DJ Khalid

Dear Marketers, You Have 10 Seconds

As I walked to the subway last Tuesday morning, I passed an oh-so-obvious millennial male whose professional “work attire” immediately caught my attention. He was well-groomed in mahogany leather oxfords, well-tailored denim pants, great hair and, unexpectedly, a quaint backpack with none other than a nostalgic Disney star, Donald Duck, emblazoned across it.

I instantly thought of the perfect snap: #Adulting.

I was compelled to do a bit of research on my fellow millennial’s accessory choice and at $60 a pop, I am certain this was an intentional fashion decision. Furthermore, from the looks of Asos site, it is a trendy purchase that is currently sold out.

There is no denying that we are in an era where standing out is key to fitting in. We are so bombarded by technology and copious distractions that marketers have to do something so ground breaking, that it gets people excited to talk, share, and engage. But what if that “ground-breaking” attention-grabbing moment is only 10 seconds long? That’s what Snapchat claims to deliver.

There are three key areas of Snapchat that you should be aware of:

Live Story: Users build their Snapchat story that is live for 24 hours
Discover: Publisher Content
Snapchat Story Explorer: Snapchat curates & weaves together a collection of videos submitted by users in a particular location or around a popular theme, such as Super Bowl. These videos can generate 10 to 20 million views.

There are pros and cons with Snapchat’s new vehicle (or phenomenon) for delivery of your brand message. Pro: The days of million-dollar, multi-day, strenuous creative rounds on TV commercial production for one 30-second spot are long gone. Con: Your brand content has a full lifespan of 24 hours. But the biggest challenge that marketers seem to face is letting go control of their brand content and just creating … fun.

But does it work?

Snapchat influencer, DJ Khaled (@djkhaled305), informed the New York Times that Snapchat is the “major key” to his multimillion-dollar success. Once known for his DJ-ing abilities, DJ Khaled has launched his personal brand through relentless positive postings and signature phrases that now generates two to three million views per post. This content helped land endorsement deals with Ciroc Apple, a new clothing line and, most recently, Obamacare.

CPG brands leverage Snapchat stars to connect with audiences while building their social following. Coca-Cola, for instance, has been working with social media star Cody Johns to work the app for Coke during major events. Johns hosts takeovers on Coke’s app for events it sponsors like Nascar races. To generate excitement for the takeover, Johns’ posts tune in messaging and plug the events on his personal account. Influencers are able to drive their audiences to follow the brand, effectively transferring their trusted voice.

Snapchat has also become a destination for media and organizational partners to produce great content. The NFL became deeply invested in Snapchat late last year as the first sports partner for Snapchat Story Explorer. This is a key promotional vehicle for NFL that extends its reach to up to 10 – 20 million views per story. The NFL leveraged this asset as a monetization strategy for the Super Bowl. Sponsors, including Pepsi, Amazon, Marriott, and Budweiser, spent seven figures on the short video ads that will be interspersed in the NFL’s live story.


1. Don’t Brand it, Influence it: Snapchat is a vehicle for entertainment; viewers seek their friends and relevant content experiences. Snapchatters are vehemently opposed to your commercial here, so understand that your brand may not need its own Snapchat Channel. Rather, build trust with consumers through influencer relationships.

2. Message & Brand Relevancy: Story-telling with video has become the most compelling form of content. Maintain consistent messaging and key phrases to establish your brand voice. Geo-targeting and timely content is a great way to be relevant. Plan your marketing calendar around key tentpole events or seasonal thematics to be on trend.

3. Social Amplification: Increase your reach and awareness by supporting the content you create on Snapchat across all social platforms. Simplify brand handles across platforms to allow consumers to find & tag the brand in content more easily. If leveraging influencers, ensure their agreements include sharing and promoting the relationship across social.

Say goodbye to the traditional. Fleeting entertainment is here to stay. Will you become more invested in Snapchat personally or professionally? Share below or tweet me @morgan_buell.

[By Morgan Buell] [From Media Post] [Read More]

Influncer Marketing Metrics

Why Influencer Marketing Has A Metrics Problem — And How We Can Solve It

In the last few years, social influencers have emerged as powerful media channels, and marketers are taking note.

