What You Need to Take Content Creating Seriously

Hi everyone, hope you’re well! For today’s post I wanted to talk a bit about content creating a.k.a. “influencing.” If you know me personally, you’ll know I don’t exactly love the word “influencer,” but that’s a whole separate topic for another post. I’ve had this blog for about six years now (wow), and it’s been with me through some very developmental years. I’ve grown as a person but also online, especially within the last couple years. I feel I am at a point now that I can share some wisdom with some of you who are interested in creating something special online or sharing your passions with the world. I’ll be going through a list with you guys of tools you need to take content creating seriously and build a successful brand. Disclaimer: I am not a macro influencer, but there are things I have implemented that have definitely helped my growth and increased engagement. Let’s get to it!

1. Media Kits

If you’re familiar with Instagram or follow a lot of bloggers, odds are they’ve mentioned a media kit once or twice on their Instagram stories. I created my media kit around this time last year and I’m SO glad I did! Essentially, a media kit is your blogger résumé. It lets a brand know more about you, what your niche is, goes through your analytics, and more. A media kit will make you look extremely professional in the eyes of a brand, and I say this as someone who’s been in the marketing manager roll. There are plenty of ways to create your media kit, including Canva or Adobe InDesign. I personally use InDesign because of my graphic design background, but Canva works just as well! I won’t go too in depth with this topic since I recently wrote a Medium article all about media kits including why you need them and what information to include. Feel free to check out that article and let me know what you think!

2. Consistent Aesthetic

One of the best things you can do to represent your vibe on Instagram is to create a consistent aesthetic. Everyone has a unique look, and a great way to portray that is to stick to a set color scheme. My aesthetic has changed so much throughout the years and it’s grown with my evolving taste. However I feel like I’ve finally found an aesthetic that speaks to what my brand is: bright, California inspired, natural, and fashion forward. How did I accomplish this? Well, first of all I use one (sometimes two) filters on every photo through Lightroom. Lightroom is a fantastic editing app that I recommend to everyone. Using the same filter over and over will not only decrease your editing time, but also create a stunning look on your feed or blog. Personally I enjoy looking at a blogger’s feed to see if there is consistency with their editing. If every photo looks completely different or if there’s no rhyme or reason to what they’re posting, I’m simply not interested. Consistency shows commitment and a passion for being creative and I’m drawn to those accounts.

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3. Multiple Platforms

When I first starting blogging, my main platform was WordPress. Eventually I created an Instagram account to promote my blog posts. It was a secondary platform compared to my WordPress blog, but as most of you know that has definitely flipped. Regardless of what you start your blogging journey on, you should consider being active on other platforms. I’ve seen too many Instagram accounts get hacked or completely become wiped out. If this surprises you, yes this is very real and it does happen. It’s devastating to the person building the account, which is so important to be active on Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, Medium, or whatever else interests you! We should never ignore the fact that one day Instagram could be completely gone. If you’re only focusing on Instagram, this means all of your hard work will disappear. I don’t want that to happen to any of you, so I encourage you to research other platforms. Yes, it’s difficult to be active on so many different sites, but it is possible and it’s for security as well. Not to mention, it’s quite fun to build your network and audience through various platforms. It’s so fun and exciting to see so many faces from my WordPress blog become so active with my Instagram. If you’re one of them, I see you and I love ya!

4. Schedule Shoot Days

This is something that really took my content creating to the next level. When I first started, I would post whenever I wanted and didn’t think to get content in advance. As Instagram started to become more serious for me, I started planning photoshoot days with friends or even my family! Now, I make sure to do photoshoots at least two times a week. With quarantine and being out of work, I’ve definitely had more time to schedule photoshoots. So normally, I would do this about once a week, maybe every other week if I shot enough content. The key is to make it fun. This might sound crazy but honestly, shooting photos is the least fun aspect about blogging for me. I still get self conscious, but it needs to be done in order for me to edit and write. Before lockdown, I would schedule shoots with some of my friends who are also active online. We would grab coffee, catch up, and shoot for a few hours. It honestly made the whole process so exciting, not to mention it helps to have someone hyping you up!

5. Brands & Budgets

Marketing budgets. Honestly, as a content creator they are so hard to come by. As a “micro influencer” it is so difficult to find brands that actually have a budget to pay you. Being totally transparent, most of the brands you see me working with on Instagram are unpaid. I’d say about 90-95% of what I’m promoting is unpaid. That’s pretty crazy considering all of the work that goes into content creation. That’s not to say that I’m not being gifted product frequently, because I am. Unfortunately, gifted product does not pay my bills. I don’t want this to come off as ungrateful, but what I want you guys to understand is YOUR WORTH. If you are taking this side hustle seriously and have a genuine passion for it, you should always mention some sort of compensation when contacting brands. What’s the best way to do this though? I understand this topic can be uncomfortable…trust me. However, there are ways to ask for compensation that are not aggressive and best of all: professional! The most common ways to inquire about this is: “Does your company have a marketing budget in place for a collaboration like this?” or “I’d be happy to send over my rates for __________ if you’re open to it.” Let me know if you guys would like a separate post specifically about contact with brands!

I hope this post was helpful to any of you! As always, my DM’s and email are open to any questions regarding this topic. Sending so much love to you guys right now!

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6 Comments

  1. June 3, 2020 / 10:29 pm

    I totally agree – taking photos is my least favorite part of blogging, too! Especially now that I take all my photos myself with a tripod…it takes twice as long and is half the fun! I would love to see a blog post about reaching out to brands; I think that would be super helpful. Also, regarding Lightroom presets, I’ve never understood how people can use the same filter on every photo…I always try that, but since the lighting is so different at each of my photoshoots, I always end up creating different presets to make each photo as appealing as possible. Any tips/suggestions? Thanks so much!

    Miles of smiles,
    Grace

    gracefulrags.com

    • sagepetersen
      Author
      June 6, 2020 / 2:25 pm

      Hey Grace! Thanks so much for your input, that is so helpful! Taking photos with a tripod can be quite difficult, so I definitely know what you mean. I would love to make a post specifically about reaching out to brands! In the meantime, I actually wrote a medium article about it as well, that you can check out here: https://medium.com/@sageoliviablog/how-i-land-collaborations-with-brands-as-a-content-creator-e84860279a9f

      Regarding Lightroom presets, I could make a post about that as well. Like you mentioned, each photo is so different depending on lighting, so whatever preset you use will always have to be adjusted. I personally use one (sometimes two presets) for each of my photos and constantly have to adjust the filters. Usually, playing with the exposure helps create consistent lighting, so I tend to adjust that more often than anything else. Presets are meant to be a jumping off point for your editing and isn’t a one size fit all thing (although I wish it was, would make our lives so much easier lol). But please feel free to reach out with any other preset questions, I hope this helped! xx

  2. June 6, 2020 / 8:12 am

    These were all such useful tips – thank you for sharing! xx

  3. June 6, 2020 / 1:14 pm

    girl yes!!!!! i loved this post!! thank you for this and yes would love a post about contacting brands for marketing budgets etc!

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