The Blogcademy: New Dates in London & DC and a Palm Springs Live Broadcast!

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It’s official, The Blogcademy is a whirlwind. A giant, turquoise, glitter infused whirlwind! I am so pumped today because I have some news that I’ve been struggling to keep in for weeks. I’m glad I finally get to let rip and share it with you today!

So the big news is that our London class this year has already sold out… and it’s not until July! Insane. So, we’ve decided to add a second date, the weekend before, on July 19th and 20th. Again, it’ll be taking place at the beautiful Curtain Road Studios (I know we shouldn’t have favourites but…) Just click here to register.

After many cries from our Facebook page for another East Coast date, we’ve also added Washington DC to the mix. We’ll be there on October 4th and 5th. None of us have ever been to the city before so we’re super excited to explore! Again, you can register here.

And finally, because it seems like FOREVER until we’re teaching next, we’ve decided to do a FREE live broadcast from Palm Springs on Sunday 9th February at 11am PST/ 2pm EST/ 7pm GMT!

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Shed Inbox Guilt! 8 Email Templates for Wedding Suppliers

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I have long preached about the virtues of using email templates. Although I’d love to be able to reply to every email I get personally, when you get upwards of 200 of them a day like I do, it’s simply not practical or possible.

Email templates are a life saver. They will free you from the shackles of your inbox and enable you to reply to messages more efficiently and with less guilt. Of course not every single email you receive can be replied to with a template, but having a stock of them in your arsenal will make your email-life a whole lot easier.

To get you started I’ve compiled examples of how to reply to some of the messages that are often received by wedding industry professionals. Feel free to use these as they are, or take and edit them to suit your own needs.

Hello, I am getting married on 20th June and I’d like to hear about the packages you offer. How much do you cost?

Hi {NAME}

Thanks for your enquiry and congratulations on your engagement, exciting times! I’m currently free on the 20th and would love to be involved in your day. The venue you’ve booked is gorgeous. I’ve worked on a few weddings there in the past. You can check them out here if you like (link).

I have attached my brochure which explains all the options. My packages are pretty straight forward and prices start from X. Please let me know if you have any further questions after reviewing it.

I’m getting pretty booked up for next year now so if this is within your budget then let’s talk some more. If not then I hope it all goes well with the rest of your planning.

Hey! I’m getting married on 20th June and I’d love to hear about the packages you offer. Our budget is pretty tight and we can only allocate (something way below what you charge) but we really love your work!

(Option one) 

Hi {NAME}

Thanks for your enquiry and congratulations on your engagement, exciting times! I’m currently free on the 20th and would love to be involved in your day.

My packages start from X which unfortunately seems quite a bit above your budget. However if you’re more flexible on what you can allocate to your wedding photography/ flowers/ stationery let me know and we can see if we can make it happen!

Alternatively here are some other photographers/ florists/  stationers that might be closer to your budget (links). They’re all awesome at what they do and I recommend them wholeheartedly!

Good luck with the rest of your planning.

(Option two)

Hi {NAME}

Thanks for your enquiry and congratulations on your engagement, exciting times! I’m currently free on the 20th and would love to be involved in your day.

My packages usually start from X however as you are getting married out of season/ your wedding is local to me/ you only want me for a few hours, I would be able to come down to £X if you don’t have a Y/ you reduce Z.

Let me know if this is something you’d like to consider, if not I hope it all goes well with the rest of your planning.

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50 Easy Marketing Ideas for Wedding Professionals

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Being the very best at what you do is awesome, but if no one knows you exist then no one is going to book you! January is the busiest month of the whole year for wedding enquiries, so here are some marketing ideas that anyone can employ while more brides and grooms than ever are shopping around for their wedding suppliers.

1. Get a past wedding featured on a wedding blog.
2. Get featured in a magazine.
3. Write a guest post for a blog or an article for a magazine.
4. Run a competition.
5. Offer incentives such as a free X or extra Y if people book you within a certain time frame.
6. Write a helpful wedding planning guide for brides and grooms and publish it on your own site.
7. Post some of your all time favourite work to Instagram.
8. Send thank you cards or little gifts to past clients.
9. Offer discounts or special offers for repeat customers.

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10. Offer something in return for people who recommend you to their friends.
11. Have a banner ad on a wedding blog.
12. Carry business cards that showcase your work.
13. Visit venues and ask about getting on their preferred vendor list.
14. Run a series on your blog showcasing your favourite past work.
15. Send handwritten thank you notes when people enquire or book you.
16. Encourage your past clients to share their wedding images on Facebook.
17. Join up with some industry colleagues and start a referral system for when you’re already booked.
18. Read marketing blogs and websites.
19. Send out cute little magnets for people to put on their fridges with your branding and URL on.

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New Year, New Productivity

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Pablo Alfieri

It isn’t rocket science, but unfortunately there’s no magic bullet that will transform you into a productivity wizard either. While getting sucked into social media, crap on the telly or Pinterest are all key factors, it is your overall mindset that really needs to change if you’re going to be your most productive self.

First of all you must realise that time spent on a task is not an indicator to it’s success or importance. For many people there seems to be a mystifying and inherent badge of honour mentality associated with how long a task takes (“Ooooh I’ve been working on this project / doing emails / writing this blog post for sooo long. Everybody notice how hard I’ve worked!”) To break free from this vicious circle, you must first realise that that is complete bullshit.

