By Meghan Ely, OFD Consulting
If you didn’t quite meet your 2016 resolution of taking your public relations efforts seriously, you’re not alone. However, there’s no reason to shy away from it – especially throughout the off-season.
Here are a few of my best tips for making 2017 your most press-friendly year yet.
Map out the year ahead
At this point, you should have a good idea of the weddings that lie ahead. With the styles in mind, think about which will be the most competitive for editorial submission. Those with unique details, special stories and great couples are typically those that are great, so take some time to plan out your PR approach for each.
Gather what you can in advance for each wedding – a comprehensive vendor list (with website URLs and social media handles!), a submission agreement with the photographer, and anecdotes from the couple about how they met and what influenced their wedding planning. This will make the submission process much smoother when you’re in the throes of peak season!
Create a media list
Think back to when you were a kid and wrote wish lists of everything you wanted for the holidays. Now is your chance to do the same, but for your dream media portfolio. What publications would you just love to feature your work? Where would you like to see your name in lights? Don’t be shy – include any and all outlets that you like, even if they seem like a reach.
Once you’ve compiled a nice list, begin your research on submission guidelines and media contacts to keep on file. Every publication has different requirements for their real weddings, so you’ll need to be discerning with your submissions. A neat Excel spreadsheet or Google Doc can keep all of your research in one place so it’s easy to grab when you’re ready to submit.
Streamline your PR flow
One of the main reasons wedding professionals don’t invest in public relations is because they think it will take up too much of their valuable time. This notion can be easily combatted with apps and programs to streamline your PR push. Does it seem tedious to interview each and every couple for their story? Save time by crafting a Wufoo questionnaire and sending the link to all of your couples. Do you have trouble staying organized in your submissions? Consider signing up for Two Bright Lights, an online platform that keeps your wedding albums in one place and allows you to submit directly to a large number of online and print publications.
Sign up for programs
Looking beyond real wedding submissions, it’s time to start sharing your knowledge. One great way to do this is to be an expert source for journalists – that way, you’ll be included in articles speaking about your specialty. HARO and SourceBottle are two great tools to help you become a source for reporters to reach out. Once you sign up, you’ll begin receiving emails with story topics from journalists – when you see one that interests you, all you have to do is email your thoughts over for consideration.
Whether you start with signing up for HARO or mapping out your upcoming weddings, be sure you’re setting aside some time in the next few weeks to really plan out your PR strategy – your portfolio will thank you!
Meghan Ely is the owner of OFD Consulting, a wedding PR agency that works with wedding professionals here, there and everywhere. She’s a long-time industry writer, sought after speaker and unapologetic cat lady.