I often get either a perplexed, or an excitable look when I tell people I am a wedding blogger.
Blogging? What’s that?
Some of my elders and less hip peers say;
So are you just having a jolly old time at home, hanging out in your Pyjama’s with your laptop?
Oh right blogging – so are you like Perez Hilton then?
Er? No. (Although sometimes, I have to admit, there may be the presence of a onesie)
You can forgive people for not knowing about blogs. I had no idea wedding blogs existed until a friend suggested I check out The London Bride. Then I was hooked! How could I not know that this humongous electronic wedding world and hugely supportive community was at my finger tips sooner!?
Blogs can be anything from all-singing and dancing interactive websites with the same function as online magazines, to a tumblr account with a paragraph and a picture. In addition to the wide variety of content and functions of blogs, you will be able to distinguish between a blogger who is a hobbyist and one who is a professional.
Professional blogging is a business. The full scope of professional blogging can vary from providing multiple articles a day, with the blog being the sole focus of the business; to a blog being used as platform, or in addition to another business with less frequent articles. Either way, blogging can be an incredibly rewarding and hugely successful business. Some established bloggers have reported to earn up to an incredible 6-figure salary, per year!
The work that goes on behind the scenes of a professional wedding blog is intricate.
As much as some people think all bloggers do is roll around in their pyjama’s all day tweeting, professional blogging is no easy feat! Professional bloggers are rarely ‘just bloggers’ and are exceptional multi-taskers.
It takes dedication a LOT of personal sacrifice to run a successful blog. I notice many new blogs popping up and dropping off the radar quite regularly and this is no doubt the reason why. Easy to start, NOT easy to maintain.
I have gone through many times, where I have felt like abandoning ship. Feeling seduced by inadequacy…After-all, there are SOOOO many bloggers out there, how can I possibly compete with or match their audience reach and standards? This feeling comes as often as it goes and I am lucky to work in a brilliant community of UK bloggers that support and often inspire and look out for each other.
I like to think of myself as a people person, so it didn’t take me long to discover that blogging is actually very anti-social and can be very isolating – That is probably the part I struggle with most.
So it’s important for me to regularly take my head outside of my laptop and absorb life and culture outside of the electronic world and wedding industry. Anything from live music, theatre, singing, debates, socials, plus looking after myself with regular Pilates, Massage (RSI!!) and the occasional day out two or three times a year re-charging my batteries at a day spa. The peace and quiet and chance to ‘pause’ often encourages so many new ideas! This respite from the wedding industry and exposure to other industries, also inspires a lot of my content on Nu Bride. After-all, weddings are about life!
My second biggest challenge is managing ‘time’. Nu Bride is run on one day a week, so requires lots of evenings and late nights to keep on top. Juggling is a common challenge for many of my full and part-time blogging peers; juggling their main business and / or parenthood and their personal lives.
Mr Nu Bride often calls himself a bloggers widow, when I am working late or at weekends. So getting the balance right is important.
Start The Day
Social media is hugely important for bloggers – it’s the main way to communicate and engage readers and industry. It is also a HUGE time waster. So requires massive discipline. LOL! I usually have to turn off social media when I work.
Emails form a gigantic part of my working week. During busy times I receive around 500+ emails a week, mostly from photographers, readers and PR agencies.
Queries range from wedding planning advice, new and existing wedding submission and sponsorship requests, advertising, business & marketing advice, interviews, fab invitations to wedding events, regular contact with PR agencies and top designers introducing me to new products, clients and collections. I get a significant amount of ‘can we meet for coffee’ (If only I could meet everyone!), ‘can you recommend a supplier’ and general enquiries.
Oh. And I get a lot of ‘HI THERE’ emails.
Now it’s worth noting, I’m NOT a fan of ‘Hi There’ emails. lol! They usually look a little bit like this: “have you heard about this awesome product that has nothing to do with the blog, your readers or even the wedding industry” Which you can tell has been copied and pasted to 1000 other bloggers / press. Usually asking to write about and advertise their product, for free. A good way to get a bloggers attention and avoid being deleted as spam, is to simply take the time to address them by their name.
I try to respond to every single email, which is an achievement in itself on some days!
You see, champagne and canapés aside, there is absolutely nothing glamorous about wedding blogging. lol!
From generating invoices, diary management, keeping up to date with trends and launches, accounts, updating many boring spreadsheets, writing press releases, keeping an eye on stats and SEO, running surveys, designing and editing media-packs, designing graphics for instagram quotes and marketing initiatives. Sending newsletters and mail merges, making regular updates to the website. You name it! It needs doing.
Many people think bloggers run out of ideas or constantly need content. (some might, but not me!) Content for me is something that comes easily – what isn’t so easy is having the time to actually write half of my ideas!
I have to-do lists in my phone, notepad, ipads, pieces of paper, my laptop, white board and all it does is grow and grow and I just get more overwhelmed and frustrated as the list keeps growing and I can’t seem to make a dent in it. lol!
