Monday, March 25, 2013

How {and How Not} to Submit Your Party to the Big Blogs...

I have a lot of people asking me lately about getting a party featured on one of the "big party blogs". While I am no pro- I still found it in me to muster up a few tips to getting featured (and why I hardly follow any of them).

Here is our abbreviation key for the future of blogging, it didn't take a rocket scientist to come up with it. I know there are an unending amount of "big party blogs" but I have narrowed it down to 5 of the ones known for taking party submissions which happen to be the only 5 I have submitted to...

Kara's Party Ideas: "KPI"
Hostess With The Mostess: "HWTM"
Catch My Party: "CMP"
Amy Atlas: "AA"
Pizzazzerie (no nickname seemed appropriate?)

To be totally honest- the whole process of submitting parties is a total pain in the arse. It IS worth it in the end when that feature comes out- for multiple reasons (the main one being total fulfillment that your event was a success to someone other than your mom?), but the road to getting it featured is really kind of annoying and time consuming.

First, you will want to start off by writing a good enticing story about the day of the party, your inspirations, craft and decor ideas. I make mine about 3 paragraphs and then end it with my vendor credits. This usually takes me around 2 hours because I'm trying to remember the details (which is hard when you're post-party brain dead). I don't even know if they read these write ups. I think they do, but then again I have seen some crazy typos in planner-written stories and so I wonder if all I wrote was "blaaaaah party blaaaaah" it would still get featured.

Professional photography is pretty high up there in terms of being featured, and USUALLY (there are always exceptions if they really want your party) the blogs want clean, unwatermarked photos. If you decide to try and submit with watermarks, keep them light and clean.... as in almost invisible.

Be thorough in your vendor credit list because here's something I've just recently discovered.... the more features you get and proper shout-outs your give- the more people want to give you free stuff so you'll vendor credit them. It's just started for me and it's like living in a party dream with free stuff falling from the sky. So be sure to give proper thanks, it may pay off...

I always spend a good chunk of time on my write up/credits pretending like I'm famous and people want to know EVERYTHING about my party when probably all they really want to know is how much the total cost of it was or where I got that one thing I didn't mention.

BE SURE to double check ALL of the website links you're sending in for your credits, including your own as well as every vendor you're submitting. The blogs do not double check these... they're counting on you to be correct. Once it goes live it's pretty much done, good luck getting it corrected in time to save some fans from forgetting they ever tried to be your fan in the first place.

                          The Party Blog Submission Breakdown

{ps- I can only do this breakdown because I'm still small beans in this industry. If I were a big time I'd just say how "AWEEEESOME" all of the party blogs were and how "HOOONORED!" I am to be featured. And I am, of course! But Miss Party Mom is a party planner for the people (fist pump)! I'm also in the coming down stages of party week which is probably something like coming off of hard drugs... it ain't pretty... My husband keeps reminding me that I do have something to live for. I don't know if I believe him... I mean he left the house for a jog in dress socks and running shoes. I NEED another party. Where are you June?!}

Ok- sorry- I'm back on track. Party Blogs. Submitting. Let's do this before I realize it's a bad idea...

I've been submitting parties for about a year now and I've submitted a good 30 times with a pretty high success rate. So I think I've got a good system for this... at least I'm definitely going to act like I do for the sake of writing this post.

Kara's Party Ideas:


KPI has a HUGE following, it's especially crazy when you consider that Kara only started this blog in 2009. She's the author of like, a real party planning book too (2012). It's actually unbelievable how much she's accomplished in such a short time- I mean she's pretty much the leader in the party blog submission industry if you're looking at numbers only (150k fans). She's also single handedly made the "hot air balloon" party a staple in party planning... I mean, who saw that one coming?!

KPI features a nice little submission format- quick, easy to find and anyone can do it, they'll even take a link to your facebook album (!) - really appreciate this and wish the other blogs would hop on board. Even though they say they want fresh content, I've seen KPI feature non virgin parties that have been around the party world a time or 2... I actually like this because when you put this much work into a party- it's nice to have it featured more than once. They also don't mind your pics being on your own fb pages, blogs, etc.

