It's really fun for us to brainstorm how to seamlessly weave brands into our content.- Sarah Hubbell, Editor-in-Chief Emma Magazine
What do you get when you cross a stylish urban sensibility with a DIY home site for twenty and thirty-somethings? If you're doing it right, you get Emma Magazine – a gorgeous, stylish and useful guide for young creatives and moms. Each month you'll find a new issue (available online or on-demand in a print version) that's chock full of useful and accessible DIY projects, recipes and ideas for designing a beautiful modern life.
Emma Magazine is the brainchild of editor-in-chief Sarah Hubbell. Before creating Emma Magazine earlier this year, Sarah lived in Hollywood as the goody-goody roommate on the 20th season of MTV’s “The Real World.” More recently she moved to Arizona with her husband and toddler son.
We caught up Sarah to find out more about some of her most popular stories, why the monthly format works so well for DIY content, and how she likes to work with advertisers and brands.
Emma is a great name – what's the story behind it? Thank you! Evidently people believe it's my grandmother's name (it's not!), and the real story is actually much less sentimental. I wanted a name that was relatable to women in their 20s and 30s. I happened upon a list of the top 10 baby names, and there was Emma! I love that it sounds relatable and sweet, and clearly women in their 20s and 30s were also big fans.
The tagline for the DIY section of your magazine is "If Martha Stewart were a 20-something." Does Martha read Emma? :) Haha, I'm not sure if Martha reads Emma! Many of her employees subscribe to our newsletter though!
What are some of your most popular stories to date? One of our very first features was a burlap wreath tutorial and to this day is still one of the most popular stories. Also, our kid's Halloween costumes and cookie cutter pumpkin carving features were very well received. Our 2-ingredient margarita got a pretty big response, as well. Pour tequila over lime sorbet - so easy! There are so many, it's hard to name just a few!
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You publish regular monthly issues in addition to the site - what appeals to you about the monthly schedule? What does it let you do that a daily schedule doesn't? So many of our readers tell us how much they look forward to the first of the month for the new issue launch. While we do publish content throughout the month, the magazine launch gets readers excited in a way a daily blog doesn't. Also, when there are so many great blogs out there, it's easy for a reader to get overwhelmed, and from a blog perspective to keep things fresh, so making sure our monthly issue is the best of the best is really important. Plus, we have print and Apple newsstand subscriptions, which attracts another set of readers.
You used to live in New York and Hollywood and are now in Phoenix. How is that experience reflected in Emma? Living in big cities has absolutely shaped the content you see in Emma. There is an indie (dare I say hipster?) influence underneath it that reflects a more urban state of mind. Often, women's magazines are targeted to suburban middle-aged women, and while we love those readers, we want to really stay current with what city dwellers are up to as they often predict the trends for everyone else. Also, having dabbled in the TV world, there's definitely hopes and plans for Emma to develop onto the small screen, as well, so it's helpful to have those Hollywood contacts.
What other sites DIY and home sites are your soulmates? Who else is doing interesting work in this area? There are SO many really excellent blogs out there. We actually try to avoid looking to other bloggers too much to ensure our content is truly original, but I love seeing what HGTV interior designer, Emily Henderson is up to. Handmade Charlotte is another great DIY resource that I follow on Pinterest. I also really enjoy following Home Depot's Instagram account, as they do a great job of connecting with bloggers and sharing really solid content on a regular basis.
How do you like to work with advertisers and brands? I love working with advertisers and brands that are a natural fit for the modern domestic. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day recently reached out to us, and it was such a no-brainer, because we already love their products. Because we create and photograph fresh content on such a regular basis, it's really fun for us to brainstorm how to seamlessly weave brands into our content. It often serves the brand better than traditional advertising, because they come across as the leader in the field or the obvious choice among competitors. More recently, we've begun filming video segments, as well, which has been a blast. My degree is actually in broadcast journalism and having appeared on MTV and MSNBC in the past definitely helps me create quality video content. Once we begin releasing videos, we'll be eager to partner with brands on those, as well!
How would you finish this sentence: When in doubt… bake. Baking is cathartic for me, and I'm a bit of a pastry addict, so if I'm mentally caught up in something, you'll probably find me snuggled up to my KitchenAid whipping up something yummy.
Emma Magazine is a new Say Media content partner. Follow Sarah and Emma Magazine on Twitter @emmamagazine.
[All photos via Emma Magazine]