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Blogging fails

Something you all may or may not know about me; I’m incredibly disorganized. It’s not that I LIKE it when my desk is awash in paper, pens, and Post-Its, but it somehow always seems to revert back to that state no matter what I do. It’s a lifelong problem- in elementary school, the one area I could never get an “O” for Outstanding in was “keeps materials organized.” Always just an “S” for Satisfactory, or if I was having an especially rough week I may bring home an “N” for Unsatisfactory in my Tuesday Folder (who remembers those?). The point is, organization has always been a struggle for me, and I KNOW it’s affecting my business.

Back in the spring as I was preparing to leave my full-time desk job, I remember expressing to Matt the fear that my blogging was going to suffer as a result of me going full-time photography. He was confused, not sure how MORE time to devote to my business would mean LESS success for my blog, but I know myself; I knew that NOT being forced to prepare ahead of time would mean I’d become complacent. Prior to going full-time, I prided myself on my reliability- my blog was always published by 7:45 am, with links out of Facebook and Twitter by 9:15. I wrote my blog posts the night before and if I was struggling for topics, I’d use my lunch hour to sit and brainstorm ideas, occasionally using that time to hammer out a few posts to keep in my drafts folder in case I needed them.

These days, my blog posts are more often than not the result of last-minute scrambles- I wake up in the morning, realize I’ve got to write something because I’ve promised my audience I would, then write some crappy excuse for a blog post. And then I get upset that it’s not garnering enough comments/page hits/interaction on Facebook. But truth be told, if I’m going to be lazy in my blogging, it doesn’t deserve crazy awesome amounts of feedback. If I’m not giving my best to my blog readers, how on earth can I expect them to respond enthusiastically? It’s like pulling an all-nighter and doing a half-hearted job on a school project, and then getting upset when you get a mediocre grade. Sounds silly, right? If you want a good grade, put in the effort. If I want enthusiastic responses, I need to get my stuff together.

Virginia film photographer- Abby Grace Photography

Something that’s helped keep me accountable to my promise of blogging 5x a week was the fact that I PUBLICLY declared I was going to do it. And on the days when I just want to leave my blog blank for the day, I remember my 2012 New Years resolutions. Telling others I’ll do it gives me a reason to keep up with my promise, because I don’t want to disappoint or give others the idea that I can’t follow through on what I’ll say I’ll do. So I figure the BEST way I can instill some more rigorous rules for myself would be to share them with you all! Here we go:

1. Pre-blogging: I’m going back to my “write your blog the night before” mantra. This will eradicate the last-minute scramble each morning, and will help me follow through on item #2…

2. Consistent timing: desperately searching around for a blog topic each morning has resulted in me posting my blogs later and later. I really like having my blog ready in the early morning, so unless there’s a legitimate reason for waiting until later, I’m going back to having my blogs posted to Facebook no later than 9:30 each morning. If I’ve prepared the night before, this shouldn’t be a problem.

3. Planning: I’ve been avoiding creating a blogging calendar for a LONG time. I honestly don’t know why I’ve put it off so long, I know that it would do all but eliminate the problem of not knowing what to write about- I think it’s that whole “organization” thing. But from here on out, I’m spending the last day of each month planning out my blog topics for the following month. Last night I put together a schedule for the remainder of November, and on November 30th I’ll do the same for December.

4. Blogging for my audience: becoming lazy about my blog resulted in lackluster posts. If I truly want to engage my audience, I need to create relevant, fresh material that appeals to the type of people I want to be attracting. So if I want to attract potential brides, creative souls AND photographers, I need to choose topics that I think will interest ALL of them! I’m still going to continue blogging about things that are personal to me, but I’ve been wanting to blog more project-based things for a while now. We’ll see how that one works out :).

5. Blogging identity: this is something I’ve been mulling over for a little while now. What do I want my blogging identity to be? There are a few bloggers I can point to who have that very clearly defined- Katelyn James is all about educating brides and photographers through her blog (and posting gobs of gorgeous imagery) and showcasing her own creative energy through DIY and home decor posts; Liz & Ryan are all about DOING LIFE together, so their blog is chock full of date night ideas, recipes and downloadable fun.  If someone were to describe my blog, would it stand out from the mass of other people flooding the blogosphere? Or is it just more white noise in a world saturated with people showcasing their work through a WordPress page? I don’t have an answer for that, which means I need to work harder to refine what my blog’s purpose is, and then blog in accordance with that purpose.

