Wedding Public Relations is synonymous with real wedding submissions, but what many may not realize is that pitching yourself as a guest writer or blogger can be just as impactful for those seeking to increase their press.
Serving as a guest writer for a media outlet- whether it be a wedding blog local to your region, or an industry publication of national prominence- can offer a considerable return on investment if done correctly. In addition to building brand awareness for your company and introducing you to new markets, guest writing can assist with developing your reputation as a respected wedding expert. Those interested in specifically writing online will happily discover that there can also be quite a few Search Engine Optimization (SEO) benefits as well.
So how does one get started? Below, you'll discover four simple steps that incorporate proven public relations techniques:
Step 1: Goals- It's always been my contention that marketing and PR strategies aligned with specific goals are going to be a far more productive use of your time. The very first thing you should do is to ask yourself why you'd like to begin writing. Do you, for example, want to saturate your own market or introduce your company to another region? Are you hoping for prominence among brides or your fellow wedding professionals? Is SEO a consideration? Narrowing down your focus will only serve you better in the long run, while also saving you a tremendous amount of time(the time you'd spend researching every imaginable blog and publication out there).
Step 2: Research- Now, it's time to dig in your heels and begin thinking about what media outlets best suit your goals. When looking for opportunities, consider their target reader, their history with accepting guest bloggers, their editorial calendar and their submission requirements. Oftentimes we may find that we'll have one set of media outlets in mind, only to discover that they don't accept guest writers. Once you've narrowed down the list of spots that interest you, analyze each selection at length. Examine who else has written for them prior, as well as their selected topics. Although it may seem tedious, effective PR research will guarantee that you are targeting your efforts for maximum impact.
Step 3: Create- Based on your research, you should have a clear idea of what type of content is being picked up, as well as what subject matters have a "been there, done that" feel to them. Now is the time to craft timely and inspiring topics within the scope of your expertise that you haven't seen covered time and time again. If you don't have writing samples at the ready, this would be the opportune time to write a handful of sample articles based on your desired topics so you can disseminate them on an as needed basis. Remember that organization will be a key component during this step as it will help you avoid making such errors like pitching the same topic to competing publications, or sending out the same article twice.
Step 4: Now that you have pinpointed your target publications and blogs, as well as developed content, you can now proceed with reaching out to the editors with your pitches. Follow submission guidelines to a T and make sure all communication is cordial and to the point. If you haven't heard back within a reasonable time frame, don't be afraid to reach out once again to make sure your submission was received.
Once your efforts have paid off and you are enjoying your new found press, it's important to remember that what it's like to work with you may heavily influence your continued relationship with the editor. In other words, be easy to work, respond in a timely manner and always express gratitude for the opportunity.
Guest writing can often seem like an intimidating endeavor but if you take each of the above steps one at a time, you'll find your efforts will be rewarded.
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.