In 2015, “you saw leading edge companies adopting influencer marketing … and it’s certainly not going to slow down any time soon,” Chuck Moran, vp of marketing at RhythmOne, told Marketing Dive.

Partnering with influencers has proven to be a boon for marketers. Working with these next-generation celebrities brings a number of benefits, such as helping brands amplify their reach, target niche audiences, spur engagement, forge connections and build trust. According to RhythmOne’s “2015 1H Influencer Marketing Benchmarks Report,” imarketers that used influencer marketing saw a $9.60 return of earned media value (EMV) on average for every dollar of paid media spend.

“From a marketing perspective, for somebody that has to sell up, the fact they can go to the CFO or whomever is influencing the marketing budgets, they can say it pays off. They can say, ‘Look, where else am I get that kind of return?’” Moran said about the findings. “The return on investment is incredible and I think it’s a trend we’ll see continue.”

Despite the benefits, there’s one big challenge that’s stopping marketers from investing more in influencers — measurement. As the new media category gains in popularity, marketers looking to tap into the influencer marketplace will likely push for clearer insights. But there may be a solution to this problem, according to several experts Marketing Dive spoke with.

Word of mouth marketing 3.0

For Erich Joachimsthaler, founder and CEO of Vivaldi Partners Group consulting firm, influencer marketing is simply “a 3.0 version of what we used to call word of mouth.”

“We used to always talk about the power of word of mouth, and influencers are an exponentially more effective [version of it],” he told Marketing Dive.

According to a blog post by Ogilvy’s Andrew Barratt, “the history of influencer marketing, as an identifiable marketing theory, can be traced back to a 1940 study entitled ‘The People’s Choice’ by Lazerfeld & Katz.” Barratt explains that the study found that most people are influenced by secondhand and opinion leaders. Read: influencers.

In the past two years in particular, influencer marketing has seen significant growth, Joachimsthaler said, although it still has a ways to go before it is more widely adopted.

Where influencer marketing is catching on

From more traditional celebrity endorsers to today’s upstart Vine and Instagram stars, influencers take on the role of brand advocate when working on a campaign. Equipped with the knowledge that consumers are listen to these kinds of recommendations, more brands and agencies jumping on board — and seeing a positive return on investment.

“To create … great content you need to create it from all different angles.” -RhythmOne’s Chuck Moran
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For exanmple, an influencer campaign for Gap featuring Katie Rodgers of Paper Fashion and Pari Ehsan of Paridust – who each have over 600K and 200K followers on Instagram respectively – helped the retailer achieve an EMV of $18.05 for every dollar of paid media, RhythmOne reported in its “Influencer Marketing Solutions Showcase.”

“In order to create really great content you need to create it from all different angles,” Moran said. “The world is so saturated, to stay relevant you [brands] need to … offer something unique and a different sort of expertise, and [influencer marketing is] a way for companies to cut through the noise.”

The category has even seeped into the work that veteran agencies are doing. Take for example, WPP’s media buying firm GroupM, which recently inked a deal with Fullscreen to give it exclusive access to the content creator network’s social media influencer data.

“Influence has changed. New voices are needed for the digital generation. Celebrity ebbs and flows so much faster now and brands need to capture that flow and to exploit micro audience segments,” GroupM Chief Digital Officer Rob Norman said in a statement about the news. He explained to the Wall Street Journal that deal allows GroupM more “hands on” access when working with influencers.

Last year, digital agency Laundry Service spun off its own influencer network, Cycle, after seeing increased demand for social influencers from brands. Cycle, which started as a talent agency for influencers, now counts athletes like NBA player Russell Westbrook on its roster of 2,700 influencers and athletes.

Influencers are like media channels

Laundry Service CMO Mike Mikho told Marketing Dive that Cycle works like other media networks, in that “you pay for reach.” Cycle is currently producing 50,000-plus pieces of content a month that reach about 3 billion content views.

“People have become media channels.” -Laundry Service CMO Mike Mikho
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A change in the definition of media channels has helped influencer marketing find its footing in recent years. “People have become media channels. There’s no difference between ESPN’s website and Russell Westbrook’s Facebook page,” Mikho said, explaining both produce a high volume of content from sought after voices to large audiences. “When an individual has so many followers that they begin to rival traditional media players, they become influencers, and eyeballs are eyeballs, it’s still the same process,” he said.

