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The Biggest Wedding Blog Submission Mistake That Every Wedding Vendor Makes

Before I get into the biggest mistake that wedding vendors make regarding submitting their work to be featured on wedding blogs, you might need a little bit of a backstory on why I’m even writing this post in the first place. I’ll keep it short, but suffice to say I know a thing (or two!) about wedding blogs!

Did you know that I used to own and edit a wedding blog for the Washington DC area. True story! For five years, I founded, ran, grew, edited and cried over the Washington DC area’s top wedding blog, United With Love. I loved that blog with all of my heart, I often joked that it was my third baby since I started it a mere two months after my first son was burn. But, as with most small businesses sometimes it is about having the confidence to know when to say when. It was time for the this local wedding blog to grow into the future with another editor and owner. In January, United With Love was taken over by the lovely Tabitha of Roberts & Co. Events, a wedding planning company based in the DC area.

(This bride + groom + bunting photo was the very first image that I ever share on United With Love in the very first blog post!)

Now that I’m on the other side and not the one accepting wedding blog submissions anymore, I’m back to being just another wedding vendor. (I started designing and hand making wedding garters well before the whole wedding blog editor thing ever came into the picture!) I notice now that there is big gap of information between bloggers and vendors. There is quite a bit that wedding vendors don’t know about submitting to wedding blogs.

I’m starting a little series here on The Garter Girl blog that is off the wedding garter topic, for sure. This series is geared more towards wedding professionals. I’m sharing little insider secrets about wedding blogs that I could never really say when I was the blog editor! I’m hoping to help wedding vendors – be it photographers, wedding planners or anyone else who hopes to share their work – make their wedding blog submissions better and more effective. Submitting your work to a wedding blog takes an incredible amount of time. Wouldn’t you rather make smart and purposeful submissions!? The ultimate goal of any wedding blog submission is to get more business through more people being exposed to your work. Better submissions makes happy vendors and happy bloggers!

OK, so onto the topic at hand: the biggest mistake that wedding vendors make when submitting their work to wedging blogs is quite simple. It is that they don’t submit. Truly. The biggest mistake that wedding vendors make is that they don’t actually submit their work to wedding blogs.

Other work or life gets in the way, and the submissions gets thrown off the to-do list. Maybe they are just so busy with the day-to-day of their business that they don’t have time to submit. Maybe they think that the couple will never go for a real wedding feature. Maybe they are so overwhelmed with how much work it takes to submit and don’t know where to start. Maybe they think the wedding didn’t have enough details, or it isn’t pretty enough. Maybe, maybe, maybe!

Another big hurdle to not submitting your work is fear. Fear of being rejected. Fear of being turned down. Fear of being told your work is not good enough. There are so many reasons why vendors don’t submit their work. I could list out a dozen more reasons for not submitting. But, the truth is this: the number one thing holding vendors back from not seeing their work on wedding blogs is that they don’t submit their work to be considered.

I’ve talked to countless wedding vendors and it is typically the same conversation. They tell me that they would love to see their work on a certain wedding blog, but it will never happen. And, then I ask, “Well, have you tried? Have you actually submitted your work?” The answers is almost always the same. No, they haven’t tried. No, they are too busy. No, they will get to it tomorrow, or maybe next week. No, they haven’t made the effort to gather the photos and do the work that is required to make a submission.

You can’t get featured if you don’t submit. Wedding blogs need submissions to survive. (Well, they need submissions and sponsors. But that’s a whole other post for another day!) Wedding bloggers don’t have time to troll the Internet and social media looking for content to feature. They rely on incoming submissions to fill their editorial calendars day in and day out. If you don’t ever share your work, there is a zero percent chance that you will ever get featured.

All wedding blogs have a submissions information page on their site. On this page they list very clearly what they are looking for and in the format that they would like it to be submitted. So, find your favorite wedding blog, look up their submissions guidelines and get out there and submit your work!

So, what about you? What wedding blog submission questions do you have? Anything you want me to tell the truth on!? Let me know!

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Three Best Tips For Blogging

Are you struggling with the blog for your creative small business?? Are you looking at all of your competitors and thinking, “How do they do it it all??” You have a blog for your business, you know deep down that blogging is important, but you just can’t seem to find the time to do it! I totally get it and some days I’m right there with you! Today, I’m going to share a few tips for how to blog for your business. This advice is based on the three most common questions that I hear from frustrated business owners: How do I get blog posts up when I’m so busy with everything else? How long should my blog posts be? What should I write about on my blog?

I also have my new online course for how to blog for your business, so if you want more in depth advice on how exactly to get control of your blog, I’d love for you to check it out.

These are the real, honest pieces of advice that I share with other creative business owners when they tell me that they are frustrated with their blog. Because, the conversation always goes the same. Most creative small businesses hate the blog for their business. They find it hard to fit blogging into their already hectic schedule and social media is just easier and faster. But, as I’ve talked about before, you don’t own anything on social media and your blog is your business cheerleader! Keeping up with the blog for your business will set you up for long term success and allow you to ride whatever wave of social media there might be.

Photo Credit: Red October Photography

From one business owner to another, here are three tips for how to blog for your business…

Frustration: How do I get blog posts up when I’m so business with everything else in my business?

1 – Prioritize your blog.

You will never get to writing blog posts, if you never make it a priority and block out the time in your schedule. I know it seems like a simple tip and it might even seem a little silly, but forcing yourself to block out the time to write blog posts is the easiest way to actually getting blog posts done and scheduled.

Setting aside the time in my schedule is truly the number one way that I get blog posts written. When I allow other things to take over my life or I allow that time I’ve carved out on my schedule for blogging to be taken over by other things, then the blog posts don’t happen. For me, I like to save the blog posts up and then I block out an hour a week to pre-schedule all of my posts.

When you see a business with lots of blog posts, and you wonder how they find the time, it is simple: They prioritize the time for their blog. If you want to have an active blog and speak directly to your ideal clients, then you need to block out the time. Because, let’s face, time won’t just magically appear on your schedule. You are a small business owner, there are always a million other things you could be doing. If it is an hour a week, an hour a day, whatever you can manage, just as long as you block out the time and set it aside as blogging time only.

