Monday, July 31, 2017 by Shayla Price
Be a YouTube Star! Follow These 5 StepsLights, Camera, Action! Business Insider reports that YouTube users watch more than 500 million hours of videos every day. So, it makes sense that this video platform is ripe for gaining social media stardom. “The reach and power of YouTube has been demonstrated by the many artists, celebrities and comedians that have launched their careers through YouTube videos. From celebrities like singer Justin Bieber to actress/model Kate Upton, the effectiveness of video marketing cannot be denied,” writes Eric Baum, CEO and founder of Bluleadz. You can begin building your brand right now. Here are five ways to reach superstar status on YouTube.
1. Find Your Unique LaneIf you’ve done your research, you already know that competition exists on YouTube. There are thousands of channels that demonstrate cooking, perform comedy sketches, and even talk about celebrity news. You’re probably thinking: Why should I try? Every topic has been discussed. Well, it’s not about covering the same topic over and over again. It’s about bringing your unique talent to a subject and showcasing it differently to an audience. Creativity will separate you from the competition. Let’s say you’re a professional dancer. Rather than showing off your moves in a studio, try dancing in different settings, like a park or a museum. In 2011, YouTube star Luzu launched his channel called LuzuVlogs. His Spanish vlogging channel has more than 2.5 million subscribers. Luzu offers his perspective on producing worthwhile content: “The greatest thing about this is we are defining a lot of things. The way people consume content is changing, and this way of doing content responds to the needs that they have rather than telling them how they should do it.” Luzu doesn’t just talk the talk. He actually takes action. You can watch one of his many adventures below.
You have something special to offer on YouTube. Start brainstorming and posting your videos.
2. Produce High-Quality VideosNew technology is making it easier for you to spread your message. It’s important to produce high-quality video to keep your fans engaged. The first step is to invest in the right equipment. Do your homework and find the perfect gear that fits your needs. Your must-have list may include a video camera, lighting kit, tripod, and editing software. Next, you want to create a storyboard or a script for each video. This preparation will keep your content focused. You’ll know exactly what you want to convey and how to present the content. Don’t get discouraged during this time-consuming process. Research shows that “70 percent of creators with at least 100,000 subscribers spend at least six hours working on each video they upload to YouTube, and one-third of those YouTube stars spend at least eight hours on each video.” Award-winning YouTube personality Rosanna Pansino hosts the well-known online baking show Nerdy Nummies. Her channel touts 8.3 million subscribers with over 2 billion total video views. In 2015, Rosanna produced and hosted two-60 minute TV specials on the Cooking Channel and released her first cookbook. Here’s one of her delicious videos:
It’s time to build your very own studio. For high-quality videos, purchase the right gear and create a plan before pressing record.
3. Engage with Your AudienceEngagement is a critical factor in any social media network. On YouTube, it’s a major part of building your fan base. Many first-time YouTubers post their videos and never read the comment section. However, people like sparking conversations with influencers. Keep your fans happy by talking with them and giving their responses a thumbs up. You also may want to ask your audience questions. Get to know more about them: Where do they live? What other channels do they watch? Do they have video content requests? Beauty vlogger Tati Westbrook of GlamLifeGuru gives tutorials and offers product reviews to her 2.8 million subscribers. In her videos, you’ll see her testing out new lipsticks and adding her creative thoughts.
Tati also engages with her audience in the comments. In the image below, she drops a reminder about an upcoming video. Your fans want to interact with you one-on-one. So, make an effort to respond to their comments and to thank them for watching.
