The Evolution Of Business Blogging: Interview with PR Couture
It’s been quite a year for marketers, the advancement in technology have lead us to be able to create more immersive brand experiences for consumers and evolving the ways that we engage them online. Because of digital progression, it’s not just consumer facing marketers that have had to evolve, it’s also bloggers. And no better example of this is the website PR Couture, founded by Crosby Noricks. Bloggers can no longer just be pretty faces in pictures, they have to be business people. In the past year and half, Noricks has evolved her blog, PR Couture, in a leading industry resource for fashion PR and media professionals. I spoke with her on her achievements.
FMM: You started PR Couture in 2006, the site has evolved dramatically since you’ve created it. How has the site’s evolution surprised you since then you first started?
CN: When I started the site, I had two years of in-house fashion PR experience to my name and a great curiosity about how the industry worked. As a result, PR Couture was very much a reflection of my desire to learn from as many practitioners as possible. What is most remarkable to me is the site has evolved into a daily information destination and much-appreciated resource for the same people that I reached out to in the beginning. That, and that I’m still here doing it, which I’m proud of.
FMM: Instead of being a traditional consumer facing style blog, PR Couture is business blog. with the exception of a few of us like Business of Fashion, Styleite and Fashionista, there are few industry/business blogs online. How have you manage to maintain your niche and grow the site’s audience?
CN: I pay attention to the articles that do particularly well and learn as much as I can from audience behavior. For example, the more entry-level or 101 type articles repeatedly bring in the most traffic each month. So I have learned to continually produce foundational content, even though it might not be where my own interests currently lie. At the same time, I’ve introduced new elements, like our recent Media Relations Week, to keep content fresh and interesting, and hopefully attract new audiences. I’ve also brought on several writers that are based in New York, which has been a great way to grow relationships and brand awareness on the east coast. In addition, Ready to Launch has created a strong platform from which to connect with PR undergraduates, which make up a large portion of readership as well.
FMM: Crosby, you yourself are a business professional for one of our favorite agencies, Red Door Interactive. You’ve chosen a professional career over being a full time social media personality, what’s your advice to other bloggers that are following the same path?
CN: For me, a full-time career in a related field is a great way to stay current on industry trends and to see much of what I write about actually implemented for clients. I get the benefit of well, benefits, steady income, a great team and the opportunity to be part of something that is bigger than a single vision. That works for me. I think the key is to find a work community that sees real value in your entrepreneurial spirit and expertise as a blogger.
FMM: How has PR Couture and your own personal brand helped your agency expand its own profile and build relationships with clients?
CN: We work together to find opportunities that are mutually beneficial. Sometimes I will get an offer for a speaking gig and I’ll bring the opportunity to Red Door if there is a fit. Other times, like with the 3-part series on branded content I did for Fast Company, it’s the Red Door PR team bringing an opportunity to me. I recently created a new role at Red Door for myself, essentially spearheading content marketing services and client storytelling, and I’ve found clients really appreciate a team member who not only successfully executes the strategies she recommends for other clients, but for her own brand.
FMM: In 2011, you launched your first PR book, then adding bespoke consulting services and the recent feature is media lists for the fashion, lifestyle and retail industries. How has self publishing an amazing book effected the audience of PR Couture? How has this impacted the monthly income of the site?
CN: Self-publishing was a huge learning experience. I set out to write a 40 page ebook and somehow ended up with 130 pages in printed form. I appreciate the CreateSpace platform and what it allowed me to accomplish, as well as the integration with Amazon, but I don’t love those royalty fees! Certainly Ready to Launch, consulting and now the new ebook I just released about pitching fashion media (which is a simple PDF download only available on PR Couture), plus the fashion media lists are all bringing in income to PR Couture, which I am incredibly grateful for. Aside from the job board and very minimal advertising, the first five years of PR Couture really didn’t support me in any meaningful way, financially speaking. It’s great to feel like I now have a strong series of products and services and that PR Couture is becoming even more of a brand and resource than “just” a blog.
FMM: The media lists are a bold move, you’re essentially eliminating the middleman – giving brands the contacts they need to develop internal programs. But, other agencies could also take advantage of your lists to provide better client services. How do your lists differentiate from other lists available via a variety of database services (which we both know are hit and miss).
CN: I definitely struggled a bit with the decision, because I am a firm believer in the value of PR and in making an investment in PR strategy. However, at the end of the day, contacts are just that – it’s not a relationship – and ultimately it’s the relationship – whether it’s between a brand and an editor or publicist and editor – that really seals the deal. So ultimately, it doesn’t matter to me so much who uses the lists, as long as they implement best practices and positively advance the art of pitching. That’s why I couldn’t release the lists without a corresponding ebook filled with tips and tricks for doing media outreach the right way! The lists themselves are vetted by the PR Couture team, current and set up for media tracking. I’m especially excited about our fashion blogger list, because it not only includes contact information but also links to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. There are so many ways to begin to develop rapport and learn about editor preferences to inform pitching – it was important to me that this list was more than an email address but was really build for social networking as well. We plan on adding to the lists over time, but we decided to launch with three really powerful lists specifically for fashion brands. So far the feedback has been really positive, and I’m excited to see how this new service offering evolves.
FMM: What’s next for you?
CN: Right now I’m settling into this new role at Red Door and trying to create space for reflection to have my next big idea – the idea for the media lists happened after a highly restorative visit to a dear friend in Seattle. Next up is definitely making a few tweaks and updates to release a second version of Ready to Launch, and planning a vacation to somewhere very far away!
For More On Crosby and PR Couture, visit the links below!
Fashion PR Media Lists – Use code BundleMe25 for $25 off the fashion media list bundle