The posts won’t magically appear on your blog, unless you set aside the time and make your blog a priority during that time.

Frustration: How long should my blog posts be?

2 – Don’t try to be epic.

Not every blog post needs to be long and epic. You don’t need to break the Internet with each post. Give the information that you promised to your ideal client in the headline of the blog post and then be done with it. If you don’t think you are a good writer, then look for the easy posts that don’t require a ton of writing. Don’t stress out about giving 10 tips when just 5 tips would do. I see many creative small business owners struggle with their blog, because they feel the need to find the perfect words and just the right way to say something. And, even worse, they feel like they need to write a huge novel with each blog post.

Aim for around 400 words with at least one photograph for your blog posts. If you have more or less than 400 words, that it is OK. SEO experts and tech wizards might tell you differently in terms of word count, but they don’t live in the real world of trying to manage a business at the same time as your blog.

For me and my business, it is better to have an active blog that is helpful to my ideal clients than worry that my posts aren’t long enough. Some of my blog posts are long and some are short and sweet. It is the helpfulness of the information that I’m providing in my posts and the consistency that is most effective for the blog for my business.

Frustration: What should I write about on my blog? 

3 – Write what you want to be hired to do.

Think about what you want to be hired to do, then write blog posts for the people that would hire you to do you work. Who do you want to hire you? Write your blog posts for them. Solve your ideal client’s problems and use language that they would understand. (Don’t use “inside baseball” terms that they won’t understand!) What do you want your ideal client to know about your business? What do you want them to hire you for? Write on your blog what your ideal client wants and needs to know.

Don’t write blog posts for your peers or your competitors on your blog. Those people aren’t going to hire you and purchase your products or services. Remember this blog post, I wrote about what to write about when you aren’t sure what to write about?

You’ve most likely spent some time thinking about your ideal clients, now write blog posts for them. Write for the people that you want to hire you. Solve their problems, be helpful to them. That is what makes a successful blog for your business.

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Those a few tips for blogging for your business! I hope that they were helpful to you!

Remember, I just launched my new online course on how to blog for your business, so if you need more help or want to get serious about your online profile, check it out!

For more small business blogging tips and advice, be sure to check out my blog series on the subject. You can sign up for my email newsletter to get more blogging tips and be the first person to know about any blogging workshops that I have coming up.

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Making Your Website Appealing To Search Engines & Potential Clients

In addition to designing and hand making wedding garters, my passion is helping other creative small business owners get control of the blog for their business. From one business owner to another, it really helps when we can all commiserate and learn from each other. I recently wrote an article for the Rising Tide Society‘s guide on SEO and keywords. I wrote this article especially for those in the creative and wedding industry because we are all so visually motivated. But, when you are designing your website and working on your blog, you need to keep in mind that you have another visitor who needs attention too: the search engine.

Here is the article from June’s Rising Tide Society guide….

SEO + Optimization

If you own a business with a website, chances are good that you’ve heard of the acronym SEO. This stands for search engine optimization, and it refers to art of doing things to your website so that it is crawled or indexed by a search engine, like Google. When your website is properly indexed by a search engine, the chances are better that it will pop up higher when a user types into a search bar looking for the services or products that you offer.

You know that being at the top of a search is crucial because, as a consumer yourself, you’ve probably gone through this when making your own purchases. You know how important it is to be right up front and in front of your potential clients when they are researching and shopping online.

SEO and P.C.O.

But, let’s back up before we even get into SEO and how to implement it onto your website. I want to talk to you about an issue that I see going on in the creative industry and that is the difference between SEO and P.C.O. and why your website needs to have both of these functions. And, why you, the business owner, need to understand and take control of both of these elements on your website.

P.C.O. is an acronym that I’ve made up and it stands for potential client optimization. (So, don’t try to look this acronym up and think that I’m crazy!) It refers to ensuring that your website is appealing to users who come to your website looking for your services. In the creative industry, there is much attention paid to optimizing your website, your social media, and indeed, your brand, for potential clients. There are countless webinars, workshops, experts, downloads and more on branding, design, developing your message and so much more to help your business appeal to your ideal clients.

With this hyper-focus on visual branding, there is little attention paid to optimizing your website for a search engine. But, if a search engine can’t find your site because it isn’t optimized, and thus isn’t showing it to potential clients, what good is the design of your site or the quality of your pictures? What good is defining your ideal client, if that ideal client can’t even find your website to learn more about you, much less purchase your services?

Attracts and Attractive

Your website for your business must be optimized for two different audiences. Even though it is one entity, your website must at the same time speak to search engines (this is SEO), and to a user or a potential client (this is P.C.O.). Too often, businesses in the creative space are focused on one and not the other. Or worse, they don’t know that their website isn’t optimized for one or none of these functions, much less where to start or how to fix it.

What attracts a search engine to find your site and show it to people who are looking for your products or services, and what is attractive to a user making them want buy your products or services are two different techniques. The act of applying these techniques is called “optimizing” your site or making it more appealing to a search engine and a potential client. Both techniques must be done simultaneously. Websites have the capability of doing both – attracting and being attractive – and you, the business owner, need to make sure that both are happening on your website at the same time.

What is attractive to a potential client or a user is a little easier to wrap our heads around. We can see it and understand it. It is often dealt with in the branding process, if you’ve been through that experience with your business. A potential client comes to your site and everything they can see and feel on your site, such as colors, words, fonts, layout, videos, photographs and more, is what makes your product or service attractive to them. It all works together to make them feel a connection with you and want to hire your business. But, what speaks to a search engine is much different. What makes your business pop up on page one of Google when someone types your product or service into that search bar has very little, if anything at all, to do with the visual experience. Quite literally, a potential client is a human and responds to things like colors, sights, and sounds, while a search engine is a robot and does not respond to colors, sights, and sounds.

