The downfall of Style Me Pretty and what it means for the wedding blog industry

Apr 11, 2018 | Industry

Yesterday was a stop-and-take-stock kinda day in the wedding industry when the surprise news that juggernaut wedding blog Style Me Pretty was closing down. And by closing down, we mean gone forever. Style Me Pretty was set up by Abby Larson over 10 years ago and it was the first big wedding blog to become successful and inspire a hundred other blogs to launch and follow in their footsteps.

The news of SMP closing down has come at a shock to everyone in the industry including founder Abby herself if you read her latest Instagram post. The reaction of the industry has been two sided however. Some don't care. The predictable 'blog backlash' has begun with some stating they are ‘glad’ they are going and ‘ego’s and blogs getting too big for their boots’. The guessing game as to who is going next has also started in FB groups and online. Some vendors in the industry however are genuinely saddened to hear of it's demise. Sure, they're concerned about their posts on SMP and their SEO being affected, but many are also empathetic towards what was no doubt a huge shock to the staff and team of SMP who lost their jobs on Monday (they only found out 24 hours before the rest of us).

So how did it get to this point? I'm pretty sure no one will ever know the true journey SMP took to closing but we can speculate of course. Owned by AOL (now OATH), this umbrella company has been closing down other websites/businesses recently too so it's not that huge of a surprise to the level of cutthroat closing this giant brand has committed. Much smaller wedding blogs have also been feeling the pinch with some scaling back on their teams and output, some diversifying in the industry to move with the audience, and some closing down altogether (Snippet & Ink, Floridian Social, The Pretty Blog). As our online presence evolves, we as business owners are having to make very hard decisions based on black and white numbers and I for one am really saddened to see those affected by the closure. Not least Abby herself who is heartbroken to see her once successful business shut down. Running a blog the size of Style Me Pretty isn't cheap either. Think of the size of the team needed to keep a wedding blog that size going?! And if people are spending less on sponsorship and advertising these days then even an established blog like SMP will eventually start to lose money.

WHAT NEXT?

This closure could do a couple of things to the industry; instil a fear that this is the direction of the rest of the industry and thus start rumours about how blogs are not needed/not read/not advantageous to vendors and their brands; OR shake up the current industry to realise that to every vendor, there is the perfect blog out there for them. Whether that's a local blog, niche blog or destination wedding blog, perhaps this is a sign of the growing need to diversify our businesses and not lay all our eggs in one basket?

If you see traffic from Style Me Pretty, it sounds like that's about to end. They're announcement states that people should take screenshots of their features if they want to as everything will disappear by April 30th. This means goodbye SEO, direct links to your website and anything stylemepretty.com/ related is going away. If you've had something featured on SMP within the last 6 months and would like to see it featured elsewhere, consider sending it to another suitable blog now. Give it another chance to be online and from the looks of it, most blogs are open to featuring a previously featured SMP post.

In general however, I personally hope this closure does not shy people away from supporting publications that work for them. And that's the key here. Using your marketing budget to be a part of a wedding publication is all well and good but ONLY if you're planning on utilising the support of the blog/magazine too. All too many times, wedding bloggers see vendors hand over hard earned cash then disappear of the face of the earth and not return emails when the blogs want to hear from them about getting featured, communicating their brand etc. It should be a 50/50 relationship and that publication should be an extension of your brand. All blogs should work hard for you but consider what our reach can do for you!

I'd love to hear your thoughts and expectations for the wedding blog industry after this shock departure of a well loved wedding blog...

Sara xoxo

Comments

9 Comments
DaS
Dmitri and Sandra - 18 April 2018

Great article! It is truly sad to see all that beautiful content and inspiration go…
And like you said, this was a reminder for us to always diversify our business, do our very best to stay sharp and provide a great experience to our clients.
No doubt, smaller blogs with great intentions will become more popular and hopefully - For every negative there is a positive.
We too are intrigued on how this may affect the wedding industry, but trust that new things will come because the bar is set.

Warmest Aloha, D&S

C
Claire - 12 April 2018

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sara. I really hope Abby can find a way to save Style Me Pretty - at least to keep the content online like Snippet & Ink have done.
It’s an interesting time for wedding blogs, a reminder that everything changes and all of us, bloggers and vendors can help and support each other in every possible way - I especially love what you’ve written about contributing and continuing to support and submit to blogs rather than dumping an ad and wandering off!
It’s lovely to remember that blogs are a community and we can all be a part of that - and I’m sure that will keep them alive for many years to come :-)
Claire x

AB
Amy Bennett - 12 April 2018

Great article Sara. I think it is a great reminder for all of us “vendors” in the wedding industry to focus on improving our own websites as well as submitting to wedding blogs. Keep up the good work Sara.
Amy

AB
Amy Bennett - 12 April 2018

Great article Sara. I think it is a great reminder for all of us “vendors” in the wedding industry to focus on improving our own websites as well as submitting to wedding blogs. Keep up the good work Sara.
Amy

kh
kathryn hopkins - 12 April 2018

It’s quite a shock to lose such an iconic brand.  I’m definitely saddened by the news and feel uneasy that all that effort in building something so special can then be lost at a flick of a switch.  It’s certainly made me sit up and think is there a better way.  As a vendor I have to say I see little return now from blog features or advertising and have been thinking of ways to redefine these areas in my business.  If this is happening to other vendors then they will slowing move away from advertising with blogs which could close further iconic brands…very sad indeed.  At the end of the day unless you are very fortunate we all have to make a living and no matter how much a blog is loved and read if it doesn’t make an income eventually you have to move on.

SH
Sarah Hannam - 12 April 2018

I’m guessing SMP’s demise was finance related - a huge company like OATH would possibly not want to sustain what they see as smaller niche businesses with very limited avenues of revenue.  As a photographer I had a couple of features on SMP which was super exciting, as I felt validated as up to the SMP standard, but I never had a client book me who sourced me directly from there.

I also heard rumblings from a few photographers who were in the LBB and paying hefty subscriptions that with the new layout the LBB visibility was less clear and the non LBB vendors were still getting portfolio pages.

DP
Denis Potasnikov - 11 April 2018

Well said! The blogs are needed and are read and they have direct connection to Instagram, or vice versa. All the best and here’s to many more years of WS.

IX
Imogen Xiana - 11 April 2018

Great article Sara. I really feel for those who have poured their hearts and souls into growing SMP, it’s so sad. I’m totally surprised, but equally intrigued to see how this will affect the wedding industry. The digital era.. nothing stays the same!

Keep up the good work!

IX
Imogen Xiana - 11 April 2018

Great article Sara. I really feel for those who have poured their hearts and souls into growing SMP, it’s so sad. I’m totally surprised, but equally intrigued to see how this will affect the wedding industry. The digital era.. nothing stays the same!

Keep up the good work!

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