Today, I'd like to cover a topic that is casually talked about but rarely gets the attention that it deserves. It's a sore subject for some, and I know I'll probably get some interesting feedback for my opinions, but I think the wedding industry owes it to itself to acknowledge the obvious:
Wedding blogs are better for wedding planning than wedding magazine print media.
In the past year, we've seen a few of our favorite (and very popular) traditional wedding magazines close their doors due to various reasons. Lack of advertising interest, supply price increases and loss of readership are definitely factors in their demise, but the main catalyst in each case is the shying away of print media by today's planning brides. And for good reason. The wedding industry is a constantly evolving environment that caters to a very targeted niche. When the majority of that targeted audience demands something, the industry should take note and work to satisfy that want.
Today's planning bride are significantly different from the brides of yesterday. The DIY bride movement is in full force and the dedication to tradition is evolving into new traditions. Personalization of a wedding is the new standard and brides are eager to find fresh inspiration to fuel their unique creativity. The industry took note, and along came wedding blogs to fill the void of delayed inspiration.
In 2002, there were less than 15K total blogs on the Internet. In 2009, that number was 27 million. Each offering a personal view on a broad topic. And within all those blogs, the wedding industry was lucky enough to inspire a collection of wedding blogs that, for awhile, unknowingly and effectively advanced the wedding industry to the next level. Inspiration and advice was now readily available 24/7 and most importantly, it was free. No longer did a bride have to wait for the next issue of their favorite wedding mag to be delivered or show up on grocery store rack to motivate their planning process. Wedding blogs were just a click away and she knew it was just a matter of minutes before brand new inspiration or advice could be found. The delayed inspiration problem had been solved.
Where print media left off, wedding blogs took over. Both magazines and blogs provide bridal information to brides, but wedding blogs do it more effectively. How so?
Wedding blogs are constantly updated. And just as important, they can easily be edited after publish. Adding on extra information once created is a luxury that every blog has. Being able to include continuous updates or findings inside a post is a direct reflection of blogs supplying the most up-to-date information to it's intended audience. Fresh info is good info.
Wedding blogs are cutting-edge and diverse. Rock n' roll brides, vintage brides, eco-brides, budget-conscious brides and every other bride can usually find a wedding blog that speaks directly to them. Wedding magazines try their best to cover each category with broad stroke articles but usually fall short. Niche specific wedding blogs allow a personal touch that won't be found in mainstream print media. Individual opinions and reviews are what fuel these category wedding blogs.
Wedding blogs are interactive. You can't comment on a print article. You can't express your opinion and instantly share it with others. It's a one-way street when dealing with wedding magazines. They decide what they think their subscribers will like and ship it to your door once a month. Not satisfied, simply wait another month and try your luck. Or, you could just do a little research and find a wedding blog that consistently delivers relevant information that you can use. And that takes me to my next point:
Wedding blogs allow sharing. If you find a cool wedding project or picture that you want your best friend or bridesmaid in another city to check out, simply email to them. Or Facebook them. Or tweet them. Within a few minutes, you can share you finding and get the feedback you want. Unless your friend has the exact wedding magazine in their hand as you do, it would be pretty hard to share that info instantly. Planning brides love efficiency.
Wedding blogs make finding information easy. Instead of tearing out pages of a magazine and storing them in a folder or box, you can just bookmark the exact blog post that you want saved and access that information at a later time. Oh, and the blog post might even be updated when you get back to it! Planning brides love organization.
Wedding blogs lead to other relevant resources. When blogs link to other bridal references, they instantly create a seamless path of information. One blog post may lead to another, then lead to a different blog and then ultimately provide a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to the reader. There are no links in magazines. No opportunity to delve further into a topic.
Wedding blogs are personal. Most wedding bloggers often includes links to their other sites, projects or products, enabling interested readers to pursue deeper relationships with that person/blog. A system of familiarity forms and a blog quickly becomes much more than just written advice and photos. It becomes trustworthy. It becomes a daily visit to a familiar place. Reader loyalty is what separates a good wedding blog from a great wedding blog.
Wedding blogs are free. Almost every single wedding blog on the Internet today is totally free from any subscription fees, renewal notices or annual billing. Wedding bloggers don't charge their audience for their interest in their blog. The information is shared with the intention of allowing visibility to every single person who visits their site, free of charge. This is a completely different business model from print media. Instead of relying on paid subscriptions, blogs rely on creating consistent content and building their audience the to create their value. There is no risk to the reader since there are no monetary barriers to cross.
So there it is. My personal opinion on why wedding blogs will continue to create the pulse of the entire wedding industry and how they are straight-forward better than traditional print media for helping today's bride plan her wedding. While a part of me was excited to write this post, a part of me was hesitant because I wanted in no way to dilute all the positive things that wedding magazines have done for our industry. It's simply a new era and it's time to acknowledge that wedding blogs are the chosen medium for the bride of 2010. Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you to everyone who is passionate enough to express their own personal opinions in our comments.
Together we can advance the wedding industry.