An influencer’s value goes back to the question of reach. When vetting influencers to add to their roster, the main factor — in addition to follower count — they look at is the value add the influencer provides to their specific audience. For some followers, value add comes in the form of an inspiring photo or a hilarious video. In the case of athletes, for example, it might mean an authentic look into their daily life.

Compatability can be an issue. It wouldn’t valuable for an influencer to work with a brand that isn’t relevant to their persona, for example. So when brands look to work with influencers, they take compatibility into consideration as well, Mikho said.

FameBit, a company that started as a self-service marketplace for YouTube endorsements and has since opened it up to Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Facebook and and Twitter, is another example. Co-founder and COO Agnes Kozera told Marketing Dive they see the influencer space moving in the direction of being multi-channel, multi-platform.

“The way we’re looking at influencer marketing is a comprehensive marketing strategy for brands … where you’re spreading your message across platforms, telling your story in different ways native and unique to the various platforms,” she said.

The value of influencer marketing comes from getting content from somebody who has a handle on how to create it, Kozera said, and perhaps more importantly, is plugged into an already-engaged audience to which they are distributing that content. “It allows you [brands] to position yourself for voice and search,” she said.

The measurement challenge

One of the biggest challenges social marketers run into – measurement – is a problem that keeps coming up.

Although RhythmOne’s report demonstrates influencer marketing has real ROI potential, a recent Forrester report, “The Right Way to Measure Social Marketing,” found that more than half (53%) of the marketers surveyed said measurement was their main challenge with social marketing. It was ranked higher than other challenges such as finding or creating content to publish (38%) or securing the budget for staff to manage online profiles (26%).

Murky metrics is “one of the ugly parts of influencer marketing.” -Vivaldi’s Erich Joachimsthaler
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To make matters worse, marketers have been willing to accept whichever metrics vendors can provide for the social campaigns they’re working on. Forrester’s research shows social marketers are willing to accept almost any metric – such as social posts and comments (34%), engagement rate (29%), social impressions (24%), social fans and followers (20%), sales (19%) and shares (10%) – to get even some idea of whether their efforts are paying off.

“This is one of the ugly parts of influencer marketing,” Vivaldi’s Joachimsthaler said. “I think marketers are not willing to take the risk of not receiving metrics. At least in my experience when we speak with clients about influencer marketing they roll their eyes saying ‘thanks so much for your promises,’ and it’s very much a hard selling point.”

To complicate things further, the increased prominence of influencers means they are sometimes prominent across multiple platforms and channels. An early Instagram star, for example, may have moved over to YouTube when she saw that her short video clips on the app were gaining traction and wanted to try her luck at longform videos. If tracking metrics on one social platform wasn’t hard enough already, tracking them across platforms is even trickier — especially if you are looking for higher-level analytics that clearly prove ROI.

While “there’s no way your message is worthless when you speak about it or get influencers to speak about it,” Joachimsthaler cautions that “just because you pay the influencer, it doesn’t mean they’re also helpful for you.”

“If you use a regular media channel you have much better metrics to make sure you get some sort of reach, impression or impact or engagement. If I go to the client and say I’m a digital agency and can get you this many retweets or shares, I think they need to be careful,” he said. At this point, “they’re pitching hope, but hope is not a strategy.”

Murky metrics is “one of the ugly parts of influencer marketing.” -Vivaldi’s Erich Joachimsthaler
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“Engagement is a challenge,” FameBit’s Kozera said, admitting that it needs attention. But “you can’t measure everything with influencer marketing. A lot of it is about brand awareness and relevancy.”

FameBit tracks earned media from paid media on YouTube, for instance, but what they’re seeing is “brands getting more familiar with the overall and long-term value of influencer marketing and not being able to track everything,” she said. However, “the number one thing brands are worried about is how their content is getting engaged with.”

While FameBit’s goal is to eventually provide higher-level analytics, it is currently teaching brands to look for different metrics, such as comments or “Likes,” that are akin to ROI because it shows the content is engaging and valuable to the audience.

If you look at influencer marketing in the context of being an integrated piece of your overall marketing plans, it increases in value, according to Joachimsthaler.

