Tuesday, November 18, 2008
5 questions: Jennifer Campbell of Fashion Magazine

This is the first in a series of interviews with the people behind Canada’s top magazine websites. Know someone I should interview? Let me know!

Tell me about your site.

Fashionmagazine.com is an extension of FASHION Magazine, Canada’s most widely read fashion publication. We feature quite a lot of the magazine content online, especially slideshows of clothing and accessories. Beyond the photography, it’s usually about 50/50 in terms of new content vs. magazine content. Our biggest source of web-exclusive copy is our blogs. Currently, we have 10 on the site, which, between them, are updated about twice a day. The writers for our FASHION Reporters blog are freelancers, but other than that, nearly all of our web-exclusive content is created in-house. We also have an in-house video team—video is one of the fastest growing areas of the site and I’ve got lots more planned for next year.

We have a weekly newsletter, FASHION Loves, for whatever fashion and beauty pick we’re into that week, like “FASHION Loves…sequins!” We also have an issue preview newsletter that comes out just before our newsstand date and highlights magazine content and any big web exclusives we have that month.

As far as web 2.0, we’re definitely growing this aspect of the site, the big push being our FASHION Reporter Search contest (see below), which encouraged users to submit blogs and then our readers voted on their favourites. We also have a really cute widget that you can put on your Facebook page, iGoogle, etc., and we’re partnered with MySpace Canada’s fashion page to provide featured video and daily links—this has been really fantastic for us. Of course, we also have our own Facebook and MySpace pages. We’re big into social networking around here and we tried to do the grassroots thing with our Flashmob at this year’s Luminato in Toronto. Basically we got the word out through blogs/Facebook/MySpace to show up at Toronto Life Square one Saturday morning, dressed in white. We got over 100 people out and we all converged on Dundas Square, froze for 5 minutes and then continued on our way. We had a photographer and videographer there, so everyone went online after to see their photos and we got tons of traffic and blog coverage and lots of positive response.

What’s your average traffic, and what part of your site is the most popular?

Right now, we’re sitting at about 100K visits per month and growing. The most popular part of our site is our Fashion File pillar, which has all of the juicy runway and merch shots, so no surprise there. Our most popular blogs are FASHION Lovelies, our weekly street fashion snap, and FASHION Reporters, the daily blog from our cross-Canada cadre of style bloggers.

What feature of your site are you proudest of and why?

Currently, I’m proudest of our coverage of the recent L’Oréal Fashion Week. This is the first time we’ve had daily video, plus we had reviews and runway shots of nearly every show. It was a tremendous amount of work for our team and we were all quite harried at the end, but I really think it turned out so well. It was so much fun too!

I’m also really proud of our Reporter Search contest, which launched this year in response to all the emails we got that said: Why don’t you cover Halifax? There’s great shopping in Saskatoon! We did an open call looking for bloggers to report from cities across Canada, then we narrowed it down to 20 semi-finalists and opened it up for voting. We got amazing traffic and media coverage and ended up with 10 great bloggers who are contributing style news from their particular corner of the country. Beyond the numbers, I’m thrilled to be able to have their points of view on the site.

You suddenly have an unlimited budget. What’s the first thing you spend it on?

FASHION Lovelies every day!

What websites and social media tools can’t you live without?

I need jezebel.com and nymag.com like I need air. I also love style.com. They are, technically, competition for us, but they’re in New York and have unparalleled access and blanket coverage. My favourite Canadian fashion blogs are finalfashion.ca and auntiefashion.wordpress.com.

Jennifer Campbell is online editor at Fashion Magazine.

- Kat Tancock
About Me
Kat Tancock
Kat Tancock is a freelance writer, editor and digital consultant based in Toronto. She has worked on the sites of major brands including Reader's Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living, Homemakers, Elle Canada and Style at Home and teaches the course Creating Website Editorial at Ryerson University.
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