Virginia film photographer- Abby Grace Photography

I know this wasn’t the world’s most riveting post, but I felt like I needed to put it out there that I KNOW I’ve been struggling. Yesterday I spent several hours obsessing over my blog stats- they still haven’t recovered since I switched blog URLs back in July (as a result of my new site launch). I was finally forced to come to the conclusion that it’s no longer the result of changing my URL (which, to be fair, can impact your stats for months)- it’s a result of poor blogging practices. So instead of wallowing in self-pity, I’ve picked myself up, dusted my shoulders off, and am ready to get to work.

All that being said, if there are blog topics y’all have been hoping to see more of, feel free to shout it out in the comments section! I love getting feedback- it’s what helps me know what is and isn’t working.

Happy Thursday!

Sarah - June 16, 2013 - 8:14 pm

Awesome post. Blogging is one of my biggest struggles… mainly because I write and then re-write my posts, second guessing “my voice”. BUT your blog is very inspiring and I think your posts are anything but lackluster!

Anna - November 17, 2012 - 5:20 pm

I would love to read more about how you deal with film vs. digital as well! I go digital, but it would be great to know about the other side of things!

Liz and Ryan - November 16, 2012 - 11:48 pm

Abby you are so sweet! Thanks so much for the shout out in your post! And you pictures are AMAZING by the way! Can’t wait to meet you in person hopefully someday soon! Cheers to living your amazing life authentically and sharing your struggles with the world. Your honesty is inspiring! Love and Hugs!!!

Rici - November 15, 2012 - 6:56 am

Abby, thank you for this post and all this wonderful advice! I´m sruggling with my blog and all connected to it right now. Or since some weeks to be frank. So thank you for reminding and for pointing out some helpfullness while doing so.
Lots of love from Germany.

Rachel - November 9, 2012 - 11:22 am

I’d love to see a blog post on the peek on a wedding day. I know a lot of people love them, but others don’t want to ruin the moment of the first look walking down the aisle. It’d be great to get a photographers view since you’ve seen both sides.

Megan - November 8, 2012 - 8:28 pm

I know exactly what you mean, and as a newer photographer and blogger like me, it’s even that much tougher! It’s a big world and it’s tough to find a voice. BUT I love your blog. You say that your posts are lackluster but your blogs are one of the ones I make sure to read every day. You post interesting material and breathtaking photos!

I always find posts talking about interests, photography tutorial related stuff, equipment, behind-the-scenes interesting, but that may also be because I am still in the teach-myself phase of photography!

Rebekah - November 8, 2012 - 5:34 pm

I love your blog! I’m already married but I love looking at your photos & also just reading your posts about photography & life in general. I think you already have a very distinct “voice” b/c you are so open & honest. Keep up the great work!

Annie - November 8, 2012 - 5:23 pm

Great post!
It’s so true…. Blogging is one of those things I feel I can’t control…just yet. I become so consistant and then BAMN! But hey?! We all need a shakeup for the soul right?

I was wondering what you use for your post processing, or maybe descrive how you enjoy seeing your images. I think that would be a fun read!

Great work as per usual! Your frames are OUTSTANDING!!!!!

p.s. Thank for following me on Pinterest! ;)

Sharon Elizabeth - November 8, 2012 - 5:21 pm

this post = real! love it!

Sarah B. - November 8, 2012 - 3:10 pm

Cheers to honesty and picking oneself up and trying again!! :)

mollystillman - November 8, 2012 - 2:31 pm

i’m with everyone who has already commented – i love YOUR voice and i love YOUR blog because you are transparent and you! but there’s always room for all of us to step back, reevaluate, and recharge!

