I hope that all the days in your business are happy ones – challenging but happy. Yet, the reality is that they won’t always be. I’m not here to rain on your parade, or hold a pessimist pity party so early on in the life of your sparkly new business. But, the biggest issue that you will face with any new endeavour is how to keep the positivity going once the ‘newness’ has gone.
All things with the prefix ‘new’ are pretty great. New year, new car, new job, new house, new shoes, new friends, new clothes… that word always signals shiny iridescent hopes and glitter spangled dreams; and the chance for things to be different. But the fact remains that eventually the time comes when these things are no longer new entities or new experiences that delight you with their everyday twists and turns. Even with the work we love the most, the banal will soon start to set in and with that comes the onset – that classic curse that affects all businesses – the ‘I want to plan something new’ syndrome.
The thing about me is that I love what I do, until I don’t. Part of the curse (if you will) of having a creative mind that has to draw up ideas and solutions to client problems on a daily basis, is that every now and again I have some new crazy, mad fangled idea for my own business and I want to run with it! It probably happens to be every week – actually scratch that – every day. From complete career changes, to inspiration for projects, to insane new business plans; I have a graveyard of urls, half started tumblr blogs, and notebooks filled with scrawls and scribbles which support this brain baby overload.
There are obvious fashions in weddings just like with clothing, interiors, food and just about everything we consume. However if you want to maintain any kind of longevity in the industry is it wrong to appear to be too much of a particular trend?
I actually get asked about this quite a lot as I guess it could be perceived that I am part of the fashion for vintage toning on wedding images. Ironically, this toning is something that I started doing when I switched from shooting weddings on film to digital a couple of years ago. I have always tweaked the colour on my images, whether it was toning black & white prints or cross processing print film in the chemicals for slide film and vice versa. I like to find out how things work and then mess with them. In the 90s I worked for the experimental Blah Blah Blah magazine and the art director, Chris Ashworth, used to always prefer the images that would normally get binned. He liked to to push the boundaries of everything. At the time, I was simultaneously working for a number of teenage pop magazines so it was utterly liberating to be able to do something creative and definitely my favourite magazine to work for.
So I guess it was inevitable that when I finally embraced digital technology for shooting weddings, I would start to seek ways of messing with the colours again. I have always been passionate about old photographs and all they represent in our social history, so if Photoshop was going to give me the ability to experiment, then I was going to! I looked for ways to recreate those faded tones that old colour images have. At the same time the kinds of wedding dresses and decor items that were gaining popularity we’re also very vintage, and so suddenly it was a ‘thing’.
In today’s fast moving and highly competitive digital marketplace, it is more important than ever that you and your brand make a good first impression on a potential client. Despite the numerous ways to connect with people online, it’s still very much true that nothing quite sells like a real person, and having a genuine connection or affinity with the person you’re talking to. In fact last year Liene Stevens of Splendid Communications published the results of an extensive survey of thousands of engaged and newly married couples which reported just that. 97% of couples said that a potential wedding supplier’s personality was either ‘very important’ or ‘mattered’.
So how can we utilise this knowledge and better get our personalities across online? As we all know, potential clients are more than likely to check out our websites and blogs before making any actual communication. Of course we can wax lyrical in writing about how fantastic we are and tell them why we’re the perfect wedding supplier for them, but there really is nothing like actually showing them. Unless you’re a fantastic writer, it can actually be difficult to convey yourself or your business in the best way with text alone. Copywriters can be great of course, but in an industry where being personable and authentic is so important, having someone else write about you will never be the same as you speaking to your clients directly.
So today I want to encourage you to do something scary. I want you to think about the using video to do it. We all know that the actual words you say are not the most vital part of communication. Body language, tone of voice and inflection are just as, if not often more, important when showing people who you are. So what could be a better tool for showing off your best bits than a video?
There are numerous statistics to back up the theory that the use of video online is on the rise. According to Forrester Research only 20% of web visitors will sit and read the majority of the text on a website, whereas 80% will sit and watch the same content when presented in the form of a short video. They also found that adding video to your website makes your site six times more likely to convert a ‘browser’ into a paying customer.
Image: Tartine and Apron Strings
I went searching for some inspirational business posts again this week, and as usual the interwebz did not disappoint…
♥ How to get the guts to go freelance
♥ Did you know that 85% of engaged couples in the UK read wedding blogs?
♥ Five easy ideas for your next blog post series
♥ How to be your own best copy editor
♥ Great tips for photographing wedding details - and making the most of weddings without lots of details
♥ The four rules of highly successful bloggers
♥ 10 apps that will simplify your blogging business
♥ Emma wrote about shouting and hiding…
♥ French blogger Garance Dore wrote openly about how she makes money as a blogger
♥ What comes first, motivation or action?
♥ Shauna shared her side of the story behind the epic (and on-going!) project that has been branding Rock n Roll Bride!
♥ Should we all abandon Instagram or what? An interesting article from a solicitor’s point of view
♥ Rejection Therapy - what’s holding you back? The fact that someone might say no? Get over it!
♥ Why I don’t like calling myself a blogger – interesting stuff. I have to admit to feeling like this too sometimes. Usually when people I meet casually (ie taxi drivers, people at parties, check out staff at the supermarket) ask me what I do for a living I say I’m a writer, mainly because saying ‘blogger’ usually results in the dreaded “Huh? What’s that then?” conversation!
I am a firm believer that the best brands are constantly evolving. As business owners things flux and change over time and so its really important to regularly check the way you’re presenting yourself to see if you still feel on the right track. In July 2010, we launched the new look Rock n Roll Bride. Before that my ‘brand’ was a slightly chaotic mix of things I’d made myself in Photoshop and a header image that a friend had kindly created for me.
It was adequate and many of my readers had great affection for the look I had created, but I wanted to take my blog to the next level. I wanted to make this my full time career and a more professional image was needed. I called upon the skills of Shauna Haider of nubbytwiget.com. I’d admired her designs for a while and knew that her aesthetic would work perfectly with the clean and modern style I had in mind. Honestly, she was the best money I’ve ever spent – and continue to spend – on my business! She took my jumbled ideas and created something cohesive and beautiful – something that was so ‘me’ but something that we could continue to adapt and evolve as my business grew.
And adapt and grow it has. When we decided to publish a print magazine in 2011, Shauna designed the first issue to compliment the look of the website. However when issue two went into production, we felt a cleaner, more high-end and editorial look would really make it stand out. Inspired by magazines like ELLE, W and O, Shauna’s vision was that if we wanted to do this properly, we should be inspired by only the very best. She created something truly beautiful. Fresh, modern, clean and inspirational but still with flashes of my personality, style… and signature pink of course!
Postsecret is one of my favourite reads. For those of you that might not have heard of it, it’s a weekly collection of secrets that people have anonymously posted (usually on postcards) to Frank, the website’s founder, through the mail.
Anyway, yesterday I saw this secret crop up…
It took me by surprise to see something I’m so closely associated with up there. Of course my immediate reaction was “OMG I wonder who it was and which blog they write for?”. But then I started to feel quite sad. Is that really what wedding journalism can do to you? Or to any wedding creative for that matter? Is it an uncreative, uninspirational and unfulfilling field to be in?