This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.
If You’re Holding a Microphone, You’d Better Start Talking!
Most wedding Pros understand the benefits of having a blog on their site. It helps tremendously with search engine optimization (SEO), it gives you the opportunity to interact with and cross-promote other wedding vendors, and it helps you to establish credibility as an expert in your field. It’s also a chance to speak directly to the specific clients you’re trying to target, by creating content that is relevant and appealing to them. All good things, right?
Still, many (if not most) Pros seem to struggle when it comes to keeping their blog updated regularly. Through market research, conversations with my business coaching clients, and just browsing vendors’ websites for fun, I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve encountered that have become a ghost town. The last post may have been three months ago, and the post before that is almost a year old. Yet the blog still sits there in a site’s navigation bar, looking sad and neglected.
This is problematic for many reasons: it implies a lack of good business sense (because if you really understood the benefits, you’d make your blog a priority), and more importantly, it demonstrates a lack of attention to detail and follow-through on your part. Not exactly the image most of us want to portray, especially in the wedding industry.
Still, I get it, believe me. Life just gets in the way sometimes. I took a big step back from my own wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, to deal with personal circumstances and it took me a year and a half to officially relaunch. And while that wasn’t ideal by any means, at that time WeddingIQ was a passion project, not an income source, and I did continue to focus on maintaining the blog for my primary business. So while I can completely relate to the reasons for not keeping up with a blog, I also understand how important a blog is as a business tool. It’s never too late to create a blogging habit.
Here are some tips to help you get back on track and start maintaining your blog again:
To begin, begin. William Wordsworth’s famous quote can apply to lots of things, blogging included. You need to set the intention to become a blogger, and then just jump in with both feet. Remember that you’ve accepted the benefits of actively blogging, you understand the value in it, and you’ve consciously chosen to invest your time. Your motivation to reach the goals of improved SEO, vendor relationships, reputation and targeted client inquiries will keep you going even when writing feels hard.
Rely on an editorial calendar. You can use any number of software programs, or just use your day planner or a blank calendar template you print from a word processing program. Decide how many days per week you want to blog (I recommend at least once a week, three is better, five is great but also a big undertaking!) and then start filling in topics on the calendar. Once you’ve mapped out a few weeks or months of post ideas, coming up with a topic won’t seem so daunting, and you can make adjustments as new ideas pop up.
Mix up your subject matter. I suggest switching up your topics throughout the month to keep things fresh, with a mix of “heavier” content (like advice posts) and “lighter” stuff (like promoting an upcoming public event). You can use your blog to feature your weddings, of course, but you can also offer commentary on various trends, share inspiration (Pinterest boards, song lists, menu ideas), feature other vendors you like, offer some fun behind-the-scenes looks at your company and team, and link to other blog posts and websites you find useful.
Don’t overthink it. Lots of Pros seem to place almost too much importance on the quality and message in their blog posts, and that’s really not the point. Sure, your posts should have proper spelling and grammar, and contain some information of value. But you’re not writing a term paper here, or “War and Peace.” Also, when you’re blogging often enough, you won’t feel like each post has to be so epic – the pressure to write great posts is significantly reduced when you’re posting more than once or twice a year!
Delegate, outsource, and invite outside contribution. You might hate blogging, but perhaps someone else on your team (an employee, contractor, or intern) loves it. You can also use your team to generate the actual content, even if you’re the one putting it all together – for example, asks everyone who works for you their opinion on something wedding related, and compile it all into a post. Boom, done. If you’re willing to look outside your team, there are tons of freelance writers available on sites like Craigslist, Fiverr, and Elance who are trying to cobble together a living doing what they love. (I can’t emphasize enough the importance of choosing your freelancer carefully, to ensure their quality and their ability to match your brand’s “voice,” but it’s entirely doable. And I’m a big fan of outsourcing what you hate so you can pursue what you love.) Finally, once your blog is up and running, you may find that other Pros in your market are happy to guest blog for you, or at least to provide their responses for an easy Q&A post in exchange for a link to their site. That’s doubly helpful, because not only are they doing the heavy lifting in terms of content, but you’ve also just potentially strengthened your relationship with another vendor.
With so many tasks that are seemingly more urgent, it’s easy to overlook your blog when you’d really just rather focus on something else. However, the reality is that a decent blog provides a unique opportunity to connect with clients and vendors alike, and has the potential to do great things for your professional credibility and your SEO. Even if you never fall in love with the process of blogging, you should at least lump it in with answering emails and doing your taxes – it’s one of those highly important, if not always exciting, parts of running a successful business, and one that doesn’t have to be such a big challenge!