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SU Innovators: How Ryan Harwood is tackling growth at PureWow

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Welcome back to StumbleUpon Innovators, a weekly interview series with publishers, platforms, and digital media experts. Each week we’ll investigate strategies, new tools, and trends with some of the brightest minds in the business. Our aim is to provide you with actionable practices to improve your content choices, distribution, marketing, monetization, and more. In case you missed last week’s interview with Joseph Galarneua of Mezzobit, it’s right here.

Q&A with Ryan Harwood, CEO of PureWow

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Please introduce yourself and your company.

My name is Ryan Harwood and I was raised in Hewlett, NY. I went to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. I played tennis for 4 yea​rs at UPenn and was the captain of the varsity men’s tennis team. I played professionally on satellites for a year before hanging it up and working at Goldman Sachs for 5 years. I currently live in Flatiron in NYC with my wife, Taryn Harwood, who is a speech pathologist at Winston Prep.

What is PureWow all about?

PureWow is a digital media company that specializes in women’s lifestyle content. We’re all about Elevating the Everyday through irresistible discoveries across Fashion, Beauty, Home, Recipes, Tech, Travel, Books, & more. We make life more interesting, beautiful, and manageable. We are big believers in branded content and native integrations for our clients as the best form of digital advertising. It allows us to tell a story. We had all women working at PureWow up until hire #20.

Who is your audience and how do you reach them?

We reach all different types of women but the majority of the audience is W25-54 (U.S.), with a sweet-spot of the upper end of the Millennial’s and Gen X generation. We reach our audience through our website, PureWow.com, our email publication, our social channels (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram), our video content, and live events we host. We find new audiences through everything from grass roots marketing efforts to targeted social campaigns.

What’s your publishing and/or content marketing strategy?

Search, Social, Syndication, Video, Email — the 5 pillars that must work hard simultaneously to see real growth.

What are you biggest challenges and how are you tackling them?

Everyone’s biggest challenge is scale. It seems as if every premium publisher is in a rat race for reach & scale. While growth is important to us, we focus on quality before quantity but needless to say, growing our audience is super important to achieving our goals. Also, general growing pains as a rapidly growing company. We have to reassess processes and structure (or lack thereof) to make sure we accommodate the newest level we’ve reached as a company each quarter. It’s the fun (and tough) part of building a business.

What are your best tips and tricks for publishers and brands?

Content is King. There are no shortcuts. Make sure you are producing the best possible content. And just because something works for one publisher doesn’t mean it will work for another. Search, Social, and Email are equally important. Email is the only one where you own the data forever. Search and social can change their algorithms overnight and you lose a large portion of your traffic.

Rapid fire with Ryan Harwood

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What is your media diet?

Instagram, NYTimes.com, Bleacher Report, anything NBA and Knicks, Brandtale, & every single Gary V keynote on YouTube.

Who do you admire?

My wife. She puts up with me. She is amazing, but she needs to stop playing Candy Crush.

Who’s your dream client?

Apple or Barnana. We work with a lot of great brands – Cartier, LVMH, American Express, LG, Ghirardelli, but Apple seems to do very little digital advertising, so I would be proud of that one. And Barnana is just generally awesome.

What’s one thing that your coworkers don’t know about you?

I love them way too much. More than they know. I can’t wait for our next Holiday Party — they are epic dance parties.

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How can people reach you?

EMAIL – ryan@purewow.com Google is how I organize my entire life – Gmail Apps, add-ons, and Calendar. Twitter & Instagram – @ryanharwood27 and LinkedIn.

If you have suggestions for a future participants, please contact Andrew Levine at alevine@stumbleupon.com.

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