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iBlog

AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW ABOUT VIRTUAL REALITY | 5 TIPS FOR MAKING MONEY FROM EXISTING CONTENT

The magazine for women influencers

Video to market your business

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TO BLOGGING BASICS July/August 16

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CONTENTS 10 VIDEO TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS It's important to remember that all videos are not created equal

12 MONEY FROM EXISTING CONTENT Revising old posts could make a big difference in earnings

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14

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INSTAGRAM ADS How to run a successful Instagram ad campaign

42 LINKEDIN RECOMMENDATIONS They're important if you want to increase your credibility

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AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW ABOUT

Virtual Reality

VIRTUAL REALITY Creatives use virtual reality to allow people inside their stories

Email Marketing

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Time Management

Network Building

HOW TO BE

SUCCESSFUL ON YOUR OWN 44 All Roads Lead to Email Marketing We're all selling something & email subscribers convert higher than any audience 4

iBlog magazine JUL/AUG 2016

48 Building a Network of Influencers Identify niche influencers, plan creative campaigns, and get a pulse on your network

Schedule

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Success on Your Own Schedule Be adaptable and willing to change in business. What works today may not work tomorrow.


WOMEN'S INFLUENCER INDUSTRY & BUSINESS REPORT >18

Feature -REPORT SNAPCHAT MAJOR FINDINGS

16 VISIT THE NEW IBLOGMAGAZINE.COM

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MAJOR FINDING #1

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MAJOR FINDING #2

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MAJOR FINDING #3

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MAJOR FINDING #4

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MAJOR FINDING #5

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MAJOR FINDING #7

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MAJOR FINDING #8

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MAJOR FINDING #9

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MAJOR FINDING #10

Influencer income is not increasing in 2016. Influencers are getting bogged down in operations. Video ranks near the top of influencers disinterested list. Influencers value SEO & content marketing for growth. Facebook rules for business importance and driving traffic.

MAJOR FINDING #6

Influencers are increasing use of Instagram & Pinterest. Understand your ROI or continue to be undervalued. Brands & agencies need to invest more in influencers. Influencers are happy with their compensation. Influencers want to grow and learn how to succeed.

iBlog magazine JUL/AUG 2016

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The Annual Report

T

he iBlog magazine 2016 Women's Influencer Industry & Business Report is the definitive research survey that uncovers new trends in the influencer space. We’re always excited to launch and release our annual report to learn how women influencers are utilizing social media tools to advance their businesses, content-marketing to increase revenues, and interacting with brands and agencies to foster new business relationships. This year’s report sheds light on several important issues facing women influencers and provides many expert opinions on how they can be managed and overcome. One of the most exciting dynamics of the annual report is having the top women’s influencer industry experts from influencer networks, digital media agencies, ad networks, media companies, consulting companies, and even top influencers provide us with their analyses and feedback about the major findings discovered by our influencer survey. Experts like Elisa Camahort Page, Chief Community Officer of SheKnows Media; Stacy DeBroff, Founder and CEO of Influence Central; and Holly Hamann, Co-Founder of TapInfluence; are just a few of the extraordinary businesspeople that have built leading companies in the influencer industry who provide their valuable guidance for influencers and brands alike. Over 3,000 influencers in 20+ niches participated in this year’s report and shared their answers with us to provide the definitive benchmark report for all influencers to learn from and apply our experts’ actionable advice to their business operations today. The report confirms a few of last year’s findings that have remained similar, like influencers’ need to invest in creating video content and understanding their value, but it also shows new trends in Instagram

Meet the Team.

usage and the need for brands to invest more in their relationships with influencers now, more than ever. We hope you enjoy our feature article and visit the new iBlogmagazine.com where you can download the complete 50+ page report to share with your friends and industry peers.

Contact us today

iBlog magazine partners: • Social Media Conferences • Blog Conferences • Influencer Networks • Blogger Networks • Agencies, Brands & PR Firms Matt Cherry

Founder & Publisher @iBlogmag

Christine Crowell

Ashley Abele

VP Marketing

Operations Mgr & Editor @AshleyNAbele

Networks Conferences brands

Contact us. Advertising inquiries: market@iBlogmagazine.com 813-551-0007

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A strategic marketing partnership with iBlog adds value to your campaigns, helping you increase your reach with women influencers.

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Halee Kalevitch Marketing Manager

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Tori Rivera

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Jackie Ratcliff Graphic Designer

iBlog magazine JUL/AUG 2016

Amy Reid

Graphic Designer

Kristi Corrigan Content Coordinator

Printed in the USA, Copyright © 2016 by iTell Ventures, Inc. All rights reserved. iBlog magazine is published monthly except for combined July/August and December/January issues, by iTell Ventures, Inc. 231 N. Tennessee Ave., Lakeland, FL 33801. Subscriptions are by membership to iBlogmagazine.com website only. Address all membership correspondences to membership@iblogmagazine.com. To change address please visit your membership account at iBlogmagzine.com. Material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission.


iBlog Advisory Committee Industry leaders committed to your success

Ana Flores Founder, We All Grow Summit, Latina Bloggers Connect, Spanglish Baby

Stacey Ferguson

Kristin Hylek

Kim Garst

Co-founder, Blogalicious Justice Fergie Lifestyle Media, Attorney

Manager, Alliances & Brands PR & Brand Engagement McDonald’s USA, LLC

Co-founder, Boom! Social, Forbes Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers

Emily McKhann

Barbara Jones

Aliza Freud

Suzanne Fanning

Ronnie Tyler

Co-Founder, The Motherhood The McKhann Media Group

Founder, one2one Network CEO, Blissful Media Group

Founder & CEO SheSpeaks & SocialSpeaks.com

President, WOMMA Word of Mouth Marketing Assoc.

Co-founder, Black and Married With Kids, Tyler New Media

Laura Mayes Co-founder, Mom 2.0 Summit, Camp Mighty, Go Mighty, Kirtsy

Angela Sustaita-Ruiz

Pat Flynn

Co-founder, Hispanicize Partner, Hispanicize Wire, CEO, Latina Mom Bloggers

Founder, Smart Passive Income, iTunes Top Podcaster, Author, Blogger

Kerry O’Shea Gorgone

Sami Cone

Instructional Design Mgr. Enterprise Training at Marketing Profs

Radio & TV Host, Savings Expert

Lynette Young Founder, Women of Google+, 1.5 million followers, speaker, corporate trainer

MJ Tam

Jeannette Kaplun

Editor, Chicagonista Co-Founder, Women Driving excellence

Founder, Hispana Global, Author-Todobebe, TV Host Journalist, Spokesperson

Nadia Jones

Joey Fortman

Cherie Whyte

CEO Niche Parent Blogger Network, Social Media Strategist

Founder, Real Mom Media, Parent Advisory Panel & Events Manager - Toy Insider

Director, Citizen Relations International

Bridgette Duplantis

Laurie Schacht

Cecilia Mecca

Katja Presnal

Co-founder of iRetreat conference & Double Duty Divas

Co-founder of iRetreat conference & Double Duty Divas

Debbie Bookstaber

Co-publisher The Toy Insider, President The Toy Book

President, Element Associates, Social Media Director, Child’s Play Communications

Founder, Editor-in-Chief Skimbaco Co-Founder, Global Mappin

Amy Atkinson

Yoly Mason

Missy Maher

Sarah Beeskow-Blay

Jyl Johnson Pattee

Founder, Amy Atkinson Communications

Founder, Cuponeando.net, Founder Las Blogueras

EVP, Zeno Group Edelman Public Relations

Director of Client Services, Share A Sale

Founder, Mom It Forward, Family Forward Conference

Do you support women influencers? iBlog magazine is seeking out new partnerships with national brand, agency and pr firm executives that would like to participate on the iBlog magazine Advisory committee. Join our industry leaders and partner with the largest business resource for women influencers online. Receive year-round exposure for your brand(s), benefit from our partnerships with leading influencer networks and conferences while discovering new opportunities to support and interact with influencers in the iBlog magazine community. For more information about iBlog’s Advisory committee please email us at: Advisors@iBlogmagazine.com

ADVISORS


You’re already writing about products and brands you love, so why not earn money while doing so? Brands are eager to reach your audience, and we’re here to connect you! Join the Savings.com Affiliate Program and Start Earning Money Today!

“ I love working with Savings.com! Their affiliate dashboard makes it easy to share coupon codes and links to affiliated stores quickly, without having to remember what online store is with what affiliate platform. My favorite part about working with Savings.com is their team- they are great to work with.” - Jessie Alonzo, MoolaSavingMom.com

“ I love Savings.com. They offer great deals on brands that my clients love, which keeps them reading! Savings.com is also exceptionally easy to work with and I value that.” - Myrah Duque, CouponMamacita.com

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marketing

Using Video

to Market Your Online Business

W

hen using video to market your business online, the most important thing to remember is that all videos are not created equal. In fact, with the explosion of live broadcasting, “video” no longer requires a “record” button at all. One thing is for sure though, video is a key component of a marketing strategy that no business or brand can choose to ignore. The number 1 search engine is Google. Falling behind at a close 2nd is YouTube. (Is it any coincidence that Google happens to own YouTube?) It’s worth it to put the work into creating professional videos and uploading onto YouTube because those babies will last, no matter what trend or social media platform pops up next. Although YouTube does require a higher level of professionalism than the other platforms we’ll cover, don’t make the mistake that most people do of putting all or most of their energy into the production quality of the video. What matter most is that your videos convert viewers into leads and leads into sales. Here are some key pointers for your YouTube videos:

Your video should be about your viewer, not about you This is a hard pill for a lot of professionals to swallow because they’ve been conditioned to think that they need to run down a list of 10

iBlog magazine JUL/AUG 2016

qualification and certifications for people to hire them or buy from this. This is just not true. The truth is that nobody cares about you or what you’ve done, they only want to know how you can help them. Obviously there is a place for you to brag about yourself, but it’s not in your YouTube videos. Your video should open with your viewers struggle, and then it should deliver content to fix that specific problem. That’s it. You can then back up that content by explaining how you know things or sharing a relatable story.

Include one strong call to action Once you’ve given value in your video, let your viewer know there’s more where that came from and tell them exactly what to do next. Use 1 specific call-to-action per video. If you want their email address, say, “Go to www. yourwebsite.com” and enter your email.” You

can ask them to follow you on social media, visit you online store or come in to your place of business. Whatever your call-to-action is, make sure the viewer knows how they can reach you, get more great content, hire you and buy from you.

Optimize with keywords You can have the most wonderfully produced, strategically filmed video that is ready to convert to sales but nothing will happen if nobody sees it. It’s simple math… More eyes= more buys. The secret sauce to success on YouTube is Search Engine Optimization. In other words, optimizing your video to get in front of your target viewer. To do this, you need to know what they’re searching for. Luckily, this information is free and at your fingertips, courtesy of Google. Here’s what you do: Go to Google, type in “keyword planner”, click “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”, type in a


Danielle Ford is a Creative Video Marketing Strategist and thought leader, showing entrepreneurs how to take their business live, reach thousands, and make millions. can now choose keywords that get thousands of monthly searches and use them in your YouTube titles, descriptions and tags which will push your video to the top of YouTube and Google when people search for that term. And if you’ve followed step 1 and 2, your video will start turning those searches into clients and sales.

Live Streaming few potential title ideas for you video and click “get ideas”. Switch from “ad group ideas” to “keyword ideas” and a list of phrases that your target market is searching for will populate. You

I don’t consider platforms like Periscope and Facebook live to be social media. The ability to broadcast live to an infinite amount of people at any given time with the push of a button puts itself into its own category. To me, live broadcasting is the biggest advancement

since radio. It allows one person to stream live to a mass of people, except it doesn’t require a gatekeeper, any level of skill or any more technology than a smartphone. I put live streaming under the video umbrella because although there is no “record” button or way of editing later, it allows you to be visible in a crowded online space, connect with your target audience and grow your influence. It is a super powerful tool that is too easy to use to have any real excuse not to. If you already have an audience, Facebook live is a great spot to deepen those relationships. If you’re just starting out, I suggest using Periscope and taking advantage of the Twitter integration to start building your tribe.

Here are some things I ’ve done to attract over 20,000 Periscope Followers:

USE TITLE HASHTAGS SEARCHED BY YOUR IDEAL CLIENTS

ALWAYS OPEN AND CLOSE BROADCASTS WITH CTAS

ASK YOUR VIEWERS TO HELP YOU SHARE

When you go live, if your Periscope is linked to Twitter, it will automatically tweet out your live broadcast to your followers and also add your broadcast to that hashtag. This way, in the future when anyone is browsing that same search term, you will be front and present, and you will see your follower count and the numbers in your live broadcasts begin to steadily grow.

Because of the personal and live element, you can have even stronger CTAs here than YouTube. I’ve held very successful live flash sales, booked clients live, and registered groups of people into my courses at once. Even a basic CTA to connect on other social media or join an email list works wonders and you should open and close your broadcasts with your call-to-action.

After saying hi, introducing yourself, and announcing what you’ll be talking about, take a minute to request that your viewers share your broadcast with their Periscope followers and their friends on social media. When someone shares your broadcast, your live stream and replay will show up for all of their followers. This is a quick and easy way to grow your Periscope following.

Whether you choose to plan out your YouTube strategy or you’d just rather “wing it” and go live, remember that you can’t go wrong by showing up and delivering value online. Putting yourself out there, through video, is the quickest and most effective way to stand out from your competition, reach your ideal clients, grow your authority in your industry, and multiply your sales.

Danielle Ford

DanielleFord.com DanielleFord.com/YouTube

MARKETING


In your time as a professional blogger, you’ve no doubt become much savvier when it comes to monetization. Before creating any new content, why not take a look back at what content you already have that’s still getting traffic and find ways to optimize it? Here are five tips for reevaluating, tweaking and repackaging your posts to help you maximize your content’s monetization potential.