Erin Wheeler - November 8, 2012 - 12:45 pm

I sooo feel you- I put off blogging sooo much!! Thanks so much for this post- its such an inspiration! :)

Ashley Barnett - November 8, 2012 - 10:55 am

ABBY- YES! You hit the nail on the head- you put into words what I’ve been searching to try and describe. What is my blogging VOICE?! What do I want to be known for… I’m right there with you!! I have no doubt we’ll both figure it out! :)

Kathryn Denelle Stevens - November 8, 2012 - 10:36 am

YES YES YES! I am not sure why I’ve put off a blogging calendar either…I think I’m afraid that it will just sit blankly in front of me and I’ll never be able to fill it. But, if I’m committing to blogging 5x per week, then I might as well commit! Thanks for the push, girl!

caitlin elizabeth - November 8, 2012 - 9:59 am

thank you for this post!!! i will do ok with blogging consistently for a while… then i fall off of the face of the earth :/

Jean - November 8, 2012 - 9:51 am

I love your blog! Your images are beautiful. Artistic people do tend to be disorganized, so do the best you can and don’t stress over it!

Brent - Live View Studios - November 8, 2012 - 9:35 am

oh, I know the feeling about waking up and struggling for content. It sucks! Planning ahead is definitely the win, but so hard to do!

Tori Watson - November 8, 2012 - 9:04 am

i FEEL you on the disorganized thing. nottt my strong point. heck, i’ve been meaning to make a blogging schedule ALL year, but just haven’t. sooo. i need to work on my blogging structure, as well.

but i would definitely encourage you NOT to stress over the blog stats. i know that may sound like dumb business, or something, but don’t put the pressure on yourself to write better/more just because you want more traffic. i feel like sometimes we can drive ourselves crazy with “what am i doing wrong?” thoughts because the response doesn’t seem to be there, but SOMETIMES it’s not just about the response. it’s about pressing on towards your personal best, just because you’re seeking excellence. and the rest will follow. you’re awesome, and people know that. so the happier YOU are with the content on your blog, the more people will respond, because that happiness and genuineness will come through your posts. so, just let those stats take care of themselves and just have FUN with blogging again. :)

Emilia Jane - November 8, 2012 - 8:54 am

Love this post and OMG to all the pictures! I’m obsessed

Rebekah Hoyt - November 8, 2012 - 8:47 am

I’d also love to see you write more on film – shooting film tutorials and editing film vs. digital. You are a lot more experienced and knowledgable than you think and you give yourself credit for! I know you could really help teach a lot of people about something you are so good at and passionate about!

Katie Nesbitt - November 8, 2012 - 8:46 am

No, this post was great! I feel the same way!! Yesterday I was thinking man, blogging was so much easier when I was stuck at my desk at a job I hated for 10 hrs a day…I WANTED to blog to pass the time there haha. Now I can’t get motivated:( Ugh. Thanks for posting this!!

Rebekah Hoyt - November 8, 2012 - 8:46 am

Way to go Abby! You are seriously pushing me and inspiring me to get better about this myself. You are SO right when you say that you can’t be surprised that a lack-luster blog post results in lack-luster responses… I guess I was taking my hard work and planning for granted and feeling disappointed when I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. Thanks for inspiring me!

Jill Powers - November 8, 2012 - 8:44 am

Aw! I love how transparent you are! And I think you’re a great blogger–your fun, sweet personality is so easy to see in the way you write! :) xo

Lorinda - November 8, 2012 - 8:41 am

Just so you know, your blog is one of my absolute FAVORITES to read. I never skip reading a post! Your blog definitely stands out from the masses to me!

sarah danaher - November 8, 2012 - 8:29 am

I’m RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. gah. cheering for you!! you inspire me!!

Love Everlasting- Brad & Lauren’s Virginia wedding at Morais Vineyard

He takes deep, steadying breaths as he walks down the hallway to meet his bride.”Nervous?” “I’m getting there,” he admits. A little shake out of the shoulders and wrists, another deep breath, and he timidly takes two steps into the room where his bride stands around the other side of the door, waiting for a chance to hold his hand without glimpsing one another. They exchange sweet letters, words written just for the other’s eyes, and a few tender tears are shed. As they both finish reading, their hands find each other around the door again, and he asks if she wouldn’t mind praying this time? And so she does. Her steady, sweet voice offers up her prayer, asking for a beautiful day, but even moreso a beautiful beginning to a Christ-centered marriage. It was an incredible thing to behold, and as she said “amen,” he squeezed her hand for the last time as his fiancé and left to find his place at the end of the aisle.

Brad & Lauren, you two are a precious pair of souls. Your sweet, light-hearted laughed brings a smile to all around you, and yet the fact that you were made for each other is evident to even the most remote passersby. I cannot thank you enough for the absolute joy of photographing your wedding day, your love, and your friends & family- I don’t know if time has ever passed so quickly! I hope that Antigua is giving you nothing but its very, very best!

