show-off their achievement.

We are excited about some new updates to this program this year. Check out full details below and see how it applies to you!

About WeddingWire Rated:

How does it work? It’s simple! The more reviews you collect, the higher your WeddingWire Rated status. WeddingWire members with an average review rating of 3.5 will earn an updated badge when they reach the 3, 10, 25, 50 and 100 review level throughout the year.

When do I get my new badge? WeddingWire Rated badges are awarded on an ongoing basis, which means the moment you achieve the next level, you’ll get instant access to your new badge, plus a suite of marketing materials to generate buzz about your business! Log in to your account, navigate to ‘Showcase Reviews’ under the Reviews tab, and get the code for your WeddingWire Rated badge to add it to your business website or blog.

How do you showcase your reviews and Rated level? Your WeddingWire Rated badge will automatically update to reflect the current number of wedding reviews you receive on WeddingWire, and will be part of your current WeddingWire Rated badge. Check out the WeddingWire Rated levels, below.

WeddingWire Rated levels:

  • 3 Reviews: blue badge
  • 10 Reviews: bronze badge
  • 25 Reviews: silver badge
  • 50 Reviews: gold badge
  • 100 Reviews: black badge (Premium members gain access to the 100+ Review Club!)

I’m Rated! What’s Next?

If your business is WeddingWire Rated, congratulations! Now it’s time to share the news.

To get started, log in to your WeddingWire account, navigate to the Reviews tab, select ‘Showcase Reviews’ then follow the steps below:

  1. Grab your badge and add it to your business website and blog by clicking the ‘Get the Code’ button
  2. Access your custom suite of marketing tools to showcase your accomplishment by clicking ‘Get Started’ under the badge code. You will be provided with tools to:
  • Generate buzz and promote your business’ reputation by sharing your WeddingWire Rated status on top social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest
  • Submit a customizable press release to announce your achievement and help you reach your target audience on leading PR sites
  • Download a free, customizable and printable certificate to display at your place of business or next bridal show

Questions about WeddingWire Rated? We are here to help! Visit our support center for answers to commonly asked questions, or email support@weddingwire.com for assistance.

» Featured Pro Tweets: WeddingWire World

We had a great time at WeddingWire World 2013 yesterday, and want to say a huge thank you to the wonderful Pros who attended, and who tweeted along all day! The WeddingWire team enjoyed getting to know Pros one-on-one in our Customer Success Station, sharing thoughts and feedback throughout the day with guests during sessions, and celebrating the day with some bubbly at the cocktail reception.

We had so much great sharing, feedback and more throughout the day to @WeddingWireEDU and using hashtag #WWWorld.

Thank you to everyone who joined in, and find below just a few highlights in our WeddingWire World themed Featured Pro Tweets post!






» WeddingWire World 2013 is Here!

We are so excited that today is WeddingWire World 2013! We are thrilled that hundreds of wedding and events Pros are joining us today in Washington, DC for a day full of great education from industry leaders, networking with Pros from all over the country, and fun surprises.

Even if you could not join us in person, be sure to follow along with the hashtag #WWWorld today on twitter! @WeddingWireEDU will be live tweeting all day with key take aways, Pro feedback and more.

Check out a preview of the event set-up below!luggage-tags

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» Featured Pro Tweets

In our Featured Pro Tweets series, we highlight top tweets that we receive to @WeddingWireEDU. We love to share your insights, feedback and thoughts with other Wedding Pros, and love to hear from you.

Check out some recent tweets below and be sure to tweet at us and you could be featured next! Also, be sure you are following us on Twitter for the latest  WeddingWire updates, industry and technology news and small business tips just for wedding and event Pros.






Thanks for all your great tweets! Be sure to follow WeddingWireEDU on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ to never miss an update or post!

» What’s New in Social Media

Technology drives our world, and social media has quickly become a center of many people’s daily lives and is evolving at a very rapid pace. Yesterday, our monthly educational webinar, What’s New in Social Media, focused on all the latest in social media!

WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, shared social media statistics and surprising updates from leading sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and also discussed the newest and most quickly growing sites and apps that have hit the social scene. From Vine, Instagram Video, Tumblr, Path and more, Sonny shared insights into why these sites have people buzzing, and why they may matter for your business.

