Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
Carrie Harwood, founder of WishWishWish, on collaborating with PRs, the best way to approach a fashion blogger and launching her own paper.
Your blog is dedicated to vintage-inspired fashion and whimsical encounters – tell us a bit about the content.
The blog typically follows my day-to-day activities, chronicling my outfits, inspirations and travels – but don't get me wrong, I’m not posting about how boring my day at university was, or what I ate for breakfast. I try to create a story with my images – whether it’s a shopping trip at home or a product launch in Paris – I like to take my readers with me.
Who is the typical WishWishWish reader?
Young girls much like myself, with an interest in vintage-inspired fashion, photography and eating cake! The majority of my readers come from the UK, with the US following closely behind.
You have 16 different categories on the blog – tell us a bit about the main ones.
That’s something that is going to change now I’m finished up with university and have time to really work on tweaking and perfecting what I started when I was just 17. Most of the categories have remained the same since then! But the categories I find myself clicking time and time again are: what I wore – self-explanatory!; trips and travel – places to visit, or photography from countries I’ve been lucky enough to explore; and hair and beauty, a section that's growing rapidly on my blog.
How can PRs help with content?
What PRs need to understand, is that the majority of fashion and style bloggers work in a completely different way to traditional press – cold, formal emails and press releases aren’t useful to me, however, the opportunity to experience a brand and to record that for my readers is! This ensures original content on my part, and a tailored, honest collaboration for the brand that reaches out in a more effective way.
How do you like to work with PRs?
I love it if a PR gets in touch and sounds as if they have actually read my blog – that’s a good start! If they introduce themselves and the brands they represent that I may be interested in, I can then let them know what works for me and we can go from there. That way it saves time for both of us, as we won’t have to send/receive unnecessary press releases!
What is the best pitch you’ve had from a PR?
Any pitch in which the PR actually values the work you do. Each day I receive email upon email from PRs offering product – some of which expect me to photograph said product (half a day's work), then conduct a giveaway with it (another hour or so) – whilst the brand is receiving (almost) free advertising and I’m gaining nothing. Professional bloggers can’t pay bills with clothing, and it's time that PRs took notice of those who put serious work into their content, from art direction, to styling, photography or video, as we deserve to be compensated for this, and the relationship we’ve spent time building with the consumer they are targeting.
What are your top tips for PRs pitching to you?
First tip, try and get my name right! It's crazy the amount of emails that come through with the completely wrong name! Joking aside, an understanding of what my blog is about and a respect for what I do. Also it’s great if you’re open to hearing my ideas too. Working with a blogger demands a true collaboration in order for both sides to maintain integrity, so listen to how the blogger thinks you could work together, too!
You’ve also got a video category – is that something PRs can feed into? If so, what kind of content are you looking for?
Videos on my blog work in the same way that my other posts do – I simply see them as moving images, another way for my readers to see a place or experience an outfit. Videos are great to put things in context, or simply to add another facet to my content.The market is completely saturated, so if you have a skill that you can put to use that might set you apart from other bloggers, use it!
How often do you post new content on the site?
Things haven’t been particularly regular thanks to a busy university schedule over the past three years, but I aim for every other day, allowing me time to create content, edit, post and promote.
Fashion blogs naturally feature a lot of photography - is that something PRs can help with?
If they can offer up anything from things to photographs, to places to photograph them in, it’s worth getting in touch about.
You’ve just launched a magazine – tell us about that.
Wish is the paper baby of my blog, if you will. It was more for fun of creating something physical, rather than a business venture, but people have received it so positively and that’s hard to ignore! Wish contains a lot less me, and a lot more of the talented people around me – illustrators, singers, photographers, writers – it’s a collection of pretty things from people I admire across the globe.
How can PRs help with the magazine?
Anything from the styling of a shoot, to advertisements – we’re open to ideas!
You also study fashion – how do you balance your study with blogging and the magazine?
I’ve just finished a degree in Fashion Promotion, and maintaining top notch work on both parts was a bit of a struggle, but completely necessary to me. I came out of it with a First Class Honours, despite press trips away during term time. I’m a fast worker!
Do you ever invite guest bloggers to contribute to the site?
My blog is very personal; it wouldn’t work with anybody else’s voice, the same can be said for the majority of us.
Carrie was speaking to Gorkana's Shaun Hill.