If KPI decides to put a picture of your party on her facebook with the link to the party on her site- you're really in- but she doesn't do this with every feature so just pray it's yours. Lots of 'likes' gotten this way- with that many fans you're bound to get a few of them even if she coughs out your name.

Of course, I do have a couple complaints- I wouldn't be MPM if I didn't... KPI rarely actually lets you know if you're being featured (even though the courtesy email says her assistant will email you within 5 days- don't count on it) and then when you are featured- it's very random- so you never know if you're "safe" to submit somewhere else because bam! 2 months later your friend is calling to tell you you're on KPI... huh?? 

I've been featured on this site 3 times- 2 were a total surprise as it'd been so long I'd forgotten I'd submitted and 1 was a week outside of the time frame KPI's assistant (Amber) gave me, and after the holiday the shoot was styled for- which is kind of strange but who am I to complain!  They also recently gave a party of mine credit to another party planner which almost caused me to convulse, but I will say Amber fixed the error rather quickly and was very sweet and apologetic. I couldn't help but feel bad for almost convulsing.

Another thing to note about this blog is that they tend to favor Shabby Chic like parties and lean towards young kids birthdays- mainly little girls (like, if I had a dime for every Ballerina Party on this site I might actually be profiting in this business.)

{Update: I've noticed KPI has started letting you know if your party will be featured... I'd say it's more like within 10 days vs. 5... but who's counting. I've also noticed they will feature your party within a month of letting you know, pretty quick in this industry.}

http://www.karaspartyideas.com

Hostess With The Mostess:


A great site started by Jenn Sbranti and her husband Sonny. I'm laughing thinking about me and my husband working together, laughing even harder thinking about him working in the party industry. This party blog is probably my fave- they feature a full spectrum of parties, they format your story in a very organized fashion and their photo layouts are some of the best. Same submissions guidelines as almost every other blog- you find their email on their blog (usually submissions@{insert blog name here}) and send your album through a file transfer website. I send party albums via YouSendIt with my description and vendor list in the message and have never had a problem.

I love how Alyssa, Jen's assistant gets back to you within a week (really!) if they've decided to feature your party. She's quite friendly and usually will give you an good time frame for your feature- sometimes down to the exact day (which is usually about 1.5- 2 months out). This is nice to know so you can be ready and waiting when you awaken to log on to facebook and welcome lots of new fans! One tip I have when sending your party description is to state in the first line when and where the party has been featured if it has. I've found that if I'm up front they're much more willing to re-feature it. The one time I didn't mention my party had been featured, I received an email pretty much saying (I'm paraphrasing), "Wow! That party has already been everywhere, why on EARTH would we want to feature it last?!" Good point. I actually loved that they did their research, can't hate on that!

My only complaint on this site is the album upload if you want it attached to your feature. Holy cow I feel like I'm back on aol or something. So not quick or easy or fun. Just frustrating and if the rest of the site wasn't so darn adorable I'd say screw it.

HWTM is rockin' 131k fans on fb...not too shabby...(chic either) so I usually submit to them first because their style is more my speed.

{Update: They've recently added an "exclusivity clause" at the end of the email they send letting you know you're going to get featured. It states they'd like a 60 day window of not submitting to any other blogs once it's been on theirs. This seems to be the new thing- although you really have to be working on the honor system to adhere to this...}

http://blog.hwtm.com

Catch My Party:


Jillian of CMP has definitely made her niche in the party blog world. She also started her blog in 2009- what a year for the online party world that was! The site itself features a good amount of "anything goes" parties so you have some that aren't exactly A+-MAZING, but the fact that you can literally find ANY THEME EVER DONE is quite enticing to people. This gets her lots of traffic- which in turn gets you lots of traffic if you've uploaded here. The submission process is super easy- partly because you're not actually submitting- you're just uploading to your member profile album which somehow is a crazy easy upload process that other blogs need to get on board with.

