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Every January there’s a rush of potential advertisers to wedding blogs. It’s one of my favourite New Year’s resolutions – because I’m very proud to be the owner of a wedding blog which works hard to bring together brides and suppliers. Advertising on the English Wedding Blog works.

 

Somerset wedding photographer Simon Biffen

Image credit Simon Biffen Photography www.simonbiffenphotography.co.uk

I’ve been chatting to a few sponsors and suppliers over the last week or three, and this blog post has come from all the conversations we’ve had. I really hope it helps you with your advertising decisions. I’ll be brutally honest as I explain how and when wedding blog advertising works – and when it doesn’t.

1. Some tick boxes: the basics

Do you know what a wedding blog is?

I’m not kidding; some people still don’t know about blogs. This includes some small business owners, SEO companies working on behalf of suppliers, and even media and PR agencies. Venues are especially guilty! Sponsoring a blog won’t work if you don’t really get what they’re all about.

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I’ll happily spend hours creating something new and exciting if someone asks me to take part in any kind of wedding shoot. Does it pay? I think so… and being involved in shoots can have massive benefits for everyone involved. Here’s why I love them:

  • Shoots mean I can get great images of my work in context. Etsy tells me to use “droolworthy” photos – and the best way to do this is to give my stuff to awesome photographers so they can put it in a wedding setting and share the images.
  • I get to meet people, in real life or online – a rare thing for a wedding stationer!
  • Shoots push me to make new things, even if they’re a bit odd! In the last year I’ve written on an old window frame, made watercolour flowers and written song lyrics on massive paper backdrops then slashed them into pieces with a knife…

Images from a styled shoot at Aspire, by Melissa Beattie Photography

wedding shoots

http://melissabeattie.com

wedding shoots

http://melissabeattie.com

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My current daily shower routine begins with Trichomania, then a dash of Miranda and Jungle. It’s the only way I can wake up, and when I don’t have Lush I pine for it… I’m hooked. And as I have some of my best ideas in the shower too, I realised that Lush is one of the only majorly successful businesses I genuinely admire. Now brand loyalty for me has always seemed like a total myth. I’m not loyal to my bank, my supermarket or any other big corporation – despite the cards in my purse which suggest otherwise. And yet as a business owner, loyalty is something I’d love to inspire from my customers. So I began to wonder if I could make my wedding business a little more, you know, Lush.

lush cosmetics

Pinned by Lush Cosmetics www.pinterest.com/lushcosmetics – my favourites here are Rock Star, Honey I Washed The Kids, Karma soap, Miranda, Bohemian? and the fig one… delish!

 

FEATURED

When you’ve spent a couple of years running your own creative business you reach a point where you can’t ever imagine a different way of life.

Of course it’s tough being self-employed. It’s scary being so utterly in control of your financial future. But the freedom of making a living doing something you love is worth more than anything.

I don’t miss the routine of my old daily commute into Manchester before 6am. I don’t miss the pressure. It’s amazing knowing I’ll never set foot inside my office again! I love being able to change my days when it’s sunny, or when there’s a concert and I want to finish early.

wedding styled blog shoot (4)

Photo credit Matthew Bishop Photography | Styling by Petra Opperman – click to see this styled shoot

The delights of being your own boss

I love being part of a creative community most of all. People say it can be lonely working for yourself and from home, but there’s a craft revolution happening and the likes of Mollie Makes and Etsy are taking over the internet. Communities and forums for designers and creatives are all over Facebook, not to mention the wedding forums and fan sites we all know and love. Lonely is the last thing I feel.

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Wedding suppliers – new and old (I know most of the ‘oldies’ so I hope you won’t be offended… hee!) I need your help! And I’m offering free advertising on English Wedding Blog.

Free advertising on English Wedding Blog

wedding blog photo by Natasha Thompson

Good morning folks and folkesses out there in wedding land, I hope you’re all well and sparkly and have your suncream on for later. What a fantastic week we’re having! I’ve been feeling inspired, not only by the sunshine but also by some of the wonderful people I have around me. One of whom (thanks Adam) mentioned something in an email about blogs, and advertising, which got me thinking about how blogs are growing and in some cases becoming very much like print wedding magazines.