Consistency and Time

Often, creative business owners, especially if they have a new(ish) website design or have recently gone through the branding process, assume that because their website looks amazing and their photographs are all on-point with their brand, that the SEO is being taken care of. Or worse, that it was taken care of by the person who designed their website. This is rarely the case. Most businesses who offer branding services do not offer SEO services and vice versa. Furthermore, optimizing your website for a search engine is not a one-and-done type of a thing.

SEO is an on-going process and something that you need to continuously work at over time. I’ve been blogging for my business since 2009, and my SEO work is never done, nor will it ever be. Making sure that your business is able to be found on the Internet is an art form and it is an ongoing effort. Why? Because search engines love consistency and time. The more consistent you are with your SEO and the longer you do it, the more effective you will be.

Commit To It

You are going to learn a lot about SEO this month from many people in the Rising Tide Society. Hopefully, you’ll head into the summer with a renewed sense of purpose for your website and a commitment to your business being found on the Internet for the long haul.

Just remember, your website needs to be appealing to both search engines and your potential clients at the same time. Potential clients see and feel, while search engines do not. So, when you are making updates and changes to your website, make sure that every change, update, or optimization is made with the search engine, not just the potential client, in mind.

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I hope that you found this explanation helpful and that you are motivated to learn a little more about SEO and get control of your website and blog.

Remember, I just launched my new online course on how to blog for your business, so if you need more help or want to get serious about your online profile, check it out!

For more small business blogging tips and advice, be sure to check out my blog series on the subject. You can sign up for my email newsletter to get more blogging tips and be the first person to know about any blogging workshops that I have coming up.

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Writing Blog Posts That Are Helpful To Your Potential Clients

I recently spoke at the ultimate luxury wedding conference engage! in the Cayman Islands. It was a dream come true to be able to share my small business blogging advice with the attendees. I had to put my wedding garters aside for the week and put my  blogging hat on. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it! I remember live blogging my first engage! conference in 2009 in Las Vegas and my oh my, how have things changed in the world since then!?

At engage!, I talked about how to take control of your blog, and also your entire online profile. It all starts with a solid foundation on your website and blog. If you nail down the basics on your blog, you can then apply all of those same principals to the rest of your profile online. But, fast forwarding for a second, I see a lot of creative and wedding professionals struggling with what to blog about.  And, that’s what I want to talk about here on this post: using every opportunity within your business to write blog posts that are actually helpful to your clients.

Photo Credit: John Cain Photography

Blogging For Future Business

How do you go to an amazing conference like engage! to better your business, and then come home and write about it on your blog in a way that will appeal to your readers and book you business? True, it would be a waste to go to engage! and experience so much wedding inspiration (and have access to all of the photos to prove it!) and NOT share about it on your blog. But, at the same time it would be a waste to share the magic of engage! on your blog in a way that your potential clients would NOT care about.

As you know, I’m a huge fan of only blogging about things that you want to be hired for. To blog about something that is off topic for your business or that you don’t want someone to pay you to do is just a waste of time. Because, let’s be honest, those looking to hire you for your services don’t really care that you went to an amazing conference. That’s not news to them and that’s not helpful. With that in mind, I wanted to give attendees at engage! (Hi, if you are reading this!) a few ideas of things to share on their blog from the conference. If you weren’t at engage!, you can also use these ideas for any other conference or event that you’ve attended.

Share All The Inspiration

There was so much wedding inspiration and ideas at engage!, indeed all of the conference sponsors pulled out all the stops and were showing the best of the best in wedding and event decor, food and entertainment. But, if you are a creative small business owner, how do you share the details and inspiration from a conference likes engage! on your blog? How can you talk about your experience with your potential clients and then get hired back in your home town?

For example, a potential client of a wedding planner doesn’t really care much that their planner went to a wedding industry conference, but they would care to know how to incorporate a neon sign into their wedding or unique ideas for wedding welcome gifts and so much more! Engage! is nothing if not inspirational and innovative, so the trick for those small businesses in attendence becomes about taking the amazing photographs and sharing the inspiration on your blog in a way that is relatable and helpful to your potential clients.

Here are five different ways that you can blog about the engage! conference in a way that is helpful to potential clients and will help you book more business through your blog:

#1 – Swag = Wedding Welcome Gift Inspiration!

The swag and gifting at engage! is amazing, that is no secret! Gifts for the Good Life, TPD Design House, and team engage! were all so thoughtful and the gifts were perfectly designed at every turn. To share this on your blog, use a photo or two of the different gifts on your blog and then give tips for how to give thoughtfully a wedding. Let the photos and the gifts be a jumping off points for making it relatable to your readers and sharing your own tips and advice.

You could share advice such as things to keep in mind when gifting at a wedding, how to incorporate your wedding theme into your welcome gifts, and unique ways to present wedding welcome gifts. You could also do an inspiration round up on your blog showing the different welcome gift ideas from engage! and how each could be replicated at a wedding.

Unique and thoughtful welcome gifts at weddings is such a hot wedding trend right now and something that engaged couples are really interested in incorporating into their wedding. Use your tripe to engage! to share wedding welcome gift ideas and advice with potential clients.

#2 Trends = You Are An Expert

The sponsors of engage! pulled out all of the stops and showed their best work in terms of entertainment, food, beverage, and design and decor. Pick one element that you haven’t seen before and share that on your blog along with a picture or two. You could do five inspirational blog posts on just the opening night party on the beach! And, don’t even get me started on the gala from HMR Designs – there were wedding design ideas for days at that event!

When you share trends or new and exciting things that your potential clients haven’t seen before, that builds trust and it shows that you are truly an expert.

Inspirational blog posts about trends from engage! could include: rainbow tents from Raj Tents, ombre table linens from Nuage Designs, unique entertainment (Hello, mermaids!) from Elan Artists, color block carpets and drapes, dessert presentations, food choices for outdoor parties and so much more.

Wedding trend posts on your blog show that you are plugged into the industry and that you know the right vendors to work with to make their wedding unique.

