Amy VernonChief cook and bottle-washer at Amy Vernon, LLC

What do I know? Journalism, content marketing, community building, viral marketing, social networking. And more. Also: Bacon Queen.

Recent Answers

You know how Peter Cashmore built his media empire from his parent's home in Scotland? By working his fanny off and talking to EVERYone who ever tweeted anything from Mashable and responding to EVERYone who tweeted at him. But this was also right at the start of Twitter - he recognized a whole new form of media was rising and rode that wave. For the first three or four years, the operation was completely Pete in Scotland and his team here in the U.S. who worked out of the COO's apartment in Manhattan.

Mashable was a specific focus at a special moment in time - lightning in a bottle, and you can't try to do what he did.

As for yourself, you need to figure out where people who are your target are. And be there. And share and talk and share other people's content if it's on target. Get other people to contribute, and share their posts giving credit to them, getting them to share it, too.

You need to come up with a solid plan for releasing the content and what you'll do on social to back it up. It's very difficult to launch a new content website without money behind it, a recognizable name, or a special niche with content people can't get anywhere else.

Not that it can't be done. but it's difficult. And you need to draw up a fully realized plan.

THE most important part of crowdfunding is early momentum. You need to groom your friends and family and get people lined up to donate the moment your campaign goes live. Most crowdfunding efforts don't pay off, and those that do are a full-time job to get to the finish line.

Offer consistent updates both on the site and through your email list. Contact specific people individually. I've had many friends and colleagues go through crowdfunding and they usually either hit the mark very early or it's totally down to the wire. In two recent cases, the final funding came through in the last few hours and came after NON-STOP work by the folks behind the campaigns.

Good luck.

For a news website, WordPress, Drupal or SquareSpace would be the best option. Unless you have a very large budget, building a custom site with a custom CMS doesn't make much sense.

There already are some platforms that do this - not specifically for beauty, but in general. Companies pay Triberr for the ability to recruit bloggers who use the platform to write sponsored posts.

Blogdash serves as a platform for bloggers and for companies/brands to connect, so companies can find bloggers to review products (transparently, of course).

So the short answer is, most likely yes. However, you'll want to do more research to see what other platforms there are out there (these are just two that came to mind off the top of my head; I'd imagine there are some others). There's plenty f due diligence to be done yet.

That said, beauty seems to be one of those industries that truly appreciates targeted services - those that are meant specifically for the industry. So I'd encourage you to do more investigating and, as Joseph mentioned in his response, speaking to the potential bloggers and companies you'd be connecting on the platform.

I have to ask why you would start an agency in an area you don't have much experience in. Perhaps you'd be better off getting at least a little experience first?

Not to be rude, but it sounds to me as if you're in over your head. It's one thing to stretch and learn on the job; it's another to have no experience, not know what to do, and be managing 14 people. I agree with Maddie and Robbin.

You need to build your community from the get-go. Start with your beta testers, creating a community where they talk to each other about issues and come to you with ideas, suggestions and bugs. Encourage them to do this, no matter the issue, and respond quickly.

If you develop a community like this from the start, it's very easy to get your users to give advice on improvements and the like. You'll quickly see the beta users who are very involved, and ask them privately for suggestions of other beta users.

Beta users WANT to provide feedback, and they will provide some of the must useful feedback you can get, so long as they see you responding and taking into consideration at least some of their ideas. If you start this in beta, you'll build a community of users who want to help you succeed and want to help you improve your product, for the long haul.

Any aspiring entrepreneur should be reading Fred Wilson's blog:

Also, the team from All Things D just launched

For being alerted to mentions about your business, try Talkwalker and Mention. However, if you want a complete view of how your business is mentioned, a free tool isn't going to cut it in the long run.

I agree with the others that you need to build your blog with your own content first. Once done, you can seek out communities such as MyBlogGuest, where like-minded bloggers find guest blogging opportunities - and you can find others who may want to contribute to your blog. But anyone you find to guest blog at this point is probably not going to be very high quality, if you don't have your own content.

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