Getting Published: Online Media vs Print

Friday, June 26, 2009

One of the things blogs and social media have done for the wedding industry is make it easier for your work to be seen and published instantly.  This is a great thing as it allows more people to show off their talent to a wide audience whereas before they may have had to rely on print publications to reach that same audience.

With great tools come pros and cons and now magazines and blogs are having to compete for content and many want exclusivity.  Both sides of the coin have valid points and here are some things to keep in mind as you consider where you want your work published:

1. If you want your work published in a magazine, most will require that it cannot be published online anywhere at all, including blogs, Facebook, Twitpics, Flickr, etc, including your own.  While this may seem unfair, think about it: magazines are expensive to produce and rely on original content in order to stay fresh.  Also, would you really want to pay $6.50 only to see material you've already seen online?  Probably not.

If you have a rule that you have to blog every wedding you shoot or that you produce, you may want to rethink it if your marketing plan also includes being published in print.  Ask the people you submit your work to how their magazine or publication works and what, if anything, they allow to be published online prior to them going to print.

2. Consider your goals in getting each particular wedding published: would it be more beneficial to leverage a brand's name to further your credibility or would being in front of more eyes and allowing that work to go viral help your business more?  Both options have a time and a place in your marketing efforts.  Also, and this is no offense to any of the wedding bloggers, but the Martha Stewart brand currently carries much more weight than many of the other media outlets in the wedding industry.  If a wedding has an opportunity to be published in Martha Stewart Weddings, and the professional has the chance to have the Martha name in their press credentials, then that may certainly win out over being featured online. On the other hand, if your goal is to use the wedding to build a lot of buzz and traffic to your website, then submitting it to blogs may be the way to go.

3. If you submit work to a blog, be sure to ask if they have any exclusivity clauses as well.  Many wedding blogs operate as a business and also rely on original content in order to maintain traffic that will support their ad revenue.  While it is harder to control where those photos may end up because of readers spreading the word (and really, when it comes to social media and the Internet you can't control it) it is certainly important for both the blog editor and yourself to make any expectations clear as to the specific actions both of you will take.  If you submit to a blog that requires exclusivity, I would recommend asking them to notify you within a certain and reasonable (to them and to you) time frame if they are NOT going to use the images.  This will help you determine if you can submit them elsewhere and avoid any sticky situations later on.

4. If you are a planner and you want to submit a particular wedding for publication in a magazine or a blog, be sure to communicate with the photographer BEFORE the wedding so that you are on the same page as to how the images will be handled afterward.  If you are a photographer and want to submit, do not release the images to the other vendors until you are ready to do so.  A florist posting one photo on their private Facebook page could cost you getting published - yes, it's happened before.  Have a publishing strategy going into each event and openly communicate with the other professionals you are collaborating with.

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