4. Collaborate with InfluencersBecoming a star isn’t a one-person endeavor. By collaborating with influencers, you can speed up your path to success. Current YouTube stars are your best resources if you want to become an influencer yourself. Reach out to influencers you admire and start building quality relationships. “Begin interacting with them, by friending, favoriting and commenting on their videos. In this way you can develop relationships with YouTube stars who can offer advice and encouragement (and access to their networks) for building your own YouTube star power,” writes Gretchen Siegchrist, founder and creative director of Video4Good. Collaboration takes many shapes and forms. You may ask the influencer for mentorship, or you could barter services with the person. For instance, if you’re a great video editor, ask to edit the YouTube star’s next project in exchange for 15 minutes of advice. As you grow, you’ll want to invite influencers to star in your videos. YouTube megastar Lilly Singh has done collaborations with Ryan Higa, Miranda Sings, and Anthony Padilla. Lilly’s social media success earned her roles in Bad Moms and Ice Age: Collision Course. Her upcoming role in Fahrenheit 451 will mark her first major acting gig. Ready to learn? Start collaborating with others to carve out your path to stardom.
5. Grow Your Email ListFocusing on the growth of your YouTube channel is vital in the beginning. But as your brand expands, you want the flexibility to interact with your fans beyond social media. YouTube is considered rented land. This means if the platform stops existing tomorrow you won’t be able to connect with your fans. You’re stuck starting from scratch. Instead, you want to own land. In the online world, you’ll want to purchase a domain and build a personal website. On your website, you can post blooper videos, add your full bio, and even highlight your next appearances. What’s also cool is that you can include a form to get fans on your email list. Email lists are an opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. You can send exclusive videos or ask for their feedback. Plus, you own the list and your communication isn’t dependent on a social channel. Justine Ezarik, known as iJustine, is a popular YouTuber who vlogs about life, tech, and cooking. On the television show New Celebrity Apprentice, she coached contestants on how to create viral videos. Justine is no stranger to email lists. She includes a sign-up form on her site. Take your success to the next level. Build a website and encourage people to join your email list.
Start Your Journey TodayAre you ready for your close-up? With the right concept and camera angle, you can draw thousands, maybe millions, of people to your brand. Create a unique YouTube channel that entertains and informs your watchers. You can engage your audience to generate ideas for future videos. And of course, send people to your website where they can join your email list. Get your camera ready. Start your YouTube journey now.
Thursday, July 13, 2017 by Shayla Price
5 Photography Tips for Your Food BlogJuicy, yummy food photos. That’s the goal for every food blogger when they snap a picture of a dish. It takes multiple skills to take photos of delicious food. Not only do you have to get the perfect shot, you also have to think about how your photos complement your blog and the best way to promote them. “What separates magazine-worthy photos from their less impressive counterparts isn't a fancy camera or expensive equipment. It's an understanding of what it takes to compose an appealing image and the confidence to execute your vision,” writes Niki Achitoff-Gray, managing editor at Serious Eats. It’s time to upgrade your skill level as a food blogger. Check out these five tips to create delicious photography.
1. Capture the Perfect PhotoFor food bloggers, photos are one of your greatest assets. People love to see what you’re cooking or what meals you recommend. The photos can help demonstrate how a dish looks at every stage of a recipe. The right photo also can encourage hungry people to visit a new restaurant. To take the perfect photo, consider using different angles. Most bloggers just take an overhead shot, which isn’t useful for every food item. Instead, experiment with a 45 degree angle to get an intimate shot or a 30 degree angle to capture the entire plate setting. You want to think about the lighting when taking a photo. Experts suggest not using an in-camera flash. The best option is to use as much external lighting as possible. So, open up your curtains and get some natural light into your shot. Lastly, get creative with your photos. You shouldn’t feel confined to follow the standards of other food bloggers. You can add your personal touch by arranging the food a certain way or inserting a funny, inanimate object in each photo. Your audience is salivating to see your food photos. So, make it unique with your own perspective.
