The Art of Inspiration: How to market your brand through styled shoots

(Editor's Note: Audrey Isaac of 100Candles.com is back on the blog today, sharing tips for marketing your brand and building relationships through inspiration shoots. Learn more about Audrey at the end of the post!)

Styled shoots – they’re fun for everyone involved and, when all is said and done, you end up with an album of gorgeous portfolio shots. What’s not to love?

The benefits of inspiration shoots are twofold. Not only are they a great way to tap into your creativity and showcase your services or products, but you can also find great value in the relationships built with the other vendors involved. The press that comes from the shoot is an exciting byproduct, but as they say, your network is your net worth. Nurturing these relationships can often turn into vendor referrals which are, of course, worth their weight in gold.

While a great styled shoot can really boost your portfolio, they can take a lot of time and effort to participate in so it’s important to choose only those that best fit your brand and will reach your target audience. Get an understanding of what the overall vision is for the shoot and determine whether or not it aligns with your style of work. For example, if you work strictly on rustic-style events, a modern-themed shoot likely won’t show you the results you’re looking for. In particular, we look to incorporate candles into on-trend shoots so we can target the look that today’s couples are after and will inspire them to check out our products.

You’ll also want to qualify the design team, since the professionalism of the people you work with will determine the success of the shoot. Keep in mind that industry experience does not necessarily equate to professionalism – we have worked with a number of respectable vendors that were brand new to the industry and have maintained those relationships on a long-term basis. It’s all about going into the shoot with the right state of mind.

When concerned with marketing, the important part of the inspiration shoot is what comes after the shoot is successfully completed. It’s important to be in communication with the other members of the team and be sure that they have your company name, website, contact information, and social media handles on file in order to credit you with the submission.

Sometimes, things don’t always go as planned and you may find that you weren’t credited in a feature despite your best efforts. In that case, politely reach out to the shoot contact and make them aware of the situation – chances are, it was simply an oversight that can be fixed.

After the shoot is all wrapped up and has been featured, send an email to the rest of the design team to say thank you and to reach out if your services and/or products are ever needed again. For the most part, you’ll be able to establish whether or not a styled shoot provided you with the return on investment that you were expecting.

Evaluating each shoot that you participate in will not only help you define your ideal inspiration shoot environment, but it will also help you determine which vendors you enjoyed working with the most and who to continue the conversation with to build potential referral sources and further your relationship.

Styled shoots can be a great marketing to build both your portfolio and your network, but it’s important to plan your participation strategically and do so in a way that will put your brand in front of the right people. Remember - no matter the results of your press push, you'll always have the relationships that you built through the shoot!

Audrey Isaac is the spokesperson for 100 Candles, a wholesale market for candles and lights. Since 2002, thousands of wedding and event professionals have entrusted 100 Candles with their wholesale candle accounts. For more information, please visit http://www.100candles.com/

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