I try to work 2 weeks in advance, with a loose foresight of content around 3 months ahead around seasonal and key times in the industry. I always leave some room in my editorial schedule for freelancing and time sensitive content, fresh off the press, or for when I simply feel like writing a personal post about a current issue or the career and purpose for example!
Editing & Publishing
Now let me get onto editing – the bane of my life.
There is only ONE element of editing I love and that is selecting images, watching wedding videos, editing and swooning over gorgeous real weddings, shoots, proposals & love stories. The joy I get from looking through 1000’s of photos, carefully choosing pictures that will inspire you, images that tell a story while living through such tender moments from couples…. DIVINE. It’s rare that I get through editing a real wedding without tearing up.
Other than the former, editing a blog is BORING! lol!
You might find this controversial coming from an Editor. But I am a HUGE creative and actually there isn’t an awful lot of creativity that goes into editing.
Editing is a skill, it isn’t just about looking at pretty pictures and uploading them, it includes understanding proportions, layout, text design, alignment, visually understanding what works well together, (and what doesn’t), colour coordinating, proof-reading, collaging, resizing images, checking grammar (not my strongest suit – the irony) and spelling, more proof-reading, crediting photographers and suppliers, adding website links throughout the article, adding keywords to articles, adding keywords to images so readers searching for a specific inspiration can easily find content and even more proof-reading.
Most bloggers spend a significant amount of their working week researching.
Anything from industry news, wedding dress collections, high street news, market research, new products and launches, inspiring new ideas, events, discovering quality businesses, competitions and collaborations. Creating and brainstorming ideas.
A LOT of my research is also spent scouring photographers websites to headhunt for quality and diverse real weddings.
When dedicating time to write a blog post I like to include a lot of detail in my posts and on average spend 5-6 hours researching, sourcing images, writing and editing one article.
I mentioned earlier, social media presence is incredibly important and forms a large part of professional blogging.
Having a daily presence on social media is imperative. As well as providing a great way to share content, up to date information and promote articles on the blog, it’s a really lovely way connect with readers and a great way to keep in touch with wedding industry colleagues from around the world! But it is massively time-consuming and when you are time pressured it’s a challenge.
To use my time effectively, I spend 30 minutes at the end of each working week to schedule my social media interaction for the week ahead.
The less obvious side to blogging includes regular invitations to swanky venues for industry events and being ploughed with champagne and canapés. At busy times of the year I get invited to 4-5 events a week! So sadly I have to decline more than I can attend (can you believe it!)
Networking is a huge part of the wedding industry and I am lucky enough to be on some rather lovely guests lists. As much as I find networking intimidating, it provides an amazing avenue to generate some incredible collaborative opportunities with leaders in the industry. I’ve met some amazing people through networking who are colleagues and now good friends.
Networking also happily moves me away from my computer screen, which is something that is very important to me, as we are becoming a nation that has increasing social anxiety and I think our connection to our electronic devices has a lot to do with it (the irony coming from a wedding blogger).
Other Cool Things
Being a professional wedding blogger with a creative and therapy background, means I also get to enjoy a diverse opportunities. From planning and hosting events, freelancing, meeting couples, offering planning and business advice workshops, Q&A’s at wedding events, interviews, creating styled shoots, having regular photo shoots such as this supersonic one featured throughout this post by the brilliant Rabbit & Pork Photography and filming.
Other Side of Blogging
As a pro blogger, you definitely take the rough with the smooth. From exhaustion, isolation and issues with imitation and copyright infringement, to wedding blog awards!
Sometimes I am floored by the opportunities and goodies that I get in my inbox to inspire you with content. From invitations to write for national publications, freelancing and mentoring opportunities, to gifted fashion items, sweet treats, and all expenses paid trips to the Caribbean. (Which coincidentally I’ve painfully had to turn down! TWICE. The PAIN!!!)
Whilst the freebies are awesome – they sadly don’t pay the mortgage. So what I would say to businesses who want to work with quality professional bloggers who question why they charge to feature their business, is value their time and expertise. There is a lot of work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes that I have barely even touched upon. It is not easy. Free collaborations are at times incredibly valuable, but not always viable. Ultimately we too are running a business and sometimes professional bloggers just can’t and shouldn’t work for free.
For me, Nu Bride is a platform to educate and provide you with chic, quality and helpful inspiration. To raise awareness with colleagues, to shape, encourage, promote and support a diverse and more visually inclusive wedding industry.
If you have a brilliant brand, your own voice, believe in what you are doing and know your audience, the opportunities professional blogging can create really are incredible.
What do I love most about blogging? The chance to reach out, inspire and help so many different people is such an honour and a pleasure and well worth the late nights!
To my loyal readers and to all my dedicated professional wedding blogging colleagues out there. I salute you!
Thank you gorgeous Verity at Rabbit and Pork Photography for these fantastic images, shooting with you is a dream!