If she likes your party or a detail of your party- she will facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter a pic of it- which will totally get you a few likes. After that you're pretty sure to be one of the 4 "Party of the Day" features she has rotating on her blogs front page every day. Because there's 4- your chance is high to get that front page feature once she's "noticed" you- but unless you're the 1st in the rotation it doesn't do much for your blog or likes. While I've had 8 parties on "Party of the Day", I wish it were just 1 party a day (like, literally PARTY-OF-THE-DAY) to really shine the spotlight on it. Honestly her facebooking & pintersting your party photo does way more than the front page- in my experience.

One thing I love about this site is that she doesn't care about fresh content. She just wants it on the site and because of this she gets some really high end parties in her inventory because everyone submits here after they've submitted to the other blogs. I love having one site with any theme imaginable uploaded by the planner themselves so you get every picture they have, usually. CMP has 58k fans on facebook.

http://catchmyparty.com

Pizzazzerie:


Courtney is known for her baking and party planning and getting her Push Pop idea in to Wilton's hands. Those Push Pops were freaking genius and every party planner has pretty much used them by now. She also has a couple of sweet (literally) books out now, one on the Push Pops- the other called Frostings (just pre-ordered it!) so ya- she's pretty much killing it. Her wedding was also featured in Martha Stewart... come to think of it she's pretty much a mini Martha Stewart... minus all that jail time I hope, although she does love the black and white stripes... just see her wedding...

She is big on fresh content- that's the first Q she'll ask if she emails you to feature a party: "Where else have you submitted?" Like most of the other blogs you submit through a file transfer site and also like every blog you won't be hearing from her her if she doesn't want to do a feature- unless that is you beg it out of her, like I have. I just wish a simple "your party doesn't cut it" email could be kindly sent by all of these blogs. I'd appreciate that more than the silent "you suck" because it really makes it harder to respect all of the crazy blog submission rules if you have no clue if you're getting the feature or not. I know you're all crazy busy- I'm throwing parties with 2 young kids- I "get" busy! If I'm not hearing from you for a week I'm likely to move on and submit somewhere else... just sayin'...

Now let me tell you- if Pizzazzerie wants to feature your party badly enough- she will make it happen- like magic. She had my St. Patty's Party up less than 24 hours after I sent it in and it was a crazy amazing spread. Another thing I love about being featured here is that because she is picky and doesn't necessarily feature a party every day, there's a likely hood your party will remain on her home page for a week or two... which is like, awe-some! She loves all kinds of parties too, (not just an affinity for children's parties) which is another plus. With 32k fans on facebook and only an official party blogger for 3 years (2010) I'm totes jealous that she's doing this thang called party blogging and doing it well. She's probably baking delicious desserts for her husband every night too... damn her, she's good! 

http://pizzazzerie.com

Amy Atlas:


I feel like I'm talking about the Pope of party planning here and I better tread lightly and make it short before I get hate mail. Amy Atlas started in 2007 and made her niche the dessert/candy bar. She's pretty much responsible for making it what it is now- famous. Because of that she obvs wants grade A looking desserts like ruffled cakes and fondant butterflies that could be mistaken for actual butterflies... catch my drift? She usually prefers parties with a mild party color palette that have a simple & classy dessert table- symmetry and no "clutter" are key. How would you have guessed based on the press photo above?! She doesn't have the likes (64k) that KPI or HWTM do but she's big on Twitter and tweets about almost every party she features. Her fans are also die-hard and share her parties like crazy. She's like a goddess to a lot of us... a regular ol' Party Goddess.

If you're submitting to AA you better not even look at your own pictures of the party- just try and submit them with a blindfold or something on- that's how fresh of content she and Lisa, (her right hand woman) want. Again you are sending them through a file transfer website like YouSendIt. Listen to me here: Do NOT put them ANYWHERE on the internet if you want to be on this site...which eh, I guess is probably a reason I haven't been featured yet. Somehow I waited to tell friends until I was 12 weeks pregnant with both kids but when I have a party- my people have to know- like immediately! I'm taking pics of my photog taking pics and facebooking them LIVE baby. AA no likey. It's crazy hard to abide by her site's submission rules and I can't tell you if it pays off because every time I get the "You did great- we'd like to feature- please tell us where you've submitted..." I fail and tell the truth. BOOOO for honesty! One thing that's nice is that Lisa, her assistant, will get back to you promptly if they're interested.... if not... well then take a hint.