“When you are not measuring the effectiveness in isolation, you’re measuring the collective effort, which is more meaningful,” he said. “Influencer marketing is difficult, but it’s worth the investment.”

Finding a solution that sticks

“Maybe we’re not asking the right question when we ask, ‘Is this measurable?’” Joachimsthaler said. “Maybe it should be, ‘What is the right combination of tools to connect with the consumer and should influencer marketing be part of it ?’ And the answer is yes.”

The solution to getting more marketers interested in influencer marketing, and being able to gather more viable metrics, lies in establishing guidelines. The FTC has established rules around advertising, but the rules that touch influencer marketing the closest — sponsored and native content — only apply to it tangentially.

Once there are better standards, influencer marketing will gain more ground, Joachimsthaler said.

[By Natalia Angulo] [Read More]

Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner And The Top 2% of Social Media Influencers Earn As Much As $230 Per Post

American fashion model and television personality Kendall Jenner and other social media influencers can earn as much as $230,000 per branded post on social media sites.

Social media analytics company D’Marie told Adweek that the top two per cent of influencers could earn almost a quarter of a million dollars per branded post appearing either on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or a combination of the three.

Stars such as Kendall Jenner, Taylor Swift, Cara Delevigne and Selena Gomez, appear across all the platforms but D’Marie notes that 89 per cent of the top 8,000 social influencers use Instagram, 20 percent on Twitter and 14 per cent bother with a verified Facebook account.

Kendal Jenner, who boasts the most-liked ever selfie on Instagram, was recently listed as the most wanted celebrity ambassador in research from engagement tool Celebrity Intelligence.

Similarly, D’Marie ranks Jenner as the number one influencer with Forever 21 the top brand, followed by Victoria’s Secret, Gucci, Burberry and Dolce and Gabbana.


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Instagram Power In The Hands Of Influencers

Instagram is the playground of many brands and people, known for food, fitness and fashion. The platform has exploded with users sharing just about everything on the little sister of Facebook. Instagram has more than 400 million users globally and approximately six million registered users in Australia. Australian digital agency Online Circle Digital has just released an Instagram Performance Report. The agency looked at 12 industries and over 300 Australian brands and social media influencers’ accounts. Lead strategist Lucio Ribeiro said the most surprising finding from the report was the power of ‘influencers’ on Instagram in Australia.

Fitness gurus like Kayla Itsines and Hanna Polites and fashion bloggers Jessica Stein and Nicole Warne wielded a powerful Instagram following and influence. “The main reason I would say for these followings is because they are authentic and they really build emotional connections with their followers,” Ribeiro said. “Kayla really nails it, she is the benchmark,” he said.

Out of the 300 analysed brands and influencers the latter surged as the biggest and most engaging category. Kayla topped both the most followers and most engaging lists. You can view the entire report here.

[By Rashelle Habib] [Read More] [From] [First Image From]

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4 Principals Of Successful Influencer Marketing

The Bard once commented: what’s past is prologue. This couldn’t be truer, especially when it comes to online marketing. Way back when, display advertising gave way to search optimization, which in turn led to social media advertising and where we are today, where marketers are converging with social media influencers who, in a best case scenario, drive millions of eyes to a particular brand or product. There are those out there, including companies like Startup Grind, who say this represents the pinnacle of social media engagement. Here are some highlights from their recent study:

  • 90% of consumers rely on peer recommendations when it comes to the products they purchase
  • 60% of consumers have at one time or another made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation
  • 81% of consumers trust blog advice

Those who aren’t in the know tend to equate the term “influencer” with celebrity. While the Kim Kardashians of the world certainly draw a lot of water in the marketing realm, they are not the only game in town, as this statistic illustrates:

  • 62% of young adults would try a product recommended by a non-celebrity influencer

This is compared with some 49% of young adults who say they would try a product recommended by a Hollywood celebrity. That means consumers are 13% more likely to buy something recommended by a YouTuber or blogger instead of even a Taylor Swift. And with thousands of regular folks out there influencing their socks off, it’s a fertile resource.

For those ready to dive right into to influencer marketing, here are some principals to keep in mind.


