Katy Cowan from Creative Boom tells us all about how her successful website came about and how Folksy sellers can get involved with this exciting network!
I was honoured and surprised when the team at Folksy contacted me and asked me to become a guest writer for their blog. Just over a year ago, I would never have imagined anything like this could happen. Let me introduce myself… My name’s Katy Cowan and I run an online magazine called Creative Boom. Designed to celebrate, inspire and support the creative industries, the site was launched in July 2009.
But how did the idea come about? Well, I went freelance in August 2007 and started my own business, providing PR and marketing services to clients across Cheshire and Staffordshire.
When the recession struck in 2008, I lost many clients. But instead of giving up and seeking full-time employment again, I decided to focus on my own PR and marketing to try and attract new clients. But being so small, local newspapers weren’t really interested in running a story on my business and advertising was too expensive and out of reach.
It was around that time that I started to use Twitter to network and meet new people. Talking to other freelancers on the micro-blogging site, it became apparent that I wasn’t the only one out there, struggling to survive the economic downturn.
During my honeymoon, I had a chance to relax and reflect on my life and whilst lounging by the pool, I suddenly came up with the idea for a creative industries blog. Something that was friendly, inviting and welcoming to all businesses, no matter how big or small.
Of course, it would be a platform to raise my own profile but I’d be helping others at the same time, sharing people’s work, news and updates online. Essentially, I wanted to instigate a ‘creative boom’ and that was how the name came about.
As soon as we got home, I told all my followers on Twitter about my idea and started asking for their news. To keep things cheap, husband Tom developed a free magazine WordPress theme and we bought the domain for Creativeboom.co.uk. We were quickly up and running and started to post news and features about thecreative industries.
On our launch day, we attracted over 300 hits. After just three months, we were getting over 1,000 hits per day.
Word spread on social media and we soon redeveloped the site to improve the design and functionality. I constantly asked our followers how to improve the blog and listened to their feedback.
Over 13 months later and we’re now getting over 650,000 hits each month and more than 10,000 visitors per day. Vimeo, Carbonmade and The Guardian are all supporting us and now we’ve been approached by Folksy. I sometimes have to pinch myself.
You see, Creative Boom has been a lot of hard work. I’ve spent entire weekends and most evenings updating and working on the site.
However, Creative Boom has helped enormously. It allowed me to raise my profile and attract new clients as far away as Canada. It also allowed me to diversify my own business – Boomerang, a PR Agency in Manchester – by focusing my services on digital communications rather than traditional forms of PR and marketing. It certainly paid off as I’m no longer a freelancer and now have a team of people working for me.
What’s really been my biggest achievement is helping hundreds of other freelancers and small businesses to survive the recession and win new business – everyone from photographers, graphic designers and writers to illustrators, animators and crafters.
If you’ve never heard of Creative Boom, then you should pop along and say hello. We welcome everyone and anyone who has something interesting to share. Submit your work to firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you read our Submission Guidelines.
Thanks! If you have enjoyed reading about Katy’s fantastic success story we’d love to hear your comments!by