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1. USE GOOGLE ANALYTICS As an experienced, savvy blogger, you should absolutely have Google Analytics set up for your blog. It’s a free tool that offers very valuable information about your site and your content. It’ll help you take a look back at your existing content to find which posts you should put time into optimizing.


2. ADD AFFILIATE LINKS Imagine that Analytics turns up an old post about a popular store, like Nordstrom, that still gets traffic. You check out the post and you see the only affiliate link it contains is a coupon link that expired three years ago. How do you take advantage of this situation? The first way is to grab an evergreen affiliate link (this is a link that doesn’t expire) to Nordstrom’s homepage, and then link your first and last mention of Nordstrom with the evergreen link. Doing so will ensure that no matter when someone clicks on that post in the future, they’ll have the opportunity to click through those links to make purchases at Nordstrom (and also to earn you some money). Another option is to grab a Nordstrom coupon widget. Some affiliate programs, like the Savings.com Affiliate Program, offer merchant-specific, dynamic widgets that continually update with new deals and remove

3. RECYCLE CONTENT FOR SOCIAL & EMAIL If you know you had a lot of success with certain seasonal posts in the past, resurface that content when the season rolls around again. For example, if you wrote a highly trafficked post a couple of years back about fun activities to plan for your kids while they’re out on summer break, go through the post, update or add affiliate links so that everything is current, and share the post on your social channels and with your email audience. If you shared the post on Pinterest when it was originally published, go back and repin it so it appears back on the top of your board.

expired deals. For this particular type of post, with an expired coupon link in it, consider updating the copy near the original coupon link to direct your readers to the current deals in the widget (which usually works best when embedded below the post). You may be asking, do I need to blog about coupons in order to use affiliate links? The answer is no. If you’re a food and recipe blogger, for example, who offers suggestions of cookware and tools that you recommend for creating a specific recipe, use affiliate deep links (links that go directly to the product page on a store’s website) when you mention those products, and if a novice cook or baker happens upon the post, there’s a decent chance they’ll take your expert advice. They’ll buy the products you recommend by clicking on your links, and voila. You’ve cooked up some commissions.

TAKING TIME TO REVISE OLD POSTS COULD MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN YOUR EARNINGS

WE WANT TO WORK WITH YOU! 4. CREATE LANDING PAGES FOR THEMED CONTENT Did you write a popular series of posts in the past? Or is there a topic you write about often? If so, consider creating an optimized landing page for that topic that contains some new, introductory content, as well as links to each of your existing posts. Creating a landing page for themed content could benefit you in a few different ways: 1.

2.

3.

4.

It provides you with exciting content to share with potential clients. For example, say you recently renovated your house, and you captured each stage of the project in a series of posts. If you create a landing page with an introduction to the project and a list of links to each post in your series, that would be a great asset to send along to a home improvement brand with which you’d like to work. It makes your site more user friendly by putting related content in one place so that your readers don’t need to hunt down posts on topics they’re exploring. You can make sure that they’re exposed to everything you’ve written on the topic. It gives less popular content an opportunity to be surfaced, and with that, it gives your readers an opportunity to click through affiliate links on the page to make sales and to earn you some money. It can help improve your SEO ranking. If you have an evergreen landing page for a specific topic, you can promote that page over and over, which will hopefully increase the number of links back to your site.

If you’re a blogger who’s looking to make some money on their site, we at Savings.com would love to work with you. As a member of the Savings.com DealPro Network, you’ll have access to affiliate links, deep links and widgets for online stores, printable grocery coupons, as well as sponsored campaigns for great brands like Peapod, Cheez-It, Macy’s, Kohl’s and more! Apply now by visiting DealProNetwork.com/iBlog.

5. SPRUCE UP OLD SPONSORED POSTS AND SHARE WITH NETWORKS Do you really like working on campaigns with Macy’s? Or would you like to get more sponsored opportunities with a particular network? Go back to sponsored posts that you’ve written for Macy’s or for the network in the past, review and update the content, refresh any affiliate links, and send an email to your contact at the company that includes a link to the updated post. This lets the network or client know that you’ll go the extra mile on campaigns, which will put you top of mind next time an opportunity rolls around. Taking just a little time to review, revise and repackage old posts could make a big difference in your earnings, so next time you’re working on your to-do list, consider these tips!

FINANCES


Instagram

HOW TO RUN A

SUCCESSFUL

AD

I

NSTAGRAM ADS are getting more and more prevalent in our feeds. If you’ve so much as logged into Instagram, you’ve seen a number of these ads. And, some of them are better than others. Some of them are better targeted to you than others. Like ads on any platform, some perform better than others. And it’s up to you as 14

iBlog magazine JUL/AUG 2016

the marketer to create the best possible ads for your business.

So, what makes a successful Instagram ad? Some of the things to consider, and which are covered in the book, are how to select the right ad choices, how to target your ads,

how to choose the right images, how to write the best copy, and how to budget your ad. All of these factors will determine how successfully your Instagram ad runs and the level of results you will achieve. But beyond just these technical aspects, you also need to think about the more artistic side of your ads.


An Instagram ad image should be “pretty” enough to stand out in the feed yet organic enough to belong in the feed. It should look like something your target audience is already following and yet stand out from the crowd to really engage them. Of course, this is not easy to do. And why you need to put a lot of time and thought into your ad imagery. You need to know your target audience and why your content is valuable to them. What are they looking for? How can your content connect with that and drive their engagement? For example, if your target audience is athletic female college students, then your imagery should connect with that lifestyle: yoga, running, green juice, healthy food, etc. The more your image can

immediately connect with them, and convey a message that your brand gets them, the more likely they are to connect with you. But, even if you have the right steps in place and the right image to use, both of these are useless if you haven’t defined your purpose and end state for your ad. Essentially, your goal is to direct traffic to your website. That’s easy. But for what purpose? Are you planning to collect email addresses? Are you looking to drive sales? Are you asking for participation? Are you driving opt-ins to a webinar? Are you trying to reach new audiences?

“Pretty enough to stand out in the feed, yet organic enough to belong in the feed.”

Here are some examples of accounts using Instagram ads for different purposes (and with powerful imagery):

See how different these ads are in terms of their outcomes? Yet, they all run successful campaigns on Instagram. Whatever the goal is, you need to define it. Then build your ad around that goal. And use this to determine your level of “success” after your Instagram ad has finished running. The number of likes on your ad, new Instagram followers, clicks on your ad, and traffic conversions from Instagram visitors are all going to be things to measure after your ad set has completed. Plan ahead, knowing what you goal is and set reasonable expectations to analyze your results when all is done. I know this all sounds like a lot, because it is. If you’re really going to run a successful Instagram ad, you have to put the time and effort into creating the right content. Remember, most people who see your Instagram ad have likely never seen your account or heard of you before. This ad is their first impression of you. What impression do you want to leave? That’s why all of this is so important!

Jenn Herman

www.jennstrends.com Instagram: jenns_trends

INSTAGRAM


Survival Tip #2: BETTER SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION) COMES WITH LINK BUILDING AND “NOFOLLOW” TAGS.

I

t’s easy to get wrapped up in producing piece after piece of content for your blog when there are companies willing to pay for your work. From PR agencies to blogging networks, there is money to be made from blogging. The more content you create, the more you make. The problem with that is that you might lose yourself in the process. You can lose the voice of your site, lose your passions, and even lose the level of quality work that you’re typically known for. The key to surviving, and furthermore succeeding, is getting back to the basics that first made your blog and content something people resonated with. If quality is sacrificed, then you may lose the paid opportunities altogether. Let’s go back to blogging basics and cover what makes you a quality content producer.

Survival Tip #1: ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO DOT YOUR I’S AND CROSS YOUR T’S. There is no point in creating content that has typos and missing links. You want to be proud of the writing you produce for your readers. Using proper grammar and checking your work for readability will not only make your post read clearer, but it will also bring back readers and build your credibility as a quality blogger. Quality content is what leads to building traffic to your site, and is the first step in optimizing your site for higher search rankings and more page views. Check out online tools like Grammarly that automatically check your work for correct grammar, structure and clarity. 16

iBlog magazine JUL/AUG 2016

The best way to link build includes creating quality content that others will want to link to. These backlinks help your site for reaching greater SEO, link juice and overall higher ranking, as well as give your site credibility with readers. It’s important to get return visitors to your site. Also, when using internal links with your site content, it is important to utilize anchor text methods. You don’t want links that read, “click here” to lead your readers to other internal site pages. Anchor texts are important with internal linking or linking externally to other sites. Did you know that commenting on other blogs can also help with building backlinks to your site? Build your blogger networks, interact with other bloggers, and support others. Yoast SEO is an awesome Wordpress plugin that helps optimizes your content and clean up your links. Don’t forget: Google rewards bloggers that use the “nofollow” tag on any links provided to them by a brand for the sake of including in sponsored content, since these links didn’t come about organically (i.e., the links wouldn’t exist if the company hadn’t offered to provide a free good or service in exchange for a link). In fact, Google will penalize sites that do not utilize “nofollow” tags in sponsored content, so make sure your “nofollow” plugins are working correcting, or even better, hard code in “nofollow” coding into the HTML of your post.

Survival Tip #3: CONTENT SHOULD ALWAYS REFLECT YOUR VOICE. People follow your blog because they care about what you write. They want to know you, see what you like, learn from you, get excited about your ideas, and have you be real. It’s important that you are selective with the paid opportunities you participate in, because your bloggers are still looking for the organic writing that is YOU! Your brand. Your voice. Your story. If you wouldn’t promote something for free, you might want to reconsider promoting something for a paycheck. Authenticity is huge because it helps you earn the trust of your readers, and that trust is one of the big reasons why brands like working with influencers. Inauthentic content will not serve the brand or the blogger well. There is nothing wrong with having sponsored content on your site. However, it’s crucial that the majority of your


blogging

content is not sponsored, so that you avoid sounding like a constant marketing machine. You just can’t lose who you are as an influencer and a personal brand. What you write means something to your readers. Check out CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to ensure you are grabbing your reader’s attention from the get-go.

Survival Tip #5: COMPETITIVE POSTS WILL SINK YOUR SHIP. When selecting influencers for opportunities, brands often have very strict guardrails about talking about competitive brands/ products. Some look at everything you have written 30-90 days prior to the opportunity, while others search keyword mentions on your blog about their brand and competitive brands. If you are interested in writing about a brand/product, start talking about it without being paid and build up your audience as an advocate for these brands. Don’t forget that parent companies own several brands, so do your research on the products. And whatever you do, don’t include competitive products/brands in your post! The ones who are paying for it will NOT be happy. Going back to blogging basics will not only remind you of what is important to you and your readers in quality content, but it will also lead to more views to your content, more shares across social channels, and more opportunities for you as a blogger. Sometimes all it takes is looking back to what you did to get where you are and focus on sharing the real you with your readers.

Survival Tip #4: CREATING HERO IMAGES AND AVOIDING THE USE OF BRAND STOCK PHOTOS WILL DRAW READERS IN. Make sure you have at least one hero image in your blog post, as well as to utilize it while syndicating out your content across the web. It should be a quality photo that conveys what your post is about, includes writing overlay with a relevant title, and is the appropriate size. Also when creating content for a brand, avoid using any stock photos provided by the brand, when possible. Nothing screams “inauthentic” more than glossy product photos inserted into a blog post. Most bloggers have a certain style when it comes to their photography and can put their personal touch on products, particularly when creating a recipe or drink tutorial. Your followers will resonate with the way you use the product and portray it through high-grade photography, not with stock photos they’ve likely seen in past brand promotions. PicMonkey is a free online image editing app that allows you to touch up photos, create collages, and add text overlays to photos. Want to connect? Social Fabric® is Collective Bias’ hand-selected community of over 7,000+ shopping-focused influencers with an aggregate multi-channel reach in excess of 82 million. For more information, visit Collectivebias.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Kristin Wheeler

Senior Manager Community Programming & Engagement

BLOGGING


WOMEN'S INFLUENCER INDUSTRY & BUSINESS REPORT Get the complete Women's Influencer Industry & Business Report at the new iBlogmagazine.com.

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iBlog magazine JUL/AUG 2016

o

ne of the cornerstones of iBlog magazine is supporting the growth of the industry as a whole. In that regard, we spent many months in 2016 surveying thousands of bloggers who are currently working in the industry on their take of the space today, as we did in 2015. With an exciting rise in responses, we were able to take these results and compare them to the response we received last year and get a glimpse at how the influence landscape has changed. The results are fascinating; while there are some changes, much has stayed the same. So what does that


These 15 amazing industry experts are business leaders and thought leaders in the women's influencer industry. Their insight and feedback on this year's survey will guide you to making smart business decisions in your social media and blogging business career.

>

INDUSTRY EXPERTS Elisa Camahort Page

She Speaks

Amy Callahan

Chief Community Officer

Co-Founder & CCO

SheKnows Media

Collective Bias

Angela Sustaita-Ruiz

Holly Hamann

Hispanicize Media & Dime Media

Tap Influence

Stefania Pomponi

Rohit Vashisht

Clever Girls

Activate by Bloglovin'

Kyle Ivins

Danica Kombol

Monumetric

Everywhere Agency

Tracey Harrington McCoy

Stacy DeBroff

MtoM Consulting LLC

Influence Central

Co-Founder & Partner

Founder & President

Co-Founder & CMO

mean? Something slightly different to every influencer, depending on their goals. However, there was one finding that proves to be relatively universal, and that pertains to traffic. Our survey shows that 66% of influencers spend less than four hours per month on learning social media or business skills for growth. For us, Kyle Ivins, Co-Founder and CMO of Monumetric, a full-service ads partner to help businesses reach their revenue goals while giving influencers a chance to monetize, sums it up perfectly: “If influencers need to focus gaining more traffic, they should spend the majority of their time on platforms that are traffic-gen friendly until their traffic is at their ideal level.� Read on for more great insights.

