Exclusive Versus Non-Exclusive Blogs: What Does It Mean?
One of the most common questions we hear from wedding pros is about exclusivity. What does it mean when a publisher says their blog or magazine is exclusive or non-exclusive? And how does that affect your submissions process? Each blog determines its own exclusivity policy based on a number of factors including readership, content, and publication workflow. The Matchology portfolio includes both exclusive and non-exclusive blogs, and our platform is designed to make submitting easier, no matter which route you take. However, it’s still important to know the difference, so that you can make the right decision when choosing a publisher for your work.
Exclusive Wedding Blogs
Exclusive blogs require the first rights of publication for their medium. In other words, an exclusive wedding blog will only publish weddings and shoots that have not been featured on any other wedding blog AND are not currently under review elsewhere. They do this to ensure that they are posting fresh, exciting content that their readers haven’t already seen, which is why many large national and international blogs classify themselves as exclusive.
“An exclusive wedding blog will only publish weddings and shoots that have not been featured on any other wedding blog AND are not currently under review elsewhere.”
Sometimes exclusive blogs have a window period of exclusivity (which can be anything from 1 month to 1 year), after which the wedding or shoot can be submitted to a non-exclusive blog. Exclusive blogs are also often willing to publish material that has been published in print, since this is a different medium. However, these policies differ from one publication to another. They are usually listed on the blog’s submission page, or can be clarified by the editor via email. The bottom line is that when you submit to an exclusive blog, you are agreeing that they will be the first wedding blog to feature the shoot online.
Print publications often follow a similar policy, but many will require first publication rights overall. In other words, if you’re considering submitting to a print publication, you should do this first, and ask about their exclusivity period.
The most important thing to know about this type of publication is that you should NEVER submit to more than one exclusive blog at a time. You may feel that you will save time by having both blogs review the submission at the same time, but if both of them accept it, you will find yourself in the position of either having to withdraw one of those submissions or having a publisher find themselves inadvertently ‘scooped’ by another blog. Both of these scenarios are likely to negatively impact your relationship with the editor, and you may find that they are not willing to work with you in future. Always be honest about your submissions; the relationship with an editor is worth more than a single feature.
“Always be honest about your submissions; the relationship with an editor is worth more than a single feature.”
HOW TO SUBMIT TO AN EXCLUSIVE BLOG:
- Rank the blogs you are going to submit to in order of preference. This is the order in which you will submit to them, one by one.
- When you make your submission, be sure to disclose if the work has already appeared in print.
- Wait the designated amount of time to hear back from the publisher.
- If your submission is rejected, submit to your second choice, and so on.
- If you do not hear back from the publisher, don’t assume that your submission has been rejected. Follow up with an email before submitting elsewhere.
Non-Exclusive Wedding Blogs
Non-exclusive blogs do not require first rights to publication. In other words, a non-exclusive blog will publish weddings and styled shoots that have already been featured online and/or in print. Many niche blogs choose to follow a non-exclusive policy, because it allows them to publish the very best work in their category or location. These blogs may take a different angle, focus on different images, or have a different readership to the original publication. Non-exclusive blogs can be particularly useful for publishers, as they allow your work to have a second ‘lease of life’ after its first publication, with additional social shares or exposure to a new market.
“A non-exclusive blog will publish weddings and styled shoots that have already been featured online.”
This is not to say that non-exclusive blogs are not extremely selective with the submissions they choose to accept. It also doesn’t mean that non-exclusive blogs are happy to publish work that has been seen multiple times in multiple places already. Content definitely can become oversaturated! Many non-exclusive blogs will ensure that a buffer period has lapsed since the first publication, so that it gets the best engagement for both themselves and the contributing wedding pros. Again, disclosure and communication are key, so always be sure to let the publisher know that a submission has been published elsewhere, and when.
Even with non-exclusive blogs, value the placement of your work, and don’t rely on a ‘spray and pray’ approach to submissions! If possible, you should still submit to publications one by one, but if you decide to send your wedding or shoot to multiple non-exclusive blogs at the same time, disclose that it is a simultaneous submission.
Value the placement of your work, and don’t rely on a ‘spray and pray’ approach to submissions!
HOW TO SUBMIT TO A NON-EXCLUSIVE BLOG:
- If you are submitting a shoot to an exclusive publication, wait until publication has at least been scheduled before submitting elsewhere.
- Choose the non-exclusive blogs you are going to submit to. Ideally, you should submit to them one by one.
- When you make your submission, disclose any previous features of the work and the dates of publication, both print and online. If you are submitting to more than one publication at once, disclose that it is a simultaneous submission.
- Never send out a group email – each submission should still be an individual one.
- We would recommend submitting/publishing with no more than 3-5 publications overall, maximum.
What About Your Own Blog/Social Media?
Many wedding pros wonder if exclusivity rules apply to their own blogs and social media. While this can differ, especially with national print publications, there are very few publications that don’t allow you to share your work on your own channels (or those of other pros involved in the wedding or styled shoot). Exclusivity is really about features on other wedding blogs. Of course, it’s a good idea to hold back on publishing all the images so that you can create excitement around the ‘official’ publication day, but most publishers don’t mind you sharing sneak peeks with your followers.
How Matchology Makes Submitting Easy
One of the great things about submitting with Matchology is that a lot of the work is done for you around exclusive and non-exclusive submissions. When completing your submission, you are asked whether an event has been previously published and if it has, to provide details. Our algorithm takes your answer into account, so that if you say ‘yes’, you will only be matched with non-exclusive publications. This way, you never have to worry about forgetting to disclose a previous publication.
Matchology also only allows a submission to be sent to one publisher at a time for review. As discussed in this article, this is best practice, and ensures that you get the best value from each publication of your work.
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