Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast. She recently launched the OFD Collective, a wedding PR membership site that offers continuing education, press opportunities and real wedding submissions.
So, you’re doing amazing work and want people to know about it, right? Whole new audiences deserve to know your brand is ready to take over the world, but you need a way to reach them. Perhaps you want to establish yourself as an industry leader, and well, frankly, increasing your sales wouldn’t hurt either. A strategic and well-implemented public relations (PR) campaign is exactly what you need!
What Is Wedding PR?
Smart pros turn to wedding PR when they have a message they want to get out to a target audience and media is the main channel for communicating that message. It is distinct from two other popular forms of promotion: advertising and marketing, both of which have their merits, too.
The big difference between PR and advertising is that the latter takes place in a controlled setting. Typically, you pay to control the content, placement and space used. With PR, you are at the mercy of the editor, so what you promote must be positioned to grab attention in a noisy world.
Marketing focuses on specific details such as product, prices and packaging. PR, in contrast, is all about the newsworthy story.
What You Must Consider in Advance
- When pursuing a PR campaign, there are some important advance considerations. You’ll need to ensure that:
- Your brand is exactly what you want it to be. When your PR campaign sends people to your site, you want them to find the right messaging and are far more likely to convert to sales.
- You have evaluated your goals and are campaigning for the right reasons.
- You know how to assess your analytics. Make sure you’re able to track how prospects find you through web analytics and contact forms that ask how they heard about you and your business.
Great PR takes effort and planning, so don’t neglect these considerations. Give them due consideration, check them off your list then follow up by choosing the right outlet for your message.
To determine the right fit, you have to make sure that the media you pursue will actually connect you with your target audience, otherwise your efforts may gain you attention, but not the attention you need to achieve your goals.
Where to Begin: Real Weddings
A good place to start is with real wedding submissions, considered the low-hanging fruit of PR as they are heavily and regularly in demand. Real weddings promote your product and services to couples, but are also great for helping develop professional relationships and sources of referrals. Be prepared with permission to publish, complete background stories from the couple and vendor lists, and a list of important deadlines and publisher specifications. And always choose real weddings that promote the kind of work you want to attract. RealWeds.com, WeddingWire’s submission website, is a great place to start.
If you’re a great writer (or have one on staff), you might consider pursuing guest blogging opportunities as well. Editors love an outside perspective and access to great content that their readers will love. Don’t hesitate to reach out when you have something to offer to an audience you want to meet.
When you are ready to expand beyond real weddings, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with Help A Reporter Out (better known as HARO, or the PR guru’s Secret Sauce!). Every day, multiple times each day, HARO sends out a completely free digest of requests from legitimate reporters seeking sources for digital, print and television news features. Topics are high interest and enormously varied, and wedding-related pieces come up frequently. Monitor HARO regularly, and when you see an opportunity that you know is a great fit that will further your goals, follow the directions for contacting the reporter and share your expert commentary or advice as requested. Some truly amazing opportunities originate on HARO, and you’re certainly a perfect fit for one (or more) of them.
Ready to Begin?
Once you’ve honed your goals and message, chosen your target media, and prepared your pitches, the only to-do left is to put yourself out there! Don’t wait to take your business to the next level. Start today!