Swoon Worthy by Kimberly Duran has to be the most eclectic mix of bohemian interior glam. Created in 2010 after using her DIY skills to make her Edwardian house a striking contemporary home (inclusive of a man-cave), Swoon Worthy encourages others to try their hand at expressing their own personality throughout their home. In this spotlight Kimberly chats to us about why her media kit is essential reading for PRs who want to work with her, why she is embarking a huge re-brand of Swoon Worthy and why she was thrilled to be included on our Top 10 Interior Design Bloggers.
What’s new on your blog? Well, as much of my blog is focused on the work we are doing on my own home, the last year has been really busy! We’ve recently completely remodelled the dining room, we built a pergola in our back garden and have begun remodelling the kitchen.
I’ve also been sharing lots of advice and smaller DIYs on the way, including an A-Z of Design Tips, a flowchart that answers the question if you should paint a room dark or light, how to keep a lovely home when you have pets (we’ve got three!), ten of the biggest design mistakes and how to avoid them, my predictions for 2017 Interior Design Trends and how to update a room for next to no money.
I also made a number of collaborative videos to share a few fun DIYs too. It’s been busy but really enjoyable as well!
How do you measure the success of your website? I use Google Analytics to track some of the obvious things like visitor numbers and page views but my real success is always in the engagement from readers. If a post resonates enough with a reader that they take the time to leave a comment, tweet me, send an email or share the post with others on social media, then I know it’s been well received. I think having an engaged audience is vitally important because it’s valuable feedback to me that what I’m doing is what my readers want to see.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
The most important thing is to find what makes you unique and focus on that. New blogs are being started every day and it’s an incredibly saturated market, so in order to stand out you have to offer something different and show yourself to be different from everyone else.
You also have to be ready to commit yourself to it. It’s a lot of work and a lot of time that needs to be spent creating really good content. I think there was a time when you could just throw some pretty pictures on your site and that was all it took but these days, you really need to be able to share some well-crafted written content as well as great imagery.
Learn how to use a camera and editing software because your images are what creates your first impression when someone comes on to your site. The more unique your content, the more you’ll stand out.
How do you work with marketers and PRs?
I have a Media Kit which I send out to anyone interested in working with me. In it, there is vital information about me, about my blog, my reach, the opportunities that are available to work with me, my fees, where I’ve appeared and testimonials from both brands as well as readers.
This saves me and the marketer a lot of time which is always helpful! From there, it’s about crafting content that not only reflects my aesthetic and style but what I know will resonate with my audience the best and which will allow a brand to get great exposure to a new audience. This might mean a few emails discussing how to partner and what the best approach is. Every collaboration that I do is individual so the Media Kit just starts that conversation.
How do you use social media to promote and share content? What are the challenges? I’m active across a number of social media channels to promote my posts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I even share my posts on LinkedIn. I use a number of tools to help with this – Later for Instagram, Hootsuite for Twitter and Tailwind for Pinterest so that I can schedule posts when I know my audience will see them.
The challenge is that every platform is a little different and caters to different content. On Twitter you need to capture people’s attention very quickly because it moves so fast so I try to lead each post with giving people a reason to click on the link and always include an image so that the post stands out on the feed. With Facebook, unfortunately your entire audience will not always see every post so it’s important to get as much engagement as possible which boots the algorithm for your posts to get shown. To do this, I normally have a call to action included on these posts so that it’s seen by others in turn. Instagram and Pinterest are both visual so it’s important that you have great images to capture people’s attention. Each one has a slightly different audience and different needs and it’s important to cater to that.
What can PRs do in working better with you? I think flexibility is so important. Show me you’ve done at least a little bit of research, read a few posts and have some understanding of what I’m all about, come to me with a creative idea and then let’s work together to perfect it. I know my audience really well and what they respond to so if I suggest something different to what was originally presented, it’s because I want the collaboration to be a success and I know from experience what has and hasn’t worked in the past. So a willingness to really spend some time to get it right is important to me.
Also, please don’t just email me and ask if I’ll put an infographic on my blog or share a pre-written post with my audience or ask me to spend a lot of time on promoting your content but have no budget or simply promise ‘exposure’. My blog pays my bills and both my audience and I need to be getting something back from our collaboration.
I think a lot of PR’s unfortunately view blogs as free advertising but we work really hard, blog posts literally take hours to create and we’ve taken the time to develop a trusting audience – when a PR appreciates that fact and respects what you do, everything always goes so much smoother.
What has been your blogging highlight of 2016? I’ve had some really great collaborations – styling for Sainsbury’s, creating video content with Swift Cover, I created a beautiful botanical styled summer table for Halsted Designs. I love collaborations that allow me to get creative and flex my design muscles a bit!
I also was absolutely thrilled to be included on Vuelio’s Top 10 Interior Design Bloggers list this year. I’m in incredible company and as it’s the first year I’ve been included, I was so honoured. It’s really an amazing privilege to be recognised within your industry, it means a lot to me and keeps me striving to better myself and my blog.
What are your plans for your blog in 2017? Well, I’m just about to embark on a huge rebrand at the moment for Swoon Worthy so that’s rather exciting for me. I’m working with a really talented designer to create a new logo and website to keep up with the changing times and to make sure my blog really reflects what Swoon Worthy is all about right now.
I’d also love to keep interiors as the focus but also vary the content a bit to include a few more topics like food, beauty and travel, all of which I love and excite me so being able to expand the blog into these areas would be rather exciting.