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Christopher Parr on Luxury Influence

by on October 13, 2011

Award-winning online luxury marketing professional Christopher Parr takes a few minutes to tell Halogen about luxury, influence, and his latest project, Pursuitist. Keep reading for

Can you talk a little bit about where you got the idea to start Pursuitist.com?

  • The idea of Pursuitist.com was to create a travel, style and leisure destination for affluent consumers. For readers pursuing amazing fashion brands, hotels, restaurants, gadgets, experiences, and autos – Pursuitist is a destination site that curates the good things in life. We’ve brought in world-class content producers that have written for Conde Nast Traveler, Forbes, Mashable, Saveur and TechCrunch — remarkable writers sharing remarkable experiences.

How has the experience of the site differed from what you expected it would become?

  • It’s been a blast. As I tell my writers — write about remarkable people, products and experiences. We aspire to go beyond the bling – Pursuitist is luxury redefined. We focus on the artisans that make amazing handcrafted products – from a designer at Louis Vuitton to a 2nd generation organic winemaker in Napa. We pursue to tell the story and go behind the scenes.

You’re still in beta, right? Any hints as to when you’ll officially launch and what that launch might look like?

  • We officially launched in July. While in beta, the Pursuitist editors have diligently curated a rich list of the good things in life to share with affluent readers. Coinciding with the launch, a few of the new contributors sharing their favorite luxuries include remarkable writers: Shandana Durrani (Conde Nast Traveler, Glamour) visits Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Paul Carr (TechCrunch, The Guardian) features his favorite hand luggage by Marc Jacobs, while Erica Swallow (Mashable) shares the top websites for discovering wine.

What is your relationship to the brands you write about?

  • As we’re able to serve up a targeted audience, luxury brands love our platform. We’re also very selective of the advertisers that appear on our site. Pursuitist is truly a targeted online destination for luxury advertisers to connect and engage with affluent consumers. Advertisers have included Burberry, Coach, BMW, Chase Bank, Audemars Piguet, Broadmoor Hotel and Cosmopolitan Hotel. The Pursuitist is a great place to be seen – as our readers are affluent (65% with an annual income of $75k and up) and influencers.

How do you keep your content authentic?

  • There’s a shortage of online destinations for affluent consumers seeking authentic experiences. Plenty of cold bling sites exist, focusing on editorial content with ultra premium and inaccessible luxuries. That’s the void, and why Pursuitist was created — there’s not another site like us. Pursuitist is one destination site with 9 targeted sections (Arts, Auto, Epicurean, Family, Green, House, Style, Tech and Travel) – best described as an online mashup of The Huffington Post and Conde Nast.Our editorial is also different — from our travel journals to our features on amazing artisans and clever destinations. With friendlier and accessible narratives – our readers tell us they feel like insiders, along for the ride.

In general, what kind of lift can this kind of content offer brands? Is this something they should focus on getting more of?

  • We’ve also worked quite closely with other luxury brands to organically integrate and feature their products – from Four Seasons, Hermes, Patron, Gucci, Prada, Robert Mondavi Wine, Ralph Lauren, Lobel Steaks of New York, to Chanel. As we only focus on premier brands and destinations, we are selective of the brands we feature. It’s a terrific halo effect – to be “Pursuitist Recommended.”

Do most brands react to what you write? How do they respond to your content?

  • They love it. The brands, from Marc Jacobs, Land Rover to Viking Range prefer to re-tweet and link to our editorial on their social channels. (See an example of Marc Jacobs leveraging Pursuitist’s editorial here.)

What do you see as the future of Pursuitist.com? Is there anything you foresee in the future that might cause you to shift your strategy a bit, or do you expect the demand for this kind of content to continue?

  • The new social media layer for Pursuitist will allow for our affluent community to share, rank and pursue their favorite luxuries — with an easy sign-on with an existing Facebook or Twitter account. As of yet, there is not a Trip Advisor or Yelp for the luxury category – Pursuitist is positioned to become the premiere destination where the affluent can share and discover remarkable brands, hotels, products and more. When I’m visiting a new city, and searching for a great hotel or recommended restaurant, it’s frustrating to browse through Trip Advisor. We intend to be the alternative – where affluent consumers can discover luxury destinations, products and brands.