2. Optimize Your Photos for SEOWith so many food bloggers in the world, it’s possible for all your hard work to go unnoticed. However, optimizing your photos for search engines can help new visitors find your blog. The first step is to use the appropriate file names for your photos. Rather than uploading your image as “Photo1.jpg”, you want to describe the photo in simple keywords. Your file names may look like: Vanilla-Cupcakes.jpg or Chicken-Soup.png. “The images you select for your web site can make or break how your site looks, but how you upload and name that photo for search engine optimization (SEO) will actually determine whether people land on your site or not,” says Meredith Lepore, freelancer writer and content strategist. You want to follow the same rule when creating your alt tags. An alt tag is the text alternative to your image in a browser. By associating the right keywords to each image, you can boost your SEO results. File size matters, too. If your photos are too large, they can slow down your page load speed. The longer your page loads, it’s likely your visitors will get distracted and move to another site. You can use tools like TinyPNG or TinyJPG to compress your photos.
- Is your food blog on WordPress? Check out our post on the top photography plugins!
3. Share Your Photos on SocialSocial media is one of the fastest-growing marketing channels. People spend countless hours on Twitter and Instagram talking with friends, checking out the latest news, and engaging with brands. As a food blogger, you want to connect with your audience on social networks. The key is to post vibrant, relevant content that entices your followers to learn more about you. A good tip is to follow recurring trends on the social networks. For instance, #TBT (Throwback Thursday) is an opportunity to show off dishes you prepared in the past. Writing funny headlines or descriptions with your photo also adds personality to your brand. It shows fans you’re human and not a stuffy corporation. Angie Dudley at Bakerella offers a perfect example with her French fry sugar cookie cartons. This scrumptious photo is coupled with the playful words: Happy Fri-Yay! Remember to include a call to action in your social posts. Simply plopping a good photo online doesn't help you. You can drive traffic to your site by inserting a link to your blog. If you want more social engagement, you also should interact with your followers. That means retweeting their content, liking their posts, and replying to their messages. Share your photos on social media to build brand awareness. It’ll help you gain new fans and engage your loyal following.
4. Distribute Your Photos in Content UpgradesWhen visitors land on your food blog, they may read an article or two and then leave. You have no way of knowing who they are or how to contact them later. The easiest solution is to offer your visitors a content upgrade in exchange for their email address. A content upgrade is bonus material that helps your audience learn more about a topic. You can give away a free checklist, ebook, or short video. Content upgrades usually coincide with the topic of a specific blog post. Your visitors are more likely to want more information right after reading about the subject. Lori Reeves, relationship manager at EZ Portable Buildings and Tiny Houses, offers an example: “If you're a food blogger and you create a post that is a tutorial of making a specific dish, your content upgrade could be an easily-printable copy of the recipe for the dish or a list of substitutions that could make the dish healthier, vegetarian, [or] gluten-free.” The purpose of the content upgrade is to add people to your email list. So, the relationship doesn't end when you deliver the content upgrade. Start talking to your new email subscribers and getting to know who they are. The first question could be: How did you like the content upgrade?
5. Build Brand PartnershipsMany food bloggers look for opportunities to grow their brand and possibly earn extra revenue. If you’re ready to expand your scope, brand partnerships may be your next step. Before you begin researching for the ideal partner, think about what you can bring to the table. Do you have a large following? Are you a niche expert? Write down what makes your blog unique from others. You want a clear value statement that will intrigue partners. The next step is to decide what you’re willing and not willing to do in a partnership agreement. If you’re a vegetarian, maybe you’ll never collaborate with a beef company. After you establish your values and guidelines, do your research and start emailing people about possible partnerships. Always lead with how the company will benefit. Below is an example from Neli Howard at Delicious Meets Healthy. She collaborated with Edible Arrangements for Mother’s Day. Be flexible when building partnerships with companies. Every agreement won’t earn you money. Think outside the box on how you can benefit from the relationship. Maybe you can get access to a VIP event where you’re the exclusive food blogger on location. Or negotiate for the business to add your photos in an email campaign to their 10,000 subscribers. You are more than a food blogger. Take your photos to new heights with partnerships.
