Crocstar Auidence Series - chapter five: the magazine making ripples in the sustainability movement

“pebble puts a stylish spin on sustainability by taking it out of a dry, dusty cupboard and giving it a twirl.”

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Powered by growing trends such as ‘slow living’ and ‘millennial minimalism’, sustainability is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Georgina Wilson-Powell is at the forefront of the movement. As the creator and editor of ebble magazine, she’s dedicated to changing the way we see sustainability. We spoke to Georgina to find out how social media is helping new ideas thrive within the community.

Giving the sustainable movement a makeover

“Pebble exists to put a stylish spin on sustainability by taking it out of a dry, dusty cupboard and giving it a twirl.” says Georgina. She finds having a strong online presence has helped to give sustainability an image update, which in turn allows her to cultivate a following:

“Social media helps people see that being sustainable isn’t about being a hippie and wearing hemp, it’s normal people like you and me who are looking to reduce their own impact on the planet. People are slowly taking more responsibility for themselves environmentally and they want to reach out and share and connect with others on the same journey.”

To inspire her readers to share knowledge and start conversations, she’s created the hashtag #pebblesmakeripples and a Facebook group, ‘pebble pod’. Georgina says this has played a huge part in spreading pebble’s message further:

“It’s been much easier to promote and launch a digital title than it would have been a print title. Our readers can talk to us instantly and we can help them with what they’re looking for.

"Often we get feedback saying our fashion posts have saved people time and energy or they’ve bought stuff straight from the post. It’s not easy to build a brand online by any means, but it’s possible.”

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Storytelling in a digital age

Georgina has always been a storyteller. As a child she cut up her mum’s magazines and stuck them back together to make new stories. She also remembers a certain Smash Hits obsession in the 80s (“I was always swayed by a good sticker giveaway!”). When it came to starting pebble magazine, Georgina knew the story she wanted to tell:

“I kept coming across stories that resonated with my interest in a more sustainable way of living. I’ve always loved the power of a story – the ability to give hope, inspire, change perceptions or spark an idea. I knew that was the power we wanted to harness at pebble. I see each of our stories as being a pebble – on their own they’re okay, but if you push them out into the world they make ripples.”

After working as a magazine editor for 15 years, Georgina knows the industry inside out. But building a following online means battling against shorter attention spans, blurred boundaries of advertising and editorial and of course, the rise of the blogger. Georgina says:

“It’s a totally different ballgame to 15 years ago. You’re publishing on multiplatforms, get instant feedback and are totally accountable for what you put out (and how well it does!). It’s a complicated, shifting marketplace that I think is almost harder to understand if you’ve been in this game a long time.

“Plus the way people read consumer stories and magazines has changed. Hopefully, as pebble is a digital hub that publishes on multiple platforms we’re easily accessible and we look good. They’re both essential.”

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Staying at the forefront of social media trends

Pebble’s community is growing. It’s just won a Global Impact award and Georgina has big aspirations for the future. To keep the magazine moving forward as a brand, she’s keen to experiment with pebble’s social channels:

“Hashtags such as #TheArtOfSlowLiving are a good thing overall, but like any Instagram trend they quickly become something very stylised and rigid. 

Your idea of slow living might not look like a pretty Instagram feed. Everyone has to find the level that’s right for them.

“While pebble is very visual and stylish – I’ve made a concerted effort to inject colour into it – there are enough washed-out filters and minimal décor style stuff that really isn’t very practical for most people.

“We’re also building our Pinterest channel with exclusive pins and content and we’ve got some great competitions coming up in the pebble pod. We’re looking at different ways of sharing our content and will be doing more Facebook Live videos too.”

Georgina hopes that pebble will help to make the choice to be ethical an easy one by reframing conversations around the sustainable movement:

“Pebbles change landscapes – think of a beach that’s realigned itself constantly but over time has changed completely. That’s what we’re aiming for. Small changes that make a big difference.”

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Are you trying to reach out to a niche audience?

If like pebble magazine you’re trying to build an online following, it’s essential to inspire your audience with uplifting content that makes them feel like they are part of something special. From creating a hashtag campaign to sharing relatable videos, read our tips for harnessing the power of positive social.