Aliza Freud

Founder & CEO

Chief Operating Officer

Co-Founder

President

President

Founder & CEO

Maria Sipka

Stacey Ferguson

Linqia

Blogalicious

Co-Founder & President

Ana Flores

Founder & CEO

Latina Bloggers Connect

Chief Curator

Holly Homer

Founder & Owner

Kids Activities Blog


MAJOR FINDING #1 Influencer income is not increasing in 2016. 75% of influencers are making less than $10,000 annually and 90% make less than $30,000 annually. This response is within .5% of the 2015 report findings. Writing sponsored blog posts is still the primary way influencers earn money.

Related Survey Question Indicate your annual income from blogging and other revenue sources derived from your blogging career? (Reported on your 2015 tax return from blog related jobs)

LESS THAN $2,500

51.5%

$2,500 - $5,000

15.2%

$5,000 - $10,000

7.9%

$10,000 - $15,000

5.6%

$15,000 - $20,000

5.1%

$20,000 - $30,000

4.8%

$30,000 - $40,000

2.5%

$40,000 - $50,000

1.7%

$50,000 - $60,000

1.1%

$60,000+

4.5%

PERCENTAGE

The Trend:

5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50

Earnings reported are nearly identical to those reported in 2015. Many different variables affect this as more influencers enter the industry daily in various social media platforms.

Expert Opinion...

Stacy DeBroff Founder & CEO

Influence Central

What we’ve seen in the marketplace has been a diffusion of opportunities given a huge growth in the sheer number of influencers. Moreover, brands have started to hyper-focus on specific platform expertise and reach, particularly with emergent platforms such as

Instagram and YouTube, influencer content that closely maps to their brand story, and influencers who reach a very specific consumer demographic that the brand has targeted for a particular campaign. Also, as compensation has gone up for brand advocacy engagements (hence why we see in finding 9 that the vast majority of influencers report being happy with the compensation received for engagements), brands overall have started to engage less influencers within a specific campaign at these higher price points. This all results in more limited opportunities for an influencer,

thus causing their total income from content engagements to stagnate. But what has proven true across the rise of the influencer space centers on the key that the influencers making the most money tend to make it from activities auxiliary to their platforms, such as: spokesperson, social media consultant, campaign runner, book author, community manager, speaker, part-time agency employee, branded content creator, or small business owner. The key to increased income comes from leveraging your platform foundation and expertise into other sources of lucrative revenue.

You need to know ... 5-10 30.1%

HOW MANY HOURS A WEEK IS YOUR TYPICAL BLOGGING WORK WEEK?

10-15 13.7% 15-20 10.7% 20-25 13.9% 25-30 10.2% 30-35 8.0% 35+ 13.4%

This survey question is related to the major report finding.

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PERCENTAGE

5 10 15 20 25 30 35


Expert Opinion...

Maria Sipka

Co-Founder & President Linqia

Nearly 70% of marketers pay per post, making it the most common pricing model for influencer marketing. In this model, individual influencers are paid a flat rate for creating and publishing a piece of content, regardless of how it performs. This means that quality in-

Expert Opinion...

Angela Sustaita Ruiz Co-Founder & Partner

Hispanicize Media & Dime Media

Most content creators begin or are still working in social media part time. Since that’s the case, it makes sense that most influencers are generating around $10,000 a year so that stat is not surprising. Based on our experience, creators who work full time in social media routinely make $20,000, $30,000 or much

fluencers, whose content is proven to inspire action and is often of professional quality, are limited to the same preset earning amount as influencers who do not deliver similar results. Influencers who work with a pay-for-performance model are empowered to take control of their earning potential. Rather than being paid simply for creating a piece of content, influencers are compensated based on how well that content performs. Those who have a vested interest in the brand’s business objectives and create quality content that is designed to inspire audience action have a higher earning

potential. The better their content performs, the higher the compensation. Paying for performance also benefits brands as it’s a surefire way to guarantee a return on their program investment. In this model, brands only pay for consumers who have taken an action after being influenced by influencer content (typically clicking through to visit a brand’s landing page). As a result, they generate significantly more reach and engagement as influencers test different approaches until they determine what drives the best results.

more. We’ve noticed that a growing number of top Latina and Latino influencers we work with can earn between $75,000 to $150,000 a year and the reason is because they are upping their game constantly. The most important thing that influencers can do to improve their income is to make sure they evolve beyond blogging. Brands are becoming more interested in visual storytelling so those influencers who have been able to evolve, and diversify their platform to include more video are in higher demand and command bigger fees. Top tier influencers who create quality and

relevant content that generates organic engagement can demand $6,000 and up per video. Theoretically influencers today can make more money than ever because unlike the days when you only got sponsored interest for a blog post, today you can monetize across Facebook, Facebook Live, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Pinterest and more. It’s true that there are so many platforms and not enough time to “feed them” but we find that when influencers put the time and effort to monetize—and when they especially get serious about video—their business thrives!

"Influencers who work with a pay-forperformance model are empowered to take control of their earning potential. Rather than being paid simply for creating a piece of content ..." MARIA SIPKA

WOMEN’S INFLUENCER REPORT - MAJOR FINDINGS


MAJOR FINDING #2 Influencers get bogged down in operations while not marketing or learning. 82% of bloggers perform all blog related tasks themselves and spend less than 3 hours per week researching paying jobs. 66% spend less than 4 hours per month on learning social media or business skills for growth.

Related Survey Question Which best describes your current blog operations status? I BLOG FULL TIME - I DO EVERYTHING MYSELF 30.9% I BLOG FULL TIME - I HAVE 1-2 OTHERS THAT ASSIST ME OCCASIONALLY

8.8%

I BLOG FULL TIME - I HAVE 1-3 ASSISTANTS THAT WORK YEAR ROUND

3.2%

I BLOG FULL TIME - I HAVE 3-5 ASSISTANTS THAT WORK YEAR ROUND

0.7%

I BLOG FULL TIME - I HAVE FULL TIME EMPLOYEES AND OTHER ASSISTANTS YEAR ROUND

0.9%

I BLOG PART TIME - I DO EVERYTHING MYSELF

49.7%

I BLOG PART TIME - I HAVE 1-2 OTHERS THAT ASSIST ME OCCASIONALLY

3.9%

I BLOG PART TIME - I HAVE 1-3 ASSISTANTS THAT WORK YEAR ROUND

1.2%

I BLOG PART TIME - I HAVE 3-5 ASSISTANTS THAT WORK YEAR ROUND

0.5%

I BLOG PART TIME - I HAVE FULL TIME EMPLOYEES AND OTHER ASSISTANTS YEAR ROUND

0.2%

PERCENTAGE

The Trend:

5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50

One-person influencer operations have increased from 76% to 80% in the past year, leading to a decrease in time available to invest in learning new tools to monetize their businesses.

Expert Opinion...

Kyle Ivins

Co-Founder & CMO Monumetric

One important factor when projecting how much traffic a blogger can grow to in 12 months, how quickly they will grow, and how much they will earn is by how much time they spend distributing their content. From

my experience, most publishers spend more time creating their content, than they do marketing their content. Each piece of content should receive at least twice as much time distributing the content as it took to create the content. Your traffic will be directly proportionate to the amount of time you spend distributing your content. Traffic is the currency of digital publishing. Higher traffic can demand more for sponsored posts, more volume for ads, and more opportunity to sell products. Key ways to focus on

growing your traffic quickly are working with other influencers (not just other bloggers) to share content, and spread your posts around the web. These can be shares, guest posts, contributions, etc. The more links you’re able to share will create referral traffic and improve organic traffic. Using paid social media advertising can be daunting, but if your advertising team understands important metrics like your revenue for every session, you can calculate what you’re able to profitably pay for clicks which can enable you to grow quickly.

Related Survey Question How many hours a month do you spend on learning and education? (Including social media, blogging and business education directly related to growing your business and earning revenue?)

NONE

6.2%

0-1 HOUR

11.9%

1-2 HOURS

18.9%

2-3 HOURS

17.4%

3-4 HOURS

11.2%

4-6 HOURS

11.2%

6+ HOURS 23.3%

PERCENTAGE

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5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50


Expert Opinion...

Holly Hamann Co-Founder

Tap Influence

For bloggers and influencers who depend on their content for income, blogging is as much a business as any other entrepreneurial effort.

That means they have operational needs that involve standard business areas like sales, marketing, development, accounting, and management. Keeping a pipeline of opportunities requires being visible to brands (marketing), closing deals and being competitive with pricing, content or influence (sales), creating stellar content (development) and keeping track of income and expenses (accounting). This is arguable the hardest stage of any busi-

ness—when business owners do everything themselves until the business scales enough to fund staffing. Most entrepreneurs excel at one or two specific areas and learn the rest as best they can. An encouraging stat in the survey, though, was the finding that 23% spend six or more hours per month on education. For those influencers, this reflects a priority on learning, which is critical to success in an ever-evolving digital industry.

Related Survey Question How many hours a week do you spend prospecting and contacting brands/agencies/ firms for new paying jobs/projects?

0-1 HOUR 49.6% 1-2 HOURS

19.9%

2-3 HOURS

12.4%

3-4 HOURS

7.2%

4-6 HOURS

5.2%

6+ HOURS

5.7%

PERCENTAGE

5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50

Related Survey Question How many hours a week do you outsource tasks related to your blog to an administrative or virtual assistant?

DO NOT USE 82.0% 1-5 HOURS

9.5%

5-10 HOURS

3.7%

10-20 HOURS

2.2%

20+ HOURS

2.5%

PERCENTAGE

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

"Keeping a pipeline of opportunities requires being visible to brands (marketing), closing deals and being competitive with pricing, content or influence." HOLLY HAMANN

WOMEN’S INFLUENCER REPORT - MAJOR FINDINGS


MAJOR FINDING #3 Video still ranks near the top of the “disinterested” list (beat only by podcasting). Video and YouTube ranked as the least important for business and 2nd least in time investment to learn how to monetize by influencers monthly. (Podcasting retained its title as the tool that’s of least interest to influencers.)

Related Survey Question How many hours* a month do you spend on learning to use and monetize the following to grow your business: *These influencers stated that only spent "0-3 hours" per month on the following tools.

SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

9.3%

VIDEO 40.8% EMAIL MARKETING 36.4% SOCIAL MEDIA ADS 38.2% AUDIO & PODCASTING 69.0% AFFILIATE MARKETING

31.7%

PERCENTAGE

The Trend:

Interest by influencers in learning how to utilize and maximize the power of video is stagnant. Brands are willing to pay more for premium video content, but it’s not driving influencers to get on camera.

Expert Opinion...

Amy Callahan

Co-Founder & CCO Collective Bias

It’s a shame that influencers are disinterested because video is where the industry is heading. Even Facebook is predicting they will be mostly video content in the coming years. Looking to take advantage of over 100 hours of daily video consumption, Face-

Expert Opinion...

Angela Sustaita Ruiz Co-Founder & Partner

Hispanicize Media & Dime Media

Let’s keep it real: Video is intimidating because it requires more work, more time and, in some, cases more creativity to produce. Whether we like it or not, there’s no denying that video is here to stay because brands are 24

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book just launched Canvas, which leverages storytelling with video content to showcase brands. Brands are clamoring for video content to reach the all important millennial audience, who a reported 80% say video content is the first place they turn for help in making purchase decisions. We are in the age of visual content. Whether it’s unboxing, how to, haul videos or simply humorous video content, video is playing an important role for brands in the spectrum of visual content. While influencers are taking great photos and even creating infographics,

video content is so easy for audiences to consume ... you just sit back and enjoy the show. There is more money to be made for influencers who can produce great video content. Not only will video help influencers monetarily, but it can help drive engagement and traffic to their blog. Video is also a great way for an influencer to build their personal brand. As more traditional media outlets begin to look to influencers as hosts or simply to integrate influencers into their shows, the ability to show on camera capabilities will become very important.

increasingly interested in incorporating visual storytelling that includes video and/or live streaming. That said, as with any business, it’s important for influencers to constantly evolve, and look for new ways to diversify their business. A huge reason video has risen to the pole position is because brands are trying to engage audiences that are younger, more visual and more tech savvy than the generation that was around for the original wave of bloggers. Video is king right now so in-

fluencers who want to continue to be relevant will need to determine not if they are going to do this but rather which video or live streaming platform best suits them and their audience. With social media trending toward more visual storytelling it’s now vital that the current and future generation of content creators utilize various types of content pieces to strategically connect with their audiences on multiple platforms, including Facebook Live and Periscope, among others.


Expert Opinion...

Aliza Freud

Founder & CEO She Speaks

I'm surprised by this finding given the growth of video. Look, video is definitely not for every influencer but there is no denying the power of video and the compensation opportunities for

Expert Opinion...

Kyle Ivins

Co-Founder & CMO Monumetric

Video truly is the future of content. It may be disheartening, it may be hard to hear, but it’s just the truth. There will always be an audience for written posts, and excellent imagery, but there

Expert Opinion...

