Blog Spotlight with Zara Stone, founder and editor of AlmostZara
AlmostZara combines technology, beauty and the bizarre covering everything from snake massages (yes, you read that right!) to importing a moped from China; pretty broad, then!Today we catch up with the brains behind the site Zara Stone to find out what inspired her to get the blog started, how she comes up with content and what PRs can do to help.
Can you tell us a little bit about AlmostZara…
AlmostZara focuses on technology, beauty and the bizarre. It focuses on subjects I am intrigued and excited by and shares this with people in a friendly, engaging manner. It was started as I felt there wasn't a way to get this mix of content in one place, and I wanted to allow people with all interests a way to enjoy these subjects as much as I do.
How do you source content for the site?
I source content through RSS feeds, PR releases and recommendations from friends. Often, a story on one site will lead me off on a tangent, and many stories I write are unplanned and surprise me. I look for topics that are innovative, interesting and like to make them accessible to people – everyone can enjoy 3D printing, it just needs to be related through a familiar medium such as fashion. I also love beautiful things and try and add that into my stories.
Do you like to write reviews? Do a lot of people read them?
I write reviews on items that have a particular interest to people. These include anything from reviews of services offered by companies, apps for example, to consumer products such as mopeds, and detailing the process; everything from shipping to registering and handling. My moped review has had approximately 700,000 uniques since publication.
How did you build a following for your blog?
I built a following through a variety of channels. Social media has been very important – Twitter and Facebook have been great for building an audience. The main way I get followers seems to be a mixture of providing relevant engaging content with recommendations, posts on topics that people are really interested in, such as getting a refund from the App stores, and importing a Chinese moped are very popular.
Are you a PR friendly blog? Do you accept contributions for content?
I happily accept PR information, and will use this to further/create stories. I do not accept posts written by PR companies, but am open to collaboration on something I find relevant, and I offer ad spaces in the sidebar.
How would you recommend that a PR approach you?
I appreciate a friendly email, that comes with low res images attached, and links to the subject. Post wise, I'll take USB sticks over CDs any day, and if you send me chocolate I'll love you forever. OK, I won't, but I will think of you fondly if I get Wispas.
Marmite: Love or hate?
I love marmite!! But if we're talking about pet peeves in terms of PR interaction a couple would be the 'did you get that email' email (I did and it either wasn't relevant, or it's in a do pile!), the phone call about whether 'I got that email', and the emails about whether I want to provide coverage for a party I wasn't invited to. Recently there have been a lot of 'can we guest post for you about our client' and those are very frustrating. I don't build up a brand to be your free ad space!
AlmostZara can be found tweeting @AlmostZara.