Blog Spotlight with Fiona Maclean editor of London Unattached
Tell us about London Unattached.
London Unattached was created eighteen months ago because, as a marketing and communications specialist, I wanted to understand more about social media. Writing about life in London seemed a logical starting point for someone who has lived here for over 25 years. The blog has grown rapidly and now gets somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 unique hits a month and over 100,000 page views. I am rapidly developing a freelance writing career through contacts I’ve made writing the blog. That includes writing a regular London restaurant review column and freelance travel articles for a number of publications.
How do you source content for your blog?
When London Unattached started it was predominantly about my personal interests. So there’s a lot about food and eating out and a growing travel section. Some content literally is my life (it is, after all, a personal blog), but as the site has developed, I’ve increasingly tried to include things that I believe will be of interest to my readers. I read press releases that are sent to me, keep a watching eye on twitter and generally try to pick up on relevant trends.
Do you like to write reviews?
I’ll review places, events and products which are relevant to my target readership. Please don’t offer me organic baby food (even if I do agree that it’s a nice idea) or ask me to review ready meals for a family of four. I hope that by keeping my reviews relevant readership will grow. My book review of the 5:2 diet book by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer is currently one of my most popular pages, with nearly five and half thousand unique views since I wrote it in March.
The current structure of London Unattached allows for product reviews, travel reviews (e.g. hotels, out of town restaurants, spas and even airports), restaurant and bar reviews. I don’t generally cover fashion and I’d hope any PR approaching me would have checked and noticed the categories I cover. There’s a lot of benefit in linking a review to a giveaway – it helps generate focussed traffic for the brand. And if something is ‘marginal’ for London-Unattached then I may include it as a review and giveaway where a simple review would be inappropriate.
How did you build a following for your blog?
I use Twitter and Facebook. I have a background in marketing so I am reasonably good at SEO. And, I promote the blog on various relevant networking groups. I try to engage with my readership by replying to their comments and by writing more on popular topics. But that is balanced by writing more about the things I want to cover or that I think deserves space. For example, if I was only going to write recipe posts that were popular, they would all either be diet or chocolate focussed.
Are you a PR friendly blog?
I’m a PR friendly blogger and I’ll happily accept sponsored posts that fit in with the structure of my blog. For example, events need to be in London or nearby. I won’t reproduce press releases (I want unique content), nor will I publish reviews of goods that I haven’t tried myself except as clearly marked sponsored posts.
How best do you like to be approached by PRs?
Sympathetically: I’d like all PRs to have read at least some of my blog before they contact me, if appropriate to have recognised the value that it can give to their brand and to realise that there are very limited ways to directly monetise a blog, but that the blogging community can influence decision making. Asking me to create a recipe in exchange for a pot of jam probably won’t work unless I was planning on using jam in a recipe anyway. I’m always happy to discuss ideas though.
The best way to get hold of me is via email. If you want to chat on the phone or meet up, I’m always happy to find a time to do that too, but I’d rather initial contact was by email.
Marmite: Love or hate?
Love, especially as a secret ingredient in a recipe.