Essence.com Unveils a New Look
Aims to become "fierce, fun and fabulous"
If you logged onto Essence.com today you might have noticed a few changes. The online component to the popular black women’s glossy revamped its image, ditching its blogger-style format for an image-centric site.
Complete with a new tagline, “Fierce, Fun and Fabulous,” Essence.com seems to be redirecting its online focus to celebrities, user engagement thanks to more developed social media strategies and content partnerships.
Essence.com’s redesign couldn’t have come at a better time, especially with Moguldom Media Group claiming to be the top online outlet targeting African Americans. Interactive One, the umbrella media organization responsible for BlackPlanet, Hello Beautiful and Radio One sites, disagrees. Regardless of who’s on top, Essence.com has tried to design its way out of the misconception that it is your mother’s magazine.
“We have sort of been in hibernation mode, taking what we've learned and dissecting what's been working for our audience,” Lesley Pinckney, general manager of Essence.com, told Crains. “We're really excited about where the numbers could be at the end of the summer.”
They’ve enlisted the help of celebrity friends to be guest editors of the site, taking a page from Vibe.com’s strategy. Last year, Vibe started tapping celebs to be "editors of the day," turning Diddy, Keri Hilson, Terrence J and DJ Khaled into editors. Essence.com kicked off its new site with R&B singer Kelly Rowland as guest editor. Supermodel Iman is also expected to take on the role for Essence.com in the future.
The newly designed site has also bumped up its social engagement, which is a smart move in an online space where brand recognition is declining rapidly. Essence.com is giving away lots of goodies on its Twitter page, offering readers and followers a chance to take home products from Coach, Diesel and Old Navy.
Essence.com is also unveiling content partnerships with mainstream sites including People.com and InStyle.com, sites owned by Essence.com’s parent company Time, Inc. Still, the site will also branch out to other brands including Vibe, MSN and The Loop 21.