While many industries have been impacted significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of weddings has seen an especially dramatic shift. Couples scrambled to come up with Plan B (and C and D), honeymoons had to be rebooked, guests figured out how to dial-in via Zoom, and traditions changed. Throughout it all, wedding writers and editors had to come up with timely advice to help their readers navigate this special part of their life. At the forefront of it all was Kim Forrest, the senior editor at The Knot Worldwide. Here, she talks about the experience, and offers insight to publicists on getting the features they crave:
This interview has been lightly edited.
Tell us about your daily routine.
It’s actually changed quite a lot since COVID. I now work from home—which is certainly convenient, but I really miss the buzz of the office. After getting my two kids (ages 6 and 8) off to school, I open up my computer and start the day. One of my favorite parts of my job (and there are many!), is that there are elements of consistency as well as surprises every single day.
I write or update at least one article a day on WeddingWire, and am researching and interviewing sources for future content. I also manage our team of freelance writers on both WeddingWire and The Knot, so I’m constantly in communication with them—fielding pitches, assigning articles, working through edits, and producing their content. I’m also in meetings with both the editorial team and the greater marketing team to discuss our content strategy and new initiatives, brainstorm ideas, and more.
I’m fortunate that I have the flexibility to pick up my kids from school every day and spend time with them once they’re home, so I do a good portion of my work at night after they’re in bed.
How many stories do you work on in a month? How many do you assign and edit? How do you keep yourself organized?
I typically write or update around 20 or 25 articles in a given month myself, but I also work on assigning, editing, and producing approximately the same number of freelance articles across both WeddingWire and The Knot. I am the first to admit that I’m not the most naturally organized person, but I have a variety of content calendars that are total lifesavers.
How do you find sources and products?
I’m always checking out social media and looking at our WeddingWire vendor directory and real weddings to find wedding pros to interview. I keep a running list of pros I’m interested in talking to for upcoming articles, and am consistently wowed by all the creativity going on in our industry—particularly during COVID.
What stands out to you in a pitch from a publicist? The good? The bad?
I think it’s important for publicists to match their client with the right media outlet. I find that I often receive pitches that have nothing to do with weddings, even tangentially. I always appreciate when a publicist has done the research and knows what we typically write about on our sites—and then shares how their client can contribute to that.
How do you come up with story ideas?
With COVID upending the wedding industry, we’ve had no shortage of topics to write about. Couples are stressed and confused about the ever-changing guidelines, and we want to be a resource to answer their questions. Of course, search traffic informs a lot of our story ideas, but so do reading our WeddingWire Forums and social media.
We also work with our Insights team, who are conducting surveys and receiving really interesting data from our users that we can find creative ways to share. And many of our team members, as well as my own family members and friends, are planning or attending weddings, so listening to their own personal experiences can inform some great story ideas.
What's the hardest part of your job? What's the best part?
I’ll be honest, this past year has been really difficult for everyone in our industry—hearing couples’ stories about postponing their weddings or the struggles our industry professionals are facing is hard. I never thought that I’d be writing about health and safety guidelines for weddings, but here we are. And I do feel honored to be entrusted with this responsibility. The best part is when a reader tells me that one of my articles helped them plan their wedding or answered a particular question—that’s super rewarding!
What advice would you give to a publicist to catch your attention?
Similar to the above, I think personalizing the pitch and showing that you understand the type of content we typically create on our sites speaks volumes. Even referencing an article we’ve written in the past is a major plus and shows me that you’ve done the research.