Stacy DeBroff Founder & CEO Influence Central

This one proves simple and completely understandable: despite brands clamoring for video, the truth is that it’s super hard to create great video yourself with your phone or camera without access to a studio, professional camera op-

influencers who create strong video content. Brands love video as it is a compelling story telling medium and there is a recognition for the potential engagement and sales conversion from great brand sponsored videos. Also, think about how many people you know scroll their social feeds and only stop if there is a video in the post. So, there is interest in video content from both brands and consumers. It's important to note that video does not mean just YouTube. Video can be Facebook

video, Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, Twitter, Facebook Live etc. Also, videos do not have to include the influencer. We are seeing some influencers creating great DIY or recipe content without even being in a frame of the video well, maybe their hands! So, if an influencer is not comfortable with traditional YouTube video format, remember the medium has evolved so quickly and their are other types of valuable video content that can be created based on the influencer's content forte.

simply isn’t enough video content to satisfy what readers and advertisers want. They both want more videos. Video is intimidating, and it takes an investment in time and resources, but so did photography when you first started blogging. That same camera you learned to shoot with probably takes video too, so now all you need is a lighting kit, and basic video editing software and you can at least get started. Facebook is hungry for videos being uploaded directly to their platform and so

is Instagram. CPM’s for video advertising is 5-10 times more lucrative than display ads. Start creating video content early, and you’ll enjoy your pick of advertising before everyone else hops on board the video train. Even if you start with your smartphone leaned up on a pile of books you’ll be miles ahead of everyone else in a year or two if you start now. Remember to directly upload your videos to each platform, including your site instead of just sharing or embedding a YouTube link.

erator, and post-production services. When you look at the powerful emergent videographers such as the up-and-coming YouTube stars, they all have scripting, professional lighting, cameras, and post-production editing and enhancing to sharpen the video shot. So while brands ask for video all the time, they often end up dissatisfied with its amateur quality, or find one nit that they don’t like and ask the influencer to do another video that does not include this correction—which could range from pronunciation to inaccurate product messaging to possible com-

petitors appearing in a background shot such as in one’s kitchen. Moreover, brands have not been willing to pay enough for influencers to professionalize their video creation and have not been willing to pay for post-production editing. Hence the frustration around its creation, and why influencers report video as topping their disinterested list. As to podcasting, brands simply never ask for it. So while influencers can do it, it seldom features as a campaign ask, and thus comes in second.

"Brands are clamoring for video content to reach the all-important millennial audience, who a reported 80% say video content is the first place they turn for help in making purchase decisions." AMY CALLAHAN

WOMEN’S INFLUENCER REPORT - MAJOR FINDINGS


MAJOR FINDING #4 Influencers view SEO and content marketing as integral to their business growth. 89% of influencers see SEO as the most important tool for their business growth and content marketing as a close second at 83%, email marketing came in third at 68% and video placed fourth.

Related Survey Question Rate how important the following will be to your business growth in 2016.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION CONTENT MARKETING EMAIL MARKETING VIDEO PODCASTING

The Trend:

Interest in SEO and content marketing are on the rise. This is a great indicator that influencers take their business seriously and are working on tools that will generate better results for their business.

Expert Opinion...

Stacy DeBroff Founder & CEO Influence Central

These findings in Trend 4, which emphasize influencer focus on SEO and content marketing, have to be looked at in tandem with the key findings in Trend 7: that influencers struggle to understand how to measure their ROI (return on investment) in the work they do for brands. The influencers’ predominant focus on SEO and content marketing stems from their primary focus on building and maintaining their platform and audience reach: to

Expert Opinion...

Maria Sipka

Co-Founder & President Linqia

Quality influencers take pride in their work— they tell stories that inspire, take captivating photos, and create authentic, credible content. It’s these kinds of posts that draw audiences in and keep them coming back for more. If an influencer is not genuine about the content they cre26

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ensure that their written and visual content gets seen, picked up by search engines such as Google, and by content accelerators such as BuzzFeed. Without reach and audience, influencers lose the very threshold of being selected by brands to work on campaigns. But ultimately, brands have a very different focus in the changing landscape of influencer marketing: driving specific ROI dependent on their business goals of the moment. This often includes having influencers drive consumer actions: clicks to a website, leading e-commerce purchases, getting sign-ups in contests or sweepstakes that help them capture new customers in their selling funnel, changing brand perception, getting a new audience of consumers such as Millennials to pay attention

to the brand, driving retail purchases at specific retail stores, and ultimately creating great content that the brand can amplify across its social channels, as well as paid social advertising to reach its targeted consumer demographic. In this ROI landscape, brands look for great writing, storytelling, and visuals —all with the ability to gain traction that they can then amplify – organic content engagement (shares, comments, re-tweets), click-throughs, share of voice across social, and ultimately the power of persuasion to keep existing customers loyal, answer brand negators, and attract new customers. So a key focus for an influencer should be on showcasing how the content they create or social actions they take in a campaign roll-up to these key brand goals.

ate, SEO will stagnate or drop. Moreover, if influencers are not genuine about the sponsored content they create, they’re inclined to remove the post after program conclusion because they don’t truly believe in or stand by the message. It’s important to understand that SEO depends on content relevance. Rather than writing about various topics sparsely, influencers who focus on their themes or expertise can create content that truly adds value and enriches the lives of others. The more valuable the content is, the more discoverable and shareable it becomes over time. Well-written sponsored posts con-

tinue to surface in search results even after a program ends, which is why it’s important to for influencers to only accept programs they’re passionate about. 75 percent of marketers say that finding the right influencers is their biggest challenge. Blogs with higher SEO indicate influencers that brands may potentially want to work with. And because sponsored posts continue to drive traffic to brand landing pages, brands seek influencers who create content that has long term value, not content that’s taken down after a payout.


Expert Opinion...

Danica Kombol President

Everywhere Agency

I wish it wasn’t true, but great writing alone will not get a blogger widespread readership. Not using SEO tactics for your blog is like hosting a party and forgetting to send out invites! We actively seek out influencers who show

Expert Opinion...

Rohit Vashisht President

Activate by Bloglovin'

We like to encourage our influencers to consider an 80/20 rule. They should devote 20% of their time to content creation and the other 80% to promotion of that content. Therefore, am not surprised that influencers

Expert Opinion...

Stacey Ferguson Chief Curator Blogalicious

This finding doesn’t come as a surprise at all. I am personally guilty of this! Because we are often working with very limited budgets, influencers tend to tackle the operations and administrative tasks themselves. Truth be told, outsourcing those operational items and focusing on rev-

Expert Opinion...

Tracey McCoy

Chief Operating Officer MtoM Consulting LLC

The single, most effective way influencers are driving traffic (both repeat and new) is by optimizing every last piece of content for search. Many influencers report a significant chunk of their traffic is generated by search and what

they’re adept at SEO. We love well-written blog posts, but we love great content even more. A simple truth: blogs that are keyword-savvy and SEO-friendly will get the brand more exposure in the long run, and that’s always a win. I will confess, I’m still surprised when I see that some bloggers don’t even own their own domain and rely on free blog set-ups. Bloggers who own their own domains lend an extra level of credibility and authority to what they’re creating. On top of that, your own domain can tie into personal branding to create a whole

new level of legitimacy. As for email marketing coming in at third, who doesn’t suffer from an out of control inbox? That said, I do wish more influencers were better skilled at email marketing, and I don’t mean the spammy kind that looks like a mass email where you’re trying to sell me something. I love getting quick email updates from influencers letting me know what they’re up to and recent successes with brands. It helps me keep them top of mind when we have new campaigns

view SEO and content marketing as integral to their business growth. I couldn't agree more with them. SEO and content marketing are the best areas for influencers to focus on when trying to grow their businesses. Simply put, if an influencer has great SEO it bodes well for them and their future success. Good SEO increases their chances of doing potential work on campaigns as brands want to work with influencers whose SEO is high-ranking. The same holds true for content marketing. We see that the most in-demand influenc-

ers are savvy and know how to market their content. For many this might mean marketing on social media. For some, this might mean teaming up with other influencers to promote their content together. Similarly, for others good content promotion might mean well-crafted emails or email newsletters. Sometimes this technique is underrated. In my opinion, a well-crafted email is a great way to increase the visibility of your content. In short, when in doubt influencers should market and promote.

enue generation would be a better business move – but the psychology of it can be difficult to overcome. Over the years, I have found this filter question to be extremely helpful: “Is this a task that only Stacey can complete?” If the answer is “no” then I try to delegate or outsource it. Part of coming to this realization is understanding that I have a special set of skills and ‘wasting’ time on things that don’t require my special skills is a business #FAIL. Also consider that, more often than not, there is someone out there who is actually skilled at those operational tasks and will do them far more efficiently and better than

you would. Some low-cost options for outsourcing include: hiring an intern; using online sites like Fiverr.com and retaining a virtual assistant for a set number of hours each month. Freeing up time for not only revenue generating activities, but also marketing and learning is critical for any influencer. Our industry changes at a rapid rate and relationships are everything. Therefore making time for attending conferences, networking events, online broadcasts and the like are an important part of our businesses. Ask yourself: “where would my time better served?” It’s probably not formatting a slideshow!

was previously an afterthought is now one of the most important pieces of their business plan. So it’s no surprise that 89% of influencers see SEO as the most important tool for their business growth. Investing in SEO is a no brainer, particularly if an influencer’s site is generating revenue via banner ads and/or affiliate links. This is particularly true for food and recipe influencers who rely heavily on search traffic. While the study shows that video isn’t a top priority for many influencers, I predict this will change in 2016 and 2017. As social platform

algorithms continue to reward video content with higher and more consistent placement in their newsfeeds, I believe influencers will start to see the value in creating video content. Many influencers say that video creation seems intimidating and simply isn’t cost efficient for them. But every day a new tool or app is released that makes high quality video content creation easier and cheaper—and pretty soon influencers are going to lean more and more on video. Brands are getting savvier too—we’re seeing more businesses ask influencers for video content.

WOMEN’S INFLUENCER REPORT - MAJOR FINDINGS


MAJOR FINDING #5 Facebook rules for business importance & driving traffic, Pinterest is a close second. Facebook rules as the most important for influencers businesses and Pinterest comes in third behind and influencer’s own blog. Pinterest does however take second place in driving traffic to an influencer’s website.

Related Survey Question What is the single most important social platform for your business?

LINKEDIN

1%

GOOGLE+

1%

YOUTUBE

0.8%

INSTAGRAM

14.7%

PINTEREST

16.5%

FACEBOOK 29.3% TWITTER

12.1%

YOUR BLOG

24.7%

PERCENTAGE

The Trend:

Regardless of platform changes, influencers still see Facebook as the most important social platform for businesses, with zero change from last year's survey. Instagram passed Twitter in the #4 spot.

Expert Opinion...

Holly Homer

Founder & Owner Kids Activities Blog

The only way to have control over your online business is to base it on a platform you own (a website or blog) and then drive traffic to that platform. Bloggers can create a foundation of revenue by monetizing traffic through ad net-

Expert Opinion...

Danica Kombol President

Everywhere Agency

When it comes to driving referral traffic to any site, Facebook and Pinterest rule the roost. With the average American logging on to Facebook at least 20 minutes per day, what we read and see there has influence over all of our decisions: what to eat, what to wear,

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works creating passive income—the catch is that they are being paid a few dollars per 1000 visitors to the site. Facebook and Pinterest are way ahead of the other social networks in driving traffic due to the ability to post direct links to content. A disturbing trend in new social networks is there are no direct links. Snapchat has no links and Instagram has a general link in the profile. Relying on traffic from an indirect link, general link or the potential reader’s ability to remember and follow through with typing in a URL is never going to deliver the traffic re-

quired for ad network monetization. While we all complain about algorithm changes on both Facebook and Pinterest, they remain the most efficient way to promote content that can be accessed with one click. Sites relying on traffic for income are seeing the writing on the wall. It is unlikely that being paid a few dollars per thousand visitors is going to be a viable strategy in a few years. The challenge for bloggers is to find ways to increase the pay per visitor to a point where using paid strategies on Facebook and Pinterest is an option.

what to do and where to go for more information. Influencers have the opportunity to be a phenomenal source of curated news on their Facebook page, and we encourage them to use their own voice in any Facebook content they publish. However, some influencers risk over-sharing on their Facebook pages or appearing overly promotional with their content. The surest way to lose followers is to constantly try to sell them something. We’re also seeing huge successes driving traffic with Instagram. The many brands we work with are opting for more Instagram-focused

campaigns. Yes, there’s the annoying challenge of “link in bio,” but with or without a link, this visual platform goes a long way toward telling a brand’s story. Much like Pinterest, the visual appeal of this platform can’t be beat. And let’s not forget the new kid on the block! We’re getting a tremendous amount of interest in Snapchat. With Snapchat, we face the challenge of limited analytics; however, a brand’s goal is not always traffic. Building awareness, buzz and creating FOMO can oftentimes be more powerful than traffic in terms of creating a meaningful relationship with customers.


Related Survey Question What is your single most important social platform driving traffic to your blog?

FACEBOOK 38.4% TWITTER

17.1%

PINTEREST 34.5% INSTAGRAM

7.5%

YOUTUBE

0.8%

LINKEDIN

0.5%

GOOGLE+

1.0%

PERCENTAGE

Expert Opinion...

Stefania Pomponi Founder & President Clever Girls

Clever Girls was surprised by this finding. With most of our programs, Pinterest is the

Expert Opinion...

Ana Flores

Founder & CEO

Latina Bloggers Connect

I’m not surprised that Facebook still rules for influencers as it is the social platform where it’s the easiest to engage and share with authentic

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number one traffic driver back to blogs according to our own data analysis. This is especially true with food campaigns that may not have a required Pinterest amplification component. Savvy influencers already know to amplify their visual blog posts via Pinterest to reach a wider viewing audience. Many of our influencers are also using Facebook as an amplification tool, but not nec-

essarily to share original content. Because of Facebook’s algorithm change—which is arguably a new form of ad blocking since it’s limiting the amount of content users will see from brands—influencers posting original sponsored content will be more valuable than ever. There’s also lots of untapped potential in Facebook Live, especially as Facebook gears up to take on Snapchat.

communities. Keeping an engaged community on Facebook has been getting harder and harder, but bloggers that get how to create shareable and clickable content on Facebook, plus that are willing to invest a little on boosting posts (and you should!), will definitely see the results. 2016 has been an incredible year for Facebook users and brands that have transitioned to including more video and livestreaming content. The viewability and virality

of Facebook videos is hard to match and video is one of the best ways to share your story online. Also, we’ve seen an increased interest in brands wanting to collaborate with influencers in co-creating content, especially video, gifs and cinemagraphs, and also invest in boosting those posts either on their own pages or on the influencer’s to be able to reach new audiences and with the added bonus of being able to easily access those insights.

