Real Wedding submissions are a fundamental component for many wedding professionals' marketing and PR strategies, but like any initiative, it comes with its share of challenges. Below, you'll find some of the most common Real Wedding submission issues, and solutions to ensure you're on the right track.
Challenge #1: I always find myself missing deadlines.
Your brain is, no doubt, an inevitable card catalog of event dates, and it's officially time to add editorial deadlines to the mix. Most wedding magazines and blogs will state Real Wedding submission deadlines on their web site and if they don't, a quick inquiry through their contact page should do the trick. Begin adding these dates to your calendar in the very same way you would a booked wedding date. Mark the exact deadline, and then consider creating reminders one and two weeks prior to the date as well. Then, give yourself a leg up on the next year by then visiting the following year's calendar and adding a reminder one to two months prior to the previous year's deadline. (FYI, The Knot posts their real weddings deadlines here).
Challenge #2: I have no idea where to send my weddings.
This is the perfect opportunity to reacquaint yourself with your favorite wedding blogs and magazines. One of the keys to a successful submission is sending along content that matches the target media outlet's audience, so set aside time to begin reviewing your options. Add a handful of blogs to your reader, and make a big trip to the local bookstore to snag an armload of magazines. Comb through the Real Wedding sections of each and begin asking yourself which truly encapsulates "your" bride, while also serving as a complement to your brand.
Then, keep a running list of your favorites, along with their submission guidelines and editorial deadlines to note. Every quarter, revisit your choices and add new ones to the mix. Before long, you'll have a thoughtfully selective list that will guide you in your endeavors.
Challenge #3: I'd like to include information from my bride, but these days, it's impossible to reach her.
It's a common scenario -- your bride writes you morning, noon and night in the weeks leading up to her big day and as soon as that last getaway sparkler has dimmed, she's missing in action. The reasons are endless -- from her overseas honeymoon to late nights at work, but in any case, you're no longer on her radar and your emails go unreturned.
An easy remedy is to capture as much information from her in advance prior to the wedding, which will allow you to submit without relying on her responses. Have her complete a wedding vendor list sheet, as well as answer questions that may lend insight to her wedding day -- from what inspired her while planning her wedding, to the wedding details she is most looking forward to seeing on the day itself. This also avoids any potentially unwanted conversations about where your bride "thinks" the wedding submission should go.
Challenge #4: I just don't have enough time to submit Real Wedding submissions.
There are only 24 hours in any given day, and that's simply not going to change any time soon. If you're like just about any wedding professional out there, you are already short on time and facing an endless to-do list.
The good news, however, is that you can divide your submission into three easy parts -- photo selection, story writing and the collection of vendor information. Breaking these out into smaller pieces and dedicating just a bit of time each day to one part will not only make the task seem more reasonable, but may allow you to delegate your wedding PR to-dos to other staff members. Additionally, consider bringing in a marketing and PR specific intern who will appreciate the opportunity to assist with what can be a fun and enlightening project.
Finally, don't overwhelm yourself at the prospect of submitting absolutely every wedding you've ever touched. Instead, start with those that are most competitive from an editorial standpoint -- the detail heavy events with fresh and inspiring images. Once you've gotten the hang of the process, things will move along a lot quicker, giving you the time you need to submit more.
With the right strategies in place, wedding PR can guide wedding pros in new and exciting directions. Combat the typical Real Wedding submissions by following these tips and tricks and get ready to start enjoying the lime light.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding PR firm OFD Consulting, which specializes in getting wedding professionals their brides. She is a highly sought after industry speaker and serves as a Public Relations adjunct professor for Virginia Commonwealth University.