Influencing & Blogging 101 -- Where do I start?

Day in and day out, the most frequently asked questions I receive are about influencing and blogging. I get a lot of similar questions about how to start influencing/ being a blogger so I decided to answer  some of your questions in this post. Before I dive in, quick shameless plug… I WROTE AND E-BOOK!!! The book, Living Social for Influencers and Bloggers, goes in depth into how navigate and succeed in this thing called influencing. I have linked it down below if you are interested in learning the nitty gritty of influencing and taking your brand to the next level!

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the questions/concerns!

The first & most popular question I get is WHERE DO I START? My answer? Just do it! Don’t wait for the  “perfect” moment because the gag is there is NEVER a perfect moment. Also, it is important to ask yourself, “What to do I want to be known for?” “What’s my brand/What do I want my brand to be?” “When people come to my page what do I want them to gain from my content?” For instance, I’m a lifestyle, inspiration and encouragement and fashion influencer, and I started off with the sole purpose of building the kingdom and showcasing God’s faithfulness and grace. This is my core foundation/central point. My number one advice: Have a central point and know your niche. You do not want to be all over the place when it comes to content creating. It is imperative that all your dealings align with your core value/central point, whatever it may be.

Pro Tip: A very unlikely aspect of instagram that people overlook but is very important is your bio. The second someone comes on your page what do you want them to take away? Who are you? What’s in your bio? Does it capture your brand? Is it intriguing? You literally have 10 seconds of someone’s time before they scroll on to someone else’s page. Figure out ways to get people to linger and interact with your page.

I DON’T HAVE A BIG FOLLOWING:  Numbers matter, but they don’t matter when there’s no engagement or influence. Are people interested in what you have to say? Do your followers engage with you, ask you questions or inquire about products you present to them? If your followers don’t care, what’s the point? Regardless of your following, it is paramount that you cater to the people that ARE following you currently. Do not wait for the “big” following before you do decided to care. Figure out what your audience likes, be intentional about your content and care about your followers no matter how many, and growth will happen.

Pro Tip: Authenticity, vulnerability and positive vibes, will bring about growth. This sounds cliche, but is so true-- there is no YOU, and that’s your weapon/advantage/superpower!

HOW DO I ATTRACT COMPANIES? First and foremost, you have to make sure you put in our quality content and that the content aligns with the visions of the brands you are going for. If your content is all over the place and doesn’t cater to the brand and their intended audiences, they won’t reach out to you or be interested in working with you if you reach out.. Plan out your content and put in the work. Additionally, you don’t always have to wait for brands to reach out to you. Reach out to them. In my e-book, I provide step-by-step approaches on how to effectively reach out to brands. There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself out there. You have nothing to lose if they don’t contact or reach out to you, and so much to gain if you do reply.

WHAT WAS MY GREATEST CHALLENGE WHEN I STARTED? Realizing that influencing is a lot of trial and error. There are many times I did not know what I was doing, or I tried something new with the hopes that it’ll take off. It is humbling knowing that I don’t have it all figured out and that there’s daily growth that can happen. There are a lot of diametric challenges that come with influencing. One of them is keeping the momentum but understanding that there are going to be some down times with the good times. The second one is caring about what people say but not caring at the same time. What does this mean? It means that I care about providing my audience with quality content they can relate to, however, finding the balance of staying true to myself and not becoming a people- pleaser. An additional challenge for me is the added pressure of having a ministry platform. I have to be extra cognizant of my content because if I post something that might rub someone the wrong way and their may be blood on my hands because of it, because my platform has a spiritual tie and I’m held to a different standard.  Lastly, you don’t know when money is coming in or how many campaigns are coming through. There is a misconception that influencing is a “bed of roses” and that influencers are rolling in coins. Not true. There are a lot of money management and sacrifices that have to be made, especially when you don’t know when the next check might come in.

Pro Tip: Don’t quit your full-time job unless you are prepared. It is advisable to have at least six months to a year salary saved up so that when you do not get any campaigns, you’re still good and can afford to pay your bills. Remember to always approach your decisions with wisdom. Don’t just drop everything or join the bandwagon-- do what works for your situation.

HOW DO I GAIN PUBLICITY/ HOW DO I GET PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT ME? Are you showing value/showing your capabilities? Once you show people what you have to offer and are consistent no matter the traffic, the deals will flow. I cannot stress this enough, DO THE WORK FIRST and the rest will follow. If you are already an influencer/blogger (or even a budding influencer) and you want more people to follow you, one of the best ways to achieve this is through high engagement. For example, having giveaways on your page, creating interactive captions so that your followers can converse with you, buying ads (it’s very cheap right now on instagram) and producing more content. It will surprise you how much more engagement you will get by switching from one post a week to about three posts a week.

Pro Tip: Spread out your content. As an influencer, it is to your advantage if you have various social media platforms. Don’t just relegate content to one source, utilize as many social media outlets as you can.

I hope this was helpful and has given you more clarity about your pressing questions. Here is the link to the Ebook to get an in depth guide and specific steps for your brand or blog! It include pitches, a list of influencer platforms and SOOOO much more!

Check it out here!

LifestyleJaLisa Vaughn