#3 Color Palettes = All The Color!

Wedding colors and color palettes are huge Internet searches for engaged couples who are planning a wedding. Your potential clients want to know unique color combinations and unexpected ways to incorporate color into their wedding. And, each event at engage! was more colorful than the next!

The colors of the sunset was the color theme at this year’s engage!, and nature inspired color palettes is something that engaged couples would be interested in seeing on your blog. The ombre tables linens of the general session, the rainbow dessert party, the bright and sparkle from the mermaid pool party, and the bold, colorful carpet and drapery at the gala are wedding ideas that deserve to be shared on your blog!

Again, your potential clients want to be inspired and if you can show them lots of color and the hottest most unique ideas going on in the wedding industry right now, that makes you helpful AND an expert!

#4 Tips & Advice = Be Helpful!

Use the photographs from engage! as an opportunity to share some wedding tips and advice. You could share tips about destination weddings, if that’s what you want to be hired for, of course. On your blog, talk about things to pack for a destination wedding, what to wear, or how many people to invite to a destination wedding. Share anything related to destination weddings with the photos from engage! and use your trip to Grand Cayman as the reason for writing the post.

If you don’t want to be hired for destination weddings, you could a blog post about advice for an outdoor pool party or how to have an after party at your wedding. Other wedding advice posts could be tips for getting married at hotel when there are other guests staying at the hotel, important things to know about a hotel wedding, tips for incorporating color at your wedding and so much more!

If you use your blog to solve problems and be helpful to your potential clients, they will be more interested in your work and working with you.

#5 Venue Tours = Big Searches

If there is one thing that engaged couples need, it is a place to get married. The wedding venue or location is a big Internet search for engaged couples planning a wedding. You can use your trip to engage! in a few unique ways and share about the location on your blog, while also being helpful to your potential clients.

If you want to be hired for work in the Grand Cayman, you could use the photographs from engage! and do a wedding venue tour on your blog of the Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa. If you have a Kimpton in your local area, you could do a venue tour of that property as a potential spot to get married.

Additionally, if you networked with a new friend from a different wedding venue, reach out to them and see if you could share information about their venue on your blog. They would probably be really happy to have the exposure and a blog to share about their space. Sharing wedding locations is helpful to your readers and remember what I said about the importance of being helpful on your blog??

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As you can see, there are many different ways to share about your trip to engage! on your blog and do it in a way that is helpful to your readers. Remember, your blog is your chance to show your potential clients that you are an expert and you know what you are talking about.

An amazing wedding conference where you learned so much and were so inspired, is an amazing opportunity full of unique blog posts to share with your potential clients.

What will you blog about?

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For more small business blogging tips and advice, be sure to check out my blog series on the subject. You can sign up for my email newsletter to get more blogging tips and be the first person to know about any blogging workshops that I have coming up.

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Is It The Message Or The Messenger?

Long before the stylish wedding garters and the small business blogging advice, when I was working in politics, there was a saying for when something wasn’t working. If there is a problem, it is either the message or the messenger. When something isn’t right in politics or in your small business, you can look to fix two different things – the message being delivered or the one delivering the message. What does this mean to the creative industry and how it is the applicable to blogging for your small business? Well, I’m about to tell you!

If you are struggling in your business to bring in more clients and get more leads, or if you want to set your business up for long term success as in be around long after Instagram is over, you have to focus on the message and the messenger. Both of these elements – message and messenger – in equal amounts and both at the same time.

Photo Credit: Joy Michelle Photography

In the creative and wedding industry, “the message” involves the photos, the words, the colors, the pricing packages, the branding elements, the curated images and more. While “the messenger” is more than you, the business owner, and it involves how potential clients are finding your business, are they finding you, can the find you? Are you where your clients are? Are you networking with the right people? Is your business in a place that can be found consistently over and over again?

Message vs. Messenger

To often in the creative industry, we focus on the message only. Why? The message is easier, we can see it, it is pretty. The message is tangible, we understand it. We can change words and we can edit photos, change up colors and really curate our brand’s image. We can see and reach out and touch certain elements of our brand’s message. The best part of the message is that the returns are immediate. You take a new photo, you post it on Instagram, and you see it right away.

But, with the messenger, it just isn’t pretty or fun. The messenger often gets lost, forgotten or left behind. Why? Because the messenger isn’t glamorous. It isn’t pretty. It involves back end techniques, keywords, marketing, blog post writing, website SEO, networking – all of the things that you can’t see or touch, but are so important to the growth and long-term health of your business’ online portfolio. And worse, the messenger isn’t an immediate return and it involves things that take time to solve, settle in and take effect.

For The Long Haul

If you want your business to be around for the long haul, if you want to ride the wave of social media and be relevant after Instagram isn’t the hot social media outlet, you have to focus on both the message and the messenger. If you are struggling with business not coming in, or you are struggling to book clients, or if you aren’t even getting any leads at all, try to focus on both the message and the messenger.

There are lots of resources on how to improve your brand’s message. And, that’s not me. I’m not a stylist or a branding expert. But, what I can help with with the messenger portion of the equation. You must be evaluating, updating and editing both the message and the messenger at the same time. If you are struggling, don’t think that just by re-branding or taking new photos, it will solve all of your problems.

If potential clients can’t find your business online, or you are not updating your blog and it is turning away clients, then your problems have to do with your messenger. Really evaluate how your clients are finding you? Is it word of mouth referrals or do you needs to do more networking with different people? Can people find your business when they type it into a search engine? Do you even like what comes up with you Google your business? If not, fix it. These all have to do with changing the messenger and how potentials clients are being delivered your message.