"Relying on traffic from an indirect link, general link or the potential reader’s ability to remember and follow through with typing in a URL is never going to deliver the traffic required for ad network monetization." HOLLY HOMER

WOMEN’S INFLUENCER REPORT - MAJOR FINDINGS


Elisa Camahort Page Chief Community Officer SheKnows Media

YOUR BLOGGY BUSINESS

MARCHING ORDERS

"We tend to think about business being all about the revenue flowing in. But, 'You gotta spend money to make money.' And most of us are not doing that."

I

f you’re an influencer, your perspectives are captured in the 2016 iBlog Magazine Influencer Survey. For many years I have conducted research focused more on your audience, your influencees, so to speak. I can confirm: The Influence is still strong in you all. Whether you are making a full-time living, still trying to reach that goal, or just having fun. If there’s one thing you all know? It’s how to build a community of people who care about what you think about a myriad of topics … well beyond your niche. This Internet is big enough for you, wherever you land on the occasional-hobby-toprofessional-pursuit spectrum, but until you match your focus and your efforts to your desired place on that spectrum, much like Hamilton: You will never be satisfied. The survey findings tell us that most bloggers’ revenues are static year over year. If you’re reaching for that professional, full-time, yes-this-is-my-day-job brass ring, that’s not really good news. But, on the bright side, if 30

iBlog magazine JUL/AUG 2016

that is your goal, these survey findings tell you everything you need to know about how to jump start that growth: 1. Most bloggers spend most of their time on content creation and blog maintenance. You’re the Editor-in-Chief of your blog, so content creation is certainly KEY. Not sure you need to be your blog’s CTO, though. Your time might be better spent worrying about the Publisher hat you also wear, including MARKETING. What are you investing in your blog business? How are you spending money on your blog business? We tend to think about business being all about the revenue flowing in. But “you gotta spend money to make money.” And most of us are not doing that. 2. Most bloggers say they do not feel like they’re very good at articulating the ROI of working with them. Understanding your ROI is how you justify your prices. It’s how you report back after a project and show your client what you did

for them. Without ROI, there is no retention or renewal. The other big part of being a Publisher? It’s that dreaded SALES. And Sales isn’t just about closing the deal; it’s about getting your foot in the door to try to make the deal, and it’s about doing such a great job on the deals you close that your customers want more! If you can’t explain what’s so great about you, then your clients won’t know. 3. Finally, most bloggers exhibit a high level of disinterest in content formats that are emergent, and, in the case of video, universally acknowledged to represent the future dominant format for capturing content consumers. So, as the industry and media marketplace marches along, eager to try shiny new objects, a lot of us want to do one thing. Our comfortable thing. We are not thinking about PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT.

HERE’S THE MATH: No Sales + No Marketing + No Product Development = No Revenue Diversification + No Growth. And, that can be perfectly fine. But if you want that aforementioned brass ring? You have your marching orders.


MAJOR FINDING #6 Influencers are increasing use of Instagram & Pinterest over blogs and Facebook. Bloggers indicated, by importance to their businesses, that they will increase usage of Instagram in 2016 while choosing Instagram as the #1 platform to learn more about over Pinterest, Blogging, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Related Survey Question Which social media platform do you want to learn the most about in 2015 for your business?

FACEBOOK

10.6%

TWITTER

4.4%

BLOGGING

11.7%

PINTEREST

19.9%

INSTAGRAM 30.3% YOUTUBE

17.4%

GOOGLE+

2.1%

LINKEDIN

3.6%

PERCENTAGE

The Trend:

There’s been a 10% increase in influencers' interest in learning more about Instagram, while Pinterest is a close second and still the leading tool influencers use to drive traffic.

Expert Opinion...

Stacey Ferguson Chief Curator Blogalicious

Visual is where it’s at. There’s no questioning this finding. The amount of time spent on Instagram and Pinterest by influencers has exploded in recent months. The ability to brand yourself using colors, filters, flat lays and hashtags on

Expert Opinion...

Maria Sipka

Co-Founder & President Linqia

In a successful influencer marketing program, it’s not about which social platform is used most. Rather, success depends on which platforms are used most effectively. Influencers that understand the specific role each channel plays in influencer marketing will be 32

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Instagram makes it a very attractive platform for influencers. Additionally, we’ve all seen the rise in the number and kinds of products that influencers are selling via Instagram. The body wraps, the detox teas, and of course the clothing items with affiliate links. Instagram caters to a broad audience with minimal resources needed to post up an image. As for Pinterest, we know that’s been a steady source of traffic and because of it’s visual nature—and Business accounts—is still a major contender for those influencers wanting to drive users

to their affiliate links and other online content. As a general matter, and perhaps this goes without saying, influencers in 2016 may feel like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest are old hat. There’s not a ton of new features being rolled out on those platforms, whereas the possibilities for Instagram are still being discovered. I think that Instagram combines the best of each of the platforms: the ability to post images and video; the ability to leverage hashtags; the openness of the platform; and the semi-fleeting nature of the stream.

the standout performers. Brands are drawn to Instagram’s ability to capture an audience’s attention with a single photo. It’s up to the influencer to draw the audience in with a visual story and take them on an emotional journey. But it’s more than just increasing the number of photos posted—influencers must also be up-to-date with any updates or changes to the platform. For instance, Instagram recently rolled out a new algorithm system-wide that no longer populates feeds chronologically. Instead, they are now ordered by photos and videos the app

believes users care about most. As a result, influencers must earn the right to pop up in their followers feeds. Simply posting more photos does not guarantee an audience. Posting quality photos that inspire engagement, however, does. Additionally, influencers will be doing themselves a disservice if they ignore or disregard blogs, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Brands and marketers understand the value each platform brings to an influencer program and will seek individuals who work proficiently across multiple social channels.


Expert Opinion...

Related Survey Question

Ana Flores

Indicate how you will change your social media use in 2016.

Founder & CEO

Latina Bloggers Connect

*These influencers stated that they planned to "increase" their use of the following social media platforms. 83%

INSTAGRAM PINTEREST

74%

BLOGGING

67%

FACEBOOK

62%

TWITTER

59%

YOUTUBE

56%

LINKEDIN

32%

GOOGLE+

26%

PODCASTING

22%

We work with many influencers who have a relatively small reach on their blogs but are killing it with followers and engagement on Instagram. It’s definitely necessary to invest time in understanding the nature of engaging content on Instagram and creating a strategy for your brand that’s specific to this platform.

Instagram has become a platform of influence in and of itself, so these findings totally make sense. Both YouTubers and bloggers have found that to be able to be successful on Instagram, it’s not about using the platform to amplify content on their blogs or channels, but to create content specifically for Instagram to expand their current audience.

Expert Opinion... Expert Opinion...

Stacy DeBroff Founder & CEO Influence Central

Kyle Ivins

Co-Founder & CMO Monumetric

Instagram is a fantastic tool for building community, building loyalty and selling products. The platform currently does not offer the same type traffic growth opportunities as other platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, working with other influencers, and search engines. Influencers need to understand if those 3 things (community, loyalty, and selling products) are a profitable priority for their blog. Maybe the brands they work with, prefer Instagram likes/ views above other social platforms. In that case, Instagram can be very lucrative for them. However, if there’s no distinct and clear opportunity for bloggers to be very focused on Instagram, I would recommend they put their focus somewhere else. Don’t follow the buzz and the crowd, but do what’s best for your site.

There will always be some outlier who can drive crazy traffic on Instagram, but 90% of publishers gain most of their traffic from Pinterest, Facebook, referral links, and organic traffic. Focus on improving those “bell cow” platforms before diving into a new platform like Instagram which doesn’t support outside links in posts. If influencers need to focus gaining more traffic, they should spend the majority of their time on platforms that are traffic-gen friendly until their traffic is at their ideal level. Once you create a consistent process for creating consistent traffic that earns you the money you need to be a full-time blogger, then I would recommend learning about platforms like Instagram or Snapchat. Traffic cures almost all ills, and should be the top priority for most bloggers.

These findings track with what we’ve seen over the past several years in the Influencer Space. With the emergence of visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, we now see the rise of a new generation of storytellers that I call “Visual Influencers.” They reflect today’s increasing shift from written posts to ones centered solely on images. Despite the fact that many of these

visuals do not have a narrative platform and create posts without words, they still share powerful and authentic storytelling, convey heartfelt emotion, and generate significant followings—all through visual imagery. Mostly importantly, influencers find that posts on the emergent visual platforms gain them the most traction in terms of audience build.

"Visual is where it's at. There's no questioning this finding." STACEY FERGUSON

WOMEN’S INFLUENCER REPORT - MAJOR FINDINGS


MAJOR FINDING #7 Influencers need to understand their ROI better or continue to be undervalued. Over 83% of influencers surveyed feel they have average, below average or are completely unqualified to measure their ROI from social media activities to prove their value.

Related Survey Question Rate your level of expertise in relation to this statement; “I am able to measure ROI (revenue generated or leads generated) from my social media activities.”

EXPERT

4.1%

ABOVE AVERAGE

12.9%

AVERAGE

33.1%

BELOW AVERAGE 29.2% UNQUALIFIED

20.7%

PERCENTAGE

The Trend:

From 2015 to 2016, the same percentage of influencers shared that they still struggle to quantify the true value of their social media marketing efforts for brands and agencies.

Expert Opinion...

Aliza Freud

Founder & CEO She Speaks

Influencers should be their own best advocates. However, they should also expect that the agencies and networks with who they work are helping to articulate their value. This is important for both the influencer and the agency/network. Their interests are aligned. In terms of the value question, I think influ-

Expert Opinion...

Angela Sustaita Ruiz Co-Founder & Partner

Hispanicize Media & Dime Media

It is imperative that influencers be able to explain the unique value proposition of their platform, and that they learn how to routinely show prospective brand and agency partners how they are continuously growing their audiences and engagement. Influencers should keep in mind that when it comes to selecting the best influencers to work 34

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encers should consider their value in two key ways: 1) Content Creation: At the heart of the power of influencer marketing is fantastic user generated content from the influencer. If the content is great and helps tell the brand story in a way that is compelling to other consumers, than you have a very valuable asset. This is a bit harder to value and is typically based on what the brand can do with the content. I recommend that influencers encourage brands to use their content on multiple platforms including the brand's owned social channels. Stopping short on usage of great influencer content is one the biggest reduc-

tions in ROI that a brand can make. 2) Reach/Audience: This is an easier metric for brands and agencies to understand and put value to. An influencer should have an easy to read one pager that has their key stats (and examples of great content) available and updated. An influencer should look at not only their social footprint, i.e., Twitter followers, blog uniques etc., but also how much engagement they typically see from their posts. Have they ever had a post or piece of content go viral. These are great numbers to have at the ready and will help brands and agencies better understand the influencer's value.

with, marketers and their agencies are much more savvy than they were just a few years ago. Today brands are armed with deeper digital expertise, case studies and cutting edge measurement tools that did not exist before. This reality is what shapes the sometimes subjective judgment calls marketers make about who they will and won’t engage with for their campaigns. Most of the savvy influencers know this and frankly this is part of the competitive edge they have over other influencers who may be just as good as them but don’t take ROI measurement seriously. We know it may seem intimidating to focus so much on your numbers but frankly it’s never

been easier for influencers to measure how their platforms are performing. Today it’s no longer just about Google Analytics thanks to Facebook Insights and other analytics tools that are rolling out across Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and beyond. Some wonder if the standards are different for niche communities like the Latinas and Latinos that we work with. While there may be some language nuances that can impact how certain tools measure Spanish-language or bilingual content, multicultural influencers have the same opportunities to showcase their ROI and how they can connect brands with diverse audiences.


Expert Opinion...

Ana Flores

Founder & CEO

Latina Bloggers Connect

The social media business is all about ROI. Period. You can create compelling, beautiful and engaging content, but if you don’t know

Expert Opinion...

Holly Homer

Founder & Owner Kids Activities Blog

I believe bloggers completely underestimate their skill set. A blogger has to know a little about a lot of things. When you know a little about a lot of things, it is easy to discount the value of that little bit! Perspective

Expert Opinion...

Elisa Camahort Page Chief Community Officer SheKnows Media

Unless you’re talking about affiliate sales, it’s very hard for most social influencers to demonstrate transactional ROI. And we’re long past the days when page views and clickthrough are the kind of metrics brands care most about. (Don’t get me wrong, they

Expert Opinion...

