» Featured Pro Tweets

In our Featured Pro Tweets series, we highlight top tweets that we receive to @WeddingWireEDU. We love to share your insights, feedback and thoughts with other Wedding Pros!

Check out some recent tweets below and be sure to tweet at us and you could be featured next! Also, be sure you are following us on Twitter for the latest updates, industry news and tips just for Pros like you. And, while you are at it, consider joining WeddingWireEDU, created just for weddings Pros, on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ to never miss an update or post!

» DJs: Don’t Miss The Las Vegas DJ Show!

Last month, WeddingWire was thrilled to announce our new partnership with the American Disc Jockey Association (ADJA), the nation’s largest trade association for professional disc jockeys. We’re now excited to support ADJA at The Las Vegas DJ Show, which will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, September 8-11, 2013.

The Las Vegas DJ Show is the biggest conference in the DJ industry, and is a great opportunity to learn from leaders in the industry and network with hundreds of other DJs from across the country and abroad. The theme this year is “Boost Your Spirits, Boost Your Business” communicated through three different education tracks that will run simultaneously, and focus on areas such as performance, business, technology, multi-op systems, and our favorite, ‘Turntablism!’

Don’t miss out on the chance to attend this highly-anticipated conference! Register now for your VIP Pass before the sale ends on July 8th, and don’t forget to book a room at LVH  located conveniently next door to The Las Vegas Convention Center!

» Announcing Wed We Can!

Yesterday was a historic day for the LGBTQ community and allies. The Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (commonly known as DOMA) as unconstitutional, 5 to 4. They ruled that DOMA blocked federal recognition of gay marriage because it denied federal benefits to gay couples who are legally married in their states. Additionally, Proposition 8 – California’s ban on gay marriage – was dismissed, giving same-sex couples in the state rights to a legal marriage.

WeddingWire and network partner, GayWeddings.com, are excited to unveil an exciting new campaign that celebrates the unions of all loving couples regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – Wed We Can!

This campaign brings together the LGBTQ community, engaged couples, straight allies and gay-friendly wedding professionals to share support, important information, wedding planning tools,  educational resources and more. The purpose of Wed We Can is to empower same-sex couples, their friends and family, and wedding professionals dedicated to serving the newly engaged couples with knowledge, tools and support.

All about Wed We Can!

  • Wed We Can is a movement to celebrate unions of all loving couples, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity .
  • We encourage the community and allies to share your support on your favorite social networks by uploading a Wed We Can profile image and cover photo to Facebook and Twitter, and sharing the love through posts and images using #WedWeCan on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
  • Knowledge is power – we provide top education resources just for wedding professionals to better serve same-sex couples, knowledgeable expert advice about same-sex weddings and an etiquette guide, the latest news and updates on marriage equality direct from the Human Rights Campaign, and a helpful wedding planning infographic from President of GayWeddings.com, Kathryn Hamm!

Want to learn more about the partnership between WeddingWire and GayWedding.com and the Wed We Can campaign? Click here!

Learn more about this new campaign in our press release, here!

» Don’t Miss WeddingWire World 2013!

Mark your calendars! Our second annual WeddingWire World is quickly approaching and the excitement is building. After an amazing inaugural event last year, we are thrilled to host our next full-day conference on Monday, July, 29, 2013 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. We’re expecting to double attendance this year, with guests registered from all over the country. More Pros means more incredible opportunities to learn, connect, and grow your business!

This year’s event is packed with great presentations from industry experts, including WeddingWire Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Chi, WeddingWire Chief Marketing Officer, Sonny Ganguly, WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg, and more to be announced soon!

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a networking breakfast, enjoy lunch, and receive one-on-one insight from our Customer Success team. The day will conclude with a celebratory cocktail reception.

Don’t miss out! Sign up today to take advantage of early bird rates (expiring Sunday, 6/30)!

Have questions? Check out our FAQ! Excited about attending and want to tell your friends? Share the news on Facebook and Twitter!

We can’t wait to see you there!

» WeddingWire Happy Hour Detroit

Yesterday evening, Wedding Pros gathered at the Royal Oak Music Theatre for WeddingWire Happy Hour Detroit!

Thank you to all the wonderful Pros who joined us! At the event, Wedding Pros from the Detroit area had the opportunity to network with other local Pros across all service categories and meet members of the WeddingWire team. Other networking events have been held in Orlando, San Francisco, Miami, Phoenix, Boston, Minneapolis, New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, St. Louis, Providence, and more.