Update The Messenger

What are some simple things that you can do to focus on your small business brand’s messenger? Here are three quick things you can do:

  1. Write a blog post or two or three. Get you business refreshed and filtering around the Internet with a new, fresh blog post. If you are stuck on what to write about, check out this post I did on what to blog about when you don’t know what to blog about, or this post on the 10 blog posts you already have written.
  2. Update something old. Do you have a page on your website that you haven’t updated in years? Give is a little refresh with a new photo or some new text. Updating an old page will breathe a little life back into your website, which will help you in the long run.
  3. Take the blogging challenge. At the beginning of the year, I created a super easy small business blogging challenge to help people kick start their blog for the new year. But, you can go through this all year long, anytime your blog and website needs a little refresh.

I hope this helps! Remember, you must focus on both the message and the messenger of your business at the same time in order to stay relevant and ready for whatever social media waves are going to strike.

For more small business blogging tips and advice, be sure to check out my blog series on the subject. You can sign up for my email newsletter to get more blogging tips and be the first person to know about any blogging workshops that I have coming up.

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Blogging For Your Business vs. Blogging As A Business

I’m taking a little break from the wedding garter designing and sewing today to share a little blogging tip with you and raise a discussion point that might be confusing other business owners out there. There is a big different between blogging for your business vs. blogging as a business. It is just a few word difference, changing “for” to “as a” in terms of blogging, but when it comes to goals, priorities and how-to’s, this destinction makes a huge difference! As a small business owner, when you are trying to educate yourself about blogging, it is important to know which category you, your business and your blog falls into.

As you know, I am passionate about helping creative small businesses use their blog to grow their business. I recently held my second B.Y.O.B (Blog Your Own Business) Workshop here in DC to help wither business owners get control of their blog. In my discussions with other small business owners, I noticed that there is some confusion about blogging for your business and how it is different than blogging as a business.

modern black lace bridal garter

Photo Credit: Red October Photography

Comparison

Many business owners, who clearly fall into the camp of “blogging for their business,” are struggling because when they seek advice or inspiration for their blog, they are looking at those who “blog as a business.” They are finding help and support from professional bloggers. Worse, they are comparing their blog to support their small business to other professional bloggers. They are wondering why they don’t have the traffic or they are feeling badly because they aren’t posting multiple times a day. In reality, if you are blogging to support your small business, things like traffic and posting frequency might not be as important as you think.

Now, some of advice from professional bloggers can be helpful and applicable, but only if you know the difference between the two entities, so that you can take what you need and leave the rest. When it comes to your business, it is important to compare your blog to others who are similarly situated. If you are a wedding planner or a florist, then a full-time professional wedding blogger is probably not the best comparison to make. Even though you both operate what you both call a “blog,” it is truly like comparing apples to oranges. The blogs are two different business models. Indeed, you should be comparing yourself to other similarly situated businesses. How are they using their blog to grow their business? What are they doing to drive sales through their blog? How are they using their blog to introduce themselves to their clients?

The Difference

The reason that it is important to make this distinction between blogging as a business and blogging for your business is because both blogs have different goals, priorities and systems. What works for a business blog, might not work for a blog to support your business. Professional bloggers often struggle to develop content, while those who blog for their business rarely have issues developing content because they blog about their business! (In my case, I blog about my wedding garters and topics that relate to running of my business.) Additionally, bloggers as a business have much different goals for their blog, thus they need to post at certain times of the day and a certain amount per week so that they can keep up their traffic and continue to grow. All of these goals are quite different if you are running a blog to support your business.

More importantly, those who blog for their business, need to balance managing their blog along with everything else that makes them money. As much as I’d like to spend all day writing blog posts, I need to get into my business and service my clients. I need to sew and fulfill orders and more. Every small business owner needs to balance their to-do list, and the to-do lists of a professional blogger and someone who blogs to support their business are much different.

Most of us in the creative small business industry, like myself with my wedding garters, are experts in other areas. We are florists, photographers, crafters, designers, or wedding planners and blogging for your business is much different than how to blog as your business. When I started United With Love, a blog for weddings in the Washington DC area, blogging was my business. I didn’t necessarily make money by making something else, I made money from my blog, which means I sold advertisement space and did affiliate marketing and lots of other creative ways to generate income through my blog.

But, with The Garter Girl, I do something else (i.e. I design and hand make bridal garters.) and I use my business’ blog to help to grow and support my wedding garter business. I don’t make money off my blog for The Garter Girl, instead I use my blog to promote my wedding garters and reach out to those that might be interested in purchasing a wedding garter hand made by me.

Make The Distinction

The is distinction between blogging as a business and blogging for your business is an important one to make and something that we talked about at length at the workshop. Many small business owners struggle with how much time to spend on blogging and wonder what blogging can do for their business. They struggle with finding time to fit blogging into their mounting to-do list and blogging often gets pushed farther and farther down (and sometimes kicked off!) that list. All of this is much different when you are blogging as a business. Now, I’m not saying that professional bloggers aren’t busy! They most certainly are and have much on their to-do list! It is a just a totally and completely different line of work than someone else who runs a blog to support their other creative endeavor.

So, as you learn more about blogging, what camp do you fall into? Are you blogging to support and grow your other business and are you using your blog to help you make sales or book jobs? Or, are you a professional blogger who doesn’t necessarily make anything else, but rather makes money through your blog? The distinction matters and knowing which camp you fall into is important when seeking advice and making comparisons.

For more small business blogging tips and advice, be sure to check out my blog series on the subject. You can sign up for my email newsletter to get more blogging tips and be the first person to know about any blogging workshops that I have coming up.

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When You Don’t Know What To Blog About

Are you struggling with what to write about on your blog for your small business? I’m going to give you a little tip today for what to write about when you just don’t know what to blog about! Maybe you are feeling a bit lost for blog topics or are feeling unfocused. Do you put off writing blog post until you can come up with that perfect thing to blog about? I see many small business owners struggling with generating content for their blog for their creative small business. The conversation is always the same:

Me: Why did you write this blog post?

Them: I have no idea, I was just looking for something to blog about.

Does this empty feeling regarding your blog sound familiar to you too? Do you sit down as your computer and just stare at a blank screen? Do you keep putting off writing blog posts, because you feel like you have nothing to write about? Does blogging just keep getting shoved farther and farther down the list of things to do?

