Something new for The Sway: SmartMonetizationSeries!

Written by Hannah on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010


This year we’re trying a little something different for The Sway – it’s evolved, and it’s gone online – as the SmartMonetizationSeries!

The SmartMonetizationSeries is a collection of webinars for online publishers, segmented, and targeted to specific niches to ensure attendees get maximum value for their time with us.

The first webinar in our series has been crafted specifically for online Fashion and Beauty publishers; and we’ll discuss the unique challenges and needs you face when monetising your content; covering how you can drive more traffic to your site, how you can get your users interacting with your content, how you can increase conversions through your site, and how you can start getting real value from your social media efforts.

If you’d like to attend, please click here to register – and hurry, we have limited places available.

We also have some fantastic giveaways from our sponsors; House of Fraser, Red Letter Days, and eBay Outlet!

We’ll see you there!

The Sway Venue for December 8th

Written by Hannah on Monday, December 7th, 2009

After a last minute change, The Sway will be held at The Tabernacle on Tabernacle Street in Shoreditch.

Here’s the Google Map.

This a great venue that’s just been re-opened under new management, so we’re excited to be one of the first events in their new space!

See you there!

The Sway in December: Announcing our Awesome Sponsor

Written by Hannah on Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The Sway is set for a comeback in December and this time ’round, the theme is based on mobile and local blogging; where it’s going, and how you can make moolah out of it.

We’ve got a host of amazing speakers lined up; including podcaster, writer and communities guy for ITV; Gary Andrews, and director of engagement startegy at 1000heads, and The Really Mobile Project co-founder James Whatley.

And we’re also really super excited to announce our amazing December sponsor: the labs division.

Here’s a bit about what they’re up to:

Everyone’s getting more mobile, and this is what the labs team is addressing. customers are not tied to a desk using their computers – they’re out and about, or travelling, or at home on the sofa. They may be using a phone, a laptop, email, twitter, facebook, the web. To see what really works for these mobile customers, the labs team is continuously designing and launching experimental mobile applications. They are looking at activities in cities, and finding ways to recommend good stuff to do tonight, tomorrow, at the weekend, always relevant to the customers’ location and context.logo

One of their most exciting, and relevant projects is the ‘topsee’ application.
Ever wanted to know all the top spots in your neighbourhood? Do you dream of impressing your friends with knowledge of hidden and amazing places just around the corner?

Then topsee is probably your next favourite iPhone app. Offering up central London’s finest in knitted cupcakes, mojitos, courtyard golf courses, Turkish baths, spring rolls, hidden graveyards and macaroons, the app is an ever-expanding collection of the capital’s best kept secrets.

topsee is compiled by an all-star cast of London bloggers, the real experts on the latest greatest places to go and things to see, the top foodie finds, cool bars, shopping spots and quirky sights.

See a cool video demo here.

The labs team will be telling us about topsee, as well as their other innovations, and as sponsors, they’ll be shouting everyone a few drinks too.

If you haven’t already checked out the deets, visit and RSVP to save your spot.

The Sway Video

Written by Hannah on Thursday, October 29th, 2009


The Sway Round-up

Written by Hannah on Monday, July 27th, 2009

What a great night at the Sway last week! Thanks to all those that came along, especially the speakers – and those brave enough to pipe up during The Sway debates.
The fact that it fell on the same day as the Shiny Media going belly up  wasn’t ideal, but I honestly believe that there is still plenty of  opportunity for small publishers to make a living from their websites.
As Alfie from Moblog said, you can be Small and Mighty even if you only have a reasonably small community. Moblog’s understanding of how to run profitable sponsorship campaigns while keeping the company lean and  responsive shows that it is possible to make the internet work for you -  and remember, Moblog was one of the few Web 2.0 businesses not to take funding back when we were all doing it.
Meanwhile, Rob’s 7 Rules for starting a new blog were invaluable for anyone  who finds it easier to sit behind a monitor than to engage with humanity – as well as some brilliant advice about getting traffic and keeping  your house style intact.
The Sway debates were especially interesting this time around, with a  debate on Voucher Codes and their place in independent editorial being discussed. The conclusion seemed to be that people are happy to use voucher codes for products that they would have written about anyway. So long as you know your readers and know what they’d like, most people felt confident that using them is fine.
One point that especially resonated was how you can use information from affliate response and voucher code uptakes to speak directly to brands about advertising. Once you’ve got to know your audience (through meet ups, surveys and comments) you can approach advertisers knowing that even if your readership is small, merchants and brands are likely to get a good response from any campaign on your site.