I don’t think it’s cool to have too many advertisers or sponsors on a blog. I also don’t think it’s cool to run a blog as a business without real enthusiasm and passion behind it. What we do shouldn’t be all about money. Blogs’ initial appeal came from their independence, and from being able to promote and support independent wedding businesses and not just those who could afford advertising space. While most wedding blogs now earn money, there must be ways to continue that support for indie businesses, right?

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This is my very first video blog for English Wedding. I wanted to share something new, so instead of my typey fingers, today you get my face talking. The video itself explains what this is all about, and there’s a summary for you underneath. Scuse the face 😉

promote your wedding business with confidence from Claire Gould on Vimeo.

Speaking confidently about your wedding designs, whether you make invitations,jewellery or anything else, isn’t always easy. This video blog explains why it’s important to promote your wedding business with confidence. I also share tips to help you gain the confidence to take that pride in your products and share your enthusiasm with potential customers.

Your wedding business, confidence and self-promotion

It’s very important to promote your wedding business in a confident way, and there are three reasons to do this:

  1. Confidence inspires confidence: speaking with passion and enthusiasm about your designs will inspire your potential customers
  2. Competition: there are so many wedding businesses around, promoting yours with confidence will help you stand out from the crowd
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Pre-wedding season, I was peering through the tumbleweed at various wedding photography websites and genuinely surprised by a) the numbers of wedding photographers out there, and b) the lack of blogs!

A quick look at this as a little aside: I searched for ‘wedding photographers’ and got a map with chicken pox. There are so, so many photographers out there! (Even more if you zoom in). I knew that though…

wedding photographers map UK

wedding photographers - a rash across the UK?

I was on a bit of a mission to discover new wedding photographers – ones who hadn’t submitted to my blog before, so I could raise awareness of English Wedding blog. And I was looking for their real wedding features to get an idea of what they do.

Four out of five didn’t have blogs.

And I was surprised – in this day and age, surely a wedding business blog is as important for SEO and promotion as facebook, more important than twitter, on a par with having a presence at wedding shows and fairs?

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photo credit Chris Hanley Photography (37)Creative exploration is a marvellous thing for any wedding business. Imagination is why wedding blogs were invented. It’s why we admire top designers who are making waves – the likes of Ian Stuart and David Fielden, the innovators of our industry.

It’s also a hell of a lot of fun.

photo credit Chris Hanley Photography (36)For Vintage Twee‘s Joanne Linder and artist and designer Nia Fiori, creativity is the heart of their wedding businesses. I watched, intrigued, as my two friends, together with the fabulous Chris Hanley Photography, devised a shoot which would explore the very core of their two brands.

Joanne and Nia’s willingness to let their hair down and play was just brilliant. The shoot they dreamed up looks right into the heart of their businesses, painting Vintage Twee in eccentric perfectionism and playing with Nia Fiori’s love of burlesque and fine art.

I love their promo shoot, which for me puts a whole new light on promoting a brand image.

photo credit Chris Hanley Photography (35)

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One for the wedding business owners today… As I write blog features for English Wedding I often find myself visiting websites of jewellery and cake designers, wedding venues and stationers, wedding bands, caterers and make up artists. You’re all on facebook; most of you are on twitterit’s amazing how the way we promote our wedding businesses has changed.

Aside from wedding photographers who usually do blog, it seems to me the last step in the flurry of social media activity required from a wedding business these days is a business blog. Could it be that we’re all so time-pressured now a blog would be a step too far?

How wedding businesses will use social media in 2012

Think back five years or so: we were all doing the same things, weren’t we… if you’re anything like me your wedding business keeps you busy from dawn till dusk in the peak wedding season, and then when it gets a bit quieter you’re still busy promoting your business via the wedding magazines and any other way you can think of.

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Mine is. There you go – let’s start a blog post with a confession! My wedding calligraphy business is going well, I love the work but… there’s something missing. Is anyone else out there looking for a bit of creative inspiration to inject into their work?

I’ve spent the day with two friends who inspire me – and I’m going to make my New Year’s Resolution now. I know it’s a bit early (but the pagan side of me says the first of December is surely something a bit new-yeary in the calendar). I’m determined to branch out a little.

So – wedding calligraphy is the most wonderful job in the world. It’s creative and pretty and I meet lovely people who appreciate my work. Lots of nice boxes ticked and a smile on my face, and theirs! I still feel I want more though.

How do you know when it’s time to get your business out of a creative rut?

  • you know you can do more, but just don’t seem to have the time