Wedding PR: Working with High-Profile Clients
Booking a high-profile client is an exciting and rewarding experience, but one that may come with more parameters surrounding publicity. Of course, a high-profile event can certainly be a boon for your portfolio, but it often means working alongside the client’s own publicist from the early stages of the planning process through to the published feature. This usually involves a lot of back and forth, including discussion about proper crediting for the wedding professionals involved, especially if there is a discount offered to the client.
If your client doesn’t have a publicist handling their wedding, you may find yourself in a position where you’re asked to oversee the entire submission. While this decision is entirely up to you, it’s important to first evaluate whether you have the time to accommodate the added work. If you don’t typically submit your events, it could become a stressful task. If you do have the time, however, it can be a great opportunity to enhance your brand’s reputation (and perhaps land a media outlet you wouldn’t normally consider).
Regardless of who is leading the charge, take the initiative to be a valuable resource of the event team. Here are a few tips for fostering the submission of a high-profile event.
Connect with the photographer
Before anything else, you need to confirm the photographer is on-board. He or she typically owns the copyright to the photos, so their permission is required for submission. Even if they’ve transferred the copyright to the couple, it’s still a professional courtesy to consult with the photographer since their work will be the primary focus.
Be mindful of the timeline
With celebrities and other high-profile clients, the media may be seeking an exclusive which means the photos have to be delivered quickly. Check with the photographer to see if they can offer a few with a same-day edit (which can be used as a media teaser); then, aim for two dozen or so photos to be ready the Monday after the event. Most outlets will expect this, so confirm that the photographer has the capacity to turn their photos around in a timely manner.
Agree on a chosen media outlet
As a team, determine the ultimate goal for media direction. Are you holding out for an elite high-profile media outlet (a la Vogue) and willing to wait it out? Come up with two or three places that the whole team can agree upon before moving forward. It’s important to be on the same page from the start, instead of disagreeing on opportunities down the line.
However, be mindful that some high-profile sites may want to send their own photographer. If that’s the case, discuss with the team to see if this is acceptable — particularly, be mindful of the booked photographer and how a media representative might interfere with their contract.
Understand exclusivity agreements
A vast majority of top media outlets require exclusivity, so it will be key to any high-profile submission. You have to offer it to various publications one at a time, so that might influence the outlet you start with first. Editors understand time is of the essence and won’t linger if they are interested. With that said, some places may not fully commit until they see photos; if that’s the case, gather the team to decide if it’s worth waiting or pursuing elsewhere.
Gather as much info as possible
Working with a noteworthy wedding is different than the average submission as you have to consider pre-pitching to top outlets. Publications like the New York Times, Vogue, Martha Stewart Weddings, and People are familiar with this and, oftentimes, they expect it.
Without photos, you can still set the stage with information so you need to make sure to share all of the basics: who is getting married, the wedding date, the wedding location, guests of honor, and notable décor elements.
The couple may also be able to provide some valuable information ahead of time, but be sure they are prepared to answer interview questions after the wedding as well. There may be a tight turnaround afterwards depending on the coverage being considered, so make sure they’re aware of their post-nuptial commitments.
Once the wedding day has come and gone, make sure you’re prepared to deliver everything expected in a timely fashion. Be as accurate as possible, as you ideally want to avoid having to go back and request changes. From there, wait for the feature to go live, congratulate your team on a job well done, and move forward with your promotional plan!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.