Check out some interesting take aways from this month’s webinar:

  • Half of the world’s population uses Facebook (and there are 1.1 billion monthly active users!)
  • 6 billion hours of YouTube is watched every month
  • The leading two factors that will drive social media growth in 2013 are mobile and older users adoption
  • 27% of total US internet time is spent on social networking sites, and 15% of total mobile internet time is spent on social sites
  • Google+ is now the second largest social network, after Facebook
  • Path is a new social site that is a more personalized social network, allowing you only up to 150 people to share content and posts with
  • Tumblr powers over 126 million blogs
  • 80% of Pins on Pinterest are Repins
  • Instagram boasts over 130 million users and gets 575 likes per second

Be sure to review the full webinar in our Education Center for all the interesting social media stats, and the latest #trending apps! Remember, all of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for premium members, and stay tuned for information on next month’s webinar.

» SEO Success: Top Tips & What to Avoid

Building strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important for your business’ online exposure. To make the sometimes daunting topic of SEO easier to understand, we provide a variety of educational resources about this topic. Check our tips for how to establish a strong SEO presence in our Education Center and WeddingWireEDU blog, SEO basics and Pro tips in our Be an SEO Superstar webinar, an infographic that provides 6 steps for SEO Success, and finally, get started with our tool to create stronger SEO for your business in minutes with our WeddingWire Search Engine Optimizer.

We know that SEO can sometimes be hard to grasp, and that there is so much information available about SEO it may be difficult to know what you should, and should not, be doing for your business. This recent article from Entrepreneur provides valuable insights on SEO strategies that can hurt your business, so you can focus on what will help, provided in our resources listed above!

According to the article, find below 5 common SEO practices you should avoid:

  • Buying links from websites created to sell links: Oftentimes, if you invest your dollars into a site dedicated only to sales and buying website links, they will not share your links on relevant sites that would value your content and actually reach your target audiences. Google may even de-index your site through affiliation of these sites and services.
  • Publishing irrelevant content: When publishing content for your business on your website, Storefront, blog, social media and more, it is important that it is relevant for your audience! Write, share and provide content that is helpful and engaging for your clients, potential clients and industry. Google places a high value on the user experience and rewards your site for doing so. The more irrelevant content (and includes things such as pop up ads for unrelated items) will ultimately hurt your SEO over time.
  • Spam comments: No one likes spam, yet some business owners decide to pay services to spam sites around the internet with comments that include a link back to their website. These can often be posted on blogs or similar platforms, and provide a negative user experience for those who click. Overall, your brand can be damaged when customers or potential customers see those links associated with spammy, poorly written comments. Additionally, it is important to remember you are representing your business when you post or comment at any time, so be sure to be professional, insightful and covey your business in a positive light.
  • Overloading on anchor text links: An anchor text link is a specific keyword or phrase in the text on your site that is hyperlinking to a website URL (for example: if you are a photographer it could be “wedding photography”).  Be sure to select relevant and the most important links for your business, not just any link that may represent your business. Always opt for quality over quantity. We make this super easy and do the work for you with the Search Engine Optimizer tool!

Search Engine Optimization across top search networks is very important for your business, and we hope these tips and resources will help establish strong and reliable SEO!

» New Updates to Your WeddingWire Account!

We made some exciting updates to your WeddingWire account! We have new client tools, an updated navigation and added customization to make your account easy to use. Check out an overview of what’s new below, and then log in to see for yourself and get started!

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We have made some updates to our Clients tools to continue to improve the tools based on your suggestions. Here are a few of our updates:

New Account Navigation

Your WeddingWire account has a new navigation to make it easier to find what you are looking for! We have created new tabs to help:

  • Sites: Customize your mobile and client sites
  • Reviews: Request, track and showcase your reviews
  • Advertising: Update your public-facing Storefront and see how your business reaches across the WeddingWire and EventWire Networks

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Make your account your own! Add your business logo to the top left corner by simply clicking ‘Change’ after log in.

Also, all Settings are now housed in one easy place. Click the cog icon in the top right corner to update everything you need. Customization includes employee information, billing information, Client tab settings and more.

Log in now, and enjoy your new account updates!

» How To Stop Using Pinterest the Wrong Way

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is a member of the National Speakers Association, an author, and founder of The Wedding Industry Leaders Conference, an organization dedicated to the educating and consulting of highly motivated individuals and businesses. Learn more at http://alanberg.com/.

When Pinterest first started to get some traction, and wedding and event Pros began using it, I was torn. I love that it shows us to be more visual on our own websites, but it’s yet another social media platform to take our time and attention. So, I signed up (to make sure that no one would get my name before I could – as happened on Facebook) and then sat back and thought about what I might pin. And that’s when I had two epiphanies.