Photo Credit: Red October Photography

Blogging As A Business

Before we get started, there is one point to make clear. I’m not talking about blogging as a business. I’m talking about blogging when you earn a living doing something else. You are a creative small business entrepreneur, and you have a blog to support whatever that other business is that you do. In my case, I design stylish wedding garters and I have a blog, which you are reading right now, that supports my wedding garter design business. My blog is where I talk about things that are going on in business, I share new garter styles and more about my business. (I also share lots of small business blogging tips like this one you are reading right now!)

Hey, This Is What I Do!

OK, so to the topic at hand: blogging struggles. What should you blog about when you just don’t know what to blog about on your small business blog? When you don’t know what to blog about: Blog about what you want to get hired for.

Yes, it is truly that simple: blog about what you want to be paid for. Ding, ding! Hello, light bub! Your blog for your business should be about the business that you do, the business that makes you money and pays your bills.

I know that blogging about what you want to be hired to do seems like a really simple solution and I don’t mean to be flip. So stick with me as I attempt to explain why blogging about your business is so important.

When you write a blog post, it says to the world and the Internet: Hey, this is what I do! If you don’t tell the world what it is that you do, how will the world know to hire you to do that job? In life and on the Internet, you must put out there what you want to get back. Your blog is one of the greatest vehicles for you to tell the story of your business. You can and should use your blog to promote your business and talk about topics relevant to your business and the work that you do.

Stay On Message

If you want to be hired to design flowers for a wedding, well then, blog about designing flowers for weddings. If you want to be hired to do branding for other creative small businesses, well then blog about branding for creative small business. If you are a wedding planner and you blog about a favorite new recipe that you just tried, that tells the world that you want to be hired for testing out new recipes. Why would you do that?

Why would you blog about something way off of your topics when they chances are high that you might not have time to write another blog post again for another six months?

Sure, you might have just learned a new skill or you might be really excited about your home renovation project and you just want to share it with the world! Sharing personal stories or off-brand topics is what Facebook and other social media sites are for. You might even want to start a new blog about your new found topic! But, stay on track with your blog for your small business and keep it to posts about your business and what you want to be hired to do.

The goal of any small business owner with a blog is to write long-lasting blog posts that are going to deliver for you over and over and over again. We know that what you want to be hired for is going to deliver for you, because it is what you do. Its just that simple!

I see many small business owners struggle with content generation and it forces them off track. You are not a professional blogger, you don’t need to general new and different types of content. You own a small business doing what you love, so you already have a built in topic for your blog. Blog about your business. Stick to the topics of your business and what you want others to hire you to do.

Again And Again

With your blog for your business, stay on message. Don’t look to create new things or new ideas, unless you want to be hired for those new things or new ideas. Blog about what you know, what you want to get hired for. And then when you are done blogging about your business topics, do it again, and again and then again. Just keep asking yourself: What do I want to get hired for? That’s what I’m going to blog about.

Now, there are creative ways to give the similar advice in new ways, or provide new content within the same categories or come up with creative solutions to repetitive blog posts, but those advice posts and tricks to the trade are for other days!

If you stay on track and dig a little deeper, I bet you’ll be shocked at the number of blog posts and topics that you can generate on just what it is that you do. I am still amazed at all the different topics and ways that I can tell my wedding garter story through my blog and I’m not even close to being done yet!

In summary, when you don’t know what to blog about: blog about what you want to be hired for.

For more small business blogging tips and advice, be sure to check out my blog series on the subject. You can sign up for my email newsletter to get more blogging tips and be the first person to know about any blogging workshops that I have coming up.

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Help: I’m Embarrassed By My Blog

Are you embarrassed by the blog for your creative small business? Do you hate your blog so much and wish it would just go away? Or maybe you actually do love blogging for your business, you just can’t ever seem to find the time to do it! Regardless of the reason, if you are embarrassed by the blog you maintain for your creative small business, you’ve come to the right place! All judgement aside for how it got your blog got to this point, the goal of this post is to move your blog forward! I’m going to give you a few practical things that you can do right now, as in today, to get your small business blog back on track and not allow it to be something that you are embarrassed to share with the world.

As I’m prepping for my upcoming small business blogging workshop here in Washington, DC, I’ve been to many, many business blogs. And, I get the “I’m embarrassed” reaction quite a bit from small business owners about their blog. They don’t want anyone to see their blog. Maybe they have neglected for months, even years, and it so it is horribly out-of-date. Maybe they don’t like design of their blog or maybe the posts that they do have up on their blog isn’t the best reflection of their work. Yet, their blog is still linked on their website, right up there in their website’s main navigation with the about their business page and the page about the services that they offer.

something blue lace wedding garter

Photo Credit: Red October Photography, Styling: Marigold & Grey

I hear hear often from business owners when I say that I’ve been to their blog to check out their work. They respond with, “Oh please don’t look at my blog, I’m so embarrassed!” If you are embarrassed by your blog for your business, what kind of message are you sending to potential clients? Are you going to tell them not to look at your blog? That you are embarrassed about your blog? Are you going to be embarrassed about the work that you do for them? How are they supposed to trust you, if you show them things (i.e. your blog!) that you are embarrassed about?

What Your Blog Says

If your blog is linked up on your website and visible to the world it says to your potential clients: Look here! A blog on your website says:  Come check out this page out as a representation of my work and get to know more about me and my business.

You don’t get to tell website visitors what pages to go to or not on our websites. So, if you have a blog up on your website and you are embarrassed about it, I’d suggest doing something about it. Fix it, solve the blog embasrassment! And, quickly. If you are a wedding florist and you created flowers for a couple’s wedding would you walk out of that reception room with work that you are embarrassed about? No! You’d stay there until you fixed it and got it right. Why? Because your work is a reflection of you and of your business. Just the same, your blog is a reflection of your work and of your business.