We began at Lauren’s childhood home…

Virginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

Brad wrote on the bottoms of Lauren’s shoes, a fact she didn’t realize until she was about to put them on (you’ll see!).

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Oh. my. word. LAUREN!!

Virginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

Virginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

This is the “oh my gosh we’re MARRIED!!” smile!

Virginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

Virginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

SUCH a fun bridal party!

Virginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

Virginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

Virginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

Love.

Virginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

And then we found a tractor.

Virginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

Virginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

Virginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

Virginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

Virginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais VineyardVirginia wedding photographer Morais Vineyard

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Beggs!
Ceremony: Centreville Baptist Church
Reception: Morais Vineyard
Bride and bridesmaid dresses: White Swan Bridal
Shoes: Blush Bridal
Florals: Everlasting Flowers
Cake: Wanda’s Cakes
Paper: Allison Barnhill Designs
Amazing second shooter: Sarah Goodwin
Melissa Farmer - November 29, 2012 - 8:26 am

L.O.V.E the photo of them in the car in B&W!!

Wonderful job! :)

Yolanda Roberson - November 15, 2012 - 12:10 pm

WOW! Simply Beautiful……the photo shots and the lovely couple look wonderful oh and the bridal party as well. Great job Abby!

Lauryn - November 13, 2012 - 11:21 am

Love the colors of this one!! The gray and orange, yes!!

Building in time for bridal portraits » - November 13, 2012 - 7:20 am

[...] handful of classic portraits I really need that time with my brides. I was in absolute heaven when Lauren and I built in 15-20 minutes for bridal portraits- having that time before we departed for the [...]

Kristen Duffy - November 12, 2012 - 11:20 pm

Abby, these are absolutely stunning! The quality of every single one of them is GORGEOUS; it makes me want to jump into the picture! Not sure why that’s my reaction, but just to say that your photos make me want to be there. Beautiful :)

Rici - November 12, 2012 - 8:53 am

That is such a great wedding, Abby! It looks so fun. The tractor! WOW!!!

Lauren - November 8, 2012 - 11:47 am

Love all those shoe shots! So much fun! And the rest is absolutely gorgeous…..dream-like.

Rebecca and Larry Trainor - November 8, 2012 - 7:14 am

The pictures were absolutely beautiful! We believe you captured the expressions and love of all the bridal party and most all the “Bride and Groom”! It was truly an exceptional day and we thank you.

Anastasia - November 8, 2012 - 3:02 am

I am blown away!!! Such beautiful energy in all these pictures!!! What a stunning wedding, what a stunning couple, what a mega-talented photographer!

Brittany Claud - November 8, 2012 - 2:24 am

Definitely a new favorite of mine! LOVE everything about this Abby!!!

Colette - November 7, 2012 - 8:50 pm

So many pretty vineyard shots! Beautiful bridesmaid dresses, too.

Megan Guernsey - November 7, 2012 - 7:06 pm

Absolutely lovely! I would expect nothing less from Lauren, she is just beautiful. I’m so glad she chose to use you Abby, your photos are just amazing! Great job.

Wendy {Weswen Design} - November 7, 2012 - 6:03 pm

Crazy beautiful. Every image.

Sarah Goodwin - November 7, 2012 - 5:50 pm

This is a fave for sure. Abby you captured the beauty of Lauren, Brad & the day to a “T”

Lauren @ Every Last Detail - November 7, 2012 - 3:40 pm

Absolutely GORGEOUS!!

Dani - November 7, 2012 - 3:35 pm

Wow these are incredible!! I love every single one of them. Their details are amazing. The groups shots are so fun and the couple portraits are just stunning!

Alison Mish - November 7, 2012 - 2:30 pm

Jaw-droppingly stunning! These are beautiful!

Laura - November 7, 2012 - 1:28 pm

Gorgeous! Love the lighting for the vineyard shots!