There is a theory that a task will take you exactly the amount of time that you give it. If something takes you weeks, it’s most likely because that’s how long you’ve mentally allotted to it. Of course this isn’t always the case, with some things taking much longer than you hope, but giving yourself shorter deadlines is a brilliant – and simple – way to get things done quicker.

Here are a few other ways you can get more done, in less time:

Unsubscribe from any newsletters you don’t value, unfollow people on social media that don’t interest you and trim down any blogs you no longer enjoy from your RSS feed.

Close Tweetdeck, Facebook and your email client when you are working. Turn off the TV. Silence your mobile phone. Turn off notifications. Distraction feeds procrastination and is the antithesis of getting stuff done.

Take charge of your email. I’ve written about this extensively before but email can suck the life right out of you if you allow it. Yes, there are many things you can do to try and keep on top of that ever-expanding inbox of yours, but my advice to you here would be to let. it. go.

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How to Comment on Blogs to Boost Your Own Business

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Across the board comments on blog posts are down. I’ve written about this before and why I don’t think this is a negative thing, but today I wanted to share a few thoughts on blog commenting etiquette and highlight some ways you can do it to help your own business.

There are still benefits of leaving comments on blogs. I personally believe that social media (especially Facebook) comments are of much more value, but if you are wanting to get on a blogger’s radar then commenting on their actual posts is a great way to do this. If you are posting informed and interesting comments you may also gain new followers for your own site because people can click through to find out more about you.

This must be done with caution though. If you are only leaving comments to try and boost your own traffic or help your website’s SEO, then it is usually pretty obvious and can really hurt your brand and reputation.

Here are a few things you must never do when leaving blog comments:

Spam

It kinda goes without saying right? Never ever ever leave blog comments for the sole purpose of attempting to drive traffic back to your own site. Most bloggers won’t approve them and if they’re stuffed with keywords or links they’ll get caught in their spam filters anyway. Don’t waste your time.

Post links to your own site

Unless a link is relevant to the discussion, don’t post it in the body of the comment! It looks super spammy. Instead put your URL in the field above the comment. Most people know how comments work and that if they want to see more from you they just click your name to go to your site.

It is usually pretty obvious if someone is only leaving a comment to try and get links back to their own site. Even if the comment is relevant to this discussion, it’s really irritating. A lot of bloggers will simply delete these comments (or edit them to take out the links) anyway. A big tell tale sign of someone doing this is when they also post under the name of their business rather than their real name.

Write anonymous hate

Again, this should really go without saying but if you’re posting anonymously (or using a fake name and email address) to write hateful or mean things those comments aren’t going to get approved! Disagreeing with something, in a polite way, is fine but don’t try and get into some kind of flame war for the sake of it. Always be constructive and respectful in your feedback. Remember, all comments can be tracked back to your own unique IP address (even if they are anonymous). Does what you’re saying reflect well on you and your business?

Post one or two word responses

If you haven’t got anything worthwhile to add then you probably shouldn’t bother! Yes, writing “good job!” or “cool!” might show the blogger that you enjoyed the article, but if that’s all you ever write it can start to be quite counter-productive. If you want to show your appreciation for a post but haven’t really got anything to add, why not tweet a link to the article instead (and @ the blogger in it so they can see)?

Reply to all your comments

Yes, this is in the ‘don’t’ pile! If you’re the post author you should definitely make the effort to reply to your comments, especially if someone asks you a question, but don’t feel like you have to reply to every single one. If you do it can look a little desperate and, honestly, not every single statement needs it’s own “Thanks so much!” response.

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Don’t Quit Your Day Job

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The majority of the women we meet and teach at The Blogcademy are just starting their blogs or businesses and most of them simultaneously hold down a full or part time job. Most of them tell us that their ultimate goal is to quit these jobs so they can focus on working for themselves. While we encourage them to do that when they’re ready, we’re also keen to share with them the huge benefits of working a day job while pursuing their dreams.

You won’t be stressing about money

You’re never going to be at your most creative when you’re stressing about money. Having a day job that pays the bills and puts food on your table really takes that pressure off your baby business. Stressing about money is never fun, so I’d encourage you to hold onto that safety net for as long as you can!

When I got to the stage where I felt like I wanted to quit my job as a TV producer Gareth (ever the voice of reason) said that I should really wait until I was earning the same – or more! – from Rock n Roll Bride as I was my day job. At the time this seemed like a huge benchmark to aim for (I am forever impatient) but in retrospect I am so glad that I followed this advice. Far from stifling me, having a job that paid the bills allowed me the freedom of growing my business without the pressure of worrying about money.

It was also a lot easier for me to reinvest in the business with any (however small) profit I was making from it. Spending money on my branding for example was a massive game changer for me and really helped step up the appearance of being a ‘professional blogger’. If I was solely relying on what I was earning from the blog at that time I would have not only have gone very hungry, but the blog wouldn’t have been able to progress as quickly.

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It makes you a time management wizard

It’s amazing what you can achieve in a relatively short amount of time when you really focus! Let’s be honest, most of us ‘full timers’ probably spend half of our working days being productive and the rest of it on Facebook or watching endless cat videos on YouTube!

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