We’re excited to share photo highlights from the event below, and our WeddingWire Education Guide.

We would like to extend a special thank you to the fantastic partners who helped make the event possible:

Finally, congrats to Matt Rappaport of Collision Six, the winner of our drawing who will receive a WeddingWire prize pack!

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» We Had a Great Time at Capital Pride!

This month, WeddingWire participated in the 17th annual Capital Pride Street Festival in Washington, DC.  This highly anticipated event welcomed over 150,000 visitors and almost 300 sponsor and vendor exhibits, included beverage gardens and a variety of cuisine at Taste AT Pride and featured performances by Icona Pop, Emeli Sandé and Cher Lloyd. The Festival is DC’s largest annual one-day event and WeddingWire + Gay Weddings were thrilled to be a part of it through our Wed We Can campaign!

Festival-goers made use of the Wed We Can power station as a place to charge their phones and keep up with all the activity. Additionally, Kathryn Hamm of GayWeddings.com was on hand to answer planning questions and otherwise congratulate the many newlyweds who stopped by the booth to say hello! We had a great time celebrating Pride in DC last year, as well!

WeddingWire is proud to power the largest LGBT-friendly vendor directory with valued network partner, GayWeddings.com, and is eager to announce that soon we will launch an exciting new website to showcase Wed We Can, the unique campaign between WeddingWire and GayWeddings.com in support of our mutual stance towards marriage equality.

To stay on top of updates (including the ongoing SCOTUS ruling), we urge you to follow @gayweddingscom and @weddingwire on Twitter and use the hashtag, #WedWeCan on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for all things Pride and marriage equality related!

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» Instagram Launches Video!

Have you heard? Yesterday, Instagram, a favorite photo sharing app, launched an exciting update that has the tech world buzzing: the ability to share videos.

Now, when you take a photo on Instagram, you will see a movie camera icon. Tap the icon to enter video mode, and take up to 15 seconds of video to share with your followers. Additionally, you are able to chose from 13 filters to give the video the signature Instagram touch. You also have the ability to edit by screen, which is something top video sharing competitor, Vine, does not currently offer.

Check out this video from Instagram to show video sharing in action, and learn how to get started!

This update is one of a few recent big expansions and updates to the app, including the ability to add user tags, and a web presence beyond mobile and tablets. Instagram is owned by leading social media site Facebook, and this recent update is a huge step in taking over video sharing traffic from the app Vine, owned by competiting social site, Twitter.

What do you think? Will you be sharing videos on your account to show off your recent events, a peek inside your day, or favorite inspirations?

Be sure to follow WeddingWire on Instagram for daily wedding inspiration, updates and more!

» Inside WeddingWire: Summer Fun

The start of summer is always a fun, busy and exciting time at the WeddingWire Headquarters! As a company, we have some fun traditions to kick off the summer celebrations as the weather gets warm and the days get longer here in Washington, DC.

One annual tradition that we look forward to each year is our official King of the Wing competition. During this competition, we have select team members join in for a chicken wing eating contest, with the rest of the company cheering them on! Each year’s King and Queen of the Wing champs get a trophy to remember their victory, and of course, bragging rights for the year!

Another fun recent office-wide challenge was our WeddingWire 2013 Ping Pong Tournament! With 32 competitors, series showdowns, and multiple days of games – none other than CEO, Timothy Chi, emerged as the 2013 Ping Pong Champ after a nail-biting final round! Check out the image of the final faceoff, below!

Finally, the team is looking forward to another fun tradition this evening, a night out at the ball game cheering on our local Washington Nationals! Baseball fun is big at the office – as we celebrated opening day with ballpark themed lunch and snacks earlier this spring.

What are some of your favorite summer traditions?

» How to Stand Out in a Competitive Market

Yesterday, our monthly educational webinar focused on how to close the sale and stand out in a competitive market! WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg, presented top tips to effectively sell your business, and ultimately close the deal! 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.

As wedding and event Pros, too often we do not correctly value, sell and close the deal – and end up losing out on business to the competition. In this webinar, Alan shared recent findings from a sales survey on how wedding and event Pros sell their services, how long they have been in business, how they feel about the sales process, and more. Additionally, Alan shared how to identify your brand, honest closing techniques and even how to deal with common objections.