Krysten Trainor - November 7, 2012 - 12:56 pm

I love every single picture!!! Abby, what an amazing memory you caught and their love for each other! I can’t stop looking through them, the pictures are stunning!!! Xoxox

Rebekah Carter - November 7, 2012 - 12:41 pm

These are all great! Fantastic work!

ashley barnett - November 7, 2012 - 11:47 am

Ah! One of my favorites of yours, for sure! So pretty!

molly - November 7, 2012 - 10:58 am

this is a STUNNING wedding, abby!!! beautiful. just beautiful.

Erica - November 7, 2012 - 10:48 am

Beautiful Wedding! Love that image with them behind the gold cut out wall!!

Meredith Jones - November 7, 2012 - 10:47 am

Abby – These pictures are breathtaking! You did an amazing job capturing Lauren’s radiance and beauty! I know Brad & Lauren will be so excited to have these pictures for the rest of their lives!! :)

Jean - November 7, 2012 - 10:30 am

Beautiful photos, Abby!! I love them all but that first one is extra beautiful!!

Jennifer - November 7, 2012 - 10:06 am

breath taking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kim Usowski - November 7, 2012 - 9:36 am

These pictures gave me chills. Lauren you are so beautiful inside and out and I love how perfectly Abby captured your happiness on your big day. Lovely lovely lovely.

Lena - November 7, 2012 - 9:36 am

Absolutely beautiful!! Love the colors and all of the unique pictures (LOVE the one behind the gold gate!!) The moment with the flower girl under the veil is absolutely precious as well.

Katie Nesbitt - November 7, 2012 - 9:31 am

Wow! The bridal portraits where she’s sitting on the steps are just lovely! What a beautiful bride!!

Tara - November 7, 2012 - 9:30 am

I just. I can’t. This is SO good!!

Rebekah Hoyt - November 7, 2012 - 9:12 am

WOW Abby this is definitely one of your best yet! What a gorgeous day, captured so beautifully! Wonderful wedding!!

Emilia Jane - November 7, 2012 - 8:54 am

Okay WOW to the first picture and the stand alone vertical of her smiling on the steps. Simply GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!

Kathy - November 7, 2012 - 7:41 am

Love the orange! This wedding was is so pretty! You captured all the little details perfectly!! Love the lineup of the shoes too!

Natalie - November 7, 2012 - 7:37 am

An absolutely beautiful wedding!

More Lovely Faces- Amanda of Anthomanic Floral Boutique

Every once in a while I’ll come across a wedding industry vendor who really blows me away. Amanda of Anthomanic is one of those people- her work is CRAZY awesome! Her spunk and alternative style really come out in everything she touches, and she’s not afraid to experiment with unconventional designs. Amanda actually designed the florals for the Shel Silverstein wedding shoot, and when she delivered into my hands a bouquet with lightbulbs in it, I knew I loved her. I’m crossing my fingers that one of my 2013 brides will have Amanda doing the florals because I’m dying to photograph her work again! Florals have the ability to take a wedding to the next level, and Amanda is a complete pro at doing exactly that (just check out that fedora later in this post!). Enjoy some of my favorites from our head shots session in Alexandria!

Alexandria portrait photographer AnthomanicAlexandria portrait photographer AnthomanicAlexandria portrait photographer AnthomanicAlexandria portrait photographer Anthomanic

See what I mean?! Out of the box, unconventional, and totally awesome.

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Happy Tuesday!

Rici - November 12, 2012 - 8:57 am

Love all the hat pictures! Such a great detail.

Jean - November 6, 2012 - 4:10 pm

Beautiful photos, beautiful girl. Great job, Abby!

Jasika - November 6, 2012 - 3:35 pm

G.O.R.G.

Rebekah Hoyt - November 6, 2012 - 3:25 pm

I LOVE this session!! It’s so fun and colorful!!

Rachel - November 6, 2012 - 2:30 pm

Love these!! Amanda you’re gorgeous!

Amanda Apple-Veronee [Anthomanic] - November 6, 2012 - 2:19 pm

ERMAHGERD ABBY! These are the best! You are amazing! Thank you so much, wonderful job!!! :)

Wendy {Weswen Design} - November 6, 2012 - 1:56 pm

She totally rocks! I loved working with her on a shoot too! Those images are stunning and you are both so damn creative!!

molly - November 6, 2012 - 1:25 pm

GAH. I would love to see a photo closer up of her hair color. I AM OBSESSED WITH IT and I’ve been thinking about doing something similar. she is BEAUTIFUL and these photos are amazing!

