» Top 10 WeddingWireEDU Posts of 2015

Top 10 WeddingWireEDU Posts of 2015The end of the year is a time of reflection for all types of businesses. As we look into the New Year, it’s important to reflect on what areas were successful and what areas could use improvement. We always hope our posts are helpful, but we take the time at the end of each year to see which articles our readers enjoyed the most!

Check out our countdown of the top WeddingWireEDU posts of 2015 based on your views, comments and shares:

10.  Social Media Marketing: What Not To Do

Even if you’ve started using social media for your business, it’s easy to get stuck in the same pattern of not knowing what to post or posting the same type of content over and over. We’ve got some of the biggest social media marketing don’ts so you can know what to avoid and how to put your best foot forward.

9.  Objection Overruled! 4 Ways to Handle Sales Objections

One of the most misunderstood parts of the sales process is objections. Many pros see objections as road blocks to getting the sale. WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg explains how to shift your mindset to see sales objections as buying signals and outlines some top strategies for handling them.

8.  5 Steps to Executing a Content Plan

Writing high-quality, educational content can help you book more business, and the best way to start is by coming up with a content plan to help you walk people through your sales process. Easier said than done, right? Check out our five steps to help you start a content plan and maintain it in 2016.

7.  Responding to Leads: Response Time, Method, and Style

Engaged couples send out dozens of inquiries during the planning process, so how you respond and the speed of your response can make a big difference. We share insights to help you understand the impact your response time and communication style have on your business’ likelihood of booking wedding clients.

6.  5 Ways to Market Your Business in the Busy Season

In the warmer-weather months, wedding businesses across the country face an extremely busy time of year: wedding season! We list a few ways your business can continue executing your marketing strategy to keep new clients coming in despite all the rushing around you do during the busy season.

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» The Importance of Maintaining Your Blog

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?

The Importance of Maintaining Your BlogStill, 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.

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» 3 Quick Ways to Jump Start Your Blogging Efforts

3 Quick Ways to Jump Start Your Blogging EffortsDid you know that there are over 156 million public blogs, and over 77% of internet users read those blogs? Blogging is a great way to build trust with your readers, educate and inform them, and assist with your sales conversions. Creating a blog and blogging consistently, though, is easier said than done.

If blogging more is one of your 2015 resolutions, try these three quick tips to help you jump start your blogging efforts and maintain them throughout the year!

Brainstorm topic ideas up front

The hardest part about starting (and maintaining) a blog is coming up with post topics! Take some time at the beginning of the process to brainstorm a bunch of ideas to keep in mind. It helps to look at a calendar and think about any seasonal or holiday topics that your readers would be interested in, and then fill in the rest of your queue with more general topics. Think about common questions you receive from clients, or discussions you see on the WeddingWire Forums – these can be great topic starters! In addition, posting photos from your recent weddings (always giving the photographer and other vendors credit!) is a great way to keep your blog updated and show off your work to potential clients. Add to your list of topic ideas whenever you feel inspired to keep your list topped off.

Create an editorial calendar

Whether you create a strict calendar with topics for each date or just decide on a day to publish each week, creating a calendar for yourself will help incorporate blogging into your work schedule. It’s easier to stay on track when you know ahead of time that something is due! Use your brainstormed topic ideas to keep your calendar topped off and identify topic areas you haven’t yet explored.

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» Today is Our 1,000th Blog Post!

Today is Our 1,000th Blog Post!As of today, we’ve published 1,000 blog posts on the WeddingWireEDU Blog. We are excited to have reached this milestone in our efforts to continue education for all our wedding and events professionals!

Since our first blog post in June of 2008, WeddingWireEDU has been hard at work providing the latest educational resources for our community of Pros on a variety of topics, including:

  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Small business tips and guidelines
  • Customer relationship management
  • Sales strategies and tactics

Before we added more extensive resources to the in-account Education Center for premium Pros, we were writing posts for people within our network and beyond. For a little trip down memory lane, head over to our Archive page and view our posts by date to see how we’ve grown!

We want to extend a huge thank you to all the amazing Wedding Pros who helped us reach this exciting milestone and have been part of the journey! Questions and requests from our community help us learn how we can best help wedding professionals and power your business.

What would you like us to post about next? Let us know in the comments!

» 4 Ways to Better Your Blog [INFOGRAPHIC]

Blogging can have a powerful impact on your business’ online brand exposure! Starting a blog is easy, but many find that blogging consistently and optimizing their blog for a good user experience can be difficult.

Whether you are new to blogging, post frequently or looking for new ways to boost your online exposure, these 4 recommendations will help better your blog’s impact and take your wedding business to the next level.

4 Ways to Better Your Blog

For more blogging tips, check out the recent webinar, Blog Your Way to a Better Business in the Education Center within your account.

» Blog Your Way to a Better Business

Blog Your Way to Better BusinessWebinar recap!

