You have a gorgeous design for your blog, awesome categories and storage to host tons of photos. The only thing missing is a continuous flow of weddings being submitted for you to cover, especially if you get the exclusive rights. If this sounds like the issue you’re facing, I have a solution for you.
Below you’ll find a simple 5 step plan to help you make money while attracting couples to your website and helping to get them to submit their weddings exclusively to you.
Step 1: Create the Private Deals Portfolio
The first thing you need to do is create a reason for couples to submit their weddings to you, as opposed to another wedding blogger. One of the best ways to do this is to provide value to them. It could be saving money, keeping them organized or having the wedding planning process become simple with an easy-to-follow guide. Or you could do all three.
To create the deals to save them money, this might be the most appealing, affiliate programs will be your friend. First find the merchants and vendors that you trust and who have affiliate programs. Start by looking at the companies that you already refer your readers to from current and past blog posts.
If they have affiliate programs (shameless plug) like my clients: (these links are ads)
- GiftBasketsOverseas.com international gift delivery to 200+ countries
- SmugMug (wedding photo websites and galleries)
Another option could be to reach out to the affiliate management companies that you trust and see if they have any programs that could be a fit.
Some will be able to get you custom deals that you can keep private and only offer to couples that give you exclusive blogging rights to their wedding photos. Others can do custom commissions that so you can pass back part of it as savings. You can also add a value statement that your vendors are trustworthy and vetted (if that is true) so that you can help assure a nervous bride that the vendors are vetted for quality so her big day will go off without any issues. This is also a huge value adding statement for them.
Next is the trickier one. You have to find non affiliate vendors.
Start finding photographers and venues in each major theme or the areas you focus on with your blog. Make sure they are trustworthy, dependable and reliable before you recommend them to a couple. Read reviews and make sure you don’t give bad advice if you want to keep couples coming to you.
This may take a bit more time, but you can speed it up by searching Google for top lists of vineyard wedding venues, top wedding photographers and events planners by state, etc… Once you have the list ready (with a phone number and email to contact them), it’s time to move onto step 2.
Step 2: Draft Your Merchant/Vendor Pitch
Here is where you want to pitch getting a custom deal for your referrals. The thing to remember is how will you add value to the vendors in exchange for the custom deal. You need to have a clean pitch that gets to the point and can be generic enough to work for almost any of the targets.
(If you build a good relationship, you can also ask the venues to recommend couples submit their wedding to your blog as well. You’ll be able to offer their referrals custom deals to help them save as well as ensure the wedding venue/vendor gets a nice call out because they’ll be featured in your post. It’s an added value for both of you where you both win.)
Here are some potential talking points for your emails by type of vendor.
Affiliate Programs & Retailers
- The coupons will not be publicly available so you don’t have to worry about them being abused. They are only provided to your couples.
- Your referrals are incremental sales because you’re the trusted source telling them where to shop. Without your recommendation, the couple could and will probably go to a different store that you recommend. You are a top of the funnel source of sales.
- Their products will make their way back into your blog as you review the wedding so the store gets even more exposure as the weddings take place and more chances for you to make money together.
Photographers & Event Planners
- You do education on what is and what is not appropriate to do so they can expect higher quality leads and clients. This includes tips like:
- It’s not ok to send giant pinboards and expect the planner to replicate them
- You need to feed your photographer or give them time to eat and re-energize during the wedding
- Guests will be told to not get in the way of photos or ask for shots of themselves
- You’ll be sending them new leads for their business (remember, if they can’t provide a discount they can still send you weddings to cover so don’t exclude good ones from your referrals if they won’t do a discount or deal)
- You have other relationships with vendors like SmugMug where you can get them discounts for their businesses outside of the weddings. Now they can save and grow their business as well.
- You enhance their advertising and reach for free by giving exposure as you cover more weddings at their space and by sending out your deal kits.
- Your blog has year round traffic so you may be able to help with slow seasons.
- Your newsletter or database knows when the couple got married, so you can also make recommendations on where to have anniversary parties and hold vow renewals.
