Why Do Wedding Blogs Request ‘Exclusivity’?
All Photography by Craig Dearsley Photo
I have a feeling that today’s post is going to go down rather like a jar of Marmite. You are either going to love it or hate it!
I am writing this today after watching a rather uncomfortable debate unfold on social media a few weeks back that suggested photographers and suppliers boycott blogs that request exclusivity. Whilst I accept that everybody is entitled to their opinion, I felt that this statement was harsh and in turn I felt moved to write today’s post explaining why we personally request exclusivity and why we are more than happy with our policy.
Our decision for requesting exclusive content wasn’t taken lightly. We had been blogging for over a year and felt that if we were ever going to stand out from the crowd and carve our own niche in what seemed like a sea of wedding blogs, then requesting exclusive content needed to be our first step. Previously we had been blogged weddings (with the consent of both photographer and the blog in which the wedding first featured) that had been blogged elsewhere, however it didn’t take us long to realise that this was having a negative effect on our blog. By the time a reader had come to us they had already seen the wedding elsewhere, and so we were losing their ‘custom’ so to speak.
Now before anyone says “It shouldn’t matter as we all have different blog audiences”, that is not strictly true. Jess and I spent a lot of time last year attending and exhibiting at different wedding fairs. Anyone that has a blog that tries exhibiting at shows will know just how difficult it can be to advertise a blog, so we utilised our time by doing some research whilst there, asking brides & grooms which blogs they had heard of and which ones they read. Now I won’t name names (you can probably guess who they are anyway) but pretty much the same three wedding blogs kept coming up over and over again and rightly so, as these are the blogs that have paved the way for wedding blogs here in the UK. All these blogs have very different niches, one specialises in alternative wedding inspiration the second is top of the class for style and the third is full of elegant fashion, all of which were the top three most read by each of our subjects. The point I am trying to make here is that it would be extremely naive of us to think that our readers only visit our blog. There is a good chance that many of the people that join us here are avid wedding blog fans, we are more than likely to be just one in a long list of blogs on their readers that they visit on a daily basis during their work commute or lunch break.
I also feel it is important to mention here that we are in fact a blog that aims to inspire couples using innovative & original content, we would sound rather hypocritical if we started sharing work that appeared on all the other blogs don’t you think?
In an ideal world we would all be able to share the same content to get all of our suppliers maximum exposure but unfortunately blogs just cannot work in that way, especially if like us, you want to make a living from your blog. Think of us as a storefront, the real weddings, DIY’s and Styled shoots are rather like the products we have available in store. We aim to stock (or share) the latest, most innovative and original ‘products’ in order to create high volumes of traffic which in turn sees our suppliers receiving more ‘views’. Blogs are essentially a marketing tool for suppliers so it is easy to in this instance why exclusivity is important to us.
I must also point out (although I am not to good with the techy stuff?) that Google penalises duplicate content so there is a good chance that if your are second or third to share the same information you are going to appear further down the search engines. If you are a blogger you will by now know all about the trialS and tribulations of SEO, sometimes it can feel rather like a daily hike up Mount Everest so why would you ever want to risk falling on that climb? We run a business after all it would make no sense to do anything to harm it?
Of course there is some flexibility in our policy, if we really think a wedding is worth sharing, lets say it features all DIY or handmade decor or the colours are bold and bright (you really can’t beat a bit of colour!) then we will seriously consider sharing it on our blog too. There might just be a handful of readers that come to our blog that may not have seen it elsewhere. In this case it is totally worth it as many of our readers will come to our blog looking for exactly the type of suppliers involved in that wedding.
Lets not also forget that the photography that makes up our real weddings and styled shoots is the property of the photographer so if they really felt very strongly about sharing their work elsewhere we would never dictate as to where we think the images should be featured. The exclusivity policy is more a courtesy rule aimed at getting the best for both the blog and the supplier that submits their work and isn’t meant to offend or exclude anyone.
I hope this has gone some way in explaining why I think it is important that we request exclusivity and that you no longer feel that this is a policy not just adopted by bloggers who think that they are all that? Instead we are business owners like any other who feel they are doing right both by themselves, their readers and their advertisers and I feel it is extremely unfair that anyone suggest a boycott.
I would love to hear your opinions on this subject whether you be a reader, supplier or another blogger. I am sure lots of you have had your own experiences with this and have your own thoughts.
Much Bespoke Love