» 4 Free Tools to Help You Write Better Blog Posts

How to write better blog postsWriting does not come naturally to everyone. Whether you have trouble coming up with topics, deciding on a headline, or actually writing the meat of your post, writing blog posts can be a difficult process. Yet the benefits of blogging are so great for a number of reasons – search engine visibility, better customer relationships, and more.

If you’re looking for some help to write better blog posts, check out some of these free online tools!

Identify the right keywords with the Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Use keyword research tools like Google AdWord’s Keyword Tool to shed some light on the popularity of the keywords you’re looking to use and how many times they’re searched monthly. These factors not only help you to identify keywords that others are using, but also to identify keywords that others are not using, leaving room for your use. Find the keywords that will bring in more search traffic so you get the maximum power out of each blog post.

Come up with better topics with HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator

Do you have some vague idea of what you want to write about, but you’re not sure which points to make? The HubSpot Blog Topic Generator allows you to enter a few general terms and then its algorithm suggests five blog post headlines to get you started on a topic. If you are using the aforementioned Keyword Tool, enter some of those keywords into this tool to get headline ideas that will spur your creativity and guide you towards the points you’d like to make in the post. If nothing else, this tool is a great jumping-off point which you can use to customize for your needs.

Create better titles with the Readability Test

Now that you have some topic ideas, you can hone your headline or title. AtomicWriter Lite is a great tool to help you determine the readability of your headlines and content so you can see how to get your readers more engaged. Select whether your audience is Advanced, Trained, or Well-versed and the tool will help you know if your headlines are too complex for your readers to understand at a glance. After all, if your title isn’t easily digestible for your readers, they won’t feel compelled to click through!

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» Is Your Digital Content the Right Length?

Creating digital contentWhen it comes to writing for your wedding business, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. The messaging in your blog posts should be consistent with your content your website, and your emails and social media posts should also reflect the same tone and voice. With all of those considerations, it’s easy to write too much (or sometimes too little) to keep it all straight!

If you’ve ever wondered how long your pieces of digital content should be, you’re not alone. Luckily for you, there’s a ton of research on exactly how long your digital content should be for ideal exposure and views on the various channels. Below are some of the findings:

Facebook. Research shows that posts shorter than 40 characters (meaning words and spaces or punctuation) had 86% higher engagement rates than longer posts. This isn’t to say that long Facebook posts are useless – in a lot of cases, there’s no way to condense information into less than 40 characters. If you can squeeze posts to under 80 characters, they get 66% more “likes” and comments.

Twitter. Twitter, unlike Facebook, is already very limited in the amount of content users can post. Ideal post length on Twitter is actually longer than ideal post length on Facebook, but it’s an easy number to remember: 100 characters. Twitter’s own research shows that medium-length tweets get the most re-tweets. Why? If users want to “quote” the tweet or retweet and add their own thoughts, they have enough characters left to do so. For optimally shareable tweets, aim for 70-100 characters.

Headlines. If you have a blog, pay close attention to this one! Just like people scan blog posts, (sad, but true) they scan the headlines. The maximum word count for headlines is just six words. Research shows that if a headline is longer than that, readers only look at the first three words and the last three words. Consequently, keeping headlines to six or fewer words ensures that readers pay attention to the whole headline. Plus, Google typically only displays 50-60 characters of the title in search results, so the shorter, the better!

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» 3 Steps to Overcoming Writer’s Block

Woman typing on keyboardThere are many ways to make a mark on the wedding industry and reach potential clients. It can be done through networking, social media, and bridal shows, but one of the easiest ways to get your business’ name out there is by creating and maintaining a blog. The word “blog” may evoke images of young millennials with headphones on – but there is so much more to blogging than what meets the eye!

A blog gives your business a platform to speak to potential clients and it also helps you stand out as an expert in the industry. Blogging consistently can also yield search engine optimization (SEO) benefits for your business and improve your search rankings. Having a blog is important, yes, but having a readable blog is just as important.

If you’re having trouble creating content, you’re not alone! Especially if writing isn’t your favorite activity, writer’s block can be a real hurdle for achieving blogging benefits. Here are a few tips for overcoming writer’s block so you can start blogging more regularly:

Know what you want to say before writing.

