It took me long enough to make a video, which was an adventure in itself, but finally posting one! This time I took my friends advice and did everything on my iPhone – this turned out to be a good thing and a bad thing. The good part was it made it easier to find my videos that I took on my phone and edit them. The bad thing was at 7:45AM when iMovie was freezing and crashing on my commute in and I spent all of the days prior recuperating/trying to figure out iMovie and how it works. Luckily I was able to figure this out and put the video together for you all. I know its 13 minutes long, I spent 12 hours at this event so there was plenty to include!
From 8AM to 8PM my mind was focused, I was ready, I didn’t even know where to start first. I got there SUPER early so that I could find out which track I was on – it ended up being on Track 1 which is what I wanted to be on. It was more about creative content and building your brand – the best for beginners. Walking around was so overwhelming, I didn’t know where to go to first.. I wanted to run around everywhere. My excitement got the best of me as I got yogurt in my hair nearly under 20 minutes of being at the Knockdown Center. ONLY ME! The bummer was that I had to sit the entire day with yogurt in my hair, which the bottom layer of my hair was frizzing terribly because of the weather/product in it. Luckily Something Navy thought my hair looked fabulous any way, which I still cannot believe that I met her but I digress… what I am here to talk about is what I took away from this entire event.
Throughout the day there was a repeated theme. I took plenty of notes because I am a very detailed oriented type person. Having a strong niche and being authentic. These are the 2 that stuck out the most to me personally. While I am still figuring out my strong niche, I understand that the blogging community is very competitive and very broad… with that said not once was I made to feel that I couldn’t be successful or be happy doing what I am doing. The panelist from every panel I sat through gave me such positivity and strong advice of the do’s and don’ts.. from posting what you love and how your followers will sense that to positing something because you want to make money when it doesn’t go with anything that you’d ever wear or post. Being passionate about what you are doing will come across stronger than if you were just doing it for the money. Chasing the money never got me any where in life so I am now learning that chasing my passion is worth while.
Authenticity & being genuine
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I heard this word in every single panel I sat through. When I first began my blog I didn’t want to try to be any one or imitate what I was seeing all over instagram. Just like Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential said:
“You may not appeal to everyone but it doesn’t matter, be yourself and say true to your niche. Focus on you.”
Hearing these words from the bloggers that I follow made me feel like I wasn’t alone in these beginning stages of blogging. They too have been there & look at the empires they have built. Having the true intent behind every post is what made these women so successful in the first place, being consistent and having a strong passion. It is easy to get caught up in other influencers content and think “why not me?” When the Brooklyn Blonde herself admitted she too has felt this all I could think was “YES I AM NOT ALONE!” What she suggested (which is what I drill into my brain constantly) is flipping it and reverse it – like Missy Elliot. Ok she didn’t per say use those exact words but her point was instead of being envious use that as motivation to get to that point or create it for yourself. If you want to work with a huge brand then send them an email proving that you are an influencer to their products and that you have helped sales on one or more of their products. The passion behind your content and your purpose of sharing these outfits is what will get you noticed amongst social media. Forcing any kind of post or outfit will simply blow up in your face. I have said this a million times on here and I have no idea if any one has actually read it so I will say it again, I WILL NEVER POST ANYTHING I AM NOT PASSIONATE ABOUT OR THAT IS A FORCED POST (posting just to post). Forcing an outfit for a post just doesn’t work, it is just trying to force a pony tail to happen that just won’t.. LET IT GO GIRL! Taking your time in what you post will allow you to have more genuine passion behind it rather than a strict business… people will notice it.
Yet another word used ALL DAY LONG. Your niche is what is going to set you apart from the others. I didn’t write down which one of the panelist said this but I am paraphrasing here.. Her friend once said to her
Restaurants open up all the time in New York City, but you don’t see owner’s saying “Oh we can’t open up a restaurant there.. 4 are already on that block!” It isn’t a bad thing to have another place to eat on the same block.
The community of blogging is a crowded place, not breaking news there. It is a reason no one should be afraid to start a blog or share what they are passionate about. What does make the difference is what sets you a part from everyone else – YOUR NICHE. Now my blog is still fairly new, not even a year old yet so I am still trying to figure out what makes me so different from other bloggers or “influencers” out there. Is it that I am always laughing at myself? Is it that I always leave funny or “punny” comments when I network on social media? It could be my fusion of comedy and my love for fashion, but I am still exploring this. Letting my niche organically find itself is a plan that I already decided would be best for me. If I tried to sit down and force myself to think of one it would be just that. FORCED. NOT GENUINE. NOT AUTHENTIC!
Lauryn from the Skinny Confidential is not only fucking hilarious but she is incredibly smart. She suggested that you think of your niche market as an upside down triangle, that you want your niche to be at the very point of that triangle and you can grow from there. Having that foundation is extremely important and it is what will help build a following. This ties back into being authentic, people don’t want to see forced content or forcing comedy. You just look stupid when you try too hard, you flounder, its horrible.. I know because I’ve been there, thinking too long on a funny joke just isn’t funny. No one laughs. She also spoke about people wanting to see your every day life, it makes you more relatable. Showing your followers the behind the scenes of your shoots is part of what Lauryn also likes to call GROWTH HACKING.
