Most wedding professionals have a fairly flexible work routine as many of us work from home. With that comes many challenges including the ability to stay productive and manage your time. Work-life-balance is something that is hard to achieve when working from home, however there are plenty of tricks you can implement to help yourself stay focused, grounded, motivated and above all else happy with your choice.
I’m going to start by asking you a couple of questions. How did you start the day today? What is the first thing you did once you sat at your desk? (After the coffee and the breakfast.) Was it something useful and productive? Did you advance your business in any way? I have to fight my gut instinct every morning to jump on Facebook. I mostly use the website to keep up with my personal relationships and I do like to start out my day checking out all my friends updates, photos, etc. But I know that if I spend the first minutes of my day on Facebook, the minutes often turn into hours. It’s not the best use of my time.
That first hour of your work day is critical to how the rest of your day will go. Make the most of it. Give yourself this first hour each day to work on something without any interruptions: no email, no social media, no phone calls. Focus on your hardest task of the day or a project to work “ON” your business. So often we let distractions rule our workflow. Start the day on a positive note by having one hour of uninterrupted productivity. By starting the day with an ACCOMPLISHMENT you’ll start ahead, instead of feeling like you’re playing catch up all day long.
On our Tip Tuesday blog this week we are looking at ‘How to Maximise PR Opportunities Around In-Store Celebrations i.e. milestones, anniversaries, award wins etc’. Here we are again, as we finish the end of another year and we look forward to 2016 we start planning for the New Year ahead. It is always a good idea to get a jump start on things so what have you got planned for 2016?
Do you have any celebrations planned for the New Year, do you have any business milestones coming up or are you planning on any other in store celebrations? Do you and your business celebrate different holiday periods or seasons and try and optimise the different opportunities available to you. Did you win any awards this year that you really wish you had promoted a bit more or have you missed out on shouting about some major announcements within your business. Remember before you start your PR plans for 2016 review and evaluate what worked for you and what didn’t work in 2015 and how you can improve things for the year ahead. Here are some of our tips on how you can maximise PR opportunities around major announcements, business milestones, anniversaries or award wins within your business or boutique.
When you first start out as a wedding planner knowing the correct pricing structure and what to charge for your services is usually the biggest problem area and the one most people really struggle with. There is no right or wrong way to do this as it all comes down to the individual, what their goals are, their experience level, the market they are pitching at etc.
However, there are some fundamentals that apply to everyone. The first thing you have to determine is whether or not what you’re doing is for fun, and ultimately a bit of a hobby, or is it a serious business. If it is the latter than it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. Take ownership of your pricing. You need to get a handle on what you believe you are worth. Research is a big key to this. You need to know and understand your marketplace, which includes the geographical area you’re in as well. The prices a London based wedding planner can charge will be very different to the prices a planner based in Leeds, for example, can charge. This has nothing to do with the quality of their services but everything to do with their geographical location.
Next you need to have a very real understanding of your target market. Who are you selling to? Is your service aimed at vintage brides? Are you a luxury wedding planner? Are you specialising in destination weddings? The list goes on, but until you really understand who your bride is you can’t realistically set your services.
On our Tip Tuesday blog this week we are looking at How to Put Together a Press Packs. The meaning of the phrase press pack is evolving, as recently as a decade ago, it meant literally a package of information in a folder sent out to reporters to try and generate interest in a company.
The kits were an easy way to share a comprehensive look at a business, but were notoriously cumbersome. A reporter attending an industry trade show could walk away with suitcases full of packets of information from a dozen different companies in a mess of envelopes and loose papers. Lots of it, to be honest, ended up in the recycling bin anyway. Over time, some companies and promoters got savvier and nowadays press packs have occasionally morphed into elaborately designed folders of multimedia information including CDs, music samples, and content on flash drives.