{Update: I've now had 2 parties featured since I first posted this, yes exclusivity is KEY to getting a feature on her blog... oh and YAY me!}

http://blog.amyatlas.com
                                     
In short:
Get great photos. Write an entertaining party write up, people like me ARE reading it. Credit anyone who helped, ESPECIALLY anyone who did your graphics/printables or your photography. Also give details on any items purchased for the party YOU yourself would want to know where to purchase. Try your best to follow the rules of submitting... and break only when your common sense tells you to.

Get your party that 15 minutes of fame it deserves, you worked hard enough on it!
                                                               
                                                                     xo Party or Die xo
                                                                               kenna 

16 comments:

  1. THank you very much Kenna!
    First of all, you're so funny :-) and you actually answered a bunch of questions I had!
    This post is so helpful...

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    1. Well your work is amazing so I can't wait to see all of the features you get!

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  2. Love this...and your writing! Thanks for the advice!

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    1. Thank you and best of luck to you in submitting!

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  3. Wow! Kenna!! Thank you so much for your sweet words :) At HWTM we work so hard to make each party shine it's brightest, and it makes me so happy to hear you comment on it. And I think for anyone trying to get featured anywhere, you gave some seriously fabulous advice. :)

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    1. I literally can't believe you're responding to this. I am like totally famous now... thank you for solidifying that. And I love you guys, you're my fave and I don't even care if I shouldn't say it.

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    2. Aww thanks Kenna :) SO SO SO SOOOO Happy to hear that!! And you're right, I like to do my research haha ;)

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  4. Your tips are very helpful! Perhaps to ensure the exclusivity clause is adhered to, producing styled photoshoots for specific party sites would be ok. IDK. Is that even allowed? A lot of the popular wedding blogs have tough submission rules too and want exclusivity. Thank you for sharing your experience and tips on ways to get featured. I will apply them and see what shakes out.

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    1. I'm sure they would love it! I've done a few stylized holiday shoots (the one HWTM denied was one of them) and I submitted them EVERYWHERE because I wanted to make sure they were featured before the actual holiday... unfortunately for the blogs- they ALL picked them up and OOOPPPS! Everyone featured the same week- learned my lesson! Best of luck to you.

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  5. Hi Jenna, this is a great post. Im curious how long did you wait to be featured in Amy Atlas. I submitted one party and was told that it will be featured but it has been 2 months already.

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    1. Hi, I'm sorry for the late response! If it's not featured within 2 weeks I would send a sweet and subtle email inquiry on the time frame- and this goes for any site you've gotten a "yes, we'd like to feature you" from.

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  6. I couldn't find fault in anything here besides one person who just clashed with me. The venue hands down was the best location in this area.

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  7. Great post....I need to copy and paste this in Word so I can have it forever.....it's a great reference

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  8. Hi Jenna-
    This is such a great resource! I am just starting on a small Etsy shop and hoping to get some parties I've done featured on some of these great blogs you've referenced (these blogs have always been my first place for inspiration!). Ive never submitted before so a couple of questions - do you submit to all at once or prioritize and wait to hear from each one before moving to the next? And can you submit parties from past years? I have been throwing parties for my little ones for 4 years (all professionally photographed) - wondering if they have to be from a specific period in time from your experience. Thank you again for the info!!!

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  9. Hi Jenna,

    If you submit your party to one of these party web sites, can you not have it posted on your own blog? Thanks in advance. And if they feature it, can you put it on your own blog at a later date?

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  10. Kenna, this advice is just wonderful! Can I ask a somewhat silly question though? All these sites ask you to provide a drop box link which I have done but they can't access the folder. Do you create a shared function to your folders? In short how do I make dropbox folder "public" so the blog people can see my pictures? I have followed the drop box help guide and still not working.

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