October 13, 2011 , , , , , ,

Weekend Reading: The Internet, Influencer Marketing, & Publishers Selling Tablets

by on July 16, 2011

Online Schools released an automatically updating HTML5 infographic on the state of the Internet. Take a look for statistics on tweet volume, time spent on Facebook, and a look at the Internet mood poll. (Online Schools)

Penguin blazes the trail for book publishers with new influencer marketing initiative. (paidContent)

As Amazon’s pumps up their tablet offerings the Philadelphia Daily News newspapers are planning to sell their own Android tablets. Patricio Robles asks “Should publishers sell tablets?” (Econsultancy)

A look at the evolving definition of influence since the start of the social web. (SmartBrief)

July 16, 2011 , , , , ,

What the New York Times Twitter Experiment Means for Publisher Influence

by on July 7, 2011

At the end of May the New York Times replaced its automated Twitter cyborg with the tweets of in house social media editors. The move was a test to determine whether the paper should invest in personalized tweets over a deluge of automatic headlines, but the final decision (if we ever see one) will mark something more significant than just another hire at the paper.

The Experiment

Until a little more than a month ago the New York Times leaned on its brand image and reputation to earn influence in the social world. Journalists wrote and Twitter followers retweeted, but what happened when the New York Times put two of their social media editors to the task of Twitter engagement?

For starters, the New York Times got quite a bit of press. Writers picked out personalized tweets and added them to their blogs, people on Twitter shared their stories, and everything seemed promising for the world of social media. Then I started following the New York Time’s Klout score.

In the week that social media editors @LHeron & @LexiNYT tweeted for @NYTimes the publication’s influence score never budged. It felt like people were engaging, but the score stayed constant at 86 for the duration of their experiment. Of course when it comes to a Twitter handle with 670,759 retweets it’s going to take a lot more than a week long experiment to make a dent in their score, but I hope the paper doesn’t take the “we’re already doing well enough” stance on Twitter.

After all, when compared with the ability of individuals like Justin Bieber, or Nicki Minaj to spread information socially (with klout scores at 100 and 97 respectively), it’s hard to justify feeling satisfied with a cyborg for much longer.

The New Age of Publisher Influence

Any reaction from the New York Times on the Twitter experiment has been hushed, but the days of publications resting on their paper laurels may be over. The New York Times could slide by a little longer with a vaguely cyborg social presence, but when it comes to automation they are one of the few remaining dinosaurs.

Fact of the matter is, conversations and connections are becoming the way of the web. Today real social investment is an option but some publishers are already showing that a hand crafted social presence can help them jump ahead. More than ever consumers are looking beyond search algorithms into hand crafted curation to find what’s important. The best we can do is hope that the New York Times sees that before advertisers realize that Justin Beiber and their very own Facebook fans can drive more conversation than reputable ad supported newspapers.

July 7, 2011 , , , , , ,

Halogen Publisher Earns Spot on Time Magazine’s Best Blog List

by on June 10, 2011

Time Magazine released its highly anticipated annual Best Blogs List revealing the finest on the web for everything from politics to popular culture. Halogen partner The Hairpin was recognized as one of the best 25 on the web.

“Reading it is like hanging out with a few close female friends,” Time wrote about the blog. “The Hairpin’s writers and commenters offer enough intelligence, humor and down-to-earth charm to set the blog apart from the magazines it sometimes spoofs,” the magazine wrote.

If the Hairpin’s cheeky tone and decidedly passionate following isn’t the demographic your after, there’s plenty more diversified content where that came from. Our partner publishers reach more than 100,000,000 unique visitors every month.

Congratulations to The Hairpin for earning a spot in the top 25 of the web and here’s to another year of powerful writing from our select roster of publishers.

June 10, 2011 , , , ,

Web Publishers–Focus on Selling The Next Click

by on May 16, 2011

Both brands and publishers are using social media and search engine optimization as a way of helping consumers discover their sites, products and content. Either the consumer is looking for something via search or they saw something on Twitter or Facebook that intrigued them. As a site owner, the key question is what happens next.

In traditional media, the editor who lays out the page always knows where they want the readers eye to travel. They combine large, medium and small size items across the design grid so that the reader sees and engages in the content according to the editor’s plan.

By contrast, the design philosophy of many corporate and content websites seems to be “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks”, It would seem that site owners are very unsure of themselves. Everything on the page uses the same type face and has the same weight. Rather than saying “here are two articles that you really need to read”, people show twenty or thirty links that go in all directions.

E-Commerce websites though rarely fall into this trap. Once a consumer starts down the funnel towards a purchase all of the escape routes are nailed shut. The site’s goal is to move the buyer towards the checkout ASAP. Everything extraneous is removed. It’s very evident what they want the consumer to do next.

Let me close with four quick suggestions:
1. Know where you want the consumer to go. Have a plan in mind
2. Think about your site as a movie with flow and movement rather than as a static page
3. Write headlines that compel and intrigue the consumer rather just labels that describe whats in the article
4. Embrace the rate at which consumers click through from their first landing page as a major measure of your success

Becoming a star at selling the next click is one of the single most important ways to make your website more effective.

May 16, 2011 ,