Holly Hamann Co-Founder

Tap Influence

Proving value and ROI on an individual basis can be difficult for influencers at this stage of influencer marketing. Here’s one of the reasons why. Like Amazon, eBay, Airbnb and even Uber, Influencer marketing is a double-sided marketplace. Meaning, there are two distinct networks that rely on each

how to measure it and make a case for its worth, then you won’t be able to successfully monetize it. Not only is it key to know and understand your metrics and insights on your main platforms in order to monetize and prove your ROI, but it’s also the blueprint for your growth. It’s how you know what content works or not. It’s how you know which keywords to expand on. It’s how you know if your videos should be shorter or longer, and

so on. While it’s still the Wild West in terms of putting actual value to your content and persona’s worth online, the only way to be able to back up your fees is by being able to prove key metrics such as reach and engagement. Engagement has become by far the most valuable metric, so influencers need to make sure they are actively engaged with their content themselves and measuring the impact of it.

is key. Step back and look at the massive chain of knowledge required to run a blog— writing, photography, layout, website basics, editorial calendar, and so much more. Then look at what it takes to drive traffic to that site—social media on multiple platforms, marketing, advertising, and so much more. The funny thing is brands get it. They can’t do what bloggers do. But part of our responsibility when asking for money for what we do is to prove that it is worth the cost. Every single sponsored post client should be get-

ting a summary after-the-fact of what type of reach that budget got them from that blog. It can be as simple as a list of numbers related to page views, shares, tweets, pins, likes, comments, and clicks to sponsor. For the blogger, this information should be compiled over time and clients so a clear prediction can be made for future campaigns. This allows the blogger to set realistic expectations and the ability to over-deliver on every sponsored program.

still care, but it’s not enough.) So what matters? Reach matters, but results matter more. The scary thing is that every marketer answers to a different brief, and may define positive results differently. You will never know if you don’t ask. Ask explicitly. Brazenly. “What will a successful campaign look like to you?” You may find out that it is the scale of your direct reach. You may find out that it’s more about the network effect…how many people shared and re-shared beyond your initial reach? You may find out it’s conversation and positive feedback on their product. You may

find out it’s a few great testimonials or brand advocates. You may find out it’s something I’m not even thinking about. But until you find out you can’t strategize on how to deliver it, knowing your audience best as you do. And until you deliver it, you can’t quantify the ROI you’re delivering to your customer. And until you can do that, you’re going to churn through customers, always working hard to land that first sale (the hardest sale) with new clients, instead of building a loyal, returning client base. Ask what ROI looks like because it may look different every single time.

other for benefits. Content creators are searched and filtered by brands wanting to better reach consumers and influencers need the sponsorship of relevant brand products for revenue. One big difference between marketplaces like eBay and influencer marketing, though, is the transparency of pricing and metrics on results. Right now, it is hard for bloggers and influencers to access much data on what other content creators get paid and even more important, their own performance metrics. ROI depends on many factors including quality of content, reach, vertical industry, and the

performance and engagement that content generated for the brand. If bloggers don’t know how much brands spent on a program or what the results were, it would be hard to calculate their ROI. If you were a home-owner posting on Airbnb, you’d be able to see exactly what comparable properties rent for and their availability, which allows you to price competitively and quantify your value. Right now, brands have access to more ROI factors than influencers do but the evolution of more automated platforms is helping to solve this problem by providing necessary transparency to influencers as well.

WOMEN’S INFLUENCER REPORT - MAJOR FINDINGS


MAJOR FINDING #8 Brands and agencies need to invest more in influencers success. 83% of influencers feel feedback is important to extremely important, yet 84% of brands and agencies provide feedback less than 20% of the time to influencers. 73% of influencers surveyed chose receiving feedback as the #1 area for brand improvement.

Related Survey Question How many brand/agency/firm projects that you worked on in the past 12 months provided specific and detailed feedback about your blogging and social media efforts?

NONE 35.4% 0-10% 35.4% 10%-20% 13.6% 20%-30% 5.6% 30%-50% 5.3% 50%-70% 1.7% 70%-90% 1.0% 90%+ 2.0%

PERCENTAGE

The Trend:

There’s been a slight increase by brands delivering feedback to influencers on campaign contributions. However, 80% of brands still provide little feedback for influencers to evaluate their success.

Expert Opinion...

Aliza Freud

Founder & CEO She Speaks

This is an important finding and a huge opportunity for influencers. Influencers need to remember that they have a unique perspective that brands and agencies do not have.

Expert Opinion...

Tracey McCoy

Chief Operating Officer MtoM Consulting LLC

At the end of every campaign, we send a quick note to all participating influencers sharing high-level stats from the final campaign report. Influencers tell us that after posting a blog or Instagram post, any brands and agencies never share any feedback. They have no real insight into whether the content they created actually 36

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Influencers have a direct communication line with their followers. Good influencers know what content and messaging will work best with their audience when working on brand sponsored programs. Bringing this perspective to the table will help influencers build equity with the brand. Influencers should not be a afraid to say that they understand the brand's brief and have a perspective on the best and most compelling way for them to develop their posts. In short, influencers should

not just be order takers. By providing their unique perspective and input to the brands, influencers are building relationships that will pay dividends in the future. By the same token, once posts are completed, influencers position themselves for future projects by requesting feedback from the brand, to determine if the brand or agency has any specific ideas for how the influencer might enhance and evolve their content.

helped the client reach their campaign goals or if the client even liked their contribution. This feedback is incredibly helpful to the influencers as they craft future sponsored content. Without knowing what worked (or what didn’t) they have no real way to set up best practices. At the end of the day, these influencer campaigns are collaborations between influencers and agency or brands—and both parties want to see and enjoy the success of great campaigns. (Or learn from the mis-steps of an underperforming campaign.) Influencers aren’t the only ones who are looking for feedback. As an agency, every time an

influencer declines a campaign, we always follow up to find out why. Was the compensation too low? Is the client or product not a great fit for their site? Is there a brand conflict? And interestingly enough, influencers are thrilled to be asked! It shows that we as an agency are invested and interested in them on the whole— not just for a specific one-off campaign. Following up with influencers—during the outreach phase AND at the conclusion of a campaign—is worth the time investment. It’s a win/ win situation—influencers learn what worked and what didn’t and this results in even higher quality content for their future campaigns.


Expert Opinion...

Rohit Vashisht President

Activate by Bloglovin'

We have heard similar sentiments from our influencers. They say that brand and agency investment in them is integral to their success. More often than not, our influencers say that they want brands to offer them more

Expert Opinion...

Amy Callahan

Co-Founder & CCO Collective Bias

This is so important and something we have invested in for years. The feedback we’ve gotten from influencers on how education pays back tenfold not only from the influencer’s perspec-

Expert Opinion...

Stefania Pomponi Founder & President Clever Girls

We agree! We believe Clever Girls provides continuous feedback in more ways better than any other agency. Personalized attention to “care and feeding” of our network is what sets us apart from influencer marketers who rely on fully automated platforms. Our clients want to reach humans, therefore we'd never let an algorithm decide which influencer is right for a brand. It's why we have a dedicated membership team who works closely with our client ser-

Expert Opinion...

Danica Kombol President

Everywhere Agency

Proof that the oft repeated quote “Feedback is the breakfast of champions” is true! How can you measure success if you don’t know how well you’ve done? As an agency, we be-

feedback on how they can improve the quality of their content and how they can make their future content more relevant. Again, I am very much in line with their concerns. It’s important that brands offer influencers feedback. It benefits both parties. Feedback allows both sides to explore what worked well, what didn’t, and how they can do better next time. Moreover, feedback and subsequently, dialogue, create the opportunity to build a brand-influencer relationship. One thing that our influencers say time and time again is

that brands don't spend much time building influencer relationships. Many feel that currently the process is very transactional. The brands collaborate with them, successfully or not, and then move on. If brands were to spend more time nurturing relationships with their influencers, both sides could stand to gain a lot. We see the value in this so we try to facilitate bonds between the two. We want our brands to not only give our influencers feedback but also use that feedback to establish something greater.

tive, but it has a direct impact on the influencer’s audience growth and engagement, which is exactly what brands and agencies are looking for. All too often, the industry doesn’t take the time to provide feedback to the influencer. They want the feedback, not only because they want to work with you more, they want to improve and know what their clients are looking for. For the best influencers, this is a business, not a hobby, and they take their working relationships very seriously.

Influencers carry a heavy workload and we need to help them keep up on the latest changes from FTC disclosures, changes in algorithms to best practices and more. Influencers look to us for advice on everything from Google’s latest edict on “no follow” links and its impact on SEO to affiliate links and disclosures. There are so many tips, tricks and tools available to help today’s influencers streamline their work to get more done, and we need to be their valued partner.”

vices team to ensure the exact right influencers are selected for every campaign. Our membership team’s primary focus is on developing our network and helping them to be the most professional, most qualified content creators in the industry. Two examples of ways we provide direct, individualized feedback are by checking each campaign post thoroughly and providing feedback to the influencer, whether to make suggestions for improvement or simply complimenting their gorgeous work. We also highlight influencers and their posts in our weekly influencer network newsletter and on our social media channels. This lets everyone in our network—and our clients­—see the extremely high bar we set for stellar work. We believe there is a huge opportunity here

for learning. The better influencers and brands get at delivering quality campaigns for the influencer’s audiences, the stronger influencer marketing becomes as a marketing tool. Our talented influencers are adept at taking a brand’s key message and translating it into written and/or visual content that appeals to their unique audiences—audiences who have the potential to be fans of the brand as well. We are experts at keeping both a brand’s and an influencer’s interests in mind with the goal of helping target audiences experience a brand’s messaging in emotional, compelling new ways. Our membership team provides personalized attention to our network everyday because we know quality influencers are the key to our continued success.

lieve that a feedback loop has to be in place throughout the entire campaign. There’s a tendency to think that technology drives influencer marketing, but the truth is that running a successful campaign is all about communication between the influencers and agency or brand. We have to be in constant contact with the influencer to provide input, and that conversation should continue once the campaign has wrapped up. When we’ve had an extraordinarily successful campaign, we think

the influencers should celebrate that win with us! Feedback should be a two-way street. If a campaign is poorly conceived or the mission is not well communicated, the influencer should not shy away from letting brands and agencies know. There’s nothing worse than working on a campaign with an ill-defined concept or vague goals. The best campaigns are the ones that take into account the needs of the brands and the authentic nature of the influencer’s channels.

WOMEN’S INFLUENCER REPORT - MAJOR FINDINGS


MAJOR FINDING #9 Influencers are happy with their compensation, especially when writing posts. Over 85%-88% of influencers surveyed show they are happy to completely happy with the compensation they receive for writing a standard, one time, sponsored post or compensation for posts in a long term sponsored campaign.

Related Survey Question Please indicate your level of happiness with the typical compensation you receive from a brand/agency/firm for the following opportunities:

ONE TIME, SPONSORED POST

88%

LONG TERM POST CAMPAIGN

86%

REVIEW POST - NO SPECIFIC BRAND INFO TO BE INCLUDED

76%

REVIEW POST - SPECIFIC BRAND INFO TO BE INCLUDED

76%

AMBASSADORSHIP

84%

*These influencers stated that they were either "happy," "very happy," or "completely happy."

The Trend:

81% 84%

SPOKESPERSON

85%

GIVEAWAYS

73%

Overall influencers are happy with the compensation they receive. However, they may be missing opportunity to increase their compensation by increasing their knowledge of ROI for their efforts.

Expert Opinion...

Amy Callahan

Co-Founder & CCO Collective Bias

This is great news. It reflects the value put on influencer content by brands and agencies. There was a time influencers didn’t know how to value their time and would do things for free, which only hurts the industry as a whole. Every now and then I’m asked if influencer market-

Expert Opinion...

Tracey McCoy

Chief Operating Officer MtoM Consulting LLC

I want to work with the best, most engaged influencers on every single campaign—and I’m happy to report that I’m able to do that no matter my client’s budget. This is because most influencers, no matter how long they’ve been in business, take what they do very seriously and want 38

SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT

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ing is here to stay. The answer is a resounding yes as long as we all keep an eye to quality content and fair compensation. That compensation has to be commensurate for their work required. Influencers are today’s online tastemakers. They need to be valued not just for their ability to write compelling stories but for the personal brand’s they have built. You don’t become an influencer overnight. It takes time to grow trust and an engaged following. That trust should be rewarded with fair compensation. Brands and agencies should expect to pay up for blog posts, videos, social posts,

event attendance, live broadcasts and anything else that requires them to take time out of their day to give your brand the exposure you’re desiring. We even reimburse gas if we require the influencer to travel on our behalf. It’s only fair. The industry is evolving rapidly and there will be changes ahead that reward those influencers for their efforts. Data will play an important role in uncovering the true value and impact of influencers and their content that we believe will lead to changes in compensation for those who really are influential.

to create the best content possible for the client. After five years of negotiating with influencers, I’ve learned a few things. And perhaps the most important is: always, ALWAYS, offer fair compensation. Don’t go in low, hoping for a deal. It’s a horrible way to start a business relationship. Don’t underestimate the time they put into their posts and content creation—this is their business and in my experience, almost never disappoint. And the best part is, if you offer a fair compensation, influencers not only accept the campaign, they’ll be happy with the rate you’re paying them. Over 85%-88% of influencers sur-

veyed say they are happy to completely happy with the compensation. Especially when we’re talking about blog posts. I’ll still reach out to an influencer even if I see a rate higher than what my budget allows, and sometimes it’s worked out. Maybe the influencer has been hoping to try the product we’re offering or maybe it’s a top tier brand they want to partner with—either way, it never hurts to ask. Just be respectful and transparent about your motives. You don’t want to inadvertently insult them by offering a rate significantly lower than what they charge.


Expert Opinion...

Danica Kombol President

Everywhere Agency

Word of mouth impacts up to 50% of purchasing decisions (according to McKinsey). Friends who tout a product on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter drive and inspire today’s

Expert Opinion...

