New Focus for The Smart Planner (And a New Name!)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In February, Sean Low, a business consultant to creative professionals, called me to discuss the future of The Smart Planner.  This past Friday, I met with him and Rebecca Grinnals of Engaging Concepts to hammer out the details.  Things are changing for The Smart Planner and I couldn't be more excited about where it is headed.

Allow me to back up for a second.

Since 2006, I have been writing a wedding blog to complement my wedding planning company, Blue Orchid Designs.  I opened the doors to that company after spending several years in event planning for the non-profit and corporate sectors.  While I had the resume to back my art and professional work, I didn't have a large start up budget, or even a medium-sized one for that matter, to market my company with. Pricey advertising - either in print or online - wasn't in the cards for me at the time, and the blog was an inexpensive way to connect with people and keep them informed about my company. 

A few months later, in early 2007, I was surprised to receive an email from a senior editor at a prestigious national wedding magazine telling me that she reads my blog every day and encouraging me to keep at it.  I realized several things right then: a) that the blog had potential to open doors and give me a voice to an audience that, through traditional means, would take years and large amounts of money and connections to get in front of, b) that the way bridal conversations are conducted was changing and was no longer primarily "top down" and c) that I seriously needed to get my act together and put a strategy in place rather than just blog from the hip. 

In less than three years, the Blue Orchid Blog has generated over $18 million for the Phoenix area.  I knew the number would be large, but when I sat down to do the math, I was blown away.  Also, in less than three years, the way engaged couples shop for their wedding vendors and ideas has completely changed. It has gone from a few print magazines dictating bridal trends to bloggers posting fresh ideas only to find them show up in print several months later (and usually uncredited). 

So what does all this mean? It means the focus of The Smart Planner is changing.  I will now primarily be writing about how to leverage social media for your business, and more specifically, for any business in the wedding and event industry.  Quite frankly, it's what I know best. I have built a successful wedding planning company by primarily using online marketing strategies, and most of them at little to no financial cost. 

The fact of the matter is that social media is constantly evolving, which means that your online media plan has to evolve as well.  It's not enough to be on Facebook (in fact, Facebook is now five years old and jumped the shark some time last year, but that is a post for another day) and while Twitter is popular right now, it won't be forever. Knowing how to create a social media strategy for your business that can adapt with the increasing speed of change is crucial to your company today.  I am going to be helping you do just that.

The Smart Planner will also be getting a new name to reflect the new focus (stay tuned for that!) and I will no longer be blogging about how to have a smart wedding planning business. All previous posts will stay in the archives so that you can still have access to them and if you're subscribed to The Smart Planner for that reason, there are now other wedding business blogs on that subject that can fill that void.  However, I hope you'll stay, because I really believe that this new focus will help you in your business even more.

Thank you to all of you for your support for The Smart Planner thus far. I look forward to continuing to help your business grow in a more focused way. 

xxox.

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