"Hello again Forbes Lifestyle readers,
I just posted a blog entry on LaurenConrad.com about my personal tips for decorating your home titled, Interior Design: 5 Things You Should Know. Keeping a daily blog is a fun way to connect with fans. It’s also a key component in understanding my audience and providing an online platform for my various projects.
Both of my websites serve as the backbone for other business endeavors. While LaurenConrad.com is a place to continue to broaden my personal brand online, TheBeautyDepartment.com is a joint venture that acts as a springboard for developing a line of beauty products.
LaurenConrad.com is now an online community but it wasn’t always an interactive site. Like most celebrities, my page used to be an online press portfolio. But as my list of projects grew I realized I needed a website that would act as a hub for all my projects instead of just a vanity page. I teamed up with EQAL, a great new social media company that currently helps run my website. Their technology platform has allowed me to transform LaurenConrad.com into a one-stop online lifestyle destination by making it an interactive experience instead of a static profile page.
I worked closely with EQAL to design the website. By utilizing various graphic details (such as Polaroid film insets, bow cursors etc.), classic fonts, soft color schemes, textures and clean layouts we created an online identity with a fresh yet effortlessly-chic aesthetic. The new LaurenConrad.com has also consolidated my audiences, making it a desirable space for advertisers and a vehicle that has helped us reach the ultimate goal of monetizing the site.
My favorite part about the revamped LaurenConrad.com is the blog element. The daily blog chronicles my interests—everything from fashion, beauty and interior design to food, travel and even party planning—while housing my current musings. Some of the content is based off requests or ideas sourced from the community. I like to include postings that highlight members. For example, I recently asked readers to share photos of their Fourth of July inspired manicures. By the next day, the site was flooded with photos of red, white, and blue painted nails. To show my appreciation for their efforts, I did a Member Spotlight: Patriotic Polish post where I showcased three of my favorite photo submissions.
I think it’s important to add a participatory element when blogging. It encourages readers to engage and gives you the ability to reactively create content based on community interest.
In addition to LaurenConrad.com, I collaborated with my hair stylist, Kristin Ess, and makeup artist, Amy Nadine, to create a second site called TheBeautyDepartment.com. Through daily posts, we provide expert tips on all things beauty. Many of the posts are syndicated to LaurenConrad.com as well for cross-site promotion.
One of the main motivations behind creating TheBeautyDepartment.com was to use it as an opportunity to get familiar with our market. Our target client seeks knowledge and know-how; she wants to learn how experts accomplish various beauty looks so she can try them at home. She is a woman of all ages and is hungry for “edu-tainment,” which we provide through fun yet instructional visual posts. With the information gained from online polls, reader response and site analytics we continually educate ourselves on our target demographic. Ideally, we would love to create a beauty line—whether on our own or through a partnership—and our long-term goal is to integrate our own products into tutorials with options to purchase through an embedded link.
Branding yourself digitally is not an easy task. Needless to say, extending my online scope has been an exciting process. My sites have already experienced tremendous growth (we already have more than 16,000 registered users participating in the LaurenConrad.com community) and I’m looking forward to the endless opportunities they offer.
What are your thoughts on new media’s impact on expanding celebrity brands? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
And don’t forget to check back in on July 28th to read my blog post about what it takes to develop and launch a fashion line!"