Guest Post By Academy Students: Randy & Ashley Durham
Getting published can seem like a really daunting and overwhelming task, with a little bit of fear mixed in. You might ask yourself: what if I’m not good enough? What if I get rejected? And honestly, how do I fit it into my already-way-too-busy schedule? And with all the different places to get published, how do I even begin to start the process?
Y’all – we have been there. We felt those fears, and had the same questions about our talent, our time and the overwhelming question of where to submit in the first place. So we want to share our answers to these questions, because getting published has changed our business in so many positive ways!
First, let me tell you a short story. After our second same-sex engagement session, we decided to submit to every same-sex friendly blog available and we were lucky enough to have been picked up by several of them. About six months later, a casting producer reached out to us after having seen this couple on one of those blogs, and basically said “Hey, these guys are adorable, can you give them my contact info since I’m casting for a TV show?”. We didn’t think much of it (because sure, that’s how it really works!) but we forwarded the info on to our couple. Another few months goes by, and they called us with the most unbelievable news: they were cast on a TV show!! The show followed them throughout their wedding planning process, and even filmed their wedding! It aired on national TV earlier this year, and we got to be part of the whole thing!
All because we took 15 minutes to submit their engagement session for publication.
Why is getting published so important?
This question has two very important answers.
First: Getting published online helps organically boost your web presence. Every time your company gets mentioned with a clickable link to your website, it’s telling search engines that your site is interesting so you’re naturally going to start ranking higher.
It also gives potential clients a way to find you, if they’re searching through sites like Style Me Pretty or Green Wedding Shoes for wedding inspiration – which leads us to the second part.
Second: It helps build your “circle of trust.” You see, when a couple is searching for a wedding photographer, most of them ask for advice from their friends, family and the vendors they’re already working with. If a couple sees you on Google, then the florist, venue and wedding planner all rave about your business, then they’re looking on Pinterest and see your work pinned, and then they also see you’ve been featured on their favorite wedding blogs? They literally have no choice but to hire you, because you’re exactly who they’re looking for!
And a Third bonus reason: the vendors you work with really appreciate getting recognized for their work! When you take that extra step to get them recognition by getting them published, well, it makes them appreciate you just that much more!
So now that you understand why it’s so valuable to your business to get published, let’s talk about how to get started!
How do I get started?
We use Two Bright Lights for 95% of our publications. It’s about $15 a month, and it’s super simple to submit to multiple publications through their website. They have over 300 different editors that they work with for publications for blogs and magazines. The same couple we mentioned earlier? Their wedding is in the upcoming winter 2016 The Knot: California print magazine – because we submitted it through Two Bright Lights!
Our top tip is to really look through the different publications available and find ones that fit your style – there is literally a publisher available for every kind of wedding! Light and airy, dark and moody, on a budget, DIY, rustic, elegant, on the beach – whatever, wherever: there is an editor looking for your content!
We will use many of the same photos that we use from our own blog for submissions, to save time selecting images for publication. It’s as simple as flagging your favorites in Lightroom, and exporting them into a separate folder!
Our top tips for getting published?
Couples are scouring wedding blogs looking for inspiration – so they want to know who, what, where and when!!
– Include every single vendor in the credits, from the venue to the shoe designer.
– Include at least 300 words of a backstory. Talk about what made this couple special, and anything interesting or unique about their wedding (i.e. stuff like the bride carrying down an embroidered handkerchief that every bride in her family has carried down the aisle the last 5 generations). We personally copy and paste what we wrote for their blog into our submissions to save time because we are already sharing that content!
– Check out the publication before submitting – make sure whatever your submitting fits stylistically. For example – don’t submit something without a single DIY project to a DIY wedding blog, or if the wedding is a high-end wedding at a hotel, don’t bother sending that to a publication looking for rustic weddings. Do the research and be purposeful with where you’re submitting.
– Limit your non-exclusive submissions to 5 or less (especially when using Two Bright Lights). Editors – even the non-exclusive ones – don’t like to be the last kid picked in gym class: so be purposeful with where you’re submitting, and limit yourself.
– At least 60-70% of the images you include should be details. Couples planning their weddings want to be inspired for their own weddings, so editors are on the lookout for great photos of details like table settings, bouquets, shoes, invitations, even wide-angle shots of the venue. Pictures of the couple (both together and individually) should definitely be included, but the focus for submissions is really on details.
And last but not least:
– Be timely. Most publications want fresh content, featuring the latest trends and styles. In our experience, they want weddings and sessions that are less than a year old. So include publication in your post-wedding (or session) workflow! We typically submit weddings the same day we blog about them!
Most importantly – have fun with it. Share the great news with your couples, share the posts on your social media and celebrate your publications!
Have a question about getting published? Sound off in the comments!
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