Holly Homer

Founder & Owner Kids Activities Blog

I am happily surprised at these results and it demonstrates a positive shift for the profession of blogging. It shows that bloggers are only taking projects that are a good fit for them both

conversation around brands. That “friend” might be an influencer you’ve never actually met, but you’re still swayed by their opinion because you check out their posts every single day and trust their taste. That’s where the ROI lies for brands in influencer marketing, and marketers are finally getting the message loud and clear. It’s heartening to know that nearly 60% of brand marketers have plans to increase their influencer marketing spend this year. Parallel to that increase in spend should

be the amount of dollars allotted to paying for both influencers’ content creation and access to their carefully curated audiences, which allow brands to target their desired demographic. In the seven-plus years we’ve been in the influencer marketing business, we’ve seen a greater understanding from brands around compensation. I’m glad that brands are embracing the value of influencers in the marketplace and that influencers feel they are being compensated fairly—as they should be!

editorially and financially. When you take on a sponsored post that turns out to be a stretch for your readers, it never ends well. In fact, one thing that often goes through a blogger’s thoughts are “I will never do this again ... even for “X” dollars. When you take on a sponsored post that you don’t feel like you are paid enough for, it can lead to resentment and lack of enthusiasm for promoting the post. When a sponsored post is a good fit for the blog and the pay is right, it is a win-win for both the blogger and

client. The blogger receives payment to spend more time and effort on a blog post that readers can embrace. The client has their product and service placed in front of just the right people. No matter the size of your blog, you need to start with a price that makes it worthwhile to do your best. There are occasional times I have taken on projects for benefits other than money, but even then I try to make sure that what I am receiving will make it worthwhile even if the client turns out to be high-maintenance!

"Data will play an important role in uncovering the true value and impact of influencers and their content that we believe will lead to changes in compensation for those who really are influential." AMY CALLAHAN

WOMEN’S INFLUENCER REPORT - MAJOR FINDINGS


MAJOR FINDING #10 Influencers want to grow but often get trapped in non-revenue generating operations Our survey shows repeated interest in learning but little or no time invested in it. There’s interest in reaching out to brands and learning about processes like email marketing but year over year we see more time invested in operations and content creation. Time management and outsourcing would be investments that would benefit influencers significantly.

Related Survey Question Rank in order the top 3 activities you will try to accomplish 2016. REACH OUT DIRECTLY TO MORE BRANDS FOR PAYING JOBS LEARN MORE ABOUT LIST BUILDING AND EMAIL MARKETING LEARN MORE ABOUT BUSINESS, MARKETING, FINANCES, SELLING PRODUCTS, ETC.

The Trend:

Survey responses reflect a trend of influencers taking on more work while finding less time to invest in learning ways to make business processes more efficient and marketing efforts more profitable.

Expert Opinion...

Elisa Camahort Page Chief Community Officer SheKnows Media

What are three things you can do right now to break out of your rut and take positive action? 1. Take online courses and webinars. As you may guess, I think going to conferences is an awesome way to get a lot of intense learning in one short period of time, but on-

Expert Opinion...

Stefania Pomponi Founder & President Clever Girls

Any influencer able to cultivate a massive following does so as a result of fantastic marketing skills. Yes, there are some influencers who simply put out such amazing and unique content that they amass a community, but that’s not the norm. One of the most critical things an influencer needs to do to build a following is push out great content on a very 40

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line courses and webinars (even free ones) abound, and you could be learning more about every social, marketing, PR and sales technique ever if you did your research and found some courses. Set a goal. Take one a week, a month, whatever you know you can stick to as you get started. 2. Subscribe to industry newsletters and publications. Not just ones for you the blogger, but ones for your client the marketer. Learn their language, Understand their pain points. Figure out what they most need. You can’t position yourself and your ROI in a vacuum; it must be

in the context of your customers’ objectives. 3. Set aside some specific, calendared time each week to experiment. Maybe one week you devote it to playing with Snapchat. The next you experiment with boosting posts on Facebook. After that you do a Facebook Live video and a Periscope video and compare experiences (and results). You’re not committing to keep doing everything you experiment with. You’re just giving things a shot and seeing what happens. Sort of like the early days of your blog, remember? Start small and steady, and eventually you will break out!

frequent and regular schedule, which is hard to do. Many successful influencers do this by curating content instead of solely creating their own. (In fact, some do this without creating ANY of their own original content.) Knowing where to source content and how to push it out is absolutely a marketing skill. If everyone could do it, everyone would be an influencer. It’s interesting to see that influencers are spending lots of time on operations and content. To learn additional skills such as how to attract clients or use email marketing to build their business shows that influencers truly are entrepreneurs, and they need to wear

a lot of hats to be financially viable in the space. When influencers have relevant business knowledge and marketing skills we’ve seen they can be really successful. But every influencer isn’t suited for this (and we know time is an issue). Some would rather focus on creating content and growing an audience--and monetizing their work--organically. This is where partnering with an agency like Clever Girls can kick-start the process. We can handle the operations part leaving the influencer to focus on content creation and amplification, and if there is time left over, they can spend it on enhancing their marketing skills.


Expert Opinion...

Tracey McCoy

Chief Operating Officer MtoM Consulting LLC

Every time I take an influencer to lunch or out for drinks, we pick each other’s brains. I ask them about their favorite campaigns and their upcoming editorial calendar and they ask me what my team looks for in an influencer as we do campaign research. These conversations are so interesting because there is so much learning happening on both sides of the table. But I’ve noticed during follow up meetings, very few of the takeaways we discussed have been addressed. They haven’t set up Snapchat even though they’ve been talking about it for six months. They haven’t found time to SEO their older posts. They haven’t reached out to those dream brands they’re dying to work with. And the reason why they haven’t is pretty simple— there just isn’t enough time. Sure, there is a level of influencer that comes with agents and a

writing staff and a bookkeeper but many of the mid-tier influencers are one-person shops. Not only are they creating content to populate a site on a daily basis, they’re managing social media, advertising opportunities (and all the back and forth that entails), and running a small business— all by his or herself. For many, it come to down to prioritizing. Tackling a new tasks means they have to actively choose to ignore or shelf something else and that can be a hard choice to make. So how can agencies and brands help? When working with an influencer, make sure the expectations and process are clear. Every minute counts to them, so don’t barrage them with 8 different emails outlining a campaign or asking follow up questions. Streamline your process so you’re easy to work with—if you waste their time, they’ll remember.

"Influencers truly are entrepreneurs, and they need to wear a lot of hats to be financially viable in the space." STEFANIA POMPONI

Get the complete Women's Influencer Industry & Business Report at the new iBlogmagazine.com.

WOMEN’S INFLUENCER REPORT - MAJOR FINDINGS


LINKEDIN

Viveka Von Rosen

linkedintobusiness.com @LinkedInExpert

What’s Up With LinkedIn Recommendations? You’ve heard of LinkedIn recommendations. Maybe even have a few. But really, what’s the point? THEY’RE IMPORTANT IF YOU WANT TO INCREASE YOUR CREDIBILITY. WHAT’S A LINKEDIN RECOMMENDATION?

A LinkedIn recommendation is the exact same thing as a testimonial. Except on LinkedIn. And according to McKinsey, testimonials may be the driving factor in purchasing 20-50% of the time. Check out your average sales page. How many testimonials do you see? In fact, some sales and landing pages are mostly testimonials with a smattering of sales copy. How about you? Have you ever decided to buy or not buy something on Amazon because of a review? Consider LinkedIn recommendations to be a review of your business on LinkedIn. Another bonus is that recommendations are listed twice on your profile. Once under the Experience section they were written for and also at the bottom of your profile. That way a potential prospect can read your recommendations for the business experience that’s relevant to them, or scroll down to the bottom of your profile and read them all in one place.

THE MECHANICS OF A GOOD RECOMMENDATION

The biggest problem with LinkedIn recommendations is that the actual LinkedIn feature (where you ask and give recs) is hard to find! LinkedIn keeps moving it around. If you already have recommendations, you can just scroll down to the bottom of your profile and click on either “Ask to be Recommended” (to do just that) or “Manage” to manage the addition and positioning of your recs (as well as see if you have any new recommendations or recommendation requests). 42

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However, if you haven’t yet received a recommendation (that you know of), you wouldn’t know where to look! In order to find the recommendations feature, you’ll have to go to www.LinkedIn.com/recs to see if you’ve received any new recommendations. As you can imagine, I’m pretty darn fluent in LinkedIn-ese … and yet when I jumped into recs this morning there were four outstanding recommendations that I wasn’t even aware of. Why? Well, you used to be able to accept a recommendation from your inbox. But now with the new Messenger feature it’s a four-step process: 1. Read the message from your friend who has recommended you. 2. Click on the link below. (How would you know to do this? There’s no instruction from LinkedIn.) 3. Accept the recommendation. 4. Check to make sure the recommendation made it to your profile. Apparently, the message holding the different recommendations had gotten lost amongst all of the other messages! Go ahead. Put this magazine down, sign into LinkedIn, and see if you have any outstanding recommendations.

ASKING FOR A RECOMMENDATION

The best way to ask for a recommendation is to go to www.LinkedIn.com/recs/ask.


· Choose what experience or education you want to be recommended for. · Choose whom you want to recommend you. Make sure you actually know them and have worked with them, or know that they know YOUR work. · You can only choose 1st Level Connections. · You can choose up to three people but only ask one person at a time. That way it will be more personal and the responses will be better. · Choose your relationship to that person (there’s a dropdown). · Choose their position.

DON’T GO WITH THE DEFAULT COPY!

In the subject line, remind them how they know you, such as “Can you recommend me for the work we did together at ABC Corp on Project X?” In the body of the request, give some specifics as to what you would like them to say about you. The more help you can give your “recommender” the better your recommendation is likely to be! “Could you speak to my expertise, ease of working with me, timeliness, professional knowledge, ability to increase revenue …”? Remember, like a review, the better the recommendation, the more likely it is to sway a prospect into calling you! Bonus: If someone has already given you a review or testimonial on your website (or on Amazon or Yelp), see if you can find them on LinkedIn and ask them to repurpose their review for LinkedIn. Make sure that you copy and paste the original testimonial into your request so they don’t have to look it up!

GIVE TO GET

I would highly recommend giving recommendations, as well. Think about who has mentored you, helped you to build your business, worked with you, worked for you, or who you’ve worked with – that have made a big difference in your life and career. Find them on LinkedIn. If you’re not yet connected, invite them to connect (and let them know it’s because you want to write them a recommendation).

If you’re already connected, go to their profile, and to the right of Send Message click on the dropdown and choose “Recommend.” You can also go to www.LinkedIn.com/rec/give and search on their name. Write a stellar recommendation focusing on how your interaction with them benefited you and your business. Remember that other people will be reading this, and if you can write something that will help to improve their business, even better! Another bonus? Your picture, name, and professional headline will show up and be associated with their profile. If it’s an influencer you’re recommending, that could be a very good thing. Lots of people looking at them means lots of people looking at you. Plus, it’s just nice to do good things.

“REMEMBER, LIKE A REVIEW, THE BETTER THE RECOMMENDATION, THE MORE LIKELY IT IS TO SWAY A PROSPECT INTO CALLING YOU!”

How to Maximize Recommendations on LinkedIn 1. Take 10 minutes a day for the next week to recommend at least five colleagues. 2. Ask five more of your connections (a week) to recommend you! 3. Try and get at least two recommendations for each experience section (job) you have listed on LinkedIn. And at least five for your most recent job. 4. Revisit LinkedIn.com/recs monthly to see if some new recs are hiding there waiting for you! Bonus: If you have LinkedIn recommendations, you can also repurpose them on your website!

LINKEDIN


marketing Angie Nelson

www.theworkathomewife.com @thewahwife

Why All Roads Should Lead to

E-MAIL MARKETING A

s bloggers, we spend a lot of our time on social marketing. You’re trying to stay up-to-date and ahead of the curve. Just when you think you have it figured out, BOOM! The next algorithm rolls out and you’re back at Stage 1 and struggling to

overcome any traffic and financial loss. That’s why all of your marketing efforts should lead to your email list. Facebook, Pinterest nor Google can mess with your ability to reach your most devoted fans at any time and in any place.

FIRST, A FEW STATISTICS: Chris Brogan has estimated that 70% of his income comes from his email list. Even if your end goal isn’t selling a product you’ve created, we all have something we’re selling and your email subscribers can

“These people love you enough to hand over their emails. Give them a little extra.”

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convert higher than any other audience you have. Seventy-one percent of people have said email is their first “check” of the day, according to ExactTarget. Only 50% of Facebook Users login every day. Your email will be waiting when they get to it. How far down will they have to scroll to see your Page updates considering there are over 55 million updates posted on Facebook each day? The average open rate for email newsletters is 20% with a click-through rate of 2-4%, according to MailChimp. How does that compare to your Facebook Engagement? According to Buffer the average Page Reach is currently around 2-6%. And remember, your newsletter is all about YOU, not viral content from others you are posting in an attempt to increase your reach. If your number of newsletter subscribers and Facebook Likes are far off right now, you can get those numbers flipped in a hurry with a few good tactics.

What Tools are Needed The great news about email marketing and cultivating a raving subscriber base is the tools and time required are minimal. Seriously! You are going to love this compared to all of those hours you spend searching for potentially viral content to post to your social media profiles each week. I used AWeber as my newsletter service for many, many years. It’s very user-friendly and

“In addition to notifying your subscribers of new posts, think about how you can add even more value.” affordable. I recently moved to ConvertKit for additional features, but admit it can be a little overwhelming for beginners. Start small. You can move later. There are some free alternatives out there like MailChimp and MadMimi. Please be sure to read through the Terms of Service for prohibited industries and activities. Many don’t like you talking about making money online or sending affiliate links. Once you have signed up with a reputable service, you just need to create a few opt-in forms. I recommend adding one below your posts as opposed to the sidebar, or in addition to the sidebar, as these tend to convert better and will usually display inline regardless of whether your visitor is coming to you by desktop or mobile device. There are a lot of fancy tools out there for creating pop-up boxes and landing pages, but most of the bigger and better newsletter services offer a simplified version of these things as well. Again, start small and make a few investments as you see where you really need them.