It’s tempting to overcome a bout of writer’s block by just sitting down and typing a post, but without a vision or a clear topic, those efforts are probably fruitless. It’s almost impossible to write concise posts if you don’t know what you want to say. Fellow Pros, current clients and even friends or family members can be a source of inspiration when you’re brainstorming blog posts. Once you have a topic to talk about, you’ll be able to communicate clearly about the subject.

Use bullet points.

Once you’ve chosen a topic, make a bullet point list of the main points you’d like to make. This can help you narrow down your post, making it easier to write and easier to understand. A blog post about how to design a wedding bouquet can be very interesting, but a 3,000 word post about how to design a wedding bouquet is over the top. Ideal post length is between 400 and 1,500 words: it should take 5-7 minutes to read. If you choose 3-5 bullet points to address and write a paragraph about each of them, you should be right on point!

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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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» 5 of the Most Shareable Blog Post Types

	5 of the Most Shareable Blog Post TypesComing up with ideas for blog posts can be time consuming, especially when you get stuck in a rut of posting the same types of articles all the time. Adding more variety to your post types will not only make writing easier, it will also pique the interest of your readers by providing a new format. If you’re not sure how else you can format your business’ content, we’ve got some great data to share.

NewsCred, along with Fractl and BuzzStream, recently analyzed 220,000 articles from 11 verticals over six months to determine what content resonates best on social media and when to post for maximum impact. We’ve broken down their data below to provide you with the most shareable blog post types!

1.  List Posts

Study results: 22.45% of total shares

Best months for sharing: June, September, October

List blog posts offer a number of points on a particular topic that support a general conclusion. List posts have become very popular due to popular news sites like Buzzfeed, which publishes a number of list posts each day. List posts, like infographics, are easier to read and understand because of their simple formatting. Think about the various options a couple has when booking your business and list them, or provide a list of ideas for each season.

2.  ‘Why’ Posts

Study results: 22.32% of total shares

Best months for sharing: September, October, November

‘Why’ posts provide readers with a reason or purpose and provide details that support a given conclusion. These posts serve to convince your readers that your conclusion is the right conclusion! Here’s your chance to really persuade your audience on your own viewpoints. For some wedding professionals this type of post could be a piece on why engaged couples need a Pro in your service category, and why they should book your wedding business.

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» Updating Your Brand Presence for Wedding Season

Updating Your Brand Presence for Wedding SeasonAs we move into the spring season, Pros across the country are preparing for a busy wedding season full of events. While you may have already booked most of your weddings through the fall, couples are still seeing your business as they continue to search for their wedding professionals. It’s essential that your brand presence remain strong while you’re otherwise occupied!

Below we break out the individual areas that affect your brand presence online, with tips for updating each area in preparation for the wedding season.

Brand: Add professional photos

It’s important to take time several throughout the year to update your Storefront with recent photos and information. Before you reach for that cell phone camera, though, consider getting some more high-quality images! Featuring high-resolution, professional photos that showcase your business is an important way to make your Storefront and website more appealing to visitors. We recently redesigned the look and feel of your Storefront to bring more attention to photos of your work, and we’ve seen that visitors who click the new Storefront photo carousel view an average of 22 photos per session. The more visitors to your Storefront who check out your photos, the more time they’re spending on your Storefront considering your business. Make the decision easy by giving them plenty of great photos to choose from!

Public Relations: Submit a real wedding

One of the most crucial aspects of developing strong wedding PR for your business is getting published. Whether you’re a DJ, florist, venue, caterer, wedding planner or any other wedding professional, getting published will expose your business to an even wider audience. If you’re taking our advice and adding more professional photos, your Storefront will look more attractive to our Editorial Team, who spend a lot of time browsing WeddingWire Storefronts to look for Wedding Pros to interview and feature. We also created RealWeds.com to streamline the process of submitting real wedding photos to WeddingWire and our sister site, Project Wedding. Whether you submit your own photos or your business is selected by our Editorial Team, being published on WeddingWire will help your business reach even more engaged couples.

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» Blogging for Wedding PR

WeddingWire Education Expert

Meghan Ely

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.

When I mention blogging to just about anyone – client, colleague or all-around wedding buddy, I’m generally met with the same reaction: groan. I’ve come to expect it, in fact – even from those like myself who actual enjoy writing.