My first thought was “What am I going to pin?” I’m not in a visual business, as are most of you, so I don’t really have anything to pin except my book covers, DVD and CD covers, etc. And who really cares if I pin them.

My second thought was “Who would want to follow my pins?” But hundreds and hundreds of you did. I thought that it’s kind of self-serving for me to pin my own products, as those are all about me. Your products and services involve your customer in a way that mine don’t. And that led me to realize how to stop using Pinterest the wrong way for my business.

Stop chasing them away

Many of you are in visual businesses: flowers, decorating, photography, lighting, dresses, favors, invitations… However, a lot of what I see on Pinterest is wedding and event pros pinning other people’s images. What happens when you click on those other images? It takes you to someone else’s website, instead of yours.

The goal of Pinterest, for most wedding and event pros, is to connect with your customers, and prospects, through great visuals. Then, get them to want to connect with you so you can do that for them. So, why would you send them to anywhere else except your own website?

Tell me the story

The next big missed opportunity I see on Pinterest is that too many people pin an image and then give very little, if any caption. Stories sell. Here are some real captions on wedding related images that I pulled as I was writing this article:

  • “Black lace looks beautiful” – under a pretty wedding cake
  • “Silver luncheon” – under a montage of images of a gorgeous table setting and details from the event
  • “Blush, blush” – under a montage of images from a beautiful wedding

So, what’s wrong with those captions? They don’t tell the story. The miss the chance to engage the audience with more details… and to draw them to want to see more images like that and to contact YOU!

Let them hear the narration

A better caption is the narration that you would naturally do, if the customer were sitting next to you, looking at that photo. What would you say to them? Write it! Yes, in a conversational way, write the narration.

For example, under the beautiful cake photo that cake artist might have written:
“Doesn’t the black lace look beautiful on Susan & Tom’s wedding cake? It matches the lace on her wedding dress and the detail on their centerpieces. Click to read more about this delicious, and beautiful cake.”

If that photo linked to more photos from that wedding, or more images of cakes like that, it would be doing more to drive traffic to their site.

For the Silver Luncheon photo they could have said:
“Silver, silver everywhere at this amazing luncheon for Debbie & Phil’s wedding at the East Lake Country Club in Houston. Who says an afternoon wedding can’t be luxurious and classy? This one was all that and more. Click the photo to see more beautiful photos from their wedding.”

Engage the engaged

Wouldn’t that be more engaging? Don’t you think that would get more people to want to click through to their site? I do, and I know that it works. Using a call to action and linking to more relevant content is the way to use Pinterest to drive conversion. You don’t want them to just look at your photos. You want them to take action and be moved by them.

So stop pinning other people’s images and start pinning your own, the right way. Use relevant, narrative stories to engage them and make them pause from scanning the page. Tell them what to do next. Get them to click through to your site where, if you did it correctly, you can get them to contact you.

For other tips in getting started with Pinterest, check out this recent post, and be sure to follow WeddingWireEDU and Alan Berg’s boards on Pinterst. Happy Pinning!

» Tools for Creating Great Infographics

Today, great visual content is key. At WeddingWire, we love infographics! Infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge intent to present complex and engaging content quickly and clearly. Still not sure what an infographic is? Check this out!

We think that infographics are a fun and unique way to combine top industry tips, the latest statistics and important information into an engaging visual!

Check out some of our latest infographics designed just for Pros like you, including: How to Stand Out in a Competitive Market, How to Make Blogging Work for You, Are You Too Busy to Be Successful?, 6 Steps for SEO Success, and What’s Next in Tech!

Interested in making your own great infographics? These visuals are a great way to show your business expertise, and your creativity! Brainstorm ideas for an infographic you would like to share with your clients or other Pros in the industry. Some ideas include: top tips for planning your wedding, wedding trends this summer, 10 steps to a great photo, how to write your own vows in 5 steps, and much more!

Once you have your topic in mind, get started on the copy! Remember to keep it short and sweet so the infographic and images can tell the story for you. When you are ready to create your infographic or visualization, check out some online resources we have complied to find the best fit for you.