Utilizing all of your social media for what it is. I am going to use the example that she gave us on the panel
- Instagram : positing a photo of the perfect cup of coffee, let your caption be “head over to my snap chat to find out how I made this”
- Snap Chat: show how you made the coffee step by step & end with head over to Twitter for more info
- Twitter: Leave the link to recipe and a link to your blog post on more recipes
- Blog: Photos of the coffee, recipe and other recipes
What most of us forget is that social media can disappear tomorrow.. Remember Myspace?? Another great example used was Tila Tequila. She had the most friends on Myspace and became an internet sensation… now where is she? After Myspace came Facebook then Twitter then Instagram then Snap Chat. All of these could disappear.. which brings me into my next topic…
Staying relevant, being consistent and the quality of your content sprinkled with your strong niche is your recipe to success. This is what I’ve taken away from everything that I had learned. It is all about creating… creating your content, niche, your potential business. Looking to what could be next is a scary though. I mean I am just getting the hang of the social media we have now, the thought of having to start all over again could be a scary thought. Evolving with the times is a much better phrase and it is what I prefer to think about. Or if you prefer to carve out your own part in the industry or in the community is definitely an option. Creating something that is your own and hasn’t been done before is something that will definitely help when it comes to discovering that “niche” of yours.
Naturally growing your following was yet another phrase that made me feel like I was on the right path. I never want to force my “work” down someones throat or rub it in their face, I wouldn’t want it done to me. Letting things happen organically while still working your ass off seems to be the best balance. This is my current balance in my life. I work full time, as many of the other bloggers I have met too, and this is technically a “part time” gig – yet the amount of time that I do put into this is more than what most would think. It is a 7 day a week 24 hour “part time” gig or hobby. First thing in the morning after getting ready for work I leave myself at least 15 minutes to catch up – I network on my social media, check my email, reply to any comments left on my social media, plot for what time I should be posting my blog photos and posts for the day (depending if it is on blog posting day). I repeat this same act at lunch and again when I get home from work after eating dinner. In between all of this I am planning my weekend ahead of what I need to do for my blog – checking the weather to see if I can take photos outside (since I take my photos on a self timer), plotting my outfits which will change 100 million times until the day of the photo shoot, looking at the new trends, searching for sales & inspiration. Not to mention the day of my photoshoots it is all on me. I single handedly do EVERYTHING for this blog…. my hair, makeup, styling, photos, photo editing, blog posts, PR, networking, and planning is ALL ME. It is a shit ton of work, lately I have been exhausted trying to keep up…. but when I am not doing any of this for more than a day I feel terrible, as if something is missing or I forgot something. This is what I LOVE to do.
Attending the Create & Cultivate event was all about learning. And I sure as hell learned A LOT. Many of what I already wrote about, in insane length, are things I kinda already knew but I NEEDED to hear from the women that I look up to, the women that I scroll through the pages endlessly looking for inspiration. Ally Love was one of my mentors, she doesn’t like to say she wears many hats but instead says she is multifaceted. She does many things and is constantly on the go and damn is she one hell of a positive person. Just sitting there it radiated off of her throughout the entire group. I couldn’t think of anything to say or to ask, besides the fact I was slightly overwhelmed with the many many things happening all around me at the Knockdown Center, she just said the right things. Surrounding yourself with good people and using your core values to be part of your brand. She said that there should be no separation from yourself and your brand…. and she is totally right. Which brings me to my final topic….
Building your brand
Wrapping up everything that I learned it comes down to the simple fact that if you aren’t your true self and being an influencer for the right reasons then you aren’t going to get any where. Who you are is what your potential brand is being built on. Your niche is what sets you apart and can be used as a selling point when reaching out to brands about working with them for an affiliation or sponsorship. Although I am not at that point where I am working with brands or am an affiliate with a brand, I am working towards that point. Getting the correct information from this conference was a HUGE selling point for me.. How do I go about this? What the hell do I even say in the email? I gotta learn Google Analytics now? Wait that girl said she didn’t and hasn’t but is kicking ass? What are all of these numbers? Should I write that down? Holy crapola! It was soooo much information!!
This is when what Ally had said, and I actually wrote this down, that stuck out the most. Out sourcing! Since I do everything myself it is hard to let the reigns go a bit to allow someone else to help me out. After all this is MY BRAND, MY CONTENT, MY POINT OF VIEW. That might sound narcissistic, it isn’t. Creating this blog is just that, creativity. Spreading myself so think that my creativity isn’t at 100% becomes a problem. I can’t do everything all of the time myself. Weighing my options of what I can outsource certain things to would make things a lot better. She also suggested that I list all of the things that I am good at & how I can make something out of that. Creating outfits and putting my content together down to the stupid captions. I say stupid because I am always writing something silly.
This is all part of building my brand, its a journey if you think about it. To some I might have a long road ahead of me before I get to the point of “success.” To me I already am successful because I found what I love to do, I found my passion… for fashion.
What I wore both nights is on my previous post.
Links to Panelist from my video (in order of appearance)….
- Create & Cultivate
- Helena of Brooklyn Blonde
- Andi Dorfman
- Courtney of Color Me Courtney
- Arielle of Something Navy
- Piera Gelardi of Refinery 29
- Gloria Steinem
Links to Booths shown…
- Simon G Jewelry
- Kendra Scott
- Be Glammed
- Laura Mercier
- May Designs
- Crown Royal