September saw the return of Gemma Cartwright as Editor-in-Chief of Catwalk Queen, a blog she started as a student ten years ago when studying Fashion Journalism at University. Following her graduation, Gemma worked as a freelance writer, mostly for blog publishers Shiny Media. This led to a full time job, and their eventual acquisition of Catwalk Queen.
In 2009, Gemma she took the big decision to leave Catwalk Queen and Shiny Media. “I felt I needed to get out of the ‘bubble’ and try something new.” She decided to return when Aigua Media, who now own Catwalk Queen and other former Shiny Media titles, offered her the Editor-in-Chief role. “The industry has moved on so much since I started Catwalk Queen that it doesn’t feel like coming back to an old job.”
When Gemma started blogging, she says “nobody knew what a blog was and most people thought that what I did was nothing more than messing about on the computer. At the time I never thought that my blog would become a full-time job. I also think that early fashion blogs were often less personal. Now there are bloggers who are celebrities in their own right. They’re style icons, sitting front row at fashion week. Having a blog is seen as a legitimate career, not just a pastime for geeks.”
Gemma is a huge social media advocate, using Twitter and Facebook in particular. ”I use Twitter to ask questions, get opinions and talk to other bloggers, journalists, PRs etc. Facebook is used for engaging with readers. But Twitter is not a replacement for research, and equally research doesn’t just mean going on Wikipedia. Blogs are updated quickly and frequently, so mistakes do get made – but each time you make one of those mistakes it’s a reminder not to get lazy!”
With so many fashion blogs available, Gemma is of the opinion that you have to be one step ahead at all times to keep those visitors coming back. She reads hundreds of fashion blogs, from big, high profile blogs down to tiny, really personal blogs. “I’ve made some great friends through fashion blogging who are now my support network. People to bounce ideas off, to share successes with and to call upon when something goes wrong is invaluable.”
Making the Pitch: Tips and Advice for Pitching to Gemma Cartwright
“No paper! Obviously if a product is being sent it’s useful to get supporting info with it, but why anyone would just send a paper press release in an envelope to a blogger is beyond me! It’s 2011, I spend all day online.
In most cases I prefer short and sweet, with low-res images and the press release pasted into the email. I know a lot of people send things as .doc or .pdf attachments so they look pretty, but to me it’s just one more unnecessary download! Tweets are fine too, anything that gets the point across quickly. I’m not a fan of phone calls, especially those asking me if I got a press release!
My general rule is that I would rather receive too much info / too many press releases than none at all, so I don’t really care how it’s sent so long as I receive it. However, the amount of badly-targeted, irrelevant stuff I’ve been sent over the years is staggering. If you’re going to pitch to a blogger, please look at their site first. I know everyone is busy, but even a cursory glance is better than nothing.”