Here are some tools for creating simple visualizations:

  • Infogr.am: Infogr.am is a popular tool for creating free, interactive infographics. Chose from a variety of themes that are provided, and create custom charts using real data. Additionally, you are able to add your own images or video if you would like. When complete, you can embed it on your website and publish it directly on Infogr.am.
  • Visual.ly: Using this tool, create a free infographic for your business using their gallery of themes. Then, connect with your social media accounts to get sharing! The tool encourages use of your social media network and hashtags for added online exposure for you content.
  • Piktochart: This web-based tool provides six free infographic themes for creating simple visualizations. Simply drag and drop different shapes and images and customize your copy, and you are able to add in any graphs you may have. Then, you can export your image as a PNG or JPG in print or web copy for sharing.
  •  Easel.ly: This is another free tool for creating infographics that is currently in beta (which means the initial stage of launch). It is great for storytelling and has a wide selection of designed objects you can include, as well as a good selection of backgrounds. Also, you are able to upload your own images if you would like.

After you have created your infographic, be sure to share it! Consider embedding it into your website, sharing it with potential clients as an added resource, posting on your social media accounts and more.

For the latest leading inforgraphics for wedding and event Pros, be sure to follow WeddingWireEDU on Pinterest and pin your favorites!

» Today Only: Win Tickets to WeddingWire World!

We are less than two weeks away from our second annual WeddingWire World full-day conference in Washington, DC! We can’t wait to come together with hundreds of wedding and event professionals for a day full of education, networking and fun – and want to give you a chance to join us.

We have reserved a very select number of seats to give away to our wonderful Wedding Pros, and today only you can enter to win a pair of complimentary WeddingWire World tickets.

Simply complete the entry form, and you will be entered to win two tickets for you and a colleague to join us at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC on Monday, July 29th!

Tickets are valued at $199 each, but if you are one of our lucky winners, you will receive two tickets to a day full of great information to power your business, industry-leading speakers, one-on-one sessions with our Customer Success Managers, networking with other wedding professionals and much more.

ENTER TO WIN>>

Please note: The giveaway will only be open from 9AM to 6PM EST Wednesday, July 17, 2013. One entry per business will be accepted. Winners will be notified at 10AM EST on Thursday, July 18, 2013. The giveaway includes (2) complimentary tickets to WeddingWire World. Any additional expenses are the responsibility of the winners.

Learn more about WeddingWire World 2013 here!

» WeddingWire Happy Hour Cincinnati

Yesterday evening, Wedding Pros gathered at The Phoenix for WeddingWire Happy Hour Cincinnati!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us! At the event, Wedding Pros from the Cincinnati area had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories and meet members of the WeddingWire team. Other networking events have been held in Orlando, San Francisco, Miami, Phoenix, Boston, Minneapolis, Detroit, New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, St. Louis, Providence, and more this year!

We’re excited to share photo highlights from the event below, and our WeddingWire Education Guide.

We would like to extend a special thank you to the fantastic partners who helped make the event possible:

Finally, congrats to Sahara Shackelford of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the winner of our drawing who will receive a WeddingWire prize pack!

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» WeddingWire World 2013 Keynote Speaker

We can’t wait for the upcoming WeddingWire World 2013 on Monday, July 29th in Washington, DC, and are excited to share some recent additions to our lineup of great presentations from industry experts!

We are thrilled to announce the keynote speaker for this year’s full-day conference of education, networking and fun, dedicated to helping you better your business this year. Seth Goldman, a Washington, DC local and featured in this month’s Inc. Magazine, will join WeddingWire World to discuss his success as TeaEO of Honest Tea! You will learn how to grow and scale your business with the same honesty and integrity of this national brand.

Seth Goldman joins other industry-leading speakers, including WeddingWire Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Chi, WeddingWire Chief Marketing Officer, Sonny Ganguly, WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg, WeddingWire Education Expert, Kathryn Hamm, and more coming soon!

Haven’t saved your seat? We want all interested Pros to be able to take advantage of this great event, so invite you to use a special, limited-time discount and save big! Register today for just $49 with promo code HONEST and bring a colleague for only $9 with promo code PLUSONE!

Join hundreds of wedding and event professionals for a day full of education and information to grow your business in 2013. Get motivated and prepared to succeed across all of the most important channels for your business including sales, marketing, reviews, networking and more. Additionally, our Customer Success Management team will be available all day for on-site consultations to answer your questions. Plus, enjoy a networking breakfast, on-site lunch and a celebratory cocktail reception at the end of the day!

Have questions? Check out our FAQ! Excited about attending and want to tell your friends? Share the news on Facebook and Twitter.

We look forward to seeing you soon in Washington, DC!