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