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Diana Mackie – Content Manager, Hometalk

So you’re in need of new flooring for your home but don’t want to break the bank. You might want to consider using paper bags, stains, Elmer’s glue and polyurethane. Or perhaps you have an old tire you changed; that could be the base for a small side table. Just some thoughts, courtesy of the members of Hometalk—the largest home and garden social network online. Launched in 2011 by Yaron Ben Shaul, Celeste Kumelos and Miriam Illions, Hometalk is a knowledge hub that connects the inquisitive, the professionals and the ingenious. As Hometalk’s newly hired content manager, Diana Mackie has her eye on them all.

Having joined in early April, Mackie oversees all editorial for the site’s blog and newsletter, which curates topline content shared by users and enhances it with useful supplementary information. She and her team also comment and report on real time trends among the thousands of posts being shared by users located throughout the country. Never a dull moment when you consider the network is frequented by millions.

“When it comes to content on the site, Hometalk members are so numerous and creative – their collective ideas result in stunning, compelling, and entertaining stories and posts. The overall creative power is amplified as they are continually inspired by one another as well,” Mackie said. “Hometalk’s user-generated content goes above and beyond what any single editorial team could ever hope to dream up—or at least ever write—in a day!”

Mackie said she became attracted to Hometalk while browsing her favorite shelter blogs. “I thought they had an incredibly unique offering, and were on the verge of some really exciting growth that I wanted to be a part of.”

The growth she saw in the network runs parallel to the meteoric growth of the home digital sector. Several years ago, this area of consumer technology was categorized by stationary devices such as DVRs, HDTVs and home networks. It now includes mobile technology used through smartphones, tablets and any other handheld gadget that puts information at our fingertips whenever we want it. Our digital “homes” are now wherever we are.

“It’s been well-documented that people are increasingly using their mobile devices for entertainment and other resources while out and about, and content platforms like Hometalk are well suited for both purposes as it provides a steady stream of new content in the site’s main newsfeed, along with a winning mobile site,” Mackie explained. “Thanks to the digital landscape, DIYers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and empowered, as they gain inspiration and confidence to attempt their projects by sharing their experiences and instructions online.”

On the network’s appeal to professionals, she added, “The importance of experts is also becoming increasingly obvious. They play a key role in weighing in on tips and safety, and add tremendous value to the pool of information from which consumers can make the most informed decisions possible.”

In addition to her editorial role for the blog and newsletter, Mackie also facilitates and maintains content for Hometalk’s various media partners, such as Time Inc.’s This Old House. With such high-profile collaborations, there’s obviously no lack of demand for marketing on the site, but Mackie emphasized the need for innovation and relevance.

“For the businesses and brands within the digital home sector, it is clear that content marketing is present and future. Businesses are increasingly looking for innovative ways to tell their story and readers are increasingly identifying with the everyday fellow consumer, as opposed to a distant, overly editorial or commercial voice,” she said. “Hometalk is a place for the casual and friendly brand voice, much like what you see on Twitter. It offers brands the opportunity to share stories and advice in a human-to-human way, as opposed to sending out corporate advertisements.”

Mackie’s job is a prevalent one among not only social media networks but any outlet with an online presence. For those interested in considering such positions, Mackie described her background as a unique blend of editorial and marketing roles. She joined Hometalk from B2B video distribution network Rightster, where she said she collaborated with editorial directors and business development planners and learned how partnering content and cross promotion can truly be a win-win for everyone. “For such an endeavor to be successful, one must understand that any given topic needs to appropriate spin and angle to become a successful news story, which is probably the most valuable lesson that I’ve learned.”

Prior to Rightster, Mackie spent several years as an advertising sales manager for Newsweek, where she said she witnessed how “advertising and good brand marketing makes this World Wide Web go round.” She also honed her online editorial style while working for House Beautiful and the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. “There I helped turn technical data and research into digestible and informative blog posts. I also learned the power and importance of creating content that can be easily shared to social networks.”

Just a couple of weeks in her position, Mackie’s short term plans include expanding Hometalk’s overall reach by curating optimal content in an easy-to-share and highly informative format. She also aims to expand editorial and content partnerships. For the future, Mackie still sees fertile ground in the midst of Hometalk’s success.

“In the long term, I hope to lend an especially influential hand to Hometalk’s successful trajectory. The wonderful thing about start-ups is that each person has the potential to affect significant progress and growth. The possibilities for my long-term plans are endless!”

Pitching Tips

While curating content for the Hometalk blog and newsletter, Mackie welcomes pitched ideas.

“When I find a truly great story or piece of information shared to Hometalk, I incorporate it into our editorial story-telling. Genuinely interesting or helpful tidbits are always appreciated, and smart brands know this is the best way to win loyal customers,” she explained.

As far as advertising and marketing, Mackie reasserted that relevance and innovation are keys to building a presence on the site.

“We think every brand, event or product has a story to tell, and we welcome anyone to tell us that story, especially as it relates to the home and garden space. Many brands are also experts in what they are selling, and we strongly encourage them to share their knowledge or expertise with the Hometalk community, particularly if they can provide answers to popular user questions in our Q&A section.”

Mackie is best reached by email.


Photo credit: Christina Kofron

About Allison Richard

Allison Richard writes features and leads international content for Cision Blog. She oversees east Asian media for the research department, which suits her perfectly as she loves languages and culture. She also likes yoga, useless trivia, painting and comedy, in no particular order. Follow her on Twitter at @AllieTimes.

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