Blogging for Wedding PRAnd I get it – blogging takes time out of an already busy day. The idea of having to sit down, come up with a topic and then actually write isn’t terribly appealing. But, just like those not so fashionable yet oh-so-practical shoes you have to wear on event day, blogging is a necessary evil. This is particularly the case if you have an interest in increasing your press in 2015 and beyond.

First and foremost, it’s an undeniable fact that the media seeks out sources online. If you haven’t started chasing down the key words in your market for your area of expertise, then now is the time to make it happen. There are a number of factors that affect your Google rankings, and a regularly maintained blog with the appropriate key words is one of them. If there is a local editor looking to interview a wedding photographer, for example, then they’ll start searching online and you absolutely want to be on the first page of results to increase your chances of being contacted.

So what should be on your to do list? It’s time to either start studying SEO 101 or consider hiring an expert in the field. You’ll need to identify what key words are most popular in your market and then begin incorporating them as organically as possible within your blog posts through the tags, the title, the image descriptions and the body of the post.

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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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» How to Build Strong SEO in 4 Ways

Building strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important for your wedding business’ online exposure. There’s so much information available about SEO it may be difficult to know what you should, and should not, be doing for your business. Regardless of all the confusion, the goal remains the same: you want your business to be found by engage couples searching for their perfect Pros.

Most wedding professionals are concerned about SEO for their website, but your website is not the only place where you have a presence online. Your business should optimize your presence across your website, blog, social networks and online listings. We break down what you need to know to build strong SEO by optimizing each, below!

How to Build Strong SEO in 4 WaysOptimizing your website for search

Your business’ website is a great place for potential clients to learn even more about your wedding business, but it’s not much use if it can’t be found! For those couples who use a combination of WeddingWire and search engines to find their Perfect Pros, you should make it as easy as possible to be found!

Search engines are looking for the following from your website:

  1. Include relevant keywords in all aspects of your website, including your domain name, title tags, meta tags and long-tail URLs. You can also use keywords within your page content, and use HTML cues like the <H1> tag and the <Alt Tag> on images. Begin by focusing on 10 keywords, and a good strategy is to include the word “wedding,” your service category and your business’ location.
  2. One of the most obvious detractors is lack of quality content. Websites that aren’t trustworthy rarely take the time to write intelligent, descriptive content, so make sure your website doesn’t fall into this trap. Create quality content that is specific to your business and keeps your customer in mind.
  3. Think about your customers’ experience on your website. Is it easy for them to navigate from page to page? Are there any outdated web pages or dead-end links that should be removed? Asking these questions will help improve your website’s functionality to make it more user-friendly, which is another factor in most search algorithms.
  4. Create relevant inbound links back to your website by guest blogging for partners who will link back to your website when they mention you on their website or blog. You should never buy inbound links in bulk from mass directories.

Optimizing your blog for search

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» 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.

» Pro Tips for Developing Blog Content

The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings. 

Developing and writing blog content on a consistent basis is the most challenging part of building and maintaining an audience of prospects, peers, and the media. Even just coming up with fresh topics each week or month can seem daunting for beginners. Writing down blog ideas when they hit you is the key to consistently coming up with new topic ideas! Don’t just trust your memory – write down the concept, finished title, or just the essence of an idea.

When developing blog content, consider these important guidelines to start:

  • Don’t make it all about you/your company. You are far better off to make about 75% of your content about clients you work with, industry developments and inspiration. If too much of your content is about patting yourself on the back, readers will drift away.
  • Allow posts to ‘breathe’ by taking liberal paragraph breaks and using bullet points. Online readers tend to scan, and long paragraphs are not reader-friendly.
  • Use bold text, not italics, as visual speed-bumps to cue the reader to pause on important words or phrases.

Pro Tips for Developing Blog ContentExamples of Post Topics

As you begin your blogging journey, ideas will find you in many forms. TV commercials, magazines, event experiences, trade show, collaborations, retail transactions (with you as the customers). If you need some help getting started, try out some of these post examples below:

1.  Praise a collaborating business: Identify the little things, maybe even the unseen things that make a fellow wedding professional exceptional. It may be his specific techniques for calming the client, or her ability to keep other wedding professionals in-the-loop. Emphasizing the subtleties of excellence in execution can be as praiseworthy as the work itself. Always link back to the business website or Storefront, and send them a quick email to let them know you’ve been saying nice things about them!

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» 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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