When it comes to making people aware of your brand when they attend a trade show creating a good press pack can be just as important as having a website or customer service hotline but putting one together can often become confusing. You gather up lots of information about your company that you have lying around but you end up looking at it all thinking where do I start? You want your press kit to be one-stop shopping for any journalist looking to write about your company. But they also use the kits as marketing tools for potential advertisers or clients. In no particular order here are some of our top tips on putting together a press pack:
Work experience is a tricky one and often it is really a case of putting a lot of feelers out there to hopefully get at least one bite. What you want to do is draw yourself up a hit list of at least 15 potential companies that you think would be beneficial to you and where you believe you could really learn something. A trick I’ve always used is to know and work out what you can offer them before approaching them. What I mean by that is you need to turn yourself into someone who its impossible to pass up. Make them want to give you the work experience.
If you approach them without a plan the chances are you are just one of a number. If you specialise in something in particular let them know, if you have a talent that could be useful to them as part of your work experience let them know, in other words find something that is unique about you that will make them want to give you that chance.
I still believe there is a fair amount of formality around work experience and you would do better to approach each company separately by email, as sending someone a message on Twitter is a little pushy – Facebook is a little better as it has a proper message facility that gives you more opportunity to introduce yourself and is a more accepted format for this type of thing.
Whatever you do make sure you do your due dilligence and personalise your email/message. Find out the name of the person you need to approach and know something about the company so you can reference that in your email. If they do destination weddings you might want to say – I know you specialise in destination weddings and this is an area I am hoping to get into myself.
It never hurts to get yourself involved with networking groups either, if you have any in your area that are wedding related. Two that I would recommend are the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners and The National Association of Wedding Professionals.
On our Tip Tuesday blog this week we are looking at What is Public Relations and What can it do for you? The concept of public relations is slightly confusing one and is often associated with glamorous lunches and designer shoes. While there are occasionally lovely events to attend the days of Eddy from Absolutely Fabulous are no more.
Today public relations involves skill, determination and a passion for what you do, coupled with a little black book of all the best contacts. Coupled with this many people within the wedding industry are somewhat unclear of what PR actually is. It is often thought that it floats somewhere between marketing and advertising or that it is a combination of the two, while others think it is just about getting into magazines, featured online and on television.
But what exactly is PR? By definition public relations is: “a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and co-operation between and organisation and its publics.” (Harlow, quoted in Wilcox et al). But simply put public relations is about reputation and the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
In the December 2015 issue of Perfect Wedding Magazine we secured coverage for our clients Love Invited and FYEO. Love Invited were featured in the ‘Oh La La’ mood board with their ‘Hearts and Bicycles’ invite and our client FYEO with their ‘Win a Exclusive Bridal Photo shoot’ feature.
In the December 2015 and January 2016 issue of Wedding Magazine we secured client coverage for our client Qiana Bridal in the ‘The Dress Edit’ featuring their beautiful ‘Grace’ bridal coat. They were also featured in the ‘Wedding Social’ feature when one of their editors tried one of their bridal gowns for their upcoming wedding whilst at the National Wedding Show.
In the December 2016 and January 2016 issue of Your Sussex Wedding Magazine we secured coverage for our client Fross Wedding Collections. The coverage was a feature on their ‘Your Essentials’ page on the opening of their new and bigger bridal boutique.
Finding images to use in the marketing of your wedding business can be extremely hard, especially when you’re unsure about what you can and cannot use while adhering to copyright laws. Using images in your blog posts, marketing collateral and social media posts is so important because images help readers find something to focus on and can help you stand out on your social media profiles.
According to research from Ipsos 71% of the world’s web users share content online & 43% of those share images. This means images have become a vital component of online content over the last ten years. Finding the right, high quality images for your website is important, but sourcing them can be hard. Images on a website or blog add something interesting & relevant that breaks up the sea of text. We use images to attract attention & pique interest even before we’ve met our client so they’re important. One place to find images is through a Google Image Search, but should be used for viewing and inspiration only. DO NOT take images from a Google Image Search use them because they are most likely copyrighted material.
A great way to obtain images is to create them yourself & collaborate on a styled shoot. As a new planner it is a great way to get those much-needed photos as well as an excellent opportunity to work with some local suppliers. The images we used for our Australian, UK and Emirates campuses all came from styled shoots that we plan and executed with the help of some amazing wedding professionals. It was a fantastic way to have some real input into the look and feel of the style we wanted to project and gave us complete creative control. It also gave us some great publicity too.