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

  • Of respondents to Alan’s recent sales survey, pver 40% of Pros indicated that 75-90 percent of their business came from weddings
  • Over 50 percent of survey takers had been selling their current product or service for up to 10 years
  • Over 60 percent of survey takers indicted they do like the sales process
  • Sales is all about asking lots of better, open-ended questions
  • It is important to make your client feel like it is “all about them”
  • The #1 skill you need to close more sales is to listen
  • It is important to remember that being the best value does not mean having the lowest price

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

» Tech Update: Facebook Launches Hashtags!

Over the past few days, you may have noticed some updates to your Facebook account. While changes to your account and navigation on the leading social site are nothing new, one exciting update, which could have an impact on your business exposure has been unveiled: clickable Facebook hashtags!

Hashtags are increasingly popular throughout social media – and have been fully integrated on most popular sites, including Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, but noticeably absent from Facebook… until now.

Hashtags most simply serve as a way to see a larger view on what is happening, what is being discussed, popular topics, and is a way to connect people and businesses with similar interests. Hashtags are very powerful marketing tools, and are easy ways to connect with your interested audience, gain attention quickly and easily share content discovery.

Now,  just as you may tag a recent couple, or your other wedding or event Pros in a Facebook post sharing a recent wedding’s blog post with your network, you can now add a few select, engaging hashtags to describe your post or the event.

For example, a post can read: “ABC Photography had an amazing time capturing the breath-taking, special day of @Joe and @Jane on the Cape! Check out some of our favorite photos and wedding day memories {link to blog post} #Nantucket #BeachWeddings  #ABCPhotography”

Linking to your couple (with their permission), along with any other Pros of note gives added exposure for your post, as it will tag their profiles or business pages. Tag people and businesses with the “@” key, which will link and post to their pages. Using relevant, simple hashtags that describe your post shares your content with the site and allows others looking for similar content to find your post – ultimately sharing your business, content and exposure on a much larger level. Hashtag by typing the “#” key directly before your hashtag (should always be one word with no space – so the simpler the better!). Then, when posted and clicked, these hashtags will show everyone who is publically posting using the same tag, so you can discover others with similar interests.

For some hashtags in action, check out WeddingWireEDU’s recent posts!

Here are some basic Facebook Hashtag functionality details as you get started:

  • The ability to search for specific hashtags via the Facebook search bar at the top of your page
  • The ability to click on hashtags that originate from other services, like Instagram – connecting multiple social sites
  • The ability to create new posts from within the hashtag feed and search results
  • The ability to add hashtags to Facebook ads you’re running

Ready to learn more? Check out this post from Facebook! #HappyHashtagging!

» Marketing Tips to Boost Your Business

What does it take to make sure that your company really hits the ground running and has a successful season?  Whether you are a new business, or a seasoned business looking to expand, these tips from Mashable provide valuable insights into how to boost your business to the next level!

  • Focus on your Target Customer: Who is your target client? Instead of focusing on reaching anyone and everyone, consider your select target group of customers that will lead you to your short term goals and can help take your business to the next level. Do you have some openings in your calendar? Focus on how to find more niche clients or how to get your business known to more couples or people planning events. Have a packed calendar but need more income? Focus on raising select prices while remaining competitive.
  • Build Strategic Partnerships: Getting involved with a business that you know has a strong brand and will help you build the creditability of your business. Form strong relationships with other local and wedding professionals, and work together to serve as a reference to each other’s clients looking for a Pro in that service category. Consider joining a top Association or community group in your category as well for added benefits, exposure, and accreditation.
  • Engage in Community Outreach: You want to get your name out there, whether it is in local news papers, radio, or through an industry blog. Check out our tips for building a strong brand, and start pitching your business! Brand exposure and attendance at local networking and professional events will lead to your business being considered a key player in the industry.
  • Incentivize People to Share: It is important to get people talking about your product or service, so don’t be afraid to give a discount or some form or a perk for having them talk up your company or “like” your company on Facebook. Some options include a free consultation, added gift or select discount on your most popular product or service with the proof of a “like” or recommendation.
  • Leverage Social Media: Make sure to establish a relevant and engaging social media presence for your business. Couples are planning their weddings online, and spend hundreds of hours on social media. Be sure to post daily when you can, and share social media content that is relevant and consistent with your brand, service offering and target client. Favorite wedding and event inspiration, how to planning tips, favorite quotes, and your latest blog posts are great places to start.
  • Apply for and Share Your Business Awards: No matter what your product or service is, it is important to get the recognition for your stellar business when you can! Keep an eye out for relevant local awards, and aim for industry-wide awards such as the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards and WeddingWire Rated (and show them off on your website, Storefront and at your business or local wedding shows to stand out!).