If you are embarrassed by the blog for your small business, it is important to recognize your situation. Don’t spend to much time thinking about the past and how you got to this point, instead use the solutions I’m about to provide as a motivation for the future. Here are few quick things that you can do to cure those horrible blog feelings. Your blog is your businesses’ biggest cheerleader, give your blog a little love and it will love your business right back!

Here are four things that you can do to cure blog embarrassment:

#1 Take Your Blog Down

If you are truly embarrassed by your blog and you can find no other solution, take it down. You shouldn’t have anything on your website that isn’t the best reflection of your work and if your blog isn’t where you want it to be, then consider taking it down. I don’t mean delete your blog, that’s a whole other post for a whole other day, rather, I mean unlink your blog from your website. If you unlink your, the blog is still live out there on the Internet, but it isn’t associated with your website’s homepage. So, new potential clients coming to you website won’t be able to easily find your blog.

You’ll need to fully weigh the options with unlinking your blog to determine if ultimately it is the right solution for your business. But, unlinking it might give you a little breathing room to develop a solution. And, can’t we all use a little less pressure on our shoulders a business owners?!

#2 Update Your Blog

If your small business blog is horribly out-of-date and you are embarrassed by it, update it. It sounds so simple, I know, but maybe it really is that simple. Just update your blog. Write a blog post and get it up there. Stop what you are doing, stop with the social media, stop with the emails, stop with the excuses and take 15 minutes to write blog post. You’ll feel so much better after you’ve updated your blog.

Start with an easy blog post, maybe about a press feature that you had recently. Your blog doesn’t have to be epic, it just has to be updated. Epic can come later when you have some time to think about a schedule and defining your blog’s voice.

If your blog is out of date, for now just focus on getting your blog updated. One simple blog post will help to alleviate those feelings of guilt that small business owners tend to feel when their plate gets too full.

For more on how to get your blog going quickly and easily, check out this post that I wrote about the 10 blog posts that you already have written. And, also check out my three best blogging tips.

#3 Admit Why You Are Embarrassed

If you are embarrassed by your blog, take a minute or two think about why it is embarrassing to you. What exactly is the source of your embarrassment? Once you know what the problem is, it might be easier to get your blog under control.

Give your business a hard look to the inside and try to find out what is frustrating you about your blog. Is it because your blog is out of date? Do you not like the design of your blog? Are you frustrated with having nothing to write about on your blog? Do you love blogging, but you can never seem to find the time to blog? Do you just not like writing at all? These are all curable situations. You can solve all of these blogging problems.

There are so many reasons why business owners let their blog slip and allow their blog to develop into something that they aren’t proud of. If you are better able to determine what it is that you don’t like about your blog, then you’ll be that much closer to solving the problem.

#4 Develop A Realistic Schedule

Sometimes business owners have an blog that they are embarrassed about because they just don’t know where to start to fix it. I see it often that the business owner is overwhelmed about where to start and so they just leave the blog empty or out-of-date. Not knowing where to start or not knowing how to fix is a problem is a very real feeling and it can be paralyzing.

If your blog hasn’t been updated it a while, and you don’t know where to start, I suggest starting with a schedule. That’s right, come up with a schedule for your blog that is manageable for you that you know you’ll stick to. Blogging is like trying to drastically change yourself after the new year with an unrealistic resolution that you know you’ll never keep.

Give your business a “win” and commit to a blog schedule that you know you’ll keep. Is that one blog post a month? Is it two blog posts a month? Can you manage more blog posts than that? Maybe not, and that’s OK! You don’t have to blog every day to have a blog that is successful for your business. Your blog schedule must be unique to you, to your business and what is possible for you. Once you have a realistic schedule, it will be easier to stay on track.

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Those are my four tips for what to do if you are embarrassed about your blog for your creative small business. What did I miss? What do you to avoid having a blog that you aren’t proud of? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Your blog can do so much for your business. If you give your blog just a little bit of attention, and your blog will give that back to you and so much more!

If you want to learn how to blog for your small business, check out my upcoming workshop in Washington, DC on February 28th. I’d love to see you there! I will be talking all about how to build a blog that you are proud of, and also how to blog properly, what to blog about and so much more!

For more small business blogging tips and advice, be sure to check out my blog series on the subject.

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3 Things Blogging Does For Your Business

Do you have a blog for your creative small business and are you wondering what it can do for you? Are you frustrated with writing blog posts and trying to find a way to get it all done? Can you never seem to find the time to write blog posts? As small business owner, there are so many things competing for your time, including accounting, billing, social media, staffing and actually doing your job or service! It is really hard to prioritize writing blog posts when there are so many other things calling for your attention. If you are ware wondering just what blogging can do for your creative small business, then this post is for you, because I’m going to give it to you for real!

If you want even more personal attention to fix your blogging mistakes and struggles, check out my upcoming small business blogging workshop where I’ll go into what blogging can (and can’t!) do for your business, and so many more topics to teach you how to get control of your blog!

what-does blogging-do-for-small-business-The-Garter-Girl-Joy-Michelle-Photography(91of149) copy

Photo Credit: Joy Michelle Photography

I’m a small business owner myself, so I completely understand the challenges that other businesses face. It is hard even for me to find time away from sewing my wedding garters and helping my clients to write blog posts and keep up with everything on social media. I’ve talked to countless small business owners and the thing that usually sticks for them and is when I tell them specifically what blogging can do for their business. If you understand why something is important, it is easier to make it a priority. I can’t give you more hours in a day to get it all done, but hopefully I can help you blog faster and more effectively with the time that you do have.

Blogging takes quite a bit of time, we know this, but the benefits far out weigh the time that it takes. Writing consistently and properly on your blog for your small business can do so many incredible things for you business. Here are my top three things that blogging can do:

Blogging Keeps You Fresh

Search engines loves fresh, or new, and shareable content. A site that is updated regularly peeks the interest of the search engines and keeps them coming back for more, which pushes you up higher and higher in search rankings.

If your website and your blog are just old and stale, the search engines will skip right over it and it won’t do anything for you. An old website that hasn’t been updated regularly is just there. Doing nothing. Just there taking up space.