Serving Mouthwatering PhotosBeing a food blogger isn’t easy. You can’t just take a few photos of a casserole and post it online. Start by following simple guidelines to take eye-popping photos. Share your photos on several social media channels to gain attention. Also, you may want to partner with other brands to build your following or earn additional revenue. Upgrade your skills. Serve mouthwatering photos. Achieve food blogging success!
Monday, June 12, 2017 by Shayla Price
Should You Get Into Affiliate Marketing?Everyone is seeking new ways to make more money, especially online. Some entrepreneurs create unique products, while others provide an in-demand service. But have you ever thought about promoting another business’s product? Through affiliate marketing, you can recommend a company’s products to your network and get paid a commission if someone buys it. This entrepreneurial path isn’t the right fit for every person. It takes a few special skills. “Affiliate marketing isn't hard, but it does require knowledge, planning, and consistent effort to make any significant income,” writes Randy Duermyer, a social media marketing consultant. Think you got what it takes to be an affiliate marketer? Here are seven signs that you were born for this role.
1. You’re DisciplinedAffiliate marketing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. You won’t suddenly earn millions from commissions overnight. Instead, it’s a disciplined craft for people who have unwavering commitment. But what does that mean? When some newbie affiliate marketers don't receive a commission check in their first month, they are ready to give up. They start seeking the next money-making idea. However, successful affiliate marketers possess the discipline to keep selling, even when no commissions arrive. They try to figure out how to sell differently and create a strategy to gain more sales. It's all about building a vision around your goals. Yes, you’re selling products built by another company, but that shouldn't limit you from taking it seriously. With a positive mindset and dedication, you’ll become the next success story in affiliate marketing. And it starts with discipline.
2. You’re PersuasiveThis new path you're taking involves sales. So to earn a hefty commission, you must be comfortable with selling products and services to consumers. Some of the best affiliate marketers are infectiously persuasive. They understand how to highlight the product benefits to their audiences and pinpoint how those benefits make a great impact in the person’s life. A high-converting website is part of the affiliate marketer’s toolkit. You know how to attract consumers to your site and spark their interest in learning more about the product. You add copy that engages people and offers solutions to their daily challenges. “Put yourself in the shoes of your visitor, would your [website] copy persuade you to buy this product? Are you engaged with what you’re reading? Do you want to read on and find out more about this product?” states Emily Matthews, affiliate manager at MoreNiche. It’s important not to mistake being persuasive with being an arrogant salesperson. You don’t want to sell people products they don’t need. Instead, you want to be a trusted advisor to your audience by providing helpful information.
3. You Build CommunitiesSuccessful entrepreneurs repeat this piece of advice often: your network determines your net worth. This statement rings true when it comes to affiliate marketing. To generate more commissions, you must be willing to build a quality community. To grow that community, you’re willing to network outside your comfort zone. You understand that every person you meet offers value. You also realize that all the members of your community aren’t your customers. For instance, you might connect with Sam, who isn’t interested in your products. However, Sam can get you in touch with Allison, who is a perfect match. Referrals lead to future sales. Sustaining a community is just as important as building one. You need to provide as much value as possible. Creating useful content—blog posts, infographics, and ebooks—is an effective way to help your audience. Take a few tips from Instagram expert Sue B. Zimmerman. She produces practical video content for her Facebook community. The post below received more than 3,000 views! Start with who you know and continue to engage people with an authentic attitude. That’s how you build communities and your sales.
4. You Stay OrganizedIt’s rare for people to associate affiliate marketing with being organized. Exactly what are you organizing? Well, most affiliate marketers don’t just sell one product. To reap the rewards of more revenue, they usually set out to sell two, three, or even five products. This means you’re working with several brands and acquiring multiple affiliate links, login URLs, and payout details. You can easily get disorganized and find yourself overwhelmed by information. To keep your affiliate products and services organized, you might consider creating a spreadsheet. Addi Ganley, blogger and affiliate marketer, says, “Whenever I sign up with a new affiliate program I like to keep track of all the important details for quick reference. I used to constantly login to each individual company when I needed to get my link, or even figure out when I would receive a payment. Now, I just hop into my toolkit and have all the information I need.” If a spreadsheet isn’t your style, try project management tools, like Trello, to maintain accurate records. You’ll save time and won’t stress out.