To get more in-depth information on these marketing tips to boost your business, click here!

» Finding Your Blog’s Voice

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. 

Last month, WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, and I presented a webinar called “How to Make Blogging Work for You.” During the webinar, we discussed how blogging can be a great way to share your expertise and bring more potential clients to your site and business.

We know, we know – starting (and maintaining!) a blog isn’t easy. It’s a commitment.

There are two main reasons why you may be reluctant to start blogging:

  1. There aren’t enough hours in the day
  2. You’re a wedding and events Pro, not a writer!

While I can’t really assist you with the first problem, I have two recommendations: plan your blog post topics ahead of time to make it easier to get started on each post, and also find time to schedule weekly “blogging time,” just like you schedule any important weekly meeting.

I’ll use this post to try to help you embrace your inner writer by providing insights on how to use your event industry expertise and passion and harness it into perfecting your blogging voice!

True, you may not be a professional writer. But you are an expert in the field. So don’t think of blogging as creating beautiful prose. Think of it as sharing your expertise with an interested audience. Write how you talk. Sounds easier than it actually is, I know, but here are a few tips to get you started:

Create Topics in Advance: Instead of spending your designated “writing time” trying to come up with ideas, set aside an hour or two each month to brainstorm a bunch of ideas that you can use throughout the month. If you have a staff, get your whole team onboard to help. Having the ideas set in advance will save time and make writing posts quicker and less stressful. Got writer’s blog? Check out this post for some good blog post prompts.

Read Who You Know: Sure, you may have an RSS feed full of blogs that you read on a daily basis. However, in order to translate your voice to a blog, it’s a good idea to read the blogs of other Pros you know well. Compare their written voice to their spoken voice. Think about what you do and don’t like about these blogs, and get inspired for your own.

Consider Your Audience: Is your blog geared toward engaged couples? Other wedding Pros? Both? Make sure your writing is clear and understandable for your audience. If your post is for engaged couples, be sure to put everything in layman’s terms, or explain what an insider-y word or phrase means. You want your readers to connect with you and feel at ease, instead of needing a dictionary to understand what you’re saying.

Don’t Write a Press Release: Obviously, you want your blog to showcase your business and what a fantastic wedding Pro you are. But you don’t want it to sound like you’re tooting your own horn. So instead of writing “X Wedding Venue has the best catering in Florida,” show your readers photos of your fabulous food, and explain to them what goes into creating the menu for a wedding. Sure, that requires a bit more work on your part, but the result will be a more authentic and impressive blog that readers enjoy and keep coming back to.

Find an “Editor”: No, I don’t mean actually hiring a copy editor. But, it’s a good idea to have an eagle-eyed friend or family member read your posts before you set them live. Aside from looking for spelling and grammatical errors, your “editor” can also alert you if your posts are sounding too PR-ish or just generally not in your voice.

Use Photos: It’s a fact that blogs with lots of great photos are more popular than those without. Big, beautiful photos can be a great starting off point for text and can help simplify and streamline your blog. A post doesn’t have to have a lot of text – an appealing photo with a well-written, succinct caption can be quite successful. Blogs with images get more traffic than those without!

Show Your Passion: If you don’t care about it, don’t write about it. Your love for your craft should shine through in your blog. Even if you’re not the best technical writer, passionate prose can mask any grammatical or spelling errors and help readers connect with you. Think of a blog as another way to share your expertise and talents!

Think SEO, But Don’t Let it Control You: We’ve discussed the importance of making your website and blog SEO-friendly time and again. I’m going to go against the grain a bit and advise you not to focus too much on SEO when writing. Yes, it’s important to use SEO best practices when brainstorming topics and writing, but if there’s something you want to write about that’s not the best SEO-wise – go for it! Don’t let SEO stifle your creativity, your voice, and your style.

Keep Going: Remember this: It takes time for a blog to develop a following and traction. Don’t get discouraged if your first posts aren’t widely read or well received. One of the worst things is when a wedding Pro gives up a blog after just a few posts. Keep writing and posting regularly, keep honing your voice – don’t give up!