» Engaging Your Audience with Curated Content

Engaging Your Social Audience with Curated ContentWhether you’re new to social media or a seasoned pro, every brand inevitably hits it: the content wall. You know you need to be posting on all your social properties several times a week (or several times a day in the case of Twitter), but just how many times can you alter the same, “Check out today’s post!” messaging? If you’re struggling to keep your queue topped off, curated content may be the answer.

What is curated content? Simply, it is sharing great content from a trusted, reputable resource (with appropriate attribution and links!), on your social networks, blogs or site.

Before you go there, we know it’s somewhat counter-intuitive – why would you post someone else’s content? While you always want to position yourself as an industry expert, that doesn’t mean you can’t position yourself as a resource for your social audience and the wedding and/or events industry at large.

To get you started with your content curation strategy, here are four reasons you should take the plunge!

  • Curating content from industry leaders and/or communities makes you a resource. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing that someone in your industry knows a lot about the way your industry works. In fact, sharing other people’s knowledge helps establish you as a resource in your community. As an aggregator of interesting and helpful content, your audience will value your level expertise and perceive you as constantly “in the know.” Even better, your audience will also value your point of view more when you do post original content, as your business is seen to have a finger on the pulse of the industry!
  • Curating content from industry leaders and/or communities builds relationships. The biggest concern for businesses that choose to curate content is that they’re worried about being perceived as plagiarists – a concern that can easily be absolved by always linking to the original article/post and giving due credit. The benefit of following this golden rule is that you’re bound to get some attention from your sources. They’ll be happy you’re sharing your content because, well, who wouldn’t want free publicity?! They’ll most likely thank you for sharing (if they’re polite) and remember you later. If you’re diligent, the relationships you build on social media can carry over into the offline world in the form of referrals!
  • Curating content from friendly firms and partners enhances both of your networks. You’re likely to have a few friends in the industry (hello, WeddingWire!), or partners with whom you’ve worked a few events. They’d love a shout out! Not only will this deepen your relationship with a given business, they’re also likely to reciprocate. This can help grow both your audiences if you’re in the same vertical, as well as help you cross-sell for each other! You can never go wrong with showing your friends some love.
  • Curating content provides a break from posting the same content over and over. If you’re posting your own sales-y content every day, your social media properties are going to quickly lose steam. If a person or company wants to know about your products/services specifically, they can always visit your website. You’ll need to provide some other value in order to gain and keep your social media fans. By providing your fans with a mix of your own content and other content relevant to their needs, you’ll not only get them to your page, but you’ll also keep them there.

Sharing other businesses’ content can provide your business with a wealth of benefits – social media audience growth, engagement, and retention to name a few. The relationships you build on social media properties are similar to those cultivated at networking events in that you’re growing your network of fans and brand advocates that will lead to more happy customers.

While we’re on the subject of social media thought leaders – head over to our Facebook page and be sure to follow us on Twitter for helpful tips for wedding industry pros!

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» How to Make Blogging Work for You

This month, our monthly webinar series was all about blogging! WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, and WeddingWire Editor, Kim Forrest, presented ‘How to Make Blogging Work for You.’ Each one hour webinar for premium WeddingWire Pros is designed to inform you about the latest industry tips, and give you the tools and education you need to Power Your Business!

Did you know there are currently 156 million public blogs in existence, and over 77% of internet users read blogs? Whether you are a blogging Pro, thinking about getting started in the blogging sphere, or looking for new ways to increase your online exposure – this blog gave insights on how to stand out in the wedding and event business and reach new audiences.

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

  • Blogs perform best amongst our core group of target audiences – readers aged 21-35 years old
  • The two largest blogging platforms have been Blogger and WordPress, but Tumblr is a newer platform and an easy way to create a blog with short posts on the go
  • Companies that blog get +97 percent more inbound links to their website, and 434 percent more indexed pages
  • Small businesses that blog get +126 percent more leads
  • Aim to keep blog posts between 300 and 700 words with an engaging, short headline
  • Get published on leading industry blogs – such as WeddingWire, Project Wedding and 2 Bright Lights! (Here is more info on getting published from Kim!)

All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for upgraded Pros, and stay tuned for information on next month’s webinar!

» Get Blogging!

Starting a blog is one of the best ways to improve your online exposure, as well as share your business insights, latest inspirations and best work with potential clients and other members of the industry.

Blogging is an easy and fun way for your clients and potential clients to learn more about your business personality, see your work first hand, and keep updated about your business even after their big day. Additionally, blogging is a great way to consistently create fresh content for your business, which will be crawled by top search engines and improve your business Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Whether you are considering a blog for the first time, are fairly new to blogging, or are interested in re-visiting your current blogging strategy, find some of our top tips for getting starting and building a successful blog below.

Create an account: First things first! Pick your blog name, and get started using a blogging platform. Your name should express your business personality, and the content you will share should be consistent with your brand. We use the popular blogging platform WordPress, which is easy to use with lots of great features. Sign up for a WordPress blog here!

Consider Your Content: Planning the content of your blog is very important. What will be your niche? Who is your target audience? Who will be the contributors? How often do you plan to post? How will you share your posts and gain followers?

We know this can be a bit overwhelming. But considering these important questions early on will give your blog a purpose. It will help you structure the content of your blog, which will lead to its long-term success and growth. While there is no right answer, we do recommend as a general rule to try to post consistently to keep the blog active and engaging. Once a week is a great goal as you are getting started, and maybe in the future you can aim for a post per day as it becomes part of your daily routine and you build more contributors.

Get Started: Invest time into getting familiar with your blogging platform and setting up your account. Take time to read the instructions on getting started, and set your blog design, theme and the “About” section where you can give a description about your blog. Once your blog goes live, be sure to link to your business website and social media accounts for additional exposure, and so any interested parties who read your blog can learn more about your business. It is always a great idea to start with an introduction post to share your excitement about the blog and provide some insights into your personality, your business and your passion for your work.

Gain Exposure: Once you have a few posts and are ready to “go public” – showcase your blog to your communities! Send a link to your friends, family and clients to let them know you are excited about your new blog and would love it they followed it. Share links to your latest posts on your social networks, and add a button to your blog on your website so visitors can easily navigate to your blog! Also, be sure to appropriately categorize and tag your blog posts based on the main topics covered, which will help with SEO. Select 2-3 general categories that are covered in the post, and then add 2-3 more specific tags that relate to the post. For example, a category for this post is “Business Ideas” and a tag is “Blogging Tips.”

Keep It Interesting: Regularly updating content encourages readers to return to your blog. Also, encourage comments to keep the discussion going when relevant, or ask what theme readers would like to see you feature next – and follow through with their suggestions when you can. Assess the needs and interest of your readers and work to feature content they will find relevant and engaging! Mix heavy content or educational posts with more fun and short posts to keep it interesting and fresh. You may even consider coming up with mini series or themed days as you get established (for example, our “Inside WeddingWire” series on the WeddingWireEDU blog to show what our team has been up to recently!)

Using the top 5 tips above, you are ready to take on the blogging challenge! Seasoned bloggers, do you have any other top tips and advice? We would love to hear from you!