At DivineCaroline With Rebecca Weeks

02/22/2007

A couple of weeks ago a new divine diva friend,Valeria Maltoni -Conversation Agent - asked me to play along with the meme "5 Reasons Why You Blog." Although this is not in response to that (promise it's coming soon!), the surprises that blogging brings has to be on the list.

That's how I met Rebecca Weeks, the Director, Business Development for Real Girls Media. Rebecca found me through Diva Marketing which led to an invitation to be a part of the advisory board of a new community targeting women 25-54 years of age - DivineCaroline.

Although Rebecca did not ask me to blog about DivineCaroline I thought it would be interesting to explore the behind the scenes reasons of the launch of a new community. For your reading pleasure .. an interview with Rebecca Weeks at DivineCaroline.

Toby/Diva Marketing Divinecaroline- Let’s give Diva Marketing’s readers some of the back-story of Real Girls Media, DivineCaroline.  What was the vision behind launching an online social media community targeted to women?

Rebecca Weeks - We see a void in the marketplace in which women don’t have a home or a single destination that they can turn to.  In 2006, we talked to many women who shared with us that they have very passionate loyalties to their “off-line” communities like book clubs or “mommy” groups or non-profit volunteer work. But online, they don’t know where to turn to find like-minded women or to find out about various causes that they can pursue.

So, DivineCaroline is a platform and a community that aims to be the number one resource for women online. We want to connect people with causes and to other women going through similar experiences, as well as provide them with a simple publishing platform in which they can express themselves online.

Toby/Diva Marketing - Is DivineCaroline for “divas” only or can “divos” play along?

Rebecca Weeks - DivineCaroline is committed to supporting women and enhancing their lives – whether that’s finding new friends, discovering resources for a loved one’s illness or improving communication with men. Of course we want men to participate in this dialogue. We are pro-female, but not anti-male. The fact that our “Relationship” category has the most traffic is evidence that men are integral to our lives.

Toby/Diva Marketing - Social media communities for women are coming on the scene pretty quickly.  MarthaStewart.com is soon to bring out one and then there is BlogHer and the newly relaunched iVillage with more in the works as we blog. How will Real Girls Media differentiate DivineCaroline from other players in the space?

Rebecca Weeks - DivineCaroline combines real voices with professional editorial (thus creating a “level” playing field) along with the dynamism of an online community. These three strategies have not been combined online, so we’re shattering the traditional notion of a publishing site or a portal.

Our content covers all facets of women’s lives, including health, philanthropy, parenting, career, money, relationships, home, food, culture, travel, etc. So, we’re different from iVillage and online magazines because we’re giving all women and organizations (non-profits, support groups, networking groups, etc.) a platform to share their voices. We’re bridging the gap between these causes and the women who care about them.

Toby/Diva Marketing - In an AdAge interview Real Girls Media CEO, Kate Everett Thorp, was quoted as saying, "We want people to go from an article that leads to a conversation and forum.” That’s a great concept. How does Real Girls Media plan to turn that into a reality? How does it plan to help, encourage and support its community to follow the virtual chocolate chip trail from providing content (writing an article) to participating in a deeper conversation (forum)?

Rebecca Weeks - We plan to empower women by publishing their stories alongside professional authors so that they feel as though their voice matters in the world. There are so many intimidating aspects to the current publishing world and we really want to show women that they can share their experiences in a trusted environment. They will feel compelled to deepen conversations with women who write comments on their articles. With house ads and other forms of communications, we will encourage women already writing on certain topics to open a forum or join in one they can relate to. And because we display content based on topic, not source or function, a woman reading in the “Parenting” category can easily see articles, reviews, and forums on all subtopics within that category.

Toby/Diva Marketing - Let’s wrap our interview with what Divas are good at…What’s the best way to have fun on DivineCaroline?

Rebecca Weeks - The most fun and beneficial feeling is to write a story and then see that someone has written a comment about it.

Toby/Diva Marketing - Ooops .. one more! Let's end this on a personal note. From Rebecca Week's perspective where do you see your biggest challenges and opportunities and fun as you head into your social media adventure?

Rebecca Weeks - Rebecca_weeks I suspect our biggest challenge will be brand exposure and awareness. With people currently overwhelmed with about 1500 marketing messages a day, it will be important for DivineCaroline’s value to break out from the clutter. We’re already hearing tremendously positive feedback from users, so now we just need to figure out how to draw them into the site for a glimpse. And ironically, this happens to be the most fun part of working at a social media startup – we’re competing with massive, established media companies with marketing budgets 100 times larger than ours.

Personally, I love being the underdog. It allows us to be creative, to grow virally and to value the growth process, not just success as an end-result.

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