We love chatting with our WeddingPro Educators and learning how they launched their careers in the wedding industry. This 7-minute read is packed with real wedding PR advice, behind the scenes stories, plus four pro tips you’ll want to start putting into your wedding PR workflow right away!
Long-time WeddingPro Educator, Meghan Ely is the owner of award-winning wedding PR agency OFD Consulting, which proudly represents wedding industry experts and thought leaders globally. A long time supporter of industry associations, Meghan also currently serves as the International Vice-President for WIPA.
Get ready to have your wedding PR questions answered!
WeddingPro: What makes you passionate about wedding PR?
Meghan: When I initially made the move from working in reception venues to Wedding PR, I knew it was vital to change the conversation locally about my expertise. I knew I could churn out blog after blog of tips and tricks, but third party credibility through media mentions was also paramount. After all, I could say I was great and knew #allthethings, but there was a power in someone else acknowledging it.
Meghan’s Pro Tip: Diversify your strategies and media outlets
Over the years, we have seen all types of media landscape shifts. Which means you need to be able to shift with it. It’s essential that you don’t focus on just one or two strategies. You’d be best prepared if you have a few things always in the works. For example, while you’re creating and sharing articles or interview pitches to editors, you should also focus your attention on reaching out to local press outlets and pitch to them how you’re making a difference in your local wedding community.
WeddingPro: How did you make a name for yourself in the industry?
Meghan: I hit the ground running and introduced myself to every media outlet in the region as a local wedding industry expert, and as a result of the strategy, I saw my name popping up here and there within a few months. I made sure to request proper crediting (i.e., new role and new company) and promoted the heck out of the mentions as soon as they came out. That was indeed the first step in transitioning into my new role at OFD.
WeddingPro: Was there a pivotal moment that really helped launch your wedding PR success?
Meghan: One of the biggest turning points in my small business ended up being a result of my love of all things royal! When Kate Middleton and Prince William married in 2011, I was still a very new business with just two years of entrepreneurship to my name. The majority of my clients were in Virginia (where I lived!), and I was eager to start making my mark outside of the region. One day, I was doing a photoshoot leading into the royal wedding week, with an area publication. I began to strategically post behind the scenes photos on Twitter (remember, it was 2011!) with appropriate hashtags.
Within an hour, I had received a call from the Huffington Post, wanting to interview me. Within the day, the producers from Good Morning America called, asking if I would be willing to have my royal wedding viewing party filmed for GMA. I obviously said yes and went to work on buying a new area rug (ha!). I squeeze about 30 of my nearest and dearest wedding pros friends into my living room- all who agreed to show up at 3 am dressed to the nines. While we only had a brief mention on GMA, it was a huge win for us internally to be able to demonstrate we could secure national press.
Meghan’s Pro Tip: Snackable Content and Soundbites!
When you are asked to share expertise for a particular article, be mindful of the fact that the writer may pull one or two sentences versus everything you send along. Make sure your sentences can stand on their own- it will potentially increase your chances of having your content picked up and shared throughout different media channels.
WeddingPro: What other outlets should wedding pros focus their energy on?
Meghan: Podcasts have been such a win for myself as well as my clients. I find it’s a great channel for being able to showcase your personality. I have done a slew of them myself, speaking often on wedding publicity best practices. To learn more ways to pitch your business, check out the Wedding Bossness podcast that Meghan Ely recently was did called, “Build an effective PR strategy”.
Meghan’s Pro Tip: Prep the Host with Interview Questions
When booking a podcast, ask the host if they’d prefer a few interview questions related to the topic you’re covering. Some hosts prefer to take care of this themselves, but others may appreciate a nudge in the right direction- especially if the topic is new to them. Provide one-sheet with suggested questions along with all of your related links, a brief bio and where to find you on social.
WeddingPro: How does a wedding pro show up as an expert in the industry?
Meghan: When chiming in as an expert on an article, it’s best to not go with the first answer that comes to mind. Writers want unique content and if you provide what comes to mind immediately, more than likely, you’ll be competing with other experts saying the exact same thing.
Meghan’s Pro Tip: Quality over Quantity
Write down your immediate thoughts and walk away from it for a bit, if you have time to do so (even if it’s an hour!). Give it some thought, think about it from a few different angles and aim to be more creative.
If you are a photographer, this goes for the images you’re providing to an editor or journalist too! Due to tight deadlines, it’s hard for them to sift through hundreds of submitted images. You need to have a system in place for storing and tagging images with particular descriptors. For example, you could use Lightroom, which allows you to tag each image with a keyword. Once you have keywords added to your images, it will allow you to find and package up the right images specific to the request. Use Two Bright Lights to submit your photos to hundreds of publications and get your wedding and lifestyle photography published in print magazines, websites, and blogs.
About the author: Heather J. Keys is the Sr. Marketing Manager for WeddingPro. As a former professional wedding photographer with an extended marketing background, she’s on a mission to help wedding pros level up their businesses. With resources from WeddingPro Educators, The Knot, WeddingWire, and community leaders- she is excited to provide the WeddingPro community with snackable content that is easy to digest and put into motion quickly.