Manny Ruiz is on the move. In 2008, he was Chairman and SEO of HispanicMark, the parent company of Hispanic Digital Network, LatinClips, and Hispanic PR Wire. But it was only a matter of time before the seasoned entrepreneur would branch out to form another company, Hispanicize. Co-headquartered in New York and Miami, it describes itself as the complete resource for Hispanic social media marketers and Latino bloggers. The company began in 2009 with the first annual national conference.
“From the national event, I got many insights that led me to launch the other services and platforms,” says Ruiz. “All these marketers and brands who attended the conference helped me understand what opportunities I should be exploring. It was very shortly after the event that I switched gears in the company and grew to include other services.”
A media trailblazer and award-winning PR professional, Ruiz is also the co-founder of Hispanic PR Blog, the leading marketing trade journal focused on Hispanic public relations and the “daddy-in-chief” of the bilingual parenting website PapiBlogger.com.
“We could argue that we are at the vanguard of social media in the U.S. Hispanic space,” explains Ruiz. “Our collective Hispanicize brands have helped instigate many other brands and agencies to reach out to a broader Hispanic market. It would have taken much longer if we had not been around. We have been at the forefront of social media and marketing. Hispanicize is the largest privately owned social media network for Latinos in the United States.”’
The digital arm of Hispanicize partners both with brands and agencies, but unlike an agency, the company works as a communication services provider. Instead of competing with agencies and bidding for accounts, Hispanicize provides an array of consulting and Latino social media strategy services to a variety of clients. They have worked with Fortune 500 companies, top brands such as Proctor & Gamble, McDonald’s, General Motors, and Target.
Last year Hispanicize partnered with---and currently has a big stake in---BeingLatino.us, a national online magazine that started out as a community blog. Being Latino is a communications platform designed to educate, entertain and connect all peoples across the global Latino spectrum.
“Over all, the beauty of social media is that on the web, we’re all Latino, or Hispanic, or both,” says Ruiz. I don’t find those differences as pronounced in the virtual world as they are in the physical world.”
Through its editorial division, Hispanicize regularly features in-depth industry news, webinar trainings, technology guides, online forums and a comprehensive directory and networking service for brands and Latina/o bloggers.
Ruiz emphasizes that all the sectors of his company are inter-connected. Because of their work with brands through the digital division, Hispanicize is able to provide opportunities for their bloggers. And they understand that it’s not just a game of numbers. Bloggers are accepted into the Hispanicize network not based on site traffic but rather on their activity, engagement, and professionalism online.
The annual conference, which started the whole concept of Hispanicize, has branched out as well. What began as a social media, blogging, and marketing event has now grown to include music and film. Hispanicize 2014, taking place April 1-4 in Miami, Florida and marking the 5th anniversary of the conference, “hints at big new things to come.”
For the first time in its history, the Hispanicize event will also host a major dinner program. They have announced that Latin food and a unique fashion show will be playing prominent roles in some of the 2014 event’s top activities.
And it doesn’t stop there. Going back to Ruiz’ roots in public relations services with Hispanic PR Wire, Hispanicize has recently launched its own press release news wire service, among other ventures that they have yet to reveal. They also are planning to launch a new and improved Hispanicize website.
“The last five years have been incredible, and they were built on a track record that I’ve had being in media and distribution for thirteen years,” concludes Ruiz. “This is not a company that was just thrown together overnight. It has developed through a lot of deliberate moves and changes and tweaking, and we still continue to work on the ‘secret formula’.”