5. You Enjoy LearningAccording to an independent survey, the affiliate marketing industry in the United States is expected to grow to $6.8 Billion by the year 2020. Senior managers at companies see the value in developing robust affiliate programs to boost their ROI. That’s great news for affiliate marketers. You have an opportunity to make some extra cash on the side or possibly supplement your entire income. To become the best in the field, you must have a passion for learning. You enjoy researching about new products and watching videos to upgrade your sales skills. We already know you’re a learner because you’re reading this blog post. So, if you’re interested in becoming an affiliate marketing or promoting an additional product, sign up for HostGator's affiliate program and start earning money right now.
6. You’re PatientWe live in a very fast-paced society, where we expect everything to happen now. We can get a latte in five minutes and get an order shipped to our homes in under two days. You can’t expect that same quick results in affiliate marketing. For every product you recommend, only a few consumers will actually purchase it. Others may buy, but it could be six or 12 months later. You’ll face a lot of rejection and won’t reap the rewards instantly. “I’ll be the first to admit that affiliate marketing is not for the impatient. You will experience trials, challenges, and you will put forth a lot of fruitless labor. You will have to make sacrifices with your time,” says Craig Junghandel, a web developer, blogger, and internet marketer. Think of affiliate marketing as a long-term strategy to earn more money. The actions you do today will have a positive result tomorrow.
7. You’re HonestToday’s consumer is very skeptical. They get bombarded with advertising every second of the day. And you can’t blame them. They might have bought defective products in the past, or never received a refund for an awful service. That’s why affiliate marketers must be transparent with their audience. You don’t want to intentionally deceive someone about a product. Be honest and avoid exaggerating about what a product can or cannot do. You also want to be upfront about your commission. On your site, disclose to potential customers that you will receive a payment when they click your affiliate link, as in this example from the EOFire podcast. No one wins when you’re not honest. So, strive to build a trustworthy relationship.
It’s Time to SellAffiliate marketing isn’t meant for every entrepreneur. The first step is to actually figure out if you have the skill set to take on the challenge. The best affiliate marketers are lifelong learners who research for quality affiliate products. They know how to persuade their communities by highlighting benefits. Affiliate marketers also understand it takes time to build up a solid revenue stream. Were you born to be an affiliate marketer? If so, sign up for HostGator's affiliate program today.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 by Shayla PriceWhere’s the money? As a creative entrepreneur—graphic designer, blogger, photographer—you’re always searching for ways to earn more revenue with your talents. To attract more sponsors, try creating a media kit. “The media kit is a great tool because it essentially gives [brands] all the information they could possibly need in one easy-to-navigate document while often cutting our correspondence time in half because it’s already answered most of their questions,” writes Shauna Haider, a creative director, entrepreneur, and blogger. Be proactive about making more money. Tell brands and sponsors you exist with an impressive media kit. Here are five things you should include.
1. Who Are YouSimilar to starting any new relationship, it’s important to tell people who you are. Giving potential brands a brief introduction makes a good first impression. But what should you say? You can tell brands how you got started as a creative entrepreneur or what people and things inspire your passion. Depending on your industry, make an effort to get personal. You might want to mention your family values or your latest backpacking trip. State the why behind your business to sponsors. Why do you photograph in nature? Or why do you only write children’s novels? Tell those stories that can't be found in a press release or bio. These unique qualities will differentiate you from competitors and sparks people’s curiosity to learn more about you. In the image below, Dani Ryan from Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine talks about her story from a corporate job to becoming a stay-at-home mom. She also highlights her purpose and hopes for the future. This section of your media kit centers around making a human connection with brand executives. You want them to feel comfortable picking up the phone to talk to you.
