As one can tell from this headline, Dan Abrams wears many hats. PRNewser has been covering Abrams for a few years now, ever since the former MSNBC general manager launched his own digital strategy firm, Abrams Research, which counsels brands on their digital/social media efforts.
In this interview, Abrams talks about what he enjoys more, being on the reporting side versus the business/strategy side, how Abrams Research has changed over the past 18 months, and whether he thinks “PR firm” has a negative connotation for his firm.
You launched your consultancy, Abrams Research, in November 2008. What are some of the biggest milestones from your first 18 months in business?
Well the biggest milestone was becoming profitable after just three months. In addition to that, I have been particularly thrilled with our three free social media guides, and we have a fourth on the way.
We started with a Social Media Guide For Businesses last summer and based on the fantastic reception, we created a Social Media Guide for Non Profits and one for Trade and Labor Unions. We will also be releasing a Social Media Guide for Luxury Brands in the next few weeks.
What clients — or kinds of companies — have you worked with? Where are you seeing demand?
Our clientele has ranged from 3 of the Fortune 100 businesses and some of the largest non-profit organizations in the country, to smaller privately owned companies.
What are clients asking for in terms of services or consulting specifically?
Our business has changed significantly in the past 18 months. Initially we were linking up media leaders with businesses to advise them on dealing with a variety of media related issues.
That was very lucrative and helped fund the launch of the sites but it does not fit as well with the rest of my businesses. So now AR is exclusively a digital media strategy firm.
We are seeing enormous demand from businesses seeking assistance navigating the new media world, and they come to us for a variety of services. Some clients (or certain firms on behalf of clients) work with us to us to refine their online content strategies, while others require a full-service web build-out, and to be honest, many simply need help as they step into the social media space.
Our success with our own web communities, makes it pretty clear that this is what we know â€“ building audiences from the ground up, and retaining those eyes. Across the board, almost all of our clients are looking to reach specific audiences.
Our experts are no longer journalists or classic media folks, but rather specialists in social media and the web. I’ll admit that as an “old media guy” I have learned a lot from our experts.
While you also hold the role of NBC Chief Legal Analyst, what do you enjoy more, the reporting side or the PR/strategy side?
My first and primary passion is still in reporting and creating content, but I have loved learning about how to gain traction on the web, build audiences and keep readers on sites.
I certainly needed that knowledge to achieve the level of success we have seen on our own sites.
Do you think “PR firm” has a negative connotation? Or, do you not describe Abrams Research as a PR firm, because it doesn’t best describe what you do?
It’s not negative, it’s just not what we do, although we sometimes work with PR firms who do not have advanced in-house digital capabilities. Our experts are not PR specialists and we donâ€™t bill them as such, rather they are experts in various aspects of digital media.
How much time would you say you spend on Abrams Research versus your recently launched network of blogs?
I divide my time fairly evenly between the two venturesâ€”and time spent on one often helps me with ideas for the other. Being involved as the publisher gives me valuable perspective on our work with Abrams Research clients, and the strategic elements coming from our consulting side are helpful to the Abrams Media Network.
Are there any further plans to expand Abrams Research or your blog network?
Well we are certainly going to launch more sites. The fact that, including sister site GossipCop, our sites are doing well over 5 million unique visitors per month, means that we are doing something right.
While we have not decided yet which verticals to pursue, I would expect in the not too distant future we will have at least double the number of sites that we have today.
Have either and/or both business become profitable?
Abrams Research became profitable 3 months after we started. Based on our current projections, I expect the network of sites to break even at the end of this year and to be profitable in Q1 of next year.