Business Bites: Taking an Interlude…

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Photography: Raspberry Cupcakes

Here are this week’s links to keep you learning. Have you read anything great in the past seven days? I’d love for you to share your links in the comments (or hit me up on twitter). I’m actually taking a two week hiatus from Business Bites after this post because I’m off up a mountain with my family (Lord, give me strength). But I’ll be back and fit to bursting with new goodies nearer the end of the month. I am genuinely looking forward to a proper holiday though (i.e. one that’s not coupled with a work trip as well) and I’m sure I’ll be raring to go as soon as I get back.

March is a really busy month for me. As soon as I return from (apres) skiing I’m heading back down to the Photography Farm (won’t you come? There are still spaces left) and the week after that I’m hopping over the pond again for two more Blogcademys! Sheesh, no rest for the wicked huh? I’m a little nervous about how I’m going to keep up with my links round up posts this month as I’m spending so much time offline. Maybe I need to take a leaf out of Gala’s book, who’s gone down to doing her Carousel post just once a month? Hum…

Emma is embracing fearlessness
Signal vs Causes
The one thing that will make you more productive
Invest in yourself – and others!
Why angry customers give you the best feedback
 5 tips for blogging on a busy schedule
Blogging can open both professional & personal doors... and not everyone has to ‘get’ it
 Freelance ain’t free
 Fashion bloggers: then & now – having a look back to how the big league all looked when they first started is always a fun past time
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Ten Secrets for Hyper Successful Blog Advertising

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Advertising on blogs, specifically wedding blogs, is still quite a new and therefore alien concept to many businesses. Not a lot of people really understand it and simply think that flinging an advert or sponsored post up on a wedding blog will instantly conjure a sparkly magic wand that will send a squillion enquiries their way. I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but it doesn’t really work like that. You have to know what you’re doing, you have to have a strategy in place and you have to work and rework at it to keep your marketing campaign effective.

So today I’m going to lift the lid on some of those secrets as well as share with you some of my top tips for getting the best out of your online marketing.

1. Show exactly what you do with the image you choose

This is not the time to be cryptic! Sure it sounds obvious, but I’ve seen many an advertiser get this very wrong. If you’re a photographer make sure the image you choose shows that – don’t pick a pretty shot of a bunch of flowers. To the casual observer it will look like you’re a florist. 

2. Make sure the text is legible

You have a limited space to use so this is even more vital than usual. Use fonts that are easy to read and colour combinations that stand out but don’t assault the eyes. Pick just one or two fonts and two or three core colours and don’t overcomplicate it. Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar – or even better, get someone else to check it for you.

3. Make the advert relevant to the blog

If you’re advertising on an alternative wedding blog like this one, don’t choose an image from a really traditional wedding for your advert. The more colourful, quirky and alternative looking ads always perform better on my site but this is not a uniform rule across the board!

Get to know the blog that you are wanting to advertise on. What kind of content do they post and what kind of weddings or images seem to get the best reaction from their readers? (pro tip: check the comments on the blog and on their facebook page).

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4. Stand out from the crowd!

Make your ad as engaging and eye-catching as possible. This is not the time to be shy! Ad spaces are generally quite small so be sure to use the space you have in the best way you can. Fill the space and use a bright colour that stands out from all the others on the site.

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Don’t Believe the Hype

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Photography: Thomas Whiteside for ELLE

Those people taking the time to jump on Twitter to tell the world just how busy they are, or just how many new enquiries they have flooding are not the people running the most successful businesses. The people who are actually busy are way too rushed off their feet to be sat around on Twitter all day telling people about it.

Don’t confuse industry notoriety with success. The truly successful people are not spending their days schmoozing on social media. They’re working their butts off behind the scenes, forming genuine friendships and working as hard as they possibly can for their clients.

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Business Bites: We Teach People How to Treat Us

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Photography: Domestic Sluttery

Gosh, doesn’t that look delicious. I don’t even have a sweet tooth but daaaaaamn!  So instead of putting on approximately 27 stone in meringue consumption alone, I’ll just busy myself with things like this…

Do your readers care about fashion week? This article was so interesting and talks about something I’ve been thinking about for a long time regarding wedding bloggers at wedding industry events.
Don’t worry about what other people say. They’re not always right.
Things I learnt from being a waitress (& part 2)
Create a blogging posse – but this is not just for bloggers. Anyone running their own small business should do the same!
♥ We teach people how to treat us – what to do if your clients won’t pay up!
♥ Darren Rowse of Problogger fame just published a really interesting and useful article about the 3 essential components to his online publishing business

“Blogging is for showing expertise (CONTENT), Social Media is for interaction (CONVERSATION) and Email is for CONVERSION” – Darren Rowse

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Rant & Go

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Photography: Joseph Sinclair for Idol Magazine

It’s something you tend to learn the hard way, but if I’ve learnt one thing recently it’s that drama, especially public drama, is not only a huge waste of time and energy, but can suck the life right out of you. It’s not good for anyone and just makes you look like a big moany old cow.

Of course I’m not saying you should be a push over, but you shouldn’t let the dramas you encounter run your life either. Deal with situations in a calm and measured fashion, never lash out, never react on instinct.  Never air your dirty laundry in public. If someone upsets you, never email or phone them right away. Think about it, sleep on it, sort it out when you’ve calmed down. Because if you let it, drama can consume you and you can begin to perceive it as some warped kind of validation.

If surrounding yourself with positive influences makes you a more naturally positive person, then surely, surrounding yourself with negativity, rants and moans will have the same, but negative, effect.

“Drama in our lives is the greatest indicator that we’re not focused on meaningful goals. On the path to purpose you don’t have time for drama”- Brendon Burchard

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Taming the Email Monster

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Ahh email. Without a doubt it is the biggest blessing and curse of the modern era. Nothing else has connected us so quickly whilst simultaneously frustrating us so entirely!

Before I started the Green Room I had a series on the blog called ‘post it notes’ where each week I would share one ‘note’ about wedding planning and another with a short business tip. One of the most well received posts by a mile was one where I shared how I organise my insane inbox. It was less of a note though and more of a friggin’ essay. But it was really popular and so today I thought I’d revisit it with extra tips and some more recent updates.

You can thank me later.

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I get a lot of emails. And when I say ‘a lot’ I mean a mothereffinghugeamount. At least 50 submissions hit my inbox on a daily basis, nestled in nicely with about another 200-300 other messages ranging from advertising requests, press releases, press enquires and messages from brides or bloggers asking advice. And no I’m not exaggerating those numbers. I wish I was.

There is nothing worse than sending an email and not hearing anything back for weeks (or not at all!) It’s rude, unprofessional and it gives a bad impression of how you run your business. No matter how busy you are, replying to all your emails should be a top priority for everyone. No question. Unless it’s a dreaded ‘dear blogger’ email or one that’s clearly been spammed out to everyone on their mailing list, every email I receive gets some sort of reply. Some are short and sweet, others are more thought out, but it is a priority I’ve chosen to make for my business.

If it’s not clear to you already, let me put you straight – I am an email freak. Gareth often comments how I chew through emails like nobody’s business! I don’t by any means think my system is the most efficient; but it works for me and that’s the most important thing. The key to conquering something like email – that needs constant attention or it will spiral out of control – is to have a very regimented system. In a way the actual techniques you employ don’t really matter as long as you have ones that work for you.

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