» 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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» Top 10 WeddingWireEDU Posts of 2014

Top 10 WeddingWireEDU Posts of 2014Throughout 2014, we’ve shared the latest news and advice to apply to your wedding and events business. We always hope our posts are helpful, but it’s great when we reflect on the year and look at which articles our community of wedding professionals enjoyed the most!

Check out our countdown of the top WeddingWireEDU posts of 2014 based on your views, comments and shares:

10.  How to Build Strong SEO in 4 Ways

Building strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important for your wedding business’ online exposure. But, there’s so much information available about SEO that it may be difficult to know what you should (or should not) be doing for your business. We break down what you need to know to build strong SEO with tips for how to optimize your website, blog, social networks and online listings.

9.  3 Unique Ways to Collect More Reviews

Building online credibility by collecting reviews from past clients is an important aspect of your business’ marketing. While your clients probably tell you they are going to write you a review, you may find getting them to follow through is time consuming and difficult. We’ve got three unique ways you may not have tried to reach out and collect more reviews from your clients!

8.  Pro Tips: Auto-Reply Email Best Practices

For many wedding professionals, email auto-replies are the simplest (and quickest) way to respond while you are out and about. Make sure your business is putting its best foot forward right away by following these five best practices for crafting your auto-reply emails.

7.  5 Ways to Improve Your Communication with Clients

Wedding Pros are often juggling busy schedules. All the phone conversations, emails, and in-person meetings with both prospective and booked clients can feel overwhelming, but effective client communication is key for your business’ success. These tips from Education Expert Jennifer Reitmeyer will help set the tone for a strong first impression from first contact with the client to the event itself!

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» Countdown: Top WeddingWireEDU Posts of 2013

Countdown: Top WeddingWireEDU Posts of 2013

With another wonderful year for WeddingWire and our Pros coming to a close, we’re getting a little reminiscent!

We think we talked about a lot of interesting and educational topics on our blog in 2013, but we love seeing what our Pros get really excited about. So, before you count down to midnight this evening to celebrate the New Year, check out our countdown of the top WeddingWireEDU posts based on your views, comments and shares!

10. Tech Update: Facebook Launches Hashtags

While Facebook updates are nothing new, one exciting update which could have an impact on your business exposure was unveiled in 2013: clickable Facebook hashtags! Hashtags are increasingly popular throughout social media – and have been fully integrated on most popular sites, now including Facebook. Find out how you can use Facebook hashtags for your business in this post.

9. Editor’s Note: Getting Published

Our Editor, Kim Forrest, is often asked by Pros: “How do I get a real wedding published on your blog?” It’s not an easy answer, but there are things all vendors can do to make their submissions more blog-worthy. Here are some of Kim’s top tips for getting a real wedding published on a website like our WeddingWire Network or in one of our publications.

8. Keep Your Facebook Business Page Fresh!

Facebook business pages for your business are a good way to connect with your client base and reach new audiences. However, it is important to keep your page updated with new, engaging and relevant content (but not overpost!). When it comes to social media and blogging, content and images are key! Keep your sites up-to-date with new content, and test what works for your business and what drives positive engagement. Check out these 6 ideas of engaging Facebook content for businesses!

7. Top 10 Tips to Make a Stellar First Impression

In the wedding and event business, creating a lasting and positive first impression can make or break landing your next big booking and determine how you are perceived in the industry. Knowing how to make strong first impression can be very impactful for expanding your business. This post has 10 tips for establishing a favorable first impression through your message and your body language.

6. How to Respond to a Negative Review

Reviews are key to your business’s online reputation, and it can be frustrating to get a review that you may not be satisfied with or feel you don’t deserve. Although you may disagree with the review, you need to be professional in your response. This post has some suggestions for responding to negative reviews you may receive on your WeddingWire account!

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» Blogging for Beginners: 4 Tips

Blogging for Beginners: 4 TipsIf you’re looking for a way to increase your online exposure, consider starting a blog. After all, over 77% of internet users read blogs, and there are over 156 million of them! It’s definitely a great idea in theory to jump on the blogging bandwagon, but setting up a blog and starting to write all those posts can seem like a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be.

Read our blogging best practices to get a walk-through of the development of your posts and the blog itself. Then, check out these 4 tips for guiding principles to develop your blogging philosophy!

