Journalist Q&A: Michelle Herrera Mulligan, Cosmopolitan Latina

Michelle Herrera Mulligan speaks with Emory Sullivan about Hearst's Cosmopolitan Latina, a biannual title launching next month targeting the burgeoning Hispanic market.

Name: Michelle Herrera Mulligan
Title: Editor-in-chief
Outlet: Cosmopolitan Latina
Preferred contact: mmulligan@hearst.com
Website: www.cosmopolitan.com

Michelle Herrera Mulligan speaks with Emory Sullivan about Hearst's Cosmopolitan Latina, a biannual title launching next month targeting the burgeoning Hispanic market. 

What spurred Cosmo to jump into the US Hispanic market?
The 2010 US Census drew a lot of attention to the growing US Hispanic population. A lot of people were blown away by the growing demographic. Not just its cultural and spending power, but also an exploding energy from the market and its dynamism. It was a huge market opportunity for us.

How will you build readership and advertisers?
We held a media breakfast in December to unveil our research on the population segment. When the magazine goes on sale, we will promote it via our print and digital properties, including Cosmo's Facebook page, which has 1.4 million fans, Twitter, and Pinterest. We will have another big trade and consumer push around the newsstand launch.

We've already signed more than 20 advertisers for the first issue who are not just niche. Most major beauty companies are committed.

How do you plan to use social media?
Our accounts help us connect with our audience before the magazine is on the stands. We will have a very dynamic link between the magazine and our outlets, such as extending an article through an online video.

With Pinterest, it will be images that inspire me and show what influences me. I want it to be a day-to-day vision board of the Latina experience. It's a visual conversation.

For now, you will have a hub on the main Cosmo site. Will there be a Cosmo Latina site within the next 12 months?
We want to launch with the strongest presence possible and capitalize on Cosmo's strength to build our online audience. I suspect that there will be a separate site, but I don't know exactly how it will play out. There's a separate Hearst digital media team that will manage the site with input from me and the Cosmo Latina team.

What other digital efforts will be supporting Cosmo Latina?
There will be content from the magazine that appears on the website. There will also be extra content from our stories, such as video outtakes from cover shoots. We will try and incorporate as much video as possible.

I see a lot of opportunity for interaction between some of the articles we're doing and what we will do online. Our issues will be available as digital editions through the Apple iTunes store. They will also be on the Vimeo newsstand.

How will your title differentiate itself from the original Cosmo and magazines already popular with Latina audiences?
One out of every four Latinos already read Cosmo, so there is a strong connection between the brand and Latina readers. But to see the Cosmo voice taking on the very intimate issues they deal with in their daily life - family, relationships, living bi-culturally - these are all things readers specifically asked for.

Every page is going to be customized for a Latina reader. That is very different than anything out there. I love People en EspaƱol, but it's in Spanish. It's not the language I prefer to consume media in - and that's the truth for the vast majority of American-Latino readers.

How will being biannual affect content?
Our content will have the breadth to cover the appropriate seasons. We're trying to be tastemakers. For example, we are doing a story that will cover the seven key events you can't miss over the summer within the community. We're taking great care in curating content so it has staying power.

What is the best way to pitch you?
We want the magazine to be a natural conversation about the American-Latina experience. Any kind of personal experiences, from culture clashes to relationship issues - especially with cultural components - we want to see that.

In the beauty and fashion departments, I love stories where someone spots a local trend, such as on the West Side of Chicago, where a lot of Latinos are, or in Miami. We want stories that speak with a very knowledgeable voice to the Latina reader. I don't just want a story about brown hair. It's important to think about the Latina reader's and Hearst's specific values. That would be very valuable to me.

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