What Do I Send in a Newsletter? Newsletters are not all that difficult. Don’t overthink it. You can start slowly. Base your frequency on how often you publish new posts. I publish a few times per week and email my subscribers once per week. In addition to notifying your subscribers of new posts, think about how you can add even more value. These people love

you enough to hand over their emails. Give them a little extra. You can include links to relevant and important stories in your industry. Maybe there is something special going on they won’t want to miss. Above all else, make it personal. Let them get to know you a little better. Tell them why the things you are sharing with them are important to you. Email is such a great place to really nurture your follower relationship and to build trust.

Go Big If you want to really ramp things up, create a small free gift for new subscribers. If you are a food blogger, this could be a collection of your favorite recipes. If you are a parenting blogger, create a helpful printable checklist. Checklists are also really popular among the “how to” crowd. Once you have something of value to offer new subscribers,

E-mail

71%

create a dedicated page on your blog telling visitors what it is and why they will love it - and why they will love your newsletter. You can now Pin this page and share it on social media regularly.

So, What About Social Media? Don’t abandon your social media channels. But realize this is someone else’s property and they can do with it as they so choose. You can’t take those followers with you should something happen. But you can start leading them to alternative forms of communication just in case. Once setup properly, every time you share a blog post on social media you will be leading those visitors to your opt-in form at the bottom. If you have a marketing budget, Facebook also offers some really great Lead Ads for collecting emails as does Twitter.

VS

Facebook

29%

check it first thing, before social media

check it or other social media first

20%

2-6%

Direct to your subscribers in their personal inbox

Lost among hundreds of updates followers see

REACH “open” rate

REACH impressions

References: blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-reach-strategies, chrisbrogan.com/growth, blog.kissmetrics.com/facebook-statistics

MARKETING


business

Kim Beasley KimBeasley.com @kimbeasley

AN INSPIRING INTERVIEW ABOUT

Virtual Reality WITH SARAH HILL

In an interview with Sarah Hill about Virtual Reality (VR), I asked several questions that will help you better understand the technology. According to Merriam-Webster.com, the basic definition of VR is “an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment.” GOOGLE AND VIRTUAL REALITY One part of the Android Ecosystem that’s easy to get started with VR is the product that Google created called Cardboard. Google Cardboard is a VR platform developed for use with a fold-out cardboard device that is mounted on a mobile phone. It is a lowcost system to encourage interest and development in VR and VR applications. SARAH SHARES ABOUT VIRTUAL REALITY AND STORYTELLING During the interview with Sarah, I discussed several different topics that will help you learn more about VR and how it can be

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used for storytelling. Currently, Sarah’s company StoryUP VR is using the technology to tell social purpose stories around the world. #VRforgood. It is a VR native media company made up of journalists and digital creatives who want to use this medium to allow other people to step inside stories so they can better understand. StoryUP is an empathy agency using storytelling + tech to raise awareness for charities and causes. StoryUP released a documentary on the Washington Post (goo.gl/yQxTlU) this year. It was a 360-degree immersion into the lives of people in Zambia who have to crawl on the ground because they lack mobility. Currently, the team is in the Amazon in Brazil profiling the Munduruku Tribe and their use of solar as a solution to a hydro dam that would flood their sacred lands. During an upcoming trip, StoryUP will head to the Congo to immerse people in Virunga Park so they can better understand the lack of clean energy there. StoryUP is a startup looking for impact investors. You can find StoryUP’s app in the Google Play and iOS stores as of August 2016. Until then, you can view their stories with Google Cardboard.


Let’s learn more from Sarah about VR via the interview ... Q: What is VR and how does it affect today’s technology? A: Virtual reality (VR) is not a new medium. It’s been around for decades. What’s new are the viewing devices, in which you’re able to view it. For decades, I had been writing, trying to marry words with pictures. With VR, it’s spherical video and the story is on a screen that never ends. With VR, you have the ability to take them inside the story. For example, our nation’s veterans are able to take virtual tours of places like Washington DC to see its monuments. We’re also using VR technology to take people inside homeless camps for veterans, so that people can really see how our nation’s homeless veterans are living.

Q: What is Google Cardboard? How does it fit into the VR world? A: Google Cardboard is basically a cardboard box that allows you attach your cell phone to the box and experience VR. You can get it starting around $15. There are other virtual reality devices on the market, like the Samsung Gear VR. The Samsung Gear VR functions much like Google Cardboard. Your cell phone snaps into it and the VR app is automatically deployed. Another device is the Zeiss VR One, which uses the same VR apps as Google Cardboard. Different VR goggles have different resolutions and fields of view.

“JOURNALISTS AND DIGITAL CREATIVES WANT TO USE THIS MEDIUM TO ALLOW OTHER PEOPLE TO STEP INSIDE STORIES SO THEY CAN BETTER UNDERSTAND THEM.”

Q: What are some of the main challenge you’re hearing from android developers about interacting VR into their apps? A: I’m not a developer but I’ve heard from developers that understanding the webVR and WebGL ecosystem is like thinking with a different part of your brain. Some of the challenges as a storyteller are the limitations of the equipment. On our first shoot, there were 12 different cameras. Those images all have to be stitched together with software. Sometimes these cameras will get off sync and make the process a little difficult.

“CURRENTLY, SARAH’S COMPANY, STORYUP VR, IS USING THIS TECHNOLOGY TO TELL SOCIAL PURPOSE STORIES AROUND THE WORLD.” Q: What are teachings that would be helpful to developers? A: Starting from the ground level and getting familiar with the different VR devices would be a good start. Go to some VR events like VRLA or SVVR and try as many demos as you can. Watch a lot of different kinds of VR from video to CG and see what works and what doesn’t. I blog a lot about VR technology.

Want to learn more about today’s Virtual Reality technology and watch the entire interview on video? • • •

Find the video by visiting goo.gl/tD6t0j You can purchase Google Cardboard at goo.gl/SFWEVZ Check out #VRforgood on social media

BUSINESS


marketing

Building a

NETWORK of Influencers

W

hy do some brands seem too intimidated to own influencer marketing in-house? Perhaps because the term has gotten too sexy and, therefore, too intimidating to add to their already hectic marketing strategy. Influencer marketing works best when a brand owns their relationships and brings the strategy inhouse. This overwhelms a lot of marketers in theory, and they resist adopting this type of marketing when, really, every brand is capable of building a network of influencers right now. To get you started, this guide outlines the most crucial steps for brands who want to build a network of influencers.

Get a Pulse on Your Current Network

Unless your brand is new to the scene, you should have a list of happy customers or people who have written about you in the past. Gather up all these people into a list, and find the blog posts, forums, social posts, etc. in which these influencers say good things about your brand. If you have a list of “brand advocates” who have taken it upon themselves to tell your brand they’re happy with you, they’re offline mentions are extremely valuable. Include them in your influencer list—though opinion on this tactic varies, so it’s your call.

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Now that you have your list of self-identified brand fans, reach out to them personally, tell them something interesting and new about your brand, and propose a new way to partner. It can be as simple as asking them if you can send them your latest product. These are the easiest and strongest relationships you’ll ever form—they already are telling you they love your brand.

Identify Niche Influencers

It’s time to find new people to introduce your brand who have an active voice in your space. The easiest way to identify influencers that you should partner with is to take a look at your buyer personas. Think about the type of bloggers or


“THE INFLUENCER AND CONSUMER VOICE IS PRICELESS.” influencers these buyer personas would seek out to ask questions about a product. Consider which type of influencers these consumers would follow on a regular basis. Next, list niches within verticals of influence. Keep in mind that influencers tend to specialize in something pretty specific, which makes them so influential on their topic to begin with. Niches are easiest identified by past post topics. For example, I may know that I need to work with influencers who specialize in interior design. To earn the most effective media possible, I would brainstorm some niches or additional topics within that vertical that would tell me that an influencer is a very specific fit for my brand. I may look for things like: • Sustainable living • DIY design • Non-toxic home goods

Create an Opt-In Hub

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your brand continues to gather new voices is to have a place where influencers can opt-in to be part of your network. Once influencers start seeing their friends posting cool things about your brand and know they are a fan, they will often reach out or look at your site to see if they can apply to be in your network. Therefore, it’s very important to make it easy for people to selfidentify as someone who loves you and wants to work with your brand. Have a place on your homepage where influencers can apply to be in your network, and be sure to share the link to your landing page on your social channels and in your newsletters. Ask for crucial information like blog URL, links to social channels, and most importantly, why they like your brand. This will make the vetting process much easier.

Plan Creative Campaigns

Once you start to develop ongoing, long-term relationships with influencers, product launches and campaigns becomes easier than ever. Plan ahead and capitalize on seasonality, holidays, and different influencer affinities to create the most creative campaigns possible. Remember that your job is to work with influencers to earn a story, rather than a boring post that simply mentions your brand. Find ways to integrate your brand into an influencer’s life in a way that sparks their audiences’ interest. At the end of the day, that’s the point, right? Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning, but I recommend you look to brands in your space and brands that you love in your own life to keep the creative ideas flowing! • Run a giveaway. • Challenge them to use your product for an event. • Organize an in-person event, or give influencers resources to run an event. • Send photo-worthy assets. • Equip influencers with something for their next vacation, project, or life event. • Send influencers a “sneak peek” of your product before it’s released.

Nurture That Network

Nurturing relationships should be nothing— we do it with our real lives all the time. The influencer and consumer voice is priceless, so a good rule of thumb is to make sure you’re communicating with them about once a month and making yourself available for questions. Here are some ways to keep in touch so you’re not sending a boring email every time: • Organize a piece of research or survey that they would find interesting, and have them weigh in. • Send them surprise gifts or birthday gifts.

• • • • •

Send them an email gift card. Share their content on your own social channels. Ask them if they’ll post on your blog or social channels. Keep them informed about brand and product updates. Personally reach out and ask for their opinions and input concerning your brand.

Track and Analyze

When it comes to measuring influencer marketing, all brands approach it differently, and you want to develop a goal before you start. Metrics speak to the goal, and that’s why the process tends to vary. The most common ones include: • Growing influencer network: number of influencers in network, number of contents earned • Increasing brand awareness: Traffic from earned posts to site, social shares of earned posts • Brand engagement: Social shares of earned posts, comments on posts, number of influencers opting into network • Sales: Traffic back to site, conversion rate • Stay educated! This type of marketing is constantly evolving and changing, so make sure to follow this blog, your favorite marketers, and similar brands in your space.

Kristen Matthews convinceandconvert.com @KristenWords

MARKETING


lifestyle

E B O T HOW

L U F S S E C C U S N W O R U O ON Y dule

e h c S T

his level of success is paved with lots of hard work. That first year is the one that many people quit over. Blogging is not an easy business to break into. But if you keep at it and write what you’re passionate about you can make a living doing it. It takes drive, commitment and a desire to be your own boss. That drive, commitment and desire is why I wake up everyday and get back to work. I truly love what I do. Sharing the crafts, recipes, money saving articles and fun ideas brings me happiness to know that maybe out there I am helping a mom do fun things with her kids. When I started out we didn’t have a lot of money. So everything I did with my kids needed to be inexpensive. That’s who I do it for. I do it for moms who love their kids and just don’t have the money to buy them expensive clothes and summer camps. So they make their own summer camps in their backyard and have a blast doing it!

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Make time work for you I keep my business and home life happy and healthy by keeping business hours. When the kids are home from school in the summer I try to do most of my blogging before they wake up, so later I can then haul them to my bestie’s pool or to the orthodontist. Don’t get me wrong; there are nights that I have to run and correct a post, but for the most part, summer is for the kids and myself. For example, yesterday I worked from 6:30-10 a.m. Then my kids got up and we had to run errands. We went to the library, had lunch, and then went swimming. I came home, did about another hour of work, and then made dinner. We watched our favorite family movie together and everyone was in bed by 10:30. I’m back up blogging again as soon as my hubby goes to work. This is what works for my family. It may help that I’m a morning person, so it’s an easy schedule for me to keep!

“I keep my business and home life happy and healthy by keeping business hours.” Pay where it counts I pay for good hosting. It’s the one thing you can’t be cheap on. You need dedicated hosting. I pay for help! I have another writer who I pay to do things for me and the blog. She is so crafty and a genius at writing and I couldn’t do this without her. Finding a great person to help you blog is so worth it! It also gives another mom a chance to be at home and work too. Another thing I’ve invested in this year is a great video editor. This is a new need! You have to be adaptable and be willing to change in this business. What works today may not work tomorrow!

Utilize free tools I use Ahalogy to schedule pins and it’s free. I schedule all my own social media on Hootsuite instead of some expensive scheduler. This year, I’m trying hard to move away from PayPal and to get people to pay by check—a good bank account can do wonders for saving you money on fees from PayPal!

“You have to be adaptable and willing to change in this business. What works today may not work tomorrow.” Dina Demarest

www.myunentitledlife.com Twitter: @dinade

LIFESTYLE


DON’T MISS

JOIN US for our 3rd annual

August 20–24th

NYNOW.com #NYNOW

blogger

BLOCK PARTY #bloggerblockparty

An all-day event dedicated to meeting and greeting, tweeting, DIYing, and more!

MONDAY, AUGUST 22, 2016 12–8PM 404 NYC 404 10th Ave, New York City (Between 32nd and 33rd Streets)

Emily Henderson Author, Designer, Blogger of Style by Emily Henderson

John & Sherry Petersik Bloggers, Young House Love

Genevieve Gorder Designer

R S V P AT H G T V M A G O N L I N E . C O M / E V E N T S

Rachel Faucett Blogger, Handmade Charlotte

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

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Iblog magazine July / August 16  

The July/August Issue of iBlog magazine for women influencers contains the 2016 Women's Influencer industry & Business Report major findings...

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