“Many small business owners and entrepreneurs are so busy working “in” the business, that they don’t have time to work “on” the business. This usually means, their social media presence is usually lacking and inconsistent. They’ve heard that social media can help, but they don’t have the time or experience to properly manage their own accounts. While their budgets may be smaller, they are willing to pay an experienced influencer to manage their social media if they see they are receiving an ROI (Return On Investment). It’s important to set-up a long-term plan, and manage their expectations, because there’s what I call a “snowball effect” when it comes to social media marketing. (It starts off small, and builds faster every time it goes around, but it takes time.) With results, an influencer might even be able to score larger companies and brands as clients.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Heather Lopez. She’s the founder of Bloggin’ Mamas, a national network of mom bloggers with local chapters throughout the US. She’s also the blogger behind The Social Commerce Mom, I Love Family Travel, and Happy and Healthy Mom.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I first got into writing and publishing in high school, serving as a staff writer for the school paper and the yearbook editor as well. It’s then that I began my first foray into the digital-sphere. Back then we had sites likes aol, geocities, and Live Journal. We didn’t call what were doing “blogging,” and it was all just for fun and expression. In college, I made the jump into Public Relations, Marketing, and Communications via several roles within the student government I held. I built a website on Microsoft Front Page for the student activities board, and created a call-in activities hotline. I helped organize events, trips and concerts, and even made my own flyers. I earned a BA in Psychology and Sociology from SUNY Stony Brook, and pursued graduate studies at CUNY John Jay. Beyond college, I continued writing via my MySpace blog and even landed my husband from there, as he was a reader. It wasn’t until I worked for entrepreneurial women, that I realized my potential to set-off on my own path, which I did in 2009. The catalyst being that my infant son had contracted RSV after being in daycare for only a week, and my baby daughter also contracted RSV and Pneumonia. My son’s lungs were so weak, they had to keep him in intensive care hooked up to machines. I started my first “mom blog” in his hospital room in August 2009, and I have never been employed by someone else besides myself since then. After several years of my hard work, my husband was able to leave his full-time job on February 1, 2013 to come work with me. Now it’s truly a family affair, as we are all involved in the content creation process now.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?
I’ve got a manifesting story. Chances are you’ve probably heard of Shark Tank, and maybe even “The Secret” movie too! Well, I received an email that Kevin Harrington (an original shark on Shark Tank) and Loral Langemeier (from The Secret) were conducting a pitch contest in South Florida. I didn’t see the email until the morning of, but something told me I needed to be there. I wrote my pitch a half hour before I left, but when I got there, none of the printers were working in the lobby. I managed to get the Hotel Manager to print my pitch from her own printer in her office. They selected 5 entrepreneurs to pitch, and I was #2. By the time they got to #5, they told him he should become my client. After they announced I was the winner, they told us about a bigger pitch contest taking place at another event in Orlando, that would bring together the winners of all the pitch contests they were hosting across the country. The thing was that this event was $1500, and I just didn’t have that in the account. But, the person who was selected to pitch #1 decided to gift me her “friend” ticket that she received from buying a ticket for this larger event. I had never met her before this day. In Orlando, I was selected the overall pitch contest winner and Bloggin’ Mamas was the first company to officially appear on their site Shark Crowdfunding (site is now closed). We shot a video in only two takes, posted it up, and we were able to raise $2400 in less than 24 hours. And, you know what? I had never watched “The Secret” until THIS year!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Bloggin’ Mamas does not charge its members to be part of it. We offer moms the opportunity to connect, support and network with each other to build their blog and social media businesses. We are even expanding our Bloggin’ Mamas Academy trainings this year. We also work on several social good projects a year, in which we support non-profit causes for free or lowered cost.
If someone would want to emulate your career, what would you suggest are the most important things to do?
You have to explore your reasons behind wanting to have this career. If you think it’s easy money, then you are dead wrong. You have to be passionate about this, even in the absence of a paycheck. The content you create should be around topics you are passionate about, because your audience can tell when you truly love something versus when you are just writing about it for money. There needs to be an inherent desire to add value to other people’s lives beyond your own. You must be willing to learn and grow on a continuous basis, because the tools you use are evolving and ever-changing.
Is there a particular person that made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful?
This one is hard because so many people have helped make a difference for me. I’d have to say my father, because he always pushed me to be strong and independent. He insisted I learn to drive as early as possible, because he did not want me to feel restricted the way my mom and grandmas were. He pushed me to go through school and college, and taught me the values of hard work. He taught me about running a business and customer service, through his landscaping business. And, he was a single father of four while I was in high school.
