Gorkana meets...Glamour.com June 2015
Glamour.com is the online site of Glamour, one of Britain's favourite women's monthly lifestyle magazine. The site features news, entertainment, celebrity, hair and beauty, and fashion.
The site currently attracts around four million monthly unique users, with 35 million page impressions. Big numbers, says Natasha, but the aim is always to boost them. The team is currently looking at increasing home grown traffic.
Natasha started her career in print film journalism, before working on Dreamweaver coding for a TV website. She then joined iVillage, where she covered topics as varied as cars and astrology, before taking a role at Handbag.com, where she was sex and relationships editor before being made editor. She joined Glamour seven years ago.
Charlotte was editorial assistant at Savoy Style magazine 12 years ago, before taking up a mobile editor role for Conde Nast, working on WAP content for GQ, VOGUE and Glamour. She then became entertainment editor for Glamour.com before being made deputy editor.
Rebecca started out on a three week work experience placement at VOGUE.com, where she first met Natasha when the team was launching Glamour.com. After a brief stint at Sky, she returned to Glamour. When both Natasha and Charlotte were on maternity leave last year, Rebecca covered big parts of their roles.
There are nine people on the Glamour.com team. The team regularly changes its set up, and at present instead of having dedicated beauty or fashion writers, there are just writers, so that everyone on the team has an opportunity to cover something different.
Senior writer Ella Alexander might write a big feminist piece, whist junior writer Alice Howarth may cover a new porridge cafe that’s opened, for example. Also on the team are news editor Leanne Bayley and picture editor Sandra Waibl, as well as recently appointed social editor Emma Gannon.
Emma’s appointment is the first purely social role in the Conde Nast family and is a reflection of where content is going, says Natasha. Social will be a big focus over the next year, and she is keen to make sure that all Glamour’s social platforms each offer something different – some stories may work on Twitter, but not on Facebook.
“Social is our big thing from yesterday onwards,” says Natasha. The Glamour Women of The Year Awards 2015, which took place last week, saw her Periscope-ing, whilst someone else was handling Snap Chat content.
PRs should make contact if they have ideas about how a story might work on social. Everyone on the team has their own personal platforms. Natasha recently did something on Instagram around a popcorn handbag - her most popular post to date.
Whilst a lot of online content is planned around a month in advance, social can also dictate the stories the team picks on a daily basis. If Rebecca is pitched something that is relevant to that day, or example trending on Twitter, she’s more likely to want to cover it there and then. It will be more interesting than hearing about a product that is due to come out in the next few months.
A social mention is often just as good as making it onto the site. Natasha might not have used the popcorn bag on the site, but using it on Instagram was another way to get coverage. Desktop use is decreasing, whilst mobile access is on the rise. It’s just as important that someone sees the popcorn handbag on social via their phone, as seeing it on their desktops.
Working with the print team
The print and online teams sit alongside each other. Jo Elvin, Glamour editor, works closely with Natasha to ensure the tone of Glamour runs both through the magazine and online. Online always needs big stories that draw readers in, but the team likes to assure the readers that it’s not all about Kim Kardashian.
There is a lot of engagement with readers, and the team runs focus groups throughout the year to find out what they do and don’t like, but the team sees Twitter as the best way to find out what readers are thinking about Glamour.com.
A typical reader is in her late 20s to early 30s; she tends to have a couple of splurges on designer clothes, but still shops at ASOS and H&M. She has Instagram and Twitter accounts, is a TV binge watcher and likes shows like Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. She loves her celebrities, fashion and beauty products. She’s forward thinking and independent, and is starting to focus on her career. She also wants more than shopping ideas or celebrity news when she visits Glamour.com, and likes strong opinion pieces.
“Mobile is the way forward,” says Natasha. Readers are more likely to access Glamour.com via mobile, compared to desktop and tablet. She knows that people on the way to work are not going to any one site, and often have a variety of things to choose from in their social stream. It's Glamour.com’s job to make sure they’ve delivered content to somebody’s platform that makes them want to click through.
The team has already optimised Glamour.com’s mobile offer, but there will soon be a compete change as to how content is delivered across all Conde Nast sites. Natasha can’t give much detail at this stage, but readers are going to notice a big difference.
Around 20 to 25 news stories, which are broadly celebrity-based, are posted on the site each day. Five to 10 will be picture led stories, alongside one or two product or celebrity-focused galleries. In total, there will be between 30 to 50 new pieces of coverage posted each day. Brands don’t need to be established to be covered, but there needs to be a reason for the team to cover something.
Readers like the tone Glamour.com uses to cover fashion, says Rebecca - “it’s authoritative, but friendly and approachable.” There is a big trend focus, but it’s also about translating those trends into something that’s relatable and usable for readers.
