We make a cute couple, don't we?!
In a follow-up to my Mediabistro.com Is Gonna Buy a PR Blogger!! story, I decided to try to track down Laurel Touby and do a quick, little interview with her about the CBS Marketwatch story, and where she's going with the Mediabistro site and with blogs in particular.
Oh, and to half-ass pitch the POP! Public Relations blog to her ;-)
So, without further ado ... here's the interview:
Laurel has had a few people call her, post-CBS Marketwatch, to pitch her their blogs for acquisition by Mediabistro (she thought I was one of them), but MB is not necessarily going to be going out and buying blogs. As she noted, "it isn’t necessarily the way that we are going to go, but it all depends on pricing. It can be really expensive to buy blogs."
The MB site is more of a site for the "ambitious, hungry, smart media and writers," and the blog aspect does make sense for the Website. Originally, Mediabistro was just for magazines, but expanded to writers, freelancers, TV, marketing, advertising, book publishing.
And, instead of hiring for people for each beat, and competing with the trades, it makes "more sense to create blogs on these beats, such as insider stuff that would be of interest to marketing people, book publishing people, advertising people. The goal is to have blogs that reach out to each group of people that come to Mediabistro."
Why did she buy Cablenewser? "Cablenewser had a powerful brand already – Brian had developed a strong brand, he had an audience, and Mediabistro wanted to get into that space beyond the classes and job listings we have on the site. So we went out and discussed an acquisition, and now Brian has expanded beyond cable news, to all TV news."
"The site has been been a great draw, and we are estimating that it will have boosted the traffic by 200,000 page views for the month."
The acquistion of Cablenewser made sense for Mediabistro (as well as Cablenewser), as Brian is now getting paid for doing what he was already doing, and he loves it, and it helps Mediabistro expand beyond the products and services, beyond the parties and products, to news content that is of interest to the Mediabistro community.
Laurel has not totally ruled-out acquiring more blogs, but it "it depends on prices – if it’s someone that’s starting out that would be fine, but if the blog is too expensive, Mediabistro will just build their own blogs for that community. It's the build versus buy mentality."
Plus, blogging fits into the whole reason that Laurel started Mediabistro. "It’s a community effort, a community site. A place for people for support, products and services – and blogging is a natural extension of the community itself."
"It's the direction the company (Mediabistro) is going, blogging, plus becoming more of a community network, which will include a social networking aspect."
But, most important for Laurel is that everything benefit the bottom line. As she noted, "Building a community supports the community – as long as there is a revenue stream there. Every thing we do is to support the bottom line."
Laurel was an interesting interview. As a former journalist, it might have been a little off-kilter to have the tables turned on her by a PR person - the flack interviewing the hack type situation.
So, would I sell the POP! PR blog to her? Well, that was an interesting part of the conversation that I didn't include. She did ask me who I thought she should be looking at for acquisition. I was pretty vague, but told her to take a look at the sites that I have listed on the blog. Maybe she'll make an offer to PR Week's Keith O'Brien, or O'Dwyer's Greg Hazley, or maybe Paul Holmes.
For me, she's gotta name a price ...