I just spent a big portion of the last two weeks travelling across Canada and the USA attending influencer and blogger conference (after blogger conference). I jumped from ROAM in Kelowna BC, an intimate, hands on approach to learning, and then somehow found my way down to Baltimore for BlogU. After that a quick “jaunt” up to Toronto to attend Strut at Niagara on the Lake.
I attended 3 events, all completely different from each other and to unique markets, one targeting the professional influencer, another the content artist and the third PR & Marketing professionals.
So how come they were all saying the same thing?
Now, this is a good thing. This means that there is a trend happening, that the leaders are all supporting the same idea of how influencers should progress. If each conference encouraged me to do something completely different from the others, I would be worried… and confused.
So, what DID they say?
In a nutshell, this:
1. Stay Relevant
No matter what you are doing, you can, and should, be doing more. You need to look at WHAT tools you are using, HOW you are using them, and then do better. If you aren’t on YouTube, you will probably be irrelevant in the next 2 years. Video is no longer a choice, it is a necessity.
As an influencer you need to LEAD the charge on these platforms. You need to be mastering instagram, perfecting pinterest and rocking your YouTube channel and building your audience. Having a blog platform is no longer enough, you need multiple assets to be able to survive the change that is coming. It is also time to move away from last years model of “mommy blogger” Ditch the cartoon logos, and be real.
So, on that note: Subscribe to my YouTube channel… because you are going to be seeing A LOT more of me over there, and I am spending a good chunk of time not only FINDING my brand on video, but also making my channel something that you will like.
2. Be Yourself
We have always said this, and it still rings true. “Be Authentic” bring your TRUE self. As I sat in many a workshop, or met yet ANOTHER blogger or influencer, this concept continued to reaffirm itself in my mind. I saw people who are crazy wonderful be themselves and have it ACTUALLY work out… and it gave me a little more confidence to bring ALL of me to the table.
And that has always been a challenge, to be honest. I am a dichotomy, a ying and yang of personality traits. I am smart and logical (sometimes to a fault) but will also do most anything for a laugh. I can rock a party dress, but would feel especially awesome if I could do it with a chicken on my shoulder. I love to write, but I feel passionately challenged when I get to write branded content… it fills my soul.
I am weird. Like most of us. But I am finding the path through my weird, and my smart and my creative passions.
So, yes, be YOU. Find your YOU and be okay and accepting. Define who YOU are and break it into 3 or 4 categories (pillars) Ensure you meet these “pillars” of your “brand” on all your social platforms…. share the weird, embrace the normal, and just. be. you.
What does this mean for me? You will see an eclectic mix of fowl into places you wouldn’t expect them. You will see me, and all my angles… and if that is confusing, I am sorry…. but while vanilla ice cream tastes delicious, it is even better when you mix in chocolate sprinkles and marshmallows.
3. Above All Else, Make Friends
At the end of the day, vanity numbers, amazing content, and creativity will only get you so far, so be sure to get out, make friends and support people. Networking and tribes have ALWAYS been a thing, but they are also something that need to continue to grow. If we don’t expand our tribe, it will become soon become stale and irrelevant. So, get your arse off the couch, attend some events, and meet some amazing people.
We spend so much time stuck in our little box, and by building IRL relationships our online connections finally have a chance to see our “big picture” I was blessed to be able to dance my arse off, laugh till I peed and find my pod people across the country.
These relationships matter to me and they help to strengthen my foundation in this industry.
And you still have a chance. These conferences are happing in the next 6 months. Take a leap, book in and expand your circle… and don’t be nervous because I will be there. Perhaps in a few months I will be writing a post about how meeting YOU had an impact on me… or how we danced the night away drinking prosecco in New York?
4. Make It MEAN Something
Numbers mean nothing if they don’t actually PRODUCE anything in the end. I always think of Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, how he wanted to BUILD something, and how this changed his whole concept of business.
Same goes with us folks. Words are great, as are twitter followers and facebook fans, but if you aren’t actually MAKING SOMETHING HAPPEN with these numbers, what you are doing isn’t working.
If you are writing a story to impact people, put it all on the table, take the risk and tell your story. Find a way to tell it in ALL the ways possible. Use every resource you have to affect change.
If you are doing brand work, figure out if you are ACTUALLY delivering, because while this may not have mattered last year, it sure is going to moving forward. Install jetpack, see if people are clicking your links, ask for feedback after campaigns. Make your work count for something.
Whatever YOUR reason for being here, dive in fully. There is no longer any time to be mediocre or dabble around the edges. As one speaker said, “This used to be considered the gold rush, but this year, while the rush is still on, people have started building settlements”
So there it is friends. From an intense learning conference, to a wickedly inspiring content event, and then to a higher end marketing conversation, they are ALL saying the same thing.
Show up, learn everything, make friends, and be a leader.
And that is exactly what I intend to do… how about you?