Do you ever wonder what impact that blogging can make for your business? This month’s educational webinar for premium members focused on the power of blogging for your business’ online exposure. WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly welcomed new Education Expert Andy Ebon as the host of this session. Andy shared his insights on why blogging matters, how to stand out online, and tips for taking your content efforts to the next level.

Check out these top tips based on common blogging questions:

Interested in starting a blog and wondering what platforms to review? Check out WordPress, blogger, tumblr and typepad and see which suits your business needs and personality best.

Want to take your blog to the next level? Once you start a business blog, be sure to use plug-in and add-ons to make your blog more dynamic and user-friendly. Common helpful updates include SEO optimization, search functionality and blog mobilization.

Want to drive traffic from your blog back to your Storefront? Add your free, customizable WeddingWire widgets to show off your WeddingWire reviews, schedule appointments, add a contact form to your blog and more.

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» Better Your Business with an RSS Feed

Whether you are an avid blog reader, have some blogs and online content you follow regularly, or even if you haven’t yet developed a following on industry blogs – an RSS feed can help improve your business by giving you a great daily dose of Education!

First things first – what is an RSS feed?

An RSS is technically called a “Rich Site Summary” and serves as a web feed or “personal channel” where you can search, follow and track frequently updated web content – commonly used for blogs and news headlines.

Why consider using an RSS feed?

RSS feeds allow you to easily and quickly stay informed on the latest content of your favorite news, blogs and web content resources that interest you and apply to your business. This way, instead of starting your day and checking your favorite five sites, you can add them to your feed and the latest posts will all appear in one easy to review and preview feed – saving you time! Stories or posts that interest you can be clicked, and you will be directed right to the full post.

How do you get started?

Setting up a feed reader is easy! There are a variety of platforms available. You may have heard Google recently announced a change to their popular feed – Google Reader. It will no longer be available as of July 1, 2013, but luckily if you do have a feed with Google Reader you can export your feeds to a new reader using Google Takeout. There are a variety of popular feeds available to explore, including: netvibes, Pageflakes, and Bloglines.  Additionally, you may have one associated with your email account, such as Yahoo!.

Once you have established a feed, start to visit your favorite sites (including WeddingWireEDU, of course!) and add their RSS to your feed! If you have questions, we suggest looking at the feed’s help section for tips on getting started. Once you have established your feed, you can continue to add to it as you find new favorite blogs, sources with great articles, and any news sources that you would like updates from. Some sites we would recommend include: American Express’ Open Forum for small business tips, Mashable and TechCrunch for the latest in tech, WeddingWire’s blog for wedding inspiration and WeddingWireEDU for tips, updates and advice for Wedding and Event Pros!

As new content is published, it will be delivered to your feed in chronological order. That way, whether you constantly refresh your feed or catch up on a weekly basis, you can scroll through the content and review the posts that appeal to you and your business.

Enjoy!

Once you have your RSS established or further developed, find a way to incorporate it into your daily (or even weekly) routine. Catch up on the latest posts as you enjoy your morning coffee, dedicate some time to learning over lunch at your desk, or review the day’s relevant posts as you unwind watching a favorite evening TV show. Whatever works for you! RSS feeds are a great way to ensure that the latest industry happenings, tips and advice is delivered right to you!

» Get Published on WeddingAces!

Interested in being a wedding blogger? If you’ve always wanted to start your own blog, but haven’t been able to make the leap, here’s an opportunity to test the waters! Or, if you are a seasoned blogger, looking to expand your reach, consider becoming a contributor for a WeddingWire blog!

We’re looking for guest contributors to share their wedding wisdom with our readers on our WeddingAces blog! WeddingAces’ content is exclusively provided by Pros like you, and is designed to provide engaged couples with firsthand knowledge and experiences of planning a wedding from the experts themselves.

We are searching for more voices to add to the mix! Our Aces share tips, tools, and tricks of the trade for all aspects of planning a wedding.

Interested in being a contributor? Here’s how it works:

  • Brainstorm some blog post topics based on your area of expertise (check out our WeddingAces blog for inspiration)
  • Fill out this form, sharing your topic idea(s), and a brief description of what you plan to write about in each post
  • If selected to contribute a blog post on WeddingAces, we’ll be in touch with more information and next steps

It’s easy! Please note that all topics and posts must be exclusive to WeddingWire (meaning it can’t be something you’ve already written for your own blog or site), and all content is subject to editorial approval. We’ll make sure that you, and any other Pros or photographers you mention are appropriately credited. And again, please just write a brief topic description of your planned post – do not submit an entire post to us at this stage.

Any questions? Send us a message and we’ll respond ASAP! Good luck; we can’t wait to hear from you!

» Editor’s Note: Beating Writer’s Block

Kim Forrest is one of WeddingWire’s editors. She manages content creation on both WeddingWire and EventWire. Kim has been writing about weddings for nearly a decade, and has been quoted as a weddings expert in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and more. 