Each year there are two to three big trend guides across fashion and beauty, which always perform very well. These are then broken down into shopping galleries and product recommendations.
When it comes to fashion and beauty stories, they need to be unique, shareable and something that everyone is talking about; whether it’s a new product launch or a celebrity who uses strawberries to whiten their teeth.
Natasha loves tech and is keen to do more at some stage. The team has started covering apps, but would like to hear more ideas from PRs.
The site features a lot of the magazine’s book content, and there are also online book guides twice a year (Christmas and Summer). The magazine also runs two to three book club events each year. Don’t just think chic lit, says Natasha.
The team has built up special relationships with some authors who have provided great ways of creating fresh content. There is also an Author Inquisitor interview, which asks about how authors write and what they read themselves. All book content ideas should be sent to Rebecca (although Natasha loves cook books).
Glamour.com has always covered food, but the team wants to be careful not to concentrate content around one area – London – like so many of the site’s competitors seem to do. That said, stories like the '10 best rooftop bars in London' will always do well.
The team is doing more and more fitness content. There has always been a lot of food-based health content and health tips. One of the site’s most successful features was on foods that can give you a flat stomach. Health-based recipes also tend to do very well.
There is regular travel content on the site and the team is about to do its first collaboration in the magazine. Travel content also tends to do very well on Instagram. They wouldn’t cover travel news, but would focus on trips away with the girls, etc.
Working with PRs
“Ultimately we can’t do our jobs without PRs,” says Natasha. A good relationship with a PR is not just them approaching her with ideas; it’s often her going to a PR and asking what they are working on."
PR's are important to help with content across all areas of the site, whether it is accessing talent or seeing the latest fashion products.
For fashion and beauty in particular, PRs are essential says Rebecca. She likes to be able to put faces to names, and hates that she has been emailing some PRs for six years and has yet to meet them.
She never picks up the phone, but she does read her emails. “I don’t mind if you have to email me 10 times a day,” says Rebecca.
Charlotte covers celebrity content on Glamour.com, so much of her content is interview based. “Without you guys I wouldn’t have any content.” She’s looking for exclusives, especially global exclusive content. Access is essential. Unless it’s Tom Cruise on the line, she doesn’t want to be called.
Some features are done on a yearly basis, so are easily planned. But the team is also planning monthly, weekly and daily, which can often change at the drop of a hat.
When it comes to product news stories, Rebecca doesn’t want to know about it months in advance. It either needs to be available now or tomorrow. The same goes for exclusives, if she can have something for tomorrow, great – but if it’s an exclusive in six months, she’s not interested.
If makes sense to meet up with PRs, even if it’s a 15-minute coffee to explain the brands you promote. The team then has a contact and it makes a massive difference when you can put a face to a name. Afternoons are always best for coffees.
Natasha also doesn’t mind being contacted via social media. She’s often more inclined to respond. Rebecca, who gets between 100 and 200 press releases every day, recently met up with a PR who tweeted her, after the person had emailed her many times about meeting up.
The team is always happy to go on press trips. If it's a celebrity-focused trip, it’s best to send it to Charlotte, while fashion and beauty-related press trip ideas should go to Rebecca. More general ideas can be sent to email@example.com.
The team is happy to use celebrity branded images.
Charlotte says celebrities that resonate with Glamour.com readers fall into three groups: established celebrities (Beyonce, Blake Lively, Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley), up-and-coming Hollywood talent (Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner) and vloggers (Zoella, Tanya Burr).
Exclusive means only sending the story to Glamour, says Charlotte. “If you can see it somewhere else, what’s the point?” The team is happy to get something early, but it would need to be a minimum of two days.
Catching their eye
- Rebecca is looking for timely emails – something that is of the moment.
- If it’s a celebrity offer, make sure the celeb's name is in the subject line, says Charlotte.
- Be as tailored as possible says Natasha.
There are several different types of video content featured on Glamour.com. Charlotte creates exclusive interviews or gets exclusive clips from films. Films need to be on brand to work (think 50 Shades of Grey, Far from the Madding Crowd).
The team has always made hair videos, but there is now an increased push to create more, says Natasha.
When it comes to working with a brand, Rebecca believes collaboration works best. She is constantly sent videos that look too much like an advert - she’d much rather work with a brand to create something that is unique for both them and Glamour.com.
Most clicked on stories
- Amy Schumer's acceptance speech at The Glamour Awards last week.
- The Royal baby.
- Blake Lively's baby.
- Flat shoes at the Cannes Film Festival.
- Wedding galleries.
- Spring Shopping Guide (yearly feature).
- Anything hair!