Long-tail safety, to be precise. Just like many brands court the hottest marketing agency out there, they also tend to spend all their money on the hottest influencer. This is a mistake. A key point of entering into a business relationship with an influencer is to utilize their reach. It only makes sense, then, that the more influencers a brand utilizes, the greater the engagement. Multiple collaborations are a great way to reach a wider audience.

Take the case of Tyson Foods, for example. Over the 2012 holidays they reached out to dozens of mommy bloggers to help create social media impressions for a chicken-nuggets campaign. By utilizing a high number of bloggers to disseminate photos of chicken nuggets decorated as holiday shapes, Tyson garnered 8.8 million impressions (70% more than their initial goal), which resulted in them emptying their stock of chicken nuggets in time for Christmas. The story became such a hit it even madeHuffPost‘s list of the 10 best influencer-marketing campaigns of the year. And that was in 2013. Can you earn a spot on the list in 2016 and beyond?


While influencers are bound by a code of ethics, that does not mean they are going to promote a product or brand out of the goodness of their hearts. Freebies are still the best way to go, since offering an influencer a product or service is a great way to get them to post a review. Many influencers even make a percentage based on how many products are sold via their recommendation. Of course marketers can simply pay for a review, a practice that needs to be clearly disclosed on any blog or vlog review of the product. But focusing just on these methods overlooks the beauty of influencer marketing and the potential it has to deliver a huge return on ROI. After all, there is very little romantic about a relationship that is purely a cash transaction. More on this below.


Unlike past online advertising strategies–such as pay-per-click or even search engine optimization–influencer marketing is all about direct involvement and engagement. Just as old-school salesmen would tout the virtues of befriending their clients, so must the marketer connect with the person promoting his or her product. It is too tempting to look at influencers as nothing more than their metrics, like how many average video views they garner on YouTube. But no influencer-marketer relationship will thrive without a certain level of mutual respect. Those companies and brands who enjoy successful influencer campaigns usually do their homework beforehand. That means eschewing cold emails with a generic query in favor of personalized correspondence that touts the influencer’s past successful campaigns.

Another great way to get an influencer’s attention is to go the organic route. Become a fan. The best marketers follow their favorite influencer’s campaigns closely. They comment on their blogs, like their Facebook posts and retweet promotions that are particularly savvy. It is all in the spirit of joining the conversation and building relationships.


For all brands navigating the seas of social media, the hashtag is the North Star. It is the anchor point where all eyes must go. Influencers can’t do everything on their own, and it helps brand awareness immensely if there is a solid hashtag in place that the influencer can share with the world. Another mistake too many brands make is to insert themselves in the conversation. Hashtags are about having fun, not shameless self-promotion. The best of these start a dialogue and drum up interest. Those who incorporate a brand name will want to do so in the context of an offer or giveaway. Do it correctly and you just may have a runaway hit on your hands, as was the case with #EsuranceSave30.

The most nerve-wracking thing about influencer marketing is what is also the most exciting thing about influencer marketing: it is still in its nascent stages. Brands and companies would do well to leverage this tactic while it is relatively untapped.

[By Danny Wong] [Read More] [Image from LA Times]

SM Influencers

Partnering With Influencers Means Meeting Them Halfway

According to YouTube enterprise rights and marketing firm Zefr, 60% of marketers will increase spend on influencer marketing in the coming year, and 22% say it is a top-ranked customer acquisition tool. The firm’s EVP and global media solutions chief, Rick Song, moderated an Advertising Week “crash course” on influencer marketing on Wednesday.

The event kicked off with a slide demonstrating an interesting data point on social influencers: You may not know their names, but their fans do and their levels of engagement are immense. Digital celeb Connor Franta has way less reach than Jimmy Fallon (12.5 million versus 38.4 million, respectively), but way more engagement — 2 million on average with every social post, versus 1.2 million for Fallon. What’s more valuable to a marketer? Fallon’s 200 million reach, or Frampton’s 2 million engagements with every post. It might be Frampton’s engagement levels. After all, reach just means visibility.