July Sway speaker: Interview with Sian Meades

Written by Katie on Monday, July 20th, 2009

SianCreator of Domestic Sluttery and freelance writer Sian Meades tells us a bit more about how she got into online publishing, what she enjoys about it, and what she hopes to achieve.

Your websites:

I created Domestic Sluttery four months ago. I’ve also got a personal blog –

What other websites/blogs/magazines do you write for?

I co-edit Dollymix, and write features for WalletPop. I also write for The Hospital Club, Sofeminine and Prime Location. Sometimes I pop up on Hecklerspray too.

How did you get into online publishing?

I started writing for Londonist after University. Rob Hinchcliffe gave me my first paid gig at Yahoo and then I realised that I could make money from writing. I left my job in advertising sales four months later. I’ve been freelance for a year and a half now.

What’s the best bit about what you do?

Writing about stuff I enjoy. I have great clients so my day is always fun. I love that when you’re writing online, you can start a debate and join in a conversation. You get to know your readers. Publishing a post you know people will love is always great fun. You get an immediate reaction and I’ll never get bored of that. Plus, I tend to read morning emails in bed with a cup of tea which is pretty cool.

What’s the worst bit about what you do?

The tax return fills me with dread. Next question?

How did you come up with the idea for Domestic Sluttery?

I wish I knew! It’s a mix of several ideas, and the idea of wanting things to look great, but being too busy to really do anything is something I live by. But the site itself was an accident. A very happy accident though. The name was a working title, but after working on it for three months, it kinda stuck. It’s all fitted into place really well.

How did you get people on board? Are your writers/contributors paid?

I knew most of the people already. Jane and I have worked on previous projects together, Robyn guest edited Dollymix around the time we were really getting into it. She designed it and I think her design has a huge amount to do with its success. Gemma had been involved behind the scenes from the start. The others got involved as we went along. Sometimes, like with Sel and Alex I asked them to write as I thought they’d suit the style of the site, but Sharon, Abi and Christina all offered their services and I’m so pleased they did. I’m really lucky to have such a great team.

The site isn’t making enough money to pay anyone yet, but we’re only four months old! We’re doing really well for such a young site. I’ve always told the girls that as soon as I’m making money, they will as well. In the meantime, they get really good freebies. Working for cupcakes and ice cream isn’t so bad.

Tell us a bit more about your recent London Shopping Event.

It was on Thursday 2nd July at Something on Lambs Conduit Street. It was an idea that popped into my head late one night and before I knew it everyone had got really excited. It went really well, the shop actually had to open up early because so many people were outside! It was lovely to meet so many kind readers. Everyone had a great time and spent lots of money, and our traffic on the site is increasing even more so it’s good to see that the hard work is paying off! We’re already planning the next event, but this one is on a much grander scale!

More here

What else do you enjoy doing?

I’ve just launched my own Etsy shop! I’ve been making jewellery for the last few months and the shop finally went live today! People are already buying so I’m really excited. Making pretty things is always fun. I’m also working on the 2nd draft of my novel. But I keep going out and having fun instead. It’s sunny now. Would much rather be playing outside.

What do you most want to achieve?

Difficult question! I’m only 26, and I’ve only been freelancing for a little while. If Domestic Sluttery was successful and everyone involved could make a decent wage from it, I’d be really thrilled.

Or course, our own TV show, a line of interior accessories and a book deal would be great as well, but I’m just taking each day as it comes. We’re doing really well, hits are increasing each week and people really like the site. I’m happy.

July Sway speaker: Interview with Gemma Cartwright

Written by Katie on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

The wonderful Gemma Cartwright, creator of Big Girls Browse and editor of The Nod, will be joining us in July as one of our Sway Debaters.

We asked her to tell us a bit more about her new projects, how she got into online publishing, and what she wants to achieve.

Your websites:

What other websites/blogs/magazines do you write for?

How did you get into online publishing?

