Q&A with Hispanicize’s Ruiz: Hispanic Influence in the U.S. is Growing

Hispanicize.com launched last week in beta, offering visitors – including Hispanic marketers and Latino bloggers – with a place for content, services, and networking. On the site, you’ll find technology reviews, webinars, and Hispanic social media training, management, and consulting services for those looking to reach the Latino community. The site has also taken over content on the Hispanic PR Blog, which has been around for two years.

In today’s Q&A, we talk with Manny Ruiz, CEO of Hispanicize, founder of Hispanic PR Wire (which was acquired by PRNewswire in 2008), and organizer of Hispanicize 2011, the second annual conference bringing together bloggers and Hispanic marketers, taking place in Hollywood, CA from April 6 to the 8th.

According to Ruiz, those interested in Hispanicize – both the conference and the site – are a mixture of Latinos and other audiences who are targeting this increasingly influential demographic. Click through to read more.

What is Hispanicize? Is it a social network? A news aggregator?

Hispanicize is what you would get if you combined Mashable with a network of social media marketers. We are a comprehensive content and networking platform for Latino social media marketers and bloggers.

How big of a community is that?

The community is  made up of, on the marketing side, mainstream non-Latinos who are working in corporate America or on the agency side or nonprofit and government world trying to figure out how to do Hispanic marketing and how to leverage social media to reach Hispanic audiences.

On the blogger side of the equation – we do have a big emphasis on bloggers – the majority of them are Hispanic.

Before starting this company, having started Hispanic PR Wire, I’ve always been in the middle of where all the traffic is happening in Hispanic marketing and public relations. We have not seen 10 percent of where this is going to go.

How does Hispanicize better serve this community than the things that are already in existence?

There are not just differences, they’re severe. We’re launching this after having studied the marketplace. I’ve been in the marketplace for media and Hispanic marketing for more than 10 years. We already have under our belt the national conference, which is a very important vehicle for bringing people together and helping the industry grow. This Hispanicize 2011 conference is the first national conference that will also bring Hispanic bloggers together, and they’re a big part of this social media equation. So that’s something that we’re able to harness for our news and platform content in a unique way.

We’re an independent provider of this content and betting that people will find what we’re doing compelling enough to get engaged. A lot of the folks who have been doing something similar have an agency connection.

Can you talk a little more about the Hispanicize event? This is the second year. How will it be different from last year?

We had a very strong start last year. A lot of people came away saying it would be interesting if we added bloggers. We paid attention to what the marketplace was saying. We also realized that no one was giving bloggers a home, and in the past year there has been an explosive growth of blogs… good blogs and blogs that are getting opportunities with major brands.

We didn’t want to throw out anything we did last year. We had 20 sessions over 2 ¼ days. This year we have 50 percent more sessions – 32 sessions with more than 80 speakers. We have a full-fledged PR conference and a full-fledged social media conference, a large chunk of which is devoted to bloggers and blogger-related sessions.