1.  Understand your audience. Your blog posts should be a reflection of your personal knowledge and expertise, but they should also reflect the needs of your audience. Make sure posts are written using language your audience will easily understand (no industry jargon) and simplified for the everyday reader. Posts that are too technical or complicated will be lost on certain readers, and you could lose them forever.

2.  Get ideas from your audience. Coming up with ideas for blog posts can be tough. If a reader comments on a post or reaches out to you on a social network with an idea or question, try to work it into a blog post. Your audience can be a great source for blog post ideas! Your readers will also feel like they have an influence on what you write, which is a nice personal touch that will keep them coming back. Just be sure to thank the reader by mentioning his or her note as the impetus for the post.

3.  Be consistent. Make a commitment to your audience (however large or small it may be!) to blogging as often as your schedule allows. Whether that’s one blog post a day or one blog post a week, try to hit that mark each time. This shows your current readers that you are serious about providing them with valuable insight and shows any new potential readers that your blog is an up-to-date and educational resource.

4.  Give it time. You will not see overnight results from your blogging efforts. It took years for the most famous and influential blogs to build an audience, so don’t expect your first post to get 50,000 hits. Blogging consistently will build up your blog’s links and make it more and more likely for someone to stumble upon your blog through search. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t immediately see results from your hard work – if you blog it, they will come!

Remember: a blog post does not always have to be a very structured format. Blog posts can be mostly text, offering tips or suggestions, or they can also be mostly images or graphics with a little context at the beginning or end. Don’t stress yourself out by thinking each blog post needs to be formal; have fun with your blog!

Also check out our Infographic “Top 10 Best Blogging Practices” for some quick blogging tips.

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» DC and Baltimore Pros: Join WeddingWire and Two Bright Lights!

WeddingWire is excited to team up with our friends at Two Bright Lights to bring Washington, DC and Baltimore Wedding Professionals upcoming events full of education, networking and fun!

Join Carla David Design and Two Bright Lights this Sunday, January 13, at McLean Gardens Ballroom in DC, for a complimentary Wedding Planners Celebration, featuring a presentation from WeddingWire Chief Marketing Officer, Sonny Ganguly. Following the celebration, Two Bright Lights will kick off their first DC Bootcamp, which includes networking, an educational presentation from Two Bright Lights’ VP of Marketing and Strategy, Shalyn Kettering, and a session with WeddingWire Editor, Kim Forrest.

This complimentary bootcamp for local photographers, vendors, and editors will teach guests how to create submissions using Two Bright Lights, how to use the platform to boost revenue, and how to increase their chances of being published. WeddingWire editor, Kim Forrest, will lend helpful insight on what editors look for in submissions and how to get published more frequently. The evening will conclude with a hands-on help session followed by Q&A and additional networking.

If you are unable to make it to the Nation’s Capital this weekend, worry not! Two Bright Lights is returning to the area on January 28 with their first Baltimore Bootcamp at Chase Court. Similar to the DC Bootcamp, the evening will consist of networking and lessons on how to make the most of your submissions. The session will include a Two Bright Lights demonstration and an editor’s panel featuring WeddingWire Network Partner, Kathryn Hamm of GayWeddings.com, and WeddingWire Marketing Manager, Jeffra Trumpower, who will provide guests with tips for real wedding coverage and more!

Two Bright Lights is an easy-to-use online platform where Wedding Professionals can submit photographs of their work in just minutes to editors at hundreds of blogs and magazines. From coverage of real weddings to spotlight features, Two Bright Lights connects photographers and other Wedding Pros with editors at well-known industry publications both on and offline.

Don’t miss these opportunities; there is still time to register! For more information and to register, click on the events you are interested in: the Wedding Planners Celebration, Two Bright Lights’ DC Bootcamp, and Baltimore BootcampWe hope to see local Pros at these events!

» Inside WeddingWire: Meet Our New Editor, Kim!

WeddingWire Headquarters has been a very busy place lately, and we are thrilled that our team has been growing quickly. We are happy to introduce one of our latest additions, Kim Forrest!

Kim has joined the WeddingWire team as an editor, bringing years of wedding editorial experience and industry passion to our team. As an editor, Kim will be creating content for WeddingWire and EventWire, with a particular focus on bridal fashion and Real Weddings.