Monday Mash-Up

Ahh, sweet November! That month when fall starts turning really cold and THANKSGIVING happens! Matt and I already have plans to head to family’s house for Turkey Day this year but I’m already planning to host our own next year. Being a freshly-minted adult is weird sometimes because you realize you CAN do things like host your own Thanksgiving, or plan a fun Halloween party. Grown-up life has its pitfalls (like taxes, insurance companies and car payments) but I’m totally digging these newly-realized freedoms.

As always, things that happened over the past week!

  • After finding my new favorite mulled cider recipe online again, I’ve finally perfected the recipe! Totally sharing this with y’all later this week- it’s DELICIOUS.
  • Our bedroom was starting to feel really dark and depressing due to a) low light + shorter days, 2) black furniture, and III) a dark charcoal duvet. So Matt and I headed out in search of something to “warm up the room” and found a bright yellow duvet cover at Target, and now I feel like dancing and leaping whenever I enter the room. It’s crazy what a different your bed spread can make!
  • On Saturday, I learned that schooling groomsmen in movie quote trivia will earn their respect far more quickly than telling them how handsome they are. (PS- never challenge me to a battle of Zoolander quotes- you WILL be taken down).
  • It’s getting close enough to Christmas and my birthday that I’ve started the “I want THIS for Christmas!!” game, passionately enumerating all the reasons why I simply MUST have whatever it is I’m describing. So Matt tells me to write it down on my list, which I keep at home, and by the time we’ve arrived back at our apartment, I’ve forgotten whenever it is I so desperately wanted. Perhaps I should start a list on my phone…
  • We got an iPad!!! Yaaay! We’d been talking about getting one to use as a business tool for me, and then when I was prepping to head down to RU to guest speak it occurred to me how helpful it would be to use as an electronic form of note cards. I’m STOKED to start implementing it in my business plan.

Here are just a couple more previews from Brad & Lauren’s gorgeous wedding! I am positively bursting at the seams to share this wedding!

Morais Vineyard Bealton wedding photographer

Happy Monday!!

Jordan Fornari - November 6, 2012 - 1:38 pm

Those Zoolander quotes sure did get their attention!!! Haha I can’t wait to see the rest of Lauren and Brad’s wedding!!!!!!! It was great meeting you too Abby!!!

mollystillman - November 5, 2012 - 2:36 pm

AH! that image. gah. oh my goodness. can’t wait to see the rest!! and yay for iPads!!!!!!!

Brittany Claud - November 5, 2012 - 10:14 am

Ooh I can’t wait to see that mulled cider recipe! LOVE the sneak peeks…can’t wait for the rest!

Jean - November 5, 2012 - 9:58 am

What a joy it has been to watch you become an adult and be on your own. You and Matt are a great team. I love the sneak peek! Beautiful photos!

Rebekah Hoyt - November 5, 2012 - 9:39 am

Beauuuuutiful sneak peeks!!

Lessons Learned: The White Noise effect

Last week I had the opportunity to guest speak at a couple of classes of Comms students at my alma mater, Radford University- it was SO much fun! We chatted about social media (always a good time), how it’s affecting large and small businesses as well as the individual, and how we as communicators can harness the power of social media to make our (or our company’s) voices heard. It was such a blast to be able to share what I’ve learned during my time as a small business owner, and to offer my input as to what I feel works and doesn’t work. One thing I specifically touched on is something I’ve dubbed “the White Noise Effect.” No idea what that is? That’s ok, I made up the term myself.:)

As a sole-member small business, it’s my responsibility to create buzz for myself; in other words, I don’t have an entire team of social media experts working to broaden awareness of my brand (I DO rely on word of mouth, but that’s another subject for another time). Knowing this, I think I’ve at points crossed the line from “hey! check out this blog post!” to “SPAM SPAM SPAM!” How do we know where to draw the line? Well, this is how I’ve defined the White Noise Effect:

“Occurs when a company/business/individual attempts to reach their audience too often or overuses the same message too many times over.”