Kimberly Yarnell, VP of digital media at Macy’s, said use of digital celebs has become very important for the brand, “especially as we hope to build affinity for millennials and the multi-cultural.” For instance, Macy’s uses YouTube style vlogger Teni Panosian to reach woman 18 to 34 who are looking to be on trend, but not trend forward. “We are data driven, and defined influencer strategy up front. When we started, we fell into the same trap as others: how many fans, and followers. We have tried to refine our approach and find influencers who like our brand. Up the ante in terms of collaborating with talent.” She says Macy’s keeps an influencer “score card” and tries to craft long-term relationships with influencers rather one-offs. “Crafting relationships over time helps both influencer and brand feel more comfortable in the relationship.”

On the panel was one of those influencers, Shonduras (Shaun McBride), a visual-media social celeb who uses a channel that is particularly popular with younger millennials and Gen Z: Snapchat. He makes a critical point: from the influencer perspective, dealing with a brand can go one of two ways, depending on how the brand treats him or her, especially around how much control the brand wants to wield. The analogy he uses here is a teenager’s bedroom: mom or dad asks the kid to clean it, and the teen either actually cleans it, or kicks his mess under the bed so it looks clean. Except in the case of a marketing negotiation, he says, the responsibility is on the marketer.

“We can check all the boxes in a bad way or good way. If a brand isn’t working with me; if it is telling me what to do, well, my fans know its a ‘job.’ But if I’m passionate about something, and believe it, if I actually love that brand, I’ll build a long-term relationship and when I do social pushes, I don’t hide the fact; I don’t hide the brand under the bed.”

As far as what his fans think about his endorsing a brand, he said, “People say that the brand is cool for letting me do my thing. They embrace the brand. It’s not like I’m doing cool stuff and hiding the brand behind it.”

Jeff Wolfe, VP of content at brand content firm and Starcom Mediavest unit Liquid Thread, points out that, at end of day, people want to be entertained and that the client and influencer need to meet in the middle. “The brand is being well, and the influencer is being true to their voice and tone; it’s not an ad-like object.”

[By Karl Greenberg] [Read More] [Image from Stylecaster]

Influencer Marketing

4 Emerging Influencer Marketing Trends

Influencer marketing has become an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. Bloggers have catapulted over the last decade from obscurity to near-celebrity status, using agents in many cases to broker sponsorship deals that can reach tens of thousands of dollars for a single Instagram post. As a result of these hefty price tags, brands have begun to look more closely at the potential value of each collaboration to build loyalty, awareness and, ultimately, sales.Although Instagram followers has become the ‘influence standard’ for many brand marketers, there is increasing importance placed on conversions and hence more emphasis is being placed on direct blog traffic, time spent on the site, and other factors that indicate strong engagement. Some emerging digital platforms that connect bloggers with brands for collaborations have gone as far as providing access to bloggers’ Google Analytics, which has become a game-changer for brands when assessing potential conversion and relevance of an influencer for a particular campaign. (It’s important to note that not all platforms offer this level of transparency. Before signing up with any service that coordinates blogger collaborations, brands should always check if this data is available.)Given the growing trend toward transparency between brands and bloggers, here are four influencer marketing trends we expect to see over the next year:

Brands and Bloggers Will Communicate More Directly

With digital platforms making it much easier for brands and bloggers to communicate and negotiate more efficiently, the traditional role of a blogger talent agency will change. Brands will realize many benefits of this direct engagement including more creative collaborations that generate greater levels of genuine brand messaging to a more deliberate and targeted audience. We will see greater levels of  enthusiasm for a wider variety of brands, as bloggers have increased visibility of all opportunities available and will be able to make more informed choices about those that are suitable to their audience and style. They will have greater control over their messaging, partnerships and in turn their success.

Brands Will Utilize a Greater Variety of Bloggers

With blogger research and outreach so time-consuming, collaboration opportunities have often gone to the same handful of top influencers. With the rise of digital platforms, one of the rising influencer marketing trends that expect to see is a wider variety of bloggers involved in influencer marketing campaigns and an increase in collaborations with niche bloggers whose small, yet loyal audiences have high conversion rates.

Brands Will Use Influencers to Grow Their Own Social Media

In a trend that walks the line between influencer marketing and content strategy, we expect that brands will engage influencers to help build their own social media networks and audiences through Instagram takeovers, guest posts and partner events. We also expect that brands will start to publish more of their own content on their blogs, Tumblr accounts and other mediums, engaging influencers to catch their attention and spark relationships.