Can you share a story?
Have you ever heard of “God winks”? They are situations that take place that you feel are too perfect for coincidence. It’s like when you need $11.11 for something, and then you go into your purse and there is exactly $11.11 in there. Or when I was just talking about my father in the last question, he literally sent me a Facebook message out of nowhere. They are like signs you are on a right path, and God is winking at you to let you know He sees you; that He’s got your back. It kind of plays into the idea of Law of Attraction, because it is bringing about exactly what you need at exactly the right time. Well, those are the kinds of things you should pay attention to; to look out for. If you are experiencing a lot of them, it means you are really doing what you are supposed to be doing.
So what are the most exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now, we are helping DHL promote their free eSHUTTLE in NYC leading up to the Formula-E ePrix. We are also a media partner for the Sweet Suite event in NYC being held today. I’ll be traveling to San Francisco at the end of the month to host another stop of our award-winning event series, “Nissan Presents the Bloggin’ Mamas Safety Academy.” It’s an event centered around educating local markets about child passenger and car seat safety, via mom bloggers. We held them in Miami, NYC and Dallas last year. As for the network, we are building up our local chapters and offering more free training for our members.
What are your “Top Five Ideas About How Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand” . (Please share a story or example for each.)
In our industry, everyone talks about ad networks and sponsored posts to monetize your blog and social platforms. Sure those can bring a significant income, but there are other ways that you can make money in this field. I don’t even use ad networks on any of my blogs right now, because I find they clutter up the visual space. Plus, I feel you should never place all your eggs in one basket (as the saying goes). Having several revenue streams helps stabilize your income for those slower times of the year. Here are the other ways an influencer can monetize their brand:
- Affiliate Marketing- This is when you strategically place links or codes in your content, and generate a commission based on who purchases through your links/ codes. While some influencers have begun dabbling in affiliate marketing through Amazon or LIKEtoKNOW.it, many have been reluctant to move into more consistent methods because they report feeling “dirty” about it. But, affiliate marketing is not dirty when properly done and disclosed. In fact, the top earning influencers usually generate this high-level of income through affiliate marketing. Another complaint is that it doesn’t guarantee upfront income, but if someone truly is an influencer, they know people will make purchasing decisions based on their recommendations so they invest time in this area.
- Consulting- As an influencer, you are gathering knowledge in a variety of fields and that knowledge can become very valuable to companies and brands. Additionally, when you study and know your market, you can provide insight regarding this market that they might otherwise have to spend a fortune in R & D (Research & Development) to discover. In the industry there are many PR (Public Relations) firms that are assigned the duties of working with influencers, but do not wish to pay for sponsored content to be shared. They can, however, justify consulting fees to their client while still maintaining their “earned media” focus. (i.e. They can pay you for providing consulting services, rather than sharing content.)
- Social Media Management- Many small business owners and entrepreneurs are so busy working “in” the business, that they don’t have time to work “on” the business. This usually means, their social media presence is usually lacking and inconsistent. They’ve heard that social media can help, but they don’t have the time or experience to properly manage their own accounts. While their budgets may be smaller, they are willing to pay an experienced influencer to manage their social media if they see they are receiving an ROI (Return On Investment). It’s important to set-up a long-term plan, and manage their expectations, because there’s what I call a “snowball effect” when it comes to social media marketing. (It starts off small, and builds faster every time it goes around, but it takes time.) With results, an influencer might even be able to score larger companies and brands as clients.
- Content Creation- There is a huge demand for content, and as an influencer, you are probably improving your content creation skills everyday. An influencer could put those skills to good use by writing books/ e-books, creating courses, and/or selling content to other outlets or companies. (For example, an influencer who is able to take professional quality photos, could sell their images to another outlet or to a company that appears in the images. Or a recipe blogger could write a recipe book and create an online cooking course.)
- Appearances/ Ambassadorships/ Spokesperson Work- Influencers can be paid to attend or host events, appear on TV or in commercials, and for other long-term deals that require them to post/ share about the client. If an influencer is strong enough, they may partner with a brand to co-brand a line of products. While many of those options were traditionally reserved for celebrities, they have now been made possible for even “micro-influencers” who have demonstrated the ability to influence people. (A micro-influencer is generally someone with less than 100,000 followers.)
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
Angelina Jolie. I see her as a strong and beautiful person; but also a broken person who has managed to put the pieces back together. You can tell she loves with deep passion, anything and anyone she cares about. She lives her life on her own terms, and doesn’t allow others to hold her back. Her humanitarian and creative works inspire me, as well.
Originally published at medium.com