This is the Transcript of #WeddingMarket Live at the Wedding MBA on September 5, 2016. Pulp Fiction Blogging For Profit with special guests Dawn Strong, Editor from Style Me Pretty, Rebecca Crumley, Weddings Photo Editor from The Knot, Bogdan Constantin, Co-founder and CMO of Menguin and Michele Schwartz Publisher of The Modern Jewish Wedding. The answers were made on Twitter so responses will appear different. Photos by Donyel Billings Weddings & Portrait Photography
Dawn Strong, Editor at Style Me Pretty
Working alongside founder Abby Larson and an amazing team of crazy talented and creative people, Dawn Strong’s lifelong obsession with weddings is now her dream job as an Editor at Style Me Pretty. She has written and published thousands of weddings and events over the years. Launched in 2007, Style Me Pretty received more than 16 million page views per month, 1.4 million unique, and has become a true mainstay in both the weddings and publishing industries.
Rebecca Crumley, Weddings Photo Editor at The Knot
As Weddings Photo Director for The Knot/XO Group Inc., Rebecca Crumley’s role is always evolving while seeking out the world’s best inspiration in real weddings. Her ability to sift through hundreds of wedding submissions at a time keeps her in tune to local and national trends, relationships and how technology plays a part in the wedding industry. With a decade’s experience of reviewing weddings, she thoroughly knows local culture, talent, styles, and venue beats. Formally trained as a photographer, Rebecca understands the balance of photographic challenges and how they’re translated to editorial outlets. Rebecca is also helping develop Two Bright Lights as an editorial industry outlet for being published. Rebecca currently works in Chicago, IL.
Bogdan Constantin is the co-founder and CMO ofMenguin – the world’s highest rated online tux rental company. A native of Atlanta, GA; Bogdan graduated from the University of Georgia with dual degrees in 2 years while working full time in the technology sales division of HP. He’s had a variety of management positions in management consulting, corporate finance and analytics, having worked at 5 Fortune 100 companies prior to founding Menguin. An avid traveller, Bogdan has visited over 47 countries and speaks 5 languages. He’s a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers and been featured on Entrepreneur and Forbes as a featured “Under 30” entrepreneur. He presently resides in Fayetteville, AR with his wife Amy and their year rambunctious dog Kona.
Where venerable Jewish traditions meet au courant design, fashion and culinary trends, you will find popular blogger, writer and speaker Michele Schwartz, creator and editor-in-chief of The Modern Jewish Wedding. Known as “the Jewish bride’s guide to the Chuppah,” Modern Jewish Wedding elevates the newest trends, provides time-tested advice, and inspires couples to design an event that reflects their style and their faith. She has been featured as a speaker at TSE, Event Solutions, NACE Experience & the prestigious Engage! Luxury Wedding Conference on topics including Reaching the Jewish Audience, Blogging & Social Media and Creating Modern Jewish Weddings for Your Client. Her advice has been featured in print worldwide, including the New York Times.
Q1: How did you get involved with the wedding industry?
Bogdan Constantin: Completely by coincidence! Started Menguin to fix a problem with renting tuxes and didn’t realize the entire business was wedding driven until afterwards!
Michele Schwartz: I worked at WDW and then I was the Director of Life Cycles & Celebrations for a large Reform Jewish congregation.
Q2: What are some tips for promoting a new wedding blog?
Bogdan Constantin: The key is always in the ingredients. Whatever you’re writing should be so pervasive and share-worthy that your readers share it. Native is always the best.
Dawn Strong: Keep posting new content on a regular basis.
Rebecca Crumley: Share your special angle to the blog. Reveal why yours stands apart from other established companies.
Q3: What mistakes do you see new bloggers making when starting out?
Bogdan Constantin: Writing to write and not writing with a specific audience or topic in mind. The best bloggers know exactly who their target reader is and what they want to see. Know your audience and it will make a world of difference.
Dawn Strong: Posting any content, just to have content and not sticking to his/her blog brand.
Rebecca Crumley: Photography that is not dynamic enough. Capture your audience with a wow-worthy images.
Q4: How do you come up with fresh new content for your blog?
Bogdan Constantin: We’re always looking at funny/strange things people do for their weddings and taking an almost comedic view towards it – so what we usually do is looking at wedding planning checklists.
Dawn Strong: I have curated content, so, I get submissions for new content
Rebecca Crumley: Review what’s trending, upcoming holidays, and a wedding-spin on other news stories.