After her first week at WeddingWire, this self-described “wedding nerd” reports that she loves the high-energy and helpful team, our huge computer monitors, and the ample supplies of food wherever she turns (I have to admit, I agree with all three)! She is particularly excited about covering bridal markets in Chicago and New York and reporting back on all the newest wedding dress trends to our WeddingWire communities.

Before joining WeddingWire, Kim worked for our network partner, Brides.com as well as Brides Local Magazines where she specialized in bridal fashion and covered leading bridal markets. Kim has also served as the associate bridal editor at Washingtonian Bride & Groom Magazine and Washingtonian.com. This New York native attended Williams College and has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Kim is obsessed with reading and writing about weddings. In fact, she has almost 200 blogs on her Google Reader! She loves talking to both brides and vendors from all over the country about what’s new in the industry, and is particularly passionate about the creative aspect of wedding planning. If any Wedding Pros have an idea of a blog post or topic for WeddingWire, she would love to hear from you!

Welcome, Kim!

» Save Time with RSS Readers

RSS = Real Simple Syndication and they can save you time on your daily social media searches. Set up an RSS Reader to easily monitor important web content such as blog articles, Twitter mentions, LinkedIn Answers, and Quora Questions. Usually the RSS feed symbol (pictured to the right) will display in your navigation bar if it is available on the page you are viewing. All you need to do is click the icon to subscribe!

You can set up almost anything to go to your Google Reader with RSS Feeds. This way all the important information you usually search for can be pulled all onto one page. Monitor your mentions on Twitter by setting up an RSS for searches you for your competition, industry news, etc. LinkedIn and Quora have similar features so you can see questions and answers that might be pertinent to you and your business.

» We’d Love to Hear From You!

Thanks for visiting our new and improved Pro Blog!

Let us know how WeddingWire has helped your business, any tips you have for fellow Wedding Pros, or if there is something specific you’d like to learn about. Our goal is to tailor the Pro Blog to be most beneficial for you!

Just send us a quick email at pros@weddingwire.com.

» What’s New: BridalBuds & WeddingAces

WeddingWire recently launched two blog communities for engaged couples.  The best part is the vendor catalog is featured on each blog, making it easy for incoming brides (and grooms) to find you!

  • Bridalbuds.com – Real wedding experiences, wedding planning tips, DIY projects, and more from current engaged couples going through the planning process along with advice from newlyweds who have previously been in their position.
  • WeddingAces.com – Firsthand knowledge and experiences straight from the experts of the wedding industry!  The diverse group of wedding bloggers featured on WeddingAces are actively involved within the WeddingWire network, blogosphere, and wedding industry.

Become a fan of our new sites on Facebook: BridalBuds and WeddingAces!

» Google Reader: your personalized online newspaper

Personally, I scan a lot of blogs every morning to stay on top of the trends and to see what people are up to.  Given the amount of content out there, my morning ritual was simplified when a friend referred me to Google Reader.  Now I can easily scan my own personalized online newspaper every morning!

Google Reader is a great tool and has definitely made the scanning process more efficient and has helped me discover many new blogs.   I found a great detailed Google Reader how-to guide that should offer a little something for everyone – whether you are new to Google Reader or a veteran user.

Here is my quick summary to help you get started.

  • Setup – It’s simple and no downloading is needed! Just visit the Google Reader main page and sign in using your Google account or create a new one.  Once complete, it’s time to find some content to read!
  • Find Content– If you are new to the world of blogs or just looking to add more, there are a few ways to add content:
    • Click the “Browse for stuff” link and go to the “Browse” tab.  Let the searching begin.
    • Manually enter the URL of a blog into the “Add Subscription” area and Google Reader will usually find the feed and automatically add it for you (thanks Google!).
    • Locate the “Subscribe To This Feed” button on the blog of the site you want to follow (should be easy to find).
  • Organize- As soon as you start subscribing to a lot of feeds, you will want to keep track of them in the same way you would your emails or files on your computer – create folders.
    • To create folders simply click on any one of your subscriptions in the left navigation bar until it opens up in the main reading pane.  Click on the button “Feed Settings” at the top of the page and select “New Folder”.  Assign a useful name to it and click “Ok”.  And voila – folder created!

After this you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your personalized online newspaper!  For more details, definitely check out the how-to-guide.

What blogs do you like to follow?