Bloggers Will Embrace Traditional Blogging

Many top ‘bloggers’ have diverted their attention away from traditional ‘blogging’, opting to express themselves through Instagram and Snapchat – but the emerging value of strong Google Analytics and clear conversion data may in fact inspire bloggers to strengthen their own domain names. As brands start to evaluate key metrics including audience demographics, time spent on the blog and overall digital influence, we expect bloggers to respond by balancing their efforts more evenly across their own web assets and social networks. Having a strong owned presence rather than relying on the platform du jour will help bloggers expand their brand presence and retain their longevity regardless of which social media platform is most popular today…or tomorrow.

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Blogs Don’t Just Aid Business, They Become One

Putting on a show: Dennis Littley presenting his kitchen studio at his Kissimmee, Florida, home where he hosts a weekly, live cooking show online. Littley, a retired professional chef, is one of the many bloggers who are making it big for blogging about things they are passionate about. — Orlando Sentinel/TNS

Dennis Littley doesn’t exactly like to prepare elaborate meals for himself. He’ll usually get by on a sandwich or some eggs. But when the camera rolls in his makeshift home studio, the veteran chef – who has prepared food in executive suites, upscale restaurants and lunchroom cafeterias – comes alive.

“Chefs are definitely egotists and we perform for people,” said Littley, 61. “We love to make people happy. It’s where I get my joy from.”

Littley shoots the video footage at his Kissimmee home and posts them to a blog, Ask Chef Dennis, that attracts up to 150,000 page views in a month. He has become part of a growing number of Central Florida residents who have turned blogging into a paying gig. Littley said the Web has created an avenue for more people than ever to get noticed.

“More are getting published that we would never have seen before,” he said. “There is a lot of talent out there. For just about every topic, there are people sharing things.”

In Central Florida, that has meant bloggers who cover topics as wide-ranging as Disney, food, fashion and travel, along with many others. FLBlogCon organiser Bess Auer, who trains bloggers through her website Gotta Get Blogging, has watched the conference grow modestly from a 100-seat gathering in its first year to now selling 350 tickets. An English teacher for 17 years, Auer started the conference, held at Full Sail University, when she failed to find any nearby blogging conferences. She said her transition from educating students to educating bloggers has been a natural one.

“Most who start blogging do so because they are passionate about what they blog about,” said Auer, who also runs the Florida Swim Network blog, which highlights swim programs across Florida. “They find some enjoyment out of it. They quickly find out that it’s a small world.”

But it can also be a lucrative one.

Jeanette Johnson, 32, has been at the helm of J’s Everyday Fashion, a fashion blog that features clothing and fashion every day. Her work has attracted enough visits to draw advertising from some high-profile fashion companies and department stores. The former marketer says she has earned US$700,000 (RM3.03mil) in revenue since the start of 2013, with about half coming from advertising and sponsorships. She said she wanted to make fashion journalism more realistic, so she started J’s Everyday Fashion in 2010.

“People can tell when a blogger is in it for the money, and I think people read my blog and think, ‘No, that’s not why she shows up every day,'” she said. “I keep it authentic and I think that cuts through in my blog.”

Johnson, who considers herself a “baby entrepreneur” because she does not have to reinvest her earnings, said she incurs very few costs because of her blog. She admits she had to adjust to becoming a full-time blogger, just as family and friends needed to come around to believing it was a worthwhile job. But as she learned more about the business side of blogging, she realised she had become an entrepreneur.

“In the beginning, it was strange that I was literally taking pictures of outfits and posting them on the Internet,” she said. “It was an evolution even for myself from being a silly thing to, ‘I’m an entrepreneur and this is a legitimate business.'”

Her transition in blogging, like many, was part hobby and part necessity after she lost her job in 2012.

“I had nowhere else to go and some of my friends suggested I turn it into a business,” she said. “Within a year I was making four to five times more than I was making as a marketing manager.”

Her popularity on social media has grown along with her blog. Johnson has 13,000 followers on Twitter and her Facebook page has been liked 86,000 times. Recently, JC Penney mentioned Johnson to its 389,000 Twitter followers.

As for Littley, the chef, he’s attracted more than 14,000 followers on Twitter. He first got serious about blogging in early 2010, when he joined a blog group and started researching the hobby. It wasn’t until he started to receive feedback from people outside of his family that he believed he could grow the blog.