Pretty self-explanatory, right? But it’s hard to see you’re doing it until you notice audience interaction is beginning to suffer. The rule of “how many times you can post something without annoying your audience” is going to differ from company to company, and will also vary according to which social media outlet you’re using (Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Instragram, etc). A good rule of thumb that I’ve come up with, though, is to post the same message no more than once ever three hours on Facebook, and I cap the number of times I’ll post a single link at THREE. I try to post morning, afternoon and evening so that I can reach different segments of my audience that frequent Facebook at different times of the day. When it comes to Twitter, there’s a bit more leniency- I can post once every two- two and a half hours, and I cap the number of times I’ll post one link at FOUR.

Now here’s a caveat- there are ways to post information without directly linking out within a status. On Facebook, if I post images to an album, it’ll show up in someone’s newsfeed without me having to blast them with direct links. It’s a more passive way of getting people interested. Perhaps they’d seen the link I posted earlier and didn’t click on it, but after seeing 3-4 images highlighted on their newsfeed, I’ve now piqued their interest enough to click over to my blog.

In my experience, posting more often than the times I noted above teaches my audience to tune me out- I’m teaching them not to trust that the “new” blog post isn’t the same one they’ve already clicked on three times, the same one that’s popped up on their newsfeed EVERY time they check Facebook on their phone. I’m teaching them to ignore me, and I’ve become white noise among the cesspool of information they’re assaulted with every time they log on to whichever social media outlet they prefer. Teaching my audience NOT to pay attention to me is quite the opposite of what I’m after, so even if I’m really excited about a particular blog post, I limit myself to my morning, afternoon and evening postings. At the core of my marketing strategy is a desire to create a loyal and genuinely interested following, and one of the best ways I can do that is to post in a consistent manner, in a way that won’t overwhelm my audience with the same message time and time again.

Lucketts Virginia fall bridal session

The important thing to remember is that with the ever-changing and ever-evolving world of social media, you have to be on your toes at all times if you wish to stay relevant. This past September Facebook introduced “promoted posts” where business pages can pay to promote a certain link, photo, status, etc. for a certain amount of money. It was at this exact same time that business page owners noted a significant decrease in their page interactions, leading most of us to believe that Facebook changed the algorithm to corner us into having to pay to promote. Whether or not that’s true, I’m not sure, but it forced business page owners to change the way we do things in order to keep up our blog traffic and page interactions.

I’m definitely not a social media expert, but this is just what I’ve learned and observed from my own experiences! Have any input or a method you’ve found works especially well for you? Feel free to sound off in the comments section! (PS- ^doesn’t Anna look like a Disney princess ^?)

Happy Friday!

Annamarie - November 2, 2012 - 6:21 pm

My posts are more sporadic, but I still get scared of annoying people when I post things…haha..so this post was helpful…also I REALLY love that picture of Anna!!! So pretty.

molly - November 2, 2012 - 2:08 pm

AWESOME post, abby!! you’re way more intuitive and “expert” than you give yourself credit for – i love the way you market yourself online (and i work in social media and digital marketing for my day job ALL DAY LONG) – you do it right!

Laura Gordon - November 2, 2012 - 1:59 pm

Yes, yes, yes! I totally agree with everything you said.

Jackie Phillips - November 2, 2012 - 12:33 pm

Great post. I love how to identified the different ways we can over-saturate information to our viewers, potential clients, and social media outlets. I will definitely say I actually don’t post enough. Something I will try doing is the 3 days a time. :) Thanks for sharing.

Susan Lines - November 2, 2012 - 11:29 am

No sure if this counts for anything…but you could post 10 times a day and still not be annoying :)

leah - November 2, 2012 - 10:19 am

I deem this phenomenom as “over-saturation,” and it’s something both small and big businesses have to worry about. Think about the number of internal comms we send out on a daily basis — how many of those do people really read? Therefore, what’s the point sometimes?

Rebekah Hoyt - November 2, 2012 - 10:15 am

Anna looks GORGEOUS! And this post was really helpful – it can be so easy to want to post stuff constantly, but I know that with just one click, someone can unfollow me forever because I’m too obnoxious. I love the term you came up with too!

Kerith Rae - November 2, 2012 - 9:59 am

Abby! So interesting that you brought this up, we were discussing it in class the other night. (We were discussing game theory and how businesses are now “gaming” the system on Facebook to get more exposure.) I definitely agree that three is the charm with posting a personal link and that twitter is a more lenient medium since it is much more “real time.”

But we’ll continue to see how this changes with Facebook’s ever changing algorithms.

Great post! And so sad I couldn’t be there!!