2. What You DoNow, that you’ve grabbed the sponsors’ attention. It’s time to hook them with more details about what you actually do. For some creative entrepreneurs, this section is a challenge. It’s easy to just say: I write or I paint. However, that’s not enough information for brands to invest in your work. Explain your process for developing your craft. How long does it take to create your artwork? Or what precious metals do you use when making jewelry? All these details give sponsors an inside perspective around your profession and your dedication. Also you need to persuade brands to do business with you. This is where you will focus on coupling your talent with value. “Your media kit is something you use to sell your product or service. So it’s crucial that you can convince a client that you have something useful or relevant to their brand. Your primary goal is to lead them to the realization that they’ll become a better brand with your help,” says Pauline Cabrera, a web designer and social media manager. There are millions of creative entrepreneurs doing what you do. By expressing your unique value, you can separate yourself from the crowd.
3. Services & RatesAfter laying out what you do, let’s move to packaging your services and stating your rates. This is where some anxiety may flare up. Most creative entrepreneurs never intend to turn their talent into a business. So they are confused (and sometimes frightened) to add a monetary value to their work. And that's very noble of you. But working for free isn't going to help you thrive as an entrepreneur. You will need to charge for your work. For starters, decide what type of services you will offer sponsors. Are you willing to give up space on your blog for advertisements? Will you welcome sponsors at your next art exhibition? Provide a list of specific services that will appeal to brands. They will want to know the demographics of your audience, the number of people you influence, and the return on investment for their companies. Then, take the time to price each service appropriately. Consider the current asking rate in the market and the value of your creative business. Avoid underpricing your work. Here’s an example from The Sweet Spot Blog. The blogger explicitly states the price for all available ad space. You’ll also notice the types of payment accepted.
4. Social ProofIt’s not enough to say you’re worth certain rates. To back up your value, you must show brands social proof that will encourage them to collaborate with you. Social proof gives external validation that your business attracts people’s attention and motivates an audience to participate. So what type of social proof will impress sponsors? An effective strategy is to do research on what brands want from partnerships. Some companies may want to team up with you to become their spokesperson. Therefore, they may desire a creative entrepreneur with lots of national press in Forbes, Inc, and Fast Company. Other brands may seek a business with a large, loyal fan base. They will be interested in learning the data behind your site traffic and email list. “It’s important to demonstrate that your company is relevant and trendsetting. The best way to convey that is to show them your buzz. If you secure reprint rights, you can include digital copies of your media coverage—if not, provide links to the relevant webpages,” writes Suzanne Kearns, a full-time freelance writer for 20 years. Social proof also alleviates a sponsor’s potential risk of associating with your business. Hesitant brands will feel more comfortable if you’re already doing deals with other major companies.
5. Call to ActionBy now, you’ve dished out some pertinent information to your potential sponsor. They know who you are, what you do, and your rates—all solidified with social proof. Some creative entrepreneurs will stop at this point. They think the sponsors are well-informed to make their decision. While this may seem true, there’s one last thing you must include in your media kit. And that’s your call to action. Yes, you need to ask or tell the brand to purchase your services. Don’t assume the brand executive will know what to do next. Just like a sales funnel for your customers, you must move the potential sponsor down an advertising journey. So give clear instructions on what you want them to do after reading your media kit. A call to action may include asking them to contact you during your office hours. Or you can direct them to an online scheduling tool like Calendly to set up an appointment. Take a few pointers from the call to action below from Carrie This Home. Be open to learning more about brands and give them an opportunity to communicate with you. Whatever you choose as a call to action, make sure you follow up with the brand in a timely manner. Waiting too long to connect may cause them to lose interest in your business.
Attracting Brands With Media KitsIn the world of business, your creativity is only one part of achieving success as an entrepreneur. To bring in sponsors, you must develop a media kit that speaks to their needs. From stating your purpose to adding a call to action, convey a compelling reason for brands to partner with you. So use your talents to create a worthwhile media kit to attract more sponsors.