“I went from being local to being national; then on Google+, I went worldwide,” he said. “I have friends all over the world that I know intimately but I have never actually met them in person.”

But as he does watch his blog grow, he says he intends to continue writing it for himself, as he has tried to do from the start.

“Food is like this international bond that brings everyone together, whether virtually or sitting at the same table,” he said.

“But I write for myself, it’s for me. I’m not trying to make it my living and be dependent on it. I share what I share and, if it’s not what you want, pass it by.” — Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service



Interview with Fashion Blogger: The Clothes Horse

There are so many different kinds of fashion blogs. At one end of the scale are those that share their daily rants and raves from their bedrooms, accompanied by iPhone snaps with #NoFilter realness. Then at the opposite end of the scale is Rebecca’s blog, The Clothes Horse. Her ethereal posts are carefully curated using the woodlands and beaches of Northern Ireland as the backdrop for her stylised photography. Scrolling through her posts is like reading a never ending fairy tale with daily doses of magic.

I caught up with Rebecca to find out about how she became the protagonist in her own online fairy-tale, what she dreamed of doing when she was growing up, the thought process that goes into creating a post and what her dream shoot would look like…


Your photographs always seem to tell a story. Some remind me of fairy tales, others vintage fashion photography and then stylised films too. What is the process that you go through to create these looks and themes?

Part of it just happens organically. I watch a lot of old films and I read a lot growing up so these influences are still with me. Sometimes I’m just out on a walk and I see something and it’s very fairytale-esque, I don’t have to plan the image it just happens. It probably helps that I’m an American and I just moved to Northern Ireland; I see things differently than a local who drives by rock walls and castle ruins every day, for me it’s very old world and romantic while to them it’s just mundane. Being new to an area always helps, you see things more romantically than the locals and since I grew up moving every few years I’m sort of constantly in the state of being new and appreciating my surroundings because I’m not accustomed to them. If I break down the process then it usually starts with an outfit; once I have the outfit I think about what sort of settings would highlight it and then I go for a walk-I have some images in my mind but I also walk around and see what I can find. Sometimes I had a flowering bush in mind for a set and when I get there the plant died or the light is wrong, so I just walk or ride my bicycle a little farther and try to find a better fit. If I lived in a city I think my style would be completely different because I do pick out clothes thinking “this would work in the woods/countryside” or more literally I’d look at stilettos and think “where am I going to wear those?” because so many of the roads I walk along are dirt or gravel.

What was your dream job as a 17 year old?

I wanted to be a “fine artist;” in my head that was really the dream to make a living doing art but the sort of art that belongs in museums and exhibitions. Even back then I remember my art teacher recommending that I look into illustration because she thought it suited my talents and interests more, but I felt it wasn’t as “cool” and “special” as fine art back then! Of course shortly after that my family moved and the next school I attended didn’t really have any art program so when college rolled around I was completely off the art track and trying to find a new goal! Now I’d probably love to get into illustration!

If you had access to an unlimited budget what would your dream shoot look like?

Oh gosh there are so many dream shoots I’d love to do. The wardrobe would probably be Valentino, the location would probably be Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany (it looks like a Disney castle), and I’d love to get some of Tim Walker’s old props out for it as well! He’s created giant moths, cameras, and monsters for some of his shoots and I’d love to borrow a few for my own pictures. That’s really the next level-finding a way to create giant props to use but I wouldn’t even know where to store them once I built them!

So if ever you are in need of a little bit of sparkle on a dull day you know where to head.

This interview originally appeared on lifestyle, fashion and travel blog LedByLucy. If you enjoyed this post then you may want to have a nosy at the People and Projectssection of LedByLucy where you will find regular interviews with inspirational women working within the creative field.

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5 Inspiring Fashion Bloggers Who Are Changing the World

Fashion bloggers are everywhere these days! However, few have surpassed the noise and made it to the top. We’ve gathered five women who inspire us well beyond their sartorial choices and Instagram feeds. These women are changing the face of the fashion-blogging world for good, from Chiara Ferragni’s powerful entrepreneurial skills, to Aimee Song’s second job and two fashion lines, to Gabi Gregg’s positive body-image mantra.

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