Interview with Elena Markova: Editorial Director of COMO LAKE Today

We recently had the pleasure to meet Elena Markova, Digital Marketing and Social Media expert and founder of COMO LAKE Today: an online Lifestyle magazine that offers a complete guide to the most refined and luxurious places on Lake Como and focuses on topics such as local tourism, gastronomy, celebrities&luxury, cultural heritage and much more. During the interview for our blog, Elena Markova shared with us details and curiosities about the magazine, her passions, and the beauty of the lake!

Elena Markova esperta marketer digitale

COMO LAKE Today: can you tell us how this beautiful project started?

COMO Lake Today was born from a page created on Instagram. When I moved to Lake Como, I began to discover the area and was amazed by its beauty. I created a page on Instagram so as to share photos of the places I was visiting. The page started to grow and bring together the community of Lake Como enthusiasts. We started sharing our experiences, talking about what you can do around the area and recommending nice places to walk, eat, and so forth.

A lot of questions were coming from foreign people living near Lake Como, asking me for various tips: where to eat, where to have an aperitif, information about navigation, villas, stores, etc. So I found the niche for a lifestyle and tourism guide which can be useful both for travelers and for locals. Following the Instagram page of COMO LAKE Today, I created the website. The first website was created in Russian, then we added the English version. I found a team of contributors who help me create the content and share the beauty of Lake Como with the whole world.

You have a background in Digital Marketing. Has this helped you?

Yes, indeed. My experience in Digital Marketing helped me not only with the creation of the digital magazine, but also with promoting it effectively.  At the moment, COMO LAKE Today has over 38,400 followers on different platforms, allowing us to distribute the content of the website and find new readers.

Who are your readers and which are the main issues?

We have a very diverse audience. The readers of Russian language website come mainly from Russia, Italy, Ukraine and the United States. Readers of the English version come from Italy, the United States and the United Kingdom.

On Instagram, our audience is slightly different: we have followers from Italy, Russia and the United States.

The main topics are "useful tips" - we share our experience, places to visit, restaurants to try, we talk about the events taking place there. We help our readers to discover Lake Como at its best. The "News and Events" sections of the website are some of the most popular.

Elena Markova sul lago di como

You write in Russian and English: what is behind this decision?

I divided the project into two phases: I started with the website in Russian. The Russian community in the Como region consists of about 3000 people. Russian is spoken as a first language by 2.3% of the global population, which is quite a large audience.

After that, I added the English version, and my next goal is to develop the website in English, which is among the three most spoken languages in the world.

We never thought of doing an Italian version, even though many followers of our Instagram page are Italian, and they communicate with us in Italian. Our primary target audience is foreigners who live around Lake Como, in Lombardia, and tourists who come here.

Let's switch to the lake: has Como changed much in recent years? Have readers' interests changed as well?

The Lake Como brand is growing globally, and it brings positive changes. New hotels and restaurants are opening every year.  The Lake Como events format has also changed. Several global events have occurred in Como. The local Christmas event "Città dei Balocchi" contributes to reduce the seasonality of tourism, and Lake Como becomes a destination not only for summer weekends.

Covid-19 obviously slowed down tourism, many initiatives and fantastic events have been cancelled. In this scenario, the interests of our readers have slightly changed. Fewer people can travel, so the reader expects a different kind of content.

What villas on the lake do your readers love the most? And what about yours?

Villa del Balbianello is the absolute leader among our readers. It is also one of my favorite villas.

It is very special - its location, architecture, garden, moving history and Mr. Monzino's legacy. I visit this villa 3-5 times each year. It's great to go there regardless of the weather - I love walking there in summertime, wintertime, if it's raining, or when the sun is shining.
It is simply magical! Of course, Villa Carlotta, Villa Monastero and Villa Erba are also very attractive to our readers. Among the private villas, I really enjoyed my visits to Villa Pliniana, Villa Pizzo and Castello di Urio.

Elena Markova con in sfondo il lago di Como e le montagne

What would you recommend tourists to visit during a 3-day stay, so as not to miss anything?

I always recommend to begin visiting from Como, walk around the walled city, visit the Duomo, have a coffee in Piazza Volta, and then go see the lake by boat. Lake Como must be seen from the water - it offers a totally different perspective than the view from the car. Another MUST - Bellagio and Varenna. These little villages are truly gorgeous and have very vivid colors...very Instagrammable! They are unique. I recommend visiting the historic villas of Lake Como. These residences create the glory of the Lake. A tour of the villas and their gardens will help you appreciate the renowned charm of Lake Como.

And on rainy days?

The weather is not an issue here. Lake Como is beautiful all the time. Not only when it is sunny, but also when there is fog, mist or low clouds. Therefore, rain should not prevent visitors from exploring Lake Como. It's nice to visit the villas on a rainy day or take a boat cruise from Como to Bellagio or Varenna.

For those who refuse to walk in the rain, hotel spa centers are a great solution on a rainy day. Alternatively, you could make a day of shopping. There are many shopping centers around Como.

Elena Markova in visita a Como

Based on your experience, what are tourists looking for? Luxury? Authenticity? Local experiences?

Tourists seek out glamour and fame associated with Lake Como: villas, "celebrities", luxury hotels, boats. Lake Como is a "must-see" on the list of global jet sets. The great thing is that Lake Como offers diverse experiences. Visitors can stay here in luxury hotels, cozy apartments and even farmhouses. There are things to do and discover for every taste and budget.

If you had to choose your favorite experience on Lake Como, what would it be and why?

If you had to choose your favorite experience on Lake Como, what would it be and why?
A private boat tour! From the boat you can admire the nature of Como Lake, see ancient villas, enjoy the fresh air, swim, have aperitifs at sunset, go to remote places, or moor for a romantic dinner. Boating is an absolute "must" here!

Thanks Elena!

For more information about news and events on Lake Como do not hesitate to check out COMO LAKE today!

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