It’s important to make sure that you show value if you want a custom deal and referrals. By pitching with a direct value add and not much fluff, you may be able to get a better response.
Step 3: Create the Deals Kit
Now that you have your deals, it’s time to organize them. The easiest way is a wedding checklist in a spreadsheet that exists within your website or on a PDF. Break it out by section (venue, favors/supplies, guests, logistics, etc…) and add extra columns for the custom deal, your affiliate links and the vendor’s contact (if a venue, etc…). An example could be a tab called supplies.
Label the top columns (to do item, vendor, due date, order by, cost, other people responsible, etc…) and then start on the rows. One example that incorporates affiliate links could be order favors. Use affiliate links on the vendor’s names and on the deal code. For items like book a venue, photographer, bakery, etc…
You can do this by city, state, region, theme or however you think it will be relevant for your couples and so that it matches your content. You could also do a spreadsheet like Texas and have the major cities be tabs on the spreadsheet.
If you don’t like spreadsheets, you can always type it out neatly into a word processing document and send it as a PDF. The nice thing about a PDF if that your links will still work. The tricky part is that the couple may not be able to type on it or use a check box as they complete tasks.
Step 4: Optimize the Page For the Couples & SEO
The hardest part of this is getting the word out there. There are a few ways you can do this.
SEO – Think about the issues that couples are having and what terms they’re using to find solutions. Modifiers will be key here. Finding deals (not just the keyword “best”) on terms like “wedding venues” in “XY city” or “theme”. Ways to save for a (insert adjective like fairytale, colors, themes, etc…) wedding in (insert city or town name). You also have couples that are searching for things like “gay friendly”, “interracial” (cake toppers, invites, images, friendly), etc…
Now create content using these additional words to make the content more specific and add them to either pages or posts for your blog. The reason you may want to use pages instead of posts is that not all of these resources are going to be interesting for current readers. If you do a page, they’ll still be able to show up and rank, but you won’t have them as posts for your current reader base.
The other thing you need to remember is to tie in how to access the deals you’ve created. The couple can access your deals kit by writing to you, downloading the packet by clicking a link or an image or by subscribing to your couple’s newsletter list. You could also call the deals package an ebook on saving for your (insert descriptive keywords) wedding. Once they have the kit, include a welcome page that thanks them for downloading your kit and also invites them to submit their wedding to you.
Once you have their info, you can market to them through email, remarketing, etc… and have a better chance at getting them to submit their wedding to your blog.
Packages for partners – Another great way to get your custom deals out is to ask your partners for exposure. You can send the package to venues, photographers, bakeries and other people to distribute to their clients. If you’re able to, try offering a reward for each couple that submits their wedding to you through the vendor. You will need to check with a licensed attorney to make sure it’s legal to do the referral fee, but that could be the extra incentive for different partners to distribute your deals package to their clients.
Think about other ways to get your deals package out. There’s bulletin boards at grocery stores, wedding shows with couples visiting vendor booths and also church/synagogue groups and meetings. By making a small donation, attending and becoming a part of the communities, you can help get these sources to drive you the leads that you need.
Step 5: Go Through Old Posts to Guide Traffic to This Page
If you have traffic looking for help planning a wedding or to save money or who are even planning a theme, start building your internal links to help further optimize this page and also guide them to find it. To find which pages have traffic, log into your Google Analytics account and go to acquisition > all traffic > channels > select landing pages from the “other” drop down menu under acquisition.
Now you have your pages that have traffic on them. Look for the posts that are relevant to couples planning a wedding and then use the post I mention above to guide your visitors into the relevant pages to submit their weddings to you. You could do this by adding in words like “get custom deals for XY weddings” or “click here to find out how to save on (insert city name) photographers”.
Getting more wedding submissions for your blog isn’t hard. You just have to build the resources to bring leads to you. By creating a package that provides value to the couple as well as providing solutions, you can begin to create a consistent flow of submissions. The best part is that by incorporating affiliate links into the packages, you can also make money while getting content and growing your blog.