Guest Post by Lara White
When you see your work published, it feels incredible. It’s an amazing validation of the work you do and the impact you are having in your field. But what does it really do for your business? Do you start to fill all those empty Saturdays because you have a featured wedding in the latest wedding magazine? Sadly, no. While it is great to get published, if you want to see results, you need to take action. It’s not enough to simply have your name in tiny, tiny print next to a photo in a magazine. Most brides will not even see that. Brides are glancing through magazines for ideas mostly.
Once you’ve been published, that is only the beginning. You now have a tool that you can use to promote yourself and your business. No one else is going to do it for you.
Create a PDF
We purchased a scanner several years ago so we could scan magazine features and covers to make pdfs to share with brides and the vendor team responsible. You never know, the bride may email the pdf to all her friends and family that attended the wedding, or better yet, her unmarried friends. Hopefully vendors will do the same, or put the feature on their own websites and blogs.
Besides helping facilitate further spread of your news via the bride and the vendors, you also signal to the vendor team that not only do you get press coverage when you photograph and event, you also help them build up their press coverage by providing them with the tools they need to self-promote as well. I’ve seen other vendors proudly frame and display these editorial features like awards in their shops.
If you have a blog, this is exciting news you’ll want to share with your readers. Let them know how thrilled you are to be featured in a particular issue. If possible, link to the feature via an online pdf of the magazine or simply scan the cover and the relevant pages. Don’t forget to mention the bride as well as the vendor team that made the event possible. Most of the other vendors who worked hard to put the event together do not typically get credit in the magazines or blogs, so be sure to give them credit on your blog.
The Power of Facebook
There are many opportunities for self-promotion on Facebook; you just need to think creatively. Obviously post a feature on your wall, and link back to your blog for the full story. But what else can you do? How about tagging the bride in the feature so it shows up on her wall as well? You can also post congratulations on her wall. Furthermore, you can congratulate all the involved vendors on their pages. It looks great to their clients and fans to see someone pointing out their achievements.
If you are using Twitter, of course you will want to mention your exciting news. You can also thank the editors you worked with. Everyone enjoys getting credited for things. Same goes for the bride and other vendors. You want to spread the news as far and wide as possible.
Pass on the Magazine
Brides are your secret weapon when it comes to guerrilla marketing. We typically send the bride a copy of the magazine with a note of thanks on the page she’s featured in. We often receive free copies of the magazine from the editorial team, so after scanning our feature, we often pass that copy to the bride. If there is a planner involved, we may send an additional copy to him or her. Occasionally the magazine will offer us unlimited free copies to share with brides and vendors. In that case, we take a box and hand out to prospective clients with a note inside the feature page.
Many photographers promote their recently published work by adding details in the signature line of your emails. This is a quick and easy thing to do, and allows everyone you communicate with online to see what magazines and blogs you have recently been featured in. If you regularly update this information with new features, even better; now people you correspond with will notice that you get published frequently. If you send out a newsletter, of course you will want to mention the news, but it may garner only a small mention if you’ve heavily promoted it in other places such as your blog and Facebook.
We also mention press in our template emails to new inquiries along the lines of, “Geoff White Photographers” can be found in the current issue…” or “was recently featured in….”
Once you start getting together a collection of published work, it’s a great idea to have a press section on your site. This allows visitors to see that you are established and serious about your craft. It’s also a way of saying, “hey, I’m really good and what I do” without saying it directly. You can further enhance your editorial visibility by including the “as seen in” badges from wedding blogs and magazines.
Bonus tip: if you have a “real wedding” feature, it’s a great idea to also feature that wedding on your website. This helps create recognition (“didn’t I just see that in a magazine??”) and is also very impressive.
Is it ok to do this much self-promotion? Does it make you appear to have a big ego? Not at all. In fact, if you consistently point to people other than yourself, you are promoting in a non-self-congratulatory way. We always credit the floral designer, the planner, the lighting team, the caterer and others involved for making the event so beautiful. Without their gorgeous work, the images probably wouldn’t have been selected.
Self-promotion in business is also known as marketing. You are simply getting the word out about the great work your studio has done. And it is certainly more interesting than a tweet or status update about what you just ate for breakfast or what you plan to watch on TV tonight. You don’t have such interesting news every day, so maximize the heck out of it when you do. While thousands of brides across the country may read the magazine, it doesn’t mean that much to them if they don’t know who you are. By spreading the word among your colleagues and circle of potential clients, you make a much bigger impact.
If you do this consistently and get published consistently, you will find that brides, planners and other vendors wishing to get published will begin to seek you out. And that is exactly what you want.