Since writing her first short story in fourth grade and dabbing on Lip Smackers lip gloss for the first time, Judy Rusk knew she was meant to be a beauty writer. Fast forwarding to today, Judy has made her childhood aspirations into a career, penning the blog BeautyJudy.com, freelance writing and serving as a local newspaper beauty columnist. Here she shares some of her insight into how the beauty blogging world has evolved, talks about her successful use of Instagram and more!
Q: What came first, your love of beauty products or your love of writing?
A: They both evolved at the same time! I’ve always loved putting pen to paper and wrote my first short story in fourth grade, maybe? But all the while, I sported Bonne Bell Lip Smackers (Bubble Gum and Dr. Pepper were my favorites) and Strawberry Shortcake eau de toilette! I also loved when my mom and I painted our nails at the kitchen table using Wet n’ Wild or Parfait nail polishes in very 1980’s colors.
Q: How has the blogging world changed since you started in 2009?
A: I started BeautyJudy right before the beauty and nail polish blogging world exploded. Now you can find swatches of anything, at any time, on a blog! Social media has expanded, as well – when I started I didn’t use Instagram, Vine or Pinterest. Now, there are so many viral ways to get your content into the hands of readers! I’ve also noticed that with so many more bloggers and outlets to choose from, brands have started to really strategize and change how they utilize us to help drive their goals – there are many more “blogger networks,” and building/maintaining relationships with PR pros and brands is very valuable in today’s beauty blogosphere.
Q: Has your use of social media increased your blog’s success?
A: Definitely! If you are active and engaging on social media, you become more than just a blog, you become a real person, a personality. I interact with so many wonderful people on Twitter and Instagram. I often times post content on Instagram before it’s on my blog, and sometimes it’s exclusive to Instagram. I have noticed a true correlation in the uptick of traffic when I tweet a link or Instagram a photo from a post or contest. I will get a flurry of contest entries or a couple blog post comments as a result.
Q: What beauty product would you never leave the house without?
A: That’s tough. I will say lip balm. My all-time favorite lip balm is Fresh Sugar. That stuff is amazing!
Q: What are some of the best parts of your career?
A: I have run my blog since 2009, but this is the year I’ve started more freelance writing, and that is the best part for me. I get to write more! I’m currently in corporate communications (ha, PR!) but I spent the majority of my career as a reporter, columnist and managing editor in newspapers and trade press. This year, I’ve been published on Nail It! Magazine’s website and I regularly write the Beauty Beat column for the Burlington County Times. I do other beauty trend reporting for the newspaper, as well. The other best part? I get to meet so many interesting and amazing people! From OPI’s Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, to a fellow blogger or a nail fanatic, I love connecting with people!
Q: What about the most challenging?
A: Finding time is sometimes the biggest challenge. It takes a lot of time to put together a minimum of five posts for a week. There’s a lot of swatching, photo editing and writing to be done. It’s also always a good challenge to continue finding ways to stand out and bring readers something that they can’t get elsewhere.
Q: Where do you get ideas for your posts?
A: Reviews are standard, and I love doing them. But when I post nail art or a nail art tutorial, or I write about some of my favorite products, these are the posts that get more engagement, and these are more creative. I’m trying to do these types of posts more. I also read other blogs, and when I consider my content, I think about what I love seeing and how I can bring that to life in my own way. I also use my life outside of beauty to inspire posts. I’ve written dozens of posts in the series, “The Beauty Loser,” which is an honest chronicle of my seemingly never-ending weight loss journey, but has had a happy ending as of late!
Q: What are your PR pet peeves, or what is the strangest pitch you’ve received?
A: Quite possibly the strangest pitch I received was about a toilet paper wedding dress contest. Several weeks later, I got a follow-up pitch that announced the winners – I was pretty impressed with what the women did with toilet paper but it was definitely not the right fit for my beauty blog!
Q: Any tips for PR professionals who want to get in contact with you?
A: My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I am open to pitches about cosmetics and nail products (drug store to the department store), event invites to product and brand launches in New York City and Philadelphia, and sometimes hair care and skin care. I don’t write about cosmetic surgery or permanent makeup.
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