Small Business Stars ‘The Editorial Entrepreneur’ Part 2: Angelica Malin of ‘About Time’
August 8th, 2014
This week’s small business star is the second in our Editorial Entrepreneur series: Angelica Malin. Angelica is the founder and chief editor of About Time, an online lifestyle magazine that focuses on the use of…time.
Angelica curates and edits About Time with the help of her network of writers who are positioned all over the globe. Angelica commissions many of her writers over social media after they pitch to contribute unique editorial, opinion or commentary for the publication over platforms like Twitter and Instagram. They all work toward the same goal – to provide readers with the best time saving content.
About Time, popular with foodies, travellers and artists, has propelled Angelica from small publisher to respected editor, sourcing content for all verticals from all corners of the earth while also writing for national publications like the Mail Online. She tells us how she harnessed the web to realise her editorial ambitions – from finding advocates, to developing entire writer networks and discovering growth by pushing boundaries.
1. I discovered two thirds of my editorial team through social
I have always been fascinated by time. The idea behind the magazine was to down-scale traditional editorial to reflect the fact that there’s always so much on even just in London and inversely we have less and less time than ever. We wanted to say: ‘it’s about time you did this’. This this one thing, this one event, this one play – and it’s really worth your time!
The name for About Time was derived from a Zadie Smith quote. In On Beauty, she writes ‘Time is how you spend your love’. The idea that time is a currency of love really fascinates me. Especially in London where we’re always rushing and trying to fill every moment.
About Time is a socially-sourced magazine. Many of our contributors, writers and content ideas come from Twitter. In fact, I discovered two thirds of my editorial team through social. We allow people to pitch to write features for us through Twitter; it’s like reverse journalism, where our editorial is opened up to the public, whether or not they are qualified journalists. You just have to have passion to write for us.
2. Running your own business is full-on
Most of my evenings are taken up with work. And by that, I mean eating canapés. Also magazines tend to do best when people have time to enjoy them, so I find myself working evenings and weekends too.
3. Working with the Mail Online was a game-changer
I realised there was something in the concept quite quickly. We had 12,000 hits on our launch day and since then I’ve been focusing on building it with more writers, features and branded content. One of our posts went viral in June (on why it’s about time we banned yoga selfies) with 75,000 hits in 48 hours and 11k Facebook shares. That kind of thing is very, very surreal.
I suppose the real turning point was when we started working with the Mail Online, it gave our content a seal of approval from the world’s most successful website, and in terms of traffic, was a real game-changer.
4. My business plan is slightly jokingly based around photos of cake
Web editorial needs to be engaging, short and picture-led. I’m often asked what my business plan is and I say ‘people like photos of cake’. Although it’s a joke (kind of), I do genuinely believe there’s a power in the imagery for food and lifestyle websites. All the photos on the site are professional and usually ours. People are obsessed with the idea of ‘shareable content’ at the moment, but creating something truly shareable content isn’t easy.
Sourcing through social definitely helps. We’re inserting ourselves into narratives already taking place on the web, and using a group of writers who are clued up with the power of sharing online.
5. We’re growing by exploring new verticals
We’re looking at expanding into new content areas. This month will see the launch of a luxury sports car column, men’s fashion and beauty. Beyond that, e-commerce is on the cards for the end of this year, and hopefully an app next year. But it’s all a matter of time! Ironic, really.
6. Be ready to respond to your audience.
My advice: know your audience. Sometimes it surprises you. Although we’re a female-focused magazine, our male audience is constantly growing and we’re having to respond to that in editorial. And when in doubt: keep it short. Young people’s attention span is apparently only five minutes but I would half that with online editorial. With About Time, if the features takes more than three minutes to read and doesn’t make you hungry, happy or excited, then I probably won’t run it.
Find out more about Angelica and take a look at her magazine About Time by visiting: http://www.abouttimemagazine.co.uk/ (external link)
Catch up on last week’s Editorial Entrepreneur, Serena Guen, founder and editor-in-chief of SUITCASE magazine.
For more advice and insight from business owners, visit our Small Business Stars hub.