Media interview with Amber McNaught, editor of and

Amber McNaught is not your typical blogger. For one, she runs four of them. She really knows what she’s talking about. Find out how she does it below…

About the publication:

Who reads it and how many of them are there? and attract around half a million readers per month, between them, with the other two sites in the network adding another 50,000 or so to that figure. Our readers are mostly women, aged between 18 – 45, from all over the world, although the majority are based in either the US or the UK.

What subjects do you cover? What stories are you most interested in covering?
Our sites are female-orientated and cover fashion, beauty and lifestyle topics. focuses on bad fashion and “what not to wear” style items; is all about footwear, with a focus on high heels and fashion-forward styles; is a beauty blog, which mostly concentrates on products for women with pale skin.

What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
All of our sites are very informal in tone: the aim is for it to feel like a chat with your best friend, as opposed to a magazine-style editorial. The sites are very opinion-led: we don’t claim to be experts or industry insiders, but aim to provide a venue for our readers to say what they really think about issues surrounding fashion and beauty. You’ll never find us using phrases like “bang on trend” (other than ironically!) or offering advice on how to wear this season’s “hot” trend.

About you and freelance journalists:

<strong?Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so, how?
We get quite a large volume of on-spec applications, so I prefer freelancers to just keep an eye on the site they’re interested in writing for, as we generally advertise vacancies on the sites themselves.

Name the three most important attributes that make a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again?
Talent, creativity, and, most importantly, reliability. I’ve had problems in the past with people promising to provide X amount of posts per week, and then having to be constantly chased up: if someone is unreliable, I will never use them again, no matter how good their work is.

If you can, tell us about the best approach you’ve seen from a freelance…and the worst…
In general, the best approaches come from people who have obviously read the site they’re pitching to, and who can demonstrate that they have a really good handle om the type of thing we typically publish. I like to work with people who really “get” what the site is about, and who are passionate about the subject, rather than people who begin their approach by telling me they “don’t know anything about fashion” but are sure they’ll be able to find something to say about it.

The worst are the emails I occasionally receive from people who pick the sites apart in a bid to demonstrate that I “need” them to make things better: I’m looking for people who will be easy and pleasant to work with as much as anything else, so an abrasive or arrogant attitude will never get you far!

About PRs:

Do you work closely with PRs or do you keep them at arm’s length?
I’m always happy to hear from PRs: I wouldn’t say we work “closely” with them, particularly, but if they have something to pitch that’s of genuine interest to my readers, that’s great!

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
The thing that would make the most difference for me would be for PRs to understand that bloggers are not all the same. I think there’s still an idea that bloggers are all hobbysists who don’t take their work seriously, and who can be persuaded to write almost anything in return for a freebie: I’m sure some are like that, but some of us are professionals who are making a living out of it, and who hold ourselves to the same standards as journalists. (In fact, some of us ARE journalists, who have either made the switch to blogging, or who do it in addition to writing for the traditional media.)

How should a PR approach you about their client?
By email, with the text in the body of the email (no pdfs!) and without attaching dozens of high-res images!

About you:

Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I started out as a journalist, and worked for a couple of local newspapers, before moving into PR for a couple of years. After that, I decided to go back to journalism, this time as a freelance: blogging was still a fairly new thing at the time, but I saw an advert for freelance bloggers, and decided to apply – I’d been hobby-blogging at my personal blog, for a few months at the time, and going “pro” seemed like a natural extension of the freelancing I’d been doing. I really enjoyed it, but had always wanted to be my own boss, so I decided to start my own network, and have been doing that ever since!

Do you tweet? Why, why not?
Yup: my main Twitter account is @foreveramber, and I have accounts for each of my blogs. I think Twitter is essential for bloggers: a lot of people use it more or less as a replacement for RSS now, and follow the blogs they like through Twitter or Facebook, so having a presence there is a really good way to communicate with readers, and drive traffic to the sites. On a personal level, because I work from home, Twitter serves as a virtual water-cooler, and gives me a bit of much-needed social interaction throughout the day.

[lnk||_self|The Fashion Police]
[lnk||_self|Hey, Dollface!]
[img|jpg|Amber McNaught]

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