Q5: What topics and real weddings are brides & couples looking for?
Bogdan Constantin: Brides and couples are looking for authenticity. They want to know that they’re not alone and that everything they’re going through is a stage in the process. As such we work to give them morsels of fun along the way.
Michele Schwartz: Jewish traditions, trends and vendors.
Rebecca Crumley: Real Weddings on @theknot are all about how to make it your own, how to break the rules.
Q6: How do you GAIN subscribers? Increase organic traffic?
Bogdan Constantin: Knowing what and who you’re writing for is crucial. SEO is the name of the game in blogging – pull up the most searched for keywords in your industry with Google’s Keyword Planner tool and write and incorporate things that have high levels of search!
Dawn Strong: Share, share and then share some more and ask the creative partners to share too and use the honor badge showcasing they’re an “approved vendor.”
Q7: How do you schedule to write?
Michele Schwartz: Every morning
Q8: How do you know that the blog post will pass the re-share test?
Bogdan Constantin: Is this something that as a man (who does not share on social) I would tag a friend in? Did I laugh or engage enough with the content?
Q9: Where can wedding pros submit wedding s to you?
Bogdan Constantin: Tag us on social @menguintux or go to [email protected]
Dawn Strong: Here! http://www.stylemepretty.com/real-wedding-submissions/
Michele Schwartz: Two Bright Lights
Q10: How do you obtain photographs or videos from brides and or wedding pros?
Bogdan Constantin: We have a dedicated member of our team who personally reaches out to brides and grooms during our survey process asking for photos.
Dawn Strong: We receive, on average, 500 submissions a week from brides, grooms and wedding pros.
Michele Schwartz: Two Bright Lights
Q11: What are the most important elements you look for in your submissions?
Dawn Strong: Amazing photography, a fab story, inspiring details + decor, heartwarming moments and ALL the specifics.
Michele Schwartz: Details! Do the photos tell the story of the entire day from getting ready photos through the hora or exit?
Q12: Are there certain things that you are refusing to share on your blog?
Bogdan Constantin: Anything negative or offensive.
Michele Schwartz: Not really!
Q13: How often do you blog? What would you suggest for wedding pros?
Bogdan Constantin: Blog about your passion or industry expertise so long as it’s relevant to what your viewers want to read!
Michele Schwartz: I blog 4-5 times a week. I recommend for wedding pros at least 1x a week and preferably 3x a week.
Q14: Do you schedule your blog posts or post on certain days?
Bogdan Constantin: Mondays are when we publish!
Dawn Strong: We post 7 days a week, 365 days a year… We love sharing the pretty and inspiring our readers!
Q15: What is a good length for a blog post?
Bogdan Constantin: 500 words or less with accompanying photos.
Dawn Strong: It’s not so much about the length as it is telling that complete + totally inspiring story. Each one is a journey: getting ready, pre-ceremony, ceremony, cocktail hour, reception + dinner.
Michele Schwartz: At least 300 words. It’s more about the visuals.
Q16: What social media platforms do you find most important?
Bogdan Constantin: Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
Michele Schwartz: Pinterest and Instagram
Q17: How do you plan for social media on a daily and weekly basis?
Bogdan Constantin: We have a dedicated team for social and a content calendar that we stick to religiously.
Michele Schwartz: I use social media tools that let me curate content all the time and just build a queue that posts for me, even when I’m not actively on the platform.
Q18: What will make a blog profitable for a wedding business?
Bogdan Constantin: Eyeballs. Pure and simple if you can get enough people consuming and sharing your content you can start to monetize the blog with sponsorships and endorsements – the key is having a strong share of voice and from there the money will come. Make people love your blog/content because it adds value to their lives and everyone wins.
Michele Schwartz: Sponsored posts
Q19: Are there any blogging tips for saving time?
Bogdan Constantin: Yes! Outsource anything that is time intensive but doesn’t add value. Sourcing photos and basic research – INTERN tasks!
Michele Schwartz: Set a routine!
Q20: What do you want everyone to take away from this #WeddingMarket Chat?
Bogdan Constantin: I liken blogging to a chef in the kitchen. Know who you are cooking for and what they like to eat! Otherwise no one will ever value your cooking skills!
Michele Schwartz: Repurpose every bit of content you have!
Disclosure: Some of the speakers on the panel are listed in the Wedding Market speaker directory.