So, you’ve started your very own blog. Maybe you’ve been consistently creating content for a month or two, but now you find yourself stuck with nothing more to write about. You have writer’s block, a totally common ailment that all writers face every now and again. Rather than let your blog sit dormant (not the best idea if you’re looking to grow followers and social shares), let us help you get your creative juices flowing with our tips for beating writer’s block!

We’ve done the brainstorming for you and created some fun topic ideas for your business based on your wedding industry category. Now you simply have to set aside some time, get ready, set, and start blogging! And, remember, beautiful, unique and interesting images showcasing your work is always important to include on your blog (such as the photo below)!

Photo Credit: K. Thompson Photography

Venues

“A Venue For All Seasons” – Share (professional) photos of your venue in different seasons, highlighting how the space could be utilized and decorated at different times of year and for different style events. This shows the beauty and versatility of your space!

Caterers

“Real Couple’s Menu” – Outline a creative menu from a recent wedding, and discuss how you worked with the couple to make their vision come to life. Share professional photos of the food, if you can!

Flowers

“Flower of the Week” – Write a post featuring a specific blossom. Talk about why you love the flower so much and share some photos of bouquets or centerpieces you’ve created using the particular bloom.

Wedding Planners

“If I Could Plan It” – Design a dream “wedding” for a recently-engaged celebrity. Which flowers would you suggest Jennifer Aniston use at her wedding? Which venue would you choose for Kelly Clarkson? This is a fun way to let your imagination run wild and show couples how creative you can be!

Band, DJ or Ceremony Music

“What’s That Song?” – Share a few under-the-radar songs that would work well at various moments throughout the wedding, or your favorite “crowd pleaser” songs that always get the party started or create a special unforgettable moment.

Dress and Attire

“Perfect Pairs” – Showcase a wedding gown that you carry in your salon, along with a bridesmaid dress that would look great alongside it. Give insight into the designer, the style and fit. This makes a great weekly feature!

Photographers/Videographers

“Real Weddings and Events” – You’re in luck. You can easily share real weddings and events on your blog. But instead of just featuring photos or video of the event, be sure to get some quotes from the couple and feature a full vendor list to give credit where it’s due. Use great descriptive words to explain the event, and people searching for similar inspiration will more likely find your work! Request that your featured couple, and the other Pros involved with the event, share your post on their social networks to gain added exposure.

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» 7 Tips for Improving Your Website’s Readability

Thinking about creating your own website or blog for your business?  Take a look at these simple tips that can help you make sure your readers are able to find the most critical information on your site as quickly and easy as possible.

1.  Keep it simple.  Internet readers in the digital age tend to look for keywords, skip around the page,  and have lower attention spans than in the past.  Be straightforward with your content, don’t include excess information, and avoid long paragraphs and sentences.

2.  Use More Headings  to Separate Content.  Studies have shown internet readers also read in blocks, and will try to focus in on exactly what the reader is looking for.  They will often skip over words and search the pages in an “F-shaped pattern”.  Start by outlining what you would like to cover on your page to determine when it is necessary to insert short, concise headlines.

3.  Make Your Site Easy to Scan.  Design the layout of your site by taking into account your readers will often skim your site.  The inverted pyramid writing style demonstrates where to place your most important information in your content so the reader sees it first.

4.  Take Advantage of Bullets and Text Formatting.  Using bullets and text formatting, such as bold or italicized text, can attract readers attention and help highlight the most important information.

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» Turn Browsers into Customers

Whether you are getting a lot or a little traffic to your website or blog, the important thing is converting those online browsers into your customers. Here are some great tips to ensure your business captures more business:

  1. Get found by more brides. It is important first that you get potential customers to your site. To do so, invest in some advertising – even if it is just Google AdWords for your service category and location. This will boost your visibility and ranking for search engines. Also make sure you frequently update your content, whether its on your website or blog, it is important to stay up to date even if it is just adding images from recent weddings.
  2. Engage with the engaged. Give visitors a reason to get involved whether its with social media or a contest. User engagement is an important way for customers to feel involved and also spread the word about your business. Also make sure when you receive a comment or inquiry you respond quickly (within an hour is best!) Brides will be impressed with your responsiveness and are more likely to commit to your business if you catch them when they are thinking about it.
  3. Analyze this. Keep an eye on your website, blog, and social media analytics to know who your customer is and cater to them in the future. If you know the most popular time of day for brides to look at your website, you will know that is a good time add fresh content.

For additional ideas, read the full article from American Express OPENForum.

» Get Connected

Take a minute today to link your WeddingWire Storefront with your Blog, Facebook and Twitter. Doing so will allow brides considering your business to connect on a deeper level and learn more about you!

Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Login to your WeddingWire account
  2. Click the My Storefront tab
  3. Click “Edit” next to your business name
  4. Enter the URL’s for your Blog, Facebook, and Twitter
  5. Click “Save”