The fastest and easiest way to create new and shareable content is through your blog.

Blogging Books You Clients

Not only does blogging bring potential clients to your website (See above!), it helps to book those clients too. Blogs have the power to seal the deal! Potential clients want to hire busy people who know what they are doing. An active, updated blog shows (1.) that you are busy and (2.) that you are an expert. 

Blogging lets you go deeper into topics and to show that you are an expert. It allows people to get to know you more and feel more comfortable with you. Potential clients can and will “pre-interview” you through your blog! 

You can use your blog to write about advice topics to help answer their most challenging questions, you can use your blog to talk about your successes or you can use your blog to help potential clients find inspiration. Regardless of what you write about, and an active blog for your small business books you business. (For more, check out the 10 blog posts that you already have written!)

Blogging Prepares Your Business For The Future 

Blogging prepares your business for the future online. Blogging allows your business to ride whatever the social media waves are happening within your industry.

Allow me to explain:  The only eyeballs, readers, followers, likers etc. that you own are those on your website and your blog. You don’t own your followers on Facebook or Instagram. So, if social media changes the algorithms or suddenly isn’t popular anymore, you will be left in the lurch. Blogging is an investment in what you own. (Read more about this topic in my blog post about why blogging is important and still matters!)

If you are consistently putting effort into the core of your business, i.e. your website and our blog, it doesn’t matter that Instagram changes its algorithms or that younger clients aren’t using Facebook anymore. You own your blog and the users on it and no one can take that away from you or change up that algorithm.

Blogging allows you to ride the social media waves and be prepared for the future online, whatever that may be!

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So, those are three things that blogging can and will do for your small business. What did I miss? What does blogging do for your business? 

If you want to learn how to blog for your small business, check out my upcoming workshop in Washington, DC on February 28th. I’d love to see you there! I will be talking about what blogging can for your, and also how to blog properly and what to blog about and so much more! 

For more small business blogging tips and advice, be sure to check out my blog series on the subject.

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3 Best Blogging Tips

If you are blogged right along with me last week in my small business blogging challenge or you are just looking for some great tips from someone who has written over 5,ooo blog posts, then you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to share my three best tips and pieces of advice for blogging.

Remember, you can check out my blogging challenge right here and one week to get your blog under control in the new year. You can also check out my upcoming workshop where I’ll show you how to blog for your small business.

If you have a blog for your small business, then listen up! I’ve blogged for my stylish wedding garter business for over nine years. I also I started another blog about weddings in the Washington DC area and I grew it so much, I was able to sell the blog. I’m not a technical expert or a computer coder. Instead, I’m a small business owner who hand makes modern wedding heirlooms. I’m just like you! Everything I learned about blogging, I learned first hand by writing, writing and writing more blog posts.

3-best-blogging-tips-The-Garter-Girl-Red-October-Photography

Photo Credit: Red October Photography

I know how to use a blog to grow a small business. I know how to use a blog to bring in potential clients and make sales. I know how to use your blog to promote your business when no other media outlets or publication will return your call. Back when I started The Garter Girl, no wedding media outlet or magazine would write about my wedding garter designs. My only way of getting the word out to brides about my bridal garters was to either pay for tons of advertising or start my own blog. I didn’t have a marketing budget at all. So, blogging it was!

Your blog is your small business’ biggest cheerleader. No one will yell louder out into Internet that your own blog. Your blog is not subject the opinion of editors, style setters and advertisers. And, unlike social media, like Instagram and Facebook, the only person who can mess with the algorithms of your blog is you. In no other space is it completely acceptable, in fact encouraged, to shameless promote your business as much as you want.

So with all of that said, I bet you are wondering where those tips for blogging are!? Here you go, my best bits of advice for writing blog posts from one small business owner to another.

THREE BEST TIPS FOR BLOGGING

#1 – Block out the time.

Blogging only works if you block out the time in advance. As a business owner, there are so many other things competing for your time. You have to preschedule the time on your calendar for blogging. Otherwise, it will get kicked off your to-do list and the next thing you know, it has been a a year (or more!) until you’ve prioritized your blog again.

Block out the time on your calendar right now for blogging. Make it a lunch date with your blog, if you need to. You can designate one day a week, or one day a month, or one hour per day. Whatever works for you. Just schedule the time in advance and you are more likely to keep your blog on your priority list.

If you don’t block out the time and commit to it in advance, the blogging will never get done.

2 – Don’t make your posts too long.

Not every blog post needs to be lengthy and epic. You don’t have to break new group and shatter the earth with each blog post. Give the basic information to your readers and then be done with it. Aim for around 400 words with at least one photograph. If you have more or less than 400 words, that it is OK.

Technical experts and SEO professionals will probably tell you that you have to have more words in your blog post. But, as a small business owner, I can tell you that it is really hard to come up with that much content. And, it is even harder when you don’t consider yourself a writer.

I operate under the motto that “done is better than perfect” when it comes to my blog. I would rather have posts written consistently than none at all because they weren’t long enough.

3 – Write for your ideal clients.

Think about who you want to hire you and then write your blog posts for them. Solve their problems and use language that they would understand. What do you want your ideal client to know about your business? What do you want them to hire you for? Write on your blog what your ideal client wants and needs to know.

Each blog post should be written directly to the ones that you want to hire you. Before you start writing thinking about what your ideal client wants, what he or she needs to hear and what would be the most helpful them.

For example, if you are wedding planner and you want to write a blog post about a recipe for lasagna. Is that helping your business? Is that what your ideal client wants to read about? Do you want someone to hire you to make you lasagna?

Only you, as the business owner, can answer those questions. But, if the goal of your blog is to get your business more business, then write your blog for those that will give you business.

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Those are my three very best blogging tips for your small business blog. What did I miss? What are you blogging tips?

Remember, you can join the blogging challenge right here and take this week to get your blog under control in the new year. You can also check out my upcoming workshop where I’ll show you how to blog for your small business.

You can find more small business blogging tips on my blog.