I studied fashion and lifestyle journalism at Uni while running a fashion blog, Catwalk Queen, in my spare time. After graduating I met the Shiny Media founders, who were looking for a fashion writer with blogging experience. Back then there weren’t many of us, so it was a real ‘right place, right time’ situation! I joined them to launch their fashion network, which included a relaunched version of Catwalk Queen, and ended up staying for five years.

What’s the best bit about what you do?

I get to spend all day messing about on the internet, and it doesn’t get much better than that! I’ve also met loads of wonderful people and been given some amazing opportunities to travel and to go to events I’d never normally have access too.

What’s the worst bit about what you do?

There are never enough hours in the day and as a result a lot of emails go unanswered.

How did you get involved with The Nod?

After five years at Shiny I was looking for a new challenge in a slightly different area, and saw an intriguing advert on Gorkana for the role of Editor of a new celebrity-based website. I love the atmosphere of web start-ups, so this really appealed. I sneaked in a last minute application, met the CEO David for two interviews, and the rest is history!

How did you get people on board? Are your writers/contributors paid?

We’re a very small team, and I was the last to come on board so I haven’t had much to do with recruiting yet. I do employ temps from time to time, and commission freelancers to help write profiles and so on. All of them are paid. We also have amazing interns, who tend to do a couple of days a week in return for free cupcakes and my undying gratitude!

Tell us a bit more about Big Girls Browse.

Big Girls Browse is a pet project of mine, and a real labour of love. I’ve always been unashamedly interested in mainstream fashion, and I did some research on the average British woman. It turns out, her measurements are almost identical to mine. It struck me that I’m pretty much the ‘everywoman’ yet I have constant trouble finding clothes that don’t gape in one place and pull in another. BGB is a blog that targets those women who have trouble getting clothes that fit and flatter. The ‘Big Girl’ tag doesn’t really indicate plus size, it was just an obvious pun on the idea of curvy / voluptuous women that I couldn’t resist! I am doing a lot of plus sized content, but I also want to provide useful information for women with big boobs, big hip-to-waist ratios, big feet, long legs, wide torsos and so on.

What else do you enjoy doing?

I’m a bit of a craft geek – I like to knit and sew and I’m also beginning to cook and bake a bit more. I love to travel (researching celebrity holiday destinations for The Nod has definitely given me the bug!) and I’m obsessed with home decorating, even though I’m ridiculously messy and have atrocious taste! Also, I love music, though the only way I really show that now is by playing way too much Guitar Hero.

What do you most want to achieve?

I’d like to prove I’m not a one-hit wonder and create another site as successful as Catwalk Queen! I’d also like to be able to go freelance again somewhere down the line, and write and edit from home. Finally, I’d like to finish the chick lit novel I’m writing and maybe one day see it on the £3.98 shelf at Asda when I go home to visit my mom.

Commission Junction sponsors The Sway in July

Written by Hannah on Monday, July 6th, 2009

We’re very excited to announce that Commission Junction has come on board to sponsor The Sway’s July event.

Commission Junction is a leading UK affiliate marketing network working with hundreds of advertisers. Some Commission Junction clients, including Argos, Credit Expert, and showed their excellence in the field by winning merchant prizes at the recent A4U Awards in London and was also shortlisted alongside Commission Junction at the NMA awards. In addition to their UK advertisers they also have many thousands of international merchants from their offices across the globe including Dell and Expedia.

Since its inception in 1999 Commission Junction has been focussed on building sustainable relationships based on performance. They work closely with the affiliate industry to support innovation and share these developments with merchants and agencies to generate profits.

Part of the ValueClick group, Commission Junction uses its learnings from across each of the ValueClick businesses to better understand the overall online marketing landscape. This enables Commission Junction staff to understand their clients’ unique requirements which, in turn,  facilitates long-term partnerships based on honesty, trust and performance.

To contact a member of the UK team call 020 8785 5870 or visit

The Sway Date is changing

Written by Hannah on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

We have decided to move the date of The Sway to avoid conflicting with another event in London.

We have tentatively booked in July 21. We hope everybody can still make the date, if not, you can change your RSVP at

Thanks for your understanding!

The Sway Feedback

Written by Hannah on Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Here’s a collection of vox pops from guests after The Sway, discussing their thoughts on the event, and also, issues and subjects that may be worth discussing next time.

[vimeo 5064117 530 398]