Is It Pay For Play? Or Is It Offering Advertisers More Bang For Their Buck??
Last week I was ripped to shreds because it appeared I hated publications ... and if you've read this blog over the course of its life (2+ ish years) then you know I am a huge advocate for publications who are doin' it well ... and today should prove that ... bahahahaha
In my opinion being featured on wedding blogs for FREE has completely spun the business of an online wedding website / blog around. Wedding professionals believe that if they submit their work to these blogs they are doing their part ... and wedding blog editors feel like they are being used for 'free press' and 'free advertising' ... and so the ads just stop being bought. When I was a wedding blog editor I favored my advertisers and was so tired of hearing this:
PAY FOR PLAY
No!!! It's not! It's just fair that I support the people who support me back ... it's called:
THAT'S HOW LIFE GOES
Why would I bend over backwards for someone who never supports me back.
But, Heather, they sent you pretty photos for your blog to make it more popular!!
Yes, true. They did. And now I will go take those photos to my mortgage company and pay my bills with them ... Oh, wait ...
No, Heather, you get traffic which then make ads more enticing!
Do you really think so?? Or does everyone have the attitude of: I am making this blog more popular by submitting my work and so ads are more enticing to people - therefore NOBODY buys them. Let's be honest: people just don't buy ads in directories as much as they used to ... people also don't buy ads in print magazines like they used to:
THEY JUST WANT THE FEATURE
Here is what will happen: If brides go into a vendor directory and never find wedding professionals in their area then they will eventually never go back to that directory ... and the national wedding blogs will just be 'about the pretty' and never about searching for someone to HIRE - which is why you do this:
to GET HIRED and MAKE MONEY
Blogs are not dependent on YOU these days to get features ... you may think you have the power, but this is a RELATIONSHIP. And trust me, if it gets really bad and blog editors find you just keep submitting and never supporting back with an ad there are ways around giving you the goods for free ... they can post your work and give you a small credit at the bottom, but they don't have to GUSH ... they don't have to put you up on a pedestal and rave about how awesome you are. And I have noticed a few wedding blogs get super smart about this ... they will only focus on GUSHING about their advertisers and leave the rest of the people out. Another thing blogs are doing?? Creating their OWN content ... producing shoots ... I used to do 'styled shoot challenges' for my advertisers and members ... and it was awesome.
Do I get why you don't advertise??
Yeah! I do. I get it ... I lived it for 8 years ... asking for people to pay you for advertising is a sad existence sometimes ... but unfortunately necessary if you run an online or print wedding publication.
Here is the attitude I hate:
I paid $150 to (fill in the blank here) and never got a single hire off their website!! I am not renewing.
HOW DO YOU KNOW!!!???? How do you know it didn't help you? How do you know that the feature that went live on their blog, that they then promoted to their HUGE FOLLOWING on Instagram, that they then pinned to their HUGE BOARDS on Pinterest, that then got passed around by the bride and groom who were featured, that then reminded them of how AWESOME it was to work with you, so then they had to brag and brag and brag to their engaged friends who they then shared the feature with didn't lead to an inquiry???
This is the internet people!! These are the days of SOCIAL MEDIA ... these are also the days of:
IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO REMEMBER WHY I KNOW SOMETHING IS AWESOME AND BOUGHT IT / HIRED THEM
How often do you find yourself doing this: I found these awesome 'something or other' online 'somewhere' and I love them ...
SOMEWHERE??? WHERE IS THAT?
I use the term 'somewhere' all the time ... and my guess is, word of mouth inquiries do too ... plus, remember: all those 'word of mouth' clients found out about you from somewhere originally ... what happens if you take the 'somewhere originally' out of the equation?? Hmmm ...
Call it 'pay for play' if you want ... but I fully support that a blog editor would SUPPORT the people who SUPPORT them. And how do you support a blog??? You advertise. You roll the dice. You take that chance. Isn't that what advertising is anyway?? Now, IMO if I am advertising with a blog who PRIORITIZES ME as a member and pushes even more attention MY WAY because of my investment ??? That's not 'pay for play' - that's just getting more bang for my buck.
Also, consider this ... a lot of blog editors are super choosey about who they allow to become members ... I know, I know ... they aren't all picky ... but the ones who are have STANDARDS and so the 'pay for play' thing doesn't even apply there. They choose the BEST ... which means they are actually turning away money from small business owners who they don't feel are a good fit for them. And that, my friends, takes balls.