Guest-lecturing at McGill University

Hi everyone! Today’s post is very different than the ones I am used to writing, because it isn’t about an outfit. Ok, it kind of is, because I am still going to show you what I wore and where you can get the items for yourself, but the point of this post isn’t necessarily “fashion”. 

You might know if you follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, you should), but last week I guest-lectured an Internet Marketing Strategy class at McGill University in Montreal! This was such a huge thing for me, considering I never went to university myself (I am talking about it on my post “Why I never went to college“), and I basically had no idea what to expect! I am someone who works best under pressure, so obviously I left everything to the last minute – literally worked on it the night before. I do my best work when I am rushed… or so I tell myself. But this was not only nerve-racking because I had never been in a university classroom before, but I had to do it alone! I don’t necessarily get scared to talk to an audience, but when you have no frame of reference and have to stand in front of students who hope to learn something from you, it is a lot of pressure.

I had my friend Michelle film some of the class, and I will try to include some clips in this post for you to watch if you are curious. I’m also going to try and write down what I talked about (if I can remember them, because I actually threw away my notes…..).
PS: I apologize for how fast I am talking! I wasn’t realizing it when I was speaking, but just watching back I am physically out of breath just listening to myself. My family used to tell me I should be a weather-girl on TV because I can give an incredibly large amount of information in under 30 seconds… Hum.

1. HOW TO START A BLOG.

I actually covered this subject in a previous Coffee Date post, talking about the Things I wish I knew before I started blogging. These points are still relevant, but I realized I hadn’t talked about an important one: how to find a name for your blog! If you have ever thought about starting your own blog/social media, you know how hard it is to come up with a name that you like now and will like 10 years from now, that represents you, and that others will remember. In my case, I chose Marie’s Bazaar for a simple reason. In French “un bazar” means a big mess, and when I started I wanted my blog to cover a bit of everything that was going on in my life… to be, in fact, a big mess. 🙂 Names with “cupcakes” or “glitter” or “fluff” are cute now, but what will you think in 10-15-20 years? If you know you will still like it, then by all means name it that way! If you don’t think it will really fit you by then, I suggest you find something else because rebranding is NOT FUN.

2.HOW TO BRING TRAFFIC TO YOUR BLOG.

3. HOW TO PITCH A BRAND.

There are so many ways to pitch a brand, but one thing should be for sure: don’t copy-paste a basic email to every brand you want to work with. You need to be personal. Remember that on the other side of the screen, there is a person in charge of deciding if you would be a good fit for them to work with – prove them that you are! Be yourself, be relatable, and be specific.

Start by introducing yourself, your blog, and why you think you would be the right person to help promote the brand and its products. Then show them examples of your past work (if emailing a fashion brand, show them articles of outfits you posted; if emailing a hotel, show them a tourism post you wrote about a holiday you went on,…) basically anything so that they can have an idea of the kind of work you would be doing for them.

Include your most impressive statistics. Tell them how many views you get per month, how many visitors, how many subscribers, tell them your social media numbers,… You also need to have your media kit attached to the email. In your media kit, have more details statistics, like your audience demographics, the types of promotions you offer, the brands you worked with before. And if you are at a point when you charge brands, have a separate document attached with your fees for each option (blog post, social media post, events,…)

Always finish by thanking the person for taking the time to read your email. 

4. HOW INFLUENCERS MAKE MONEY.

There are several ways for influencers to make money. So I’ll keep it up to my top 3: through brand collaborations, through ads, and through affiliate programs. 

  1. Brand collaborations are the main source of revenue for bloggers. Working one on one with a brand to promote a product is personally my favorite way to work. I love the connection you get with a brand, the fact that you can get feedback right away, and the fact that often when working with the brand directly you are more free to create the content you want. There are other ways to collaborate with brands, for example through networks such as Made In, InfluenceHer, Bloglovin,… which are all platforms where brands will be looking for influencers to work with. In these cases you are still working with the brand, but there is a middle player “the network” that connects both of you and that will be your point of contact. Basically, the brand will ask the network to find them influencers to work with. Kind of like an agent.
    Usually when collaborating with a brand, there are a couple of options possible (at least in my case). You can offer them a blog collaboration, meaning you will write a blog post with several photos and multiple links sending the reader to their website, and charge them $XXX for it. To calculate the fee you should charge for a blog post you do the following: $100 per 10,000 monthly visits on your blog. So if you have 30,000 monthly visits, you can charge $300. 
    You can also offer them a social media collaboration, which is mostly Instagram. This is easier than a blog post, considering you really only need one photo. The way to calculate the fee to charge on Instagram is similar to the way you charge for a blog post: $100 per 10,000 followers. So if you have 20,000 followers, you can charge $200 for a post.
  2. Ads are a great way to offer a brand exposure without having to do too much work. I personally don’t like that method as much because I never saw great results from it, but I know other bloggers swear by it! Simply work out a fee with a brand depending on how long the ad will be up, where it will show, how big it will be,… 
  3. Last one is an obvious one to anyone who knows anything about blogging and online influencers: affiliate programs. The best one is RewardStyle (including their program LikeToKnow.it). This is what most bloggers use. Basically, when someone makes a purchase after clicking on a link that was generated by RewardStyle, the blogger will make a small commission from the sale. This works on blog (in my case, the links are generally right under the first photo in my posts – where you can see each item I am wearing), as well as on social media. You probably will have seen thousands of posts on Instagram that include the mention “http://liketk.it/…” in the caption. This means the photo was enabled through LikeToKnow.it (part of RewardStyle) and when you “like” or screenshot that photo and make a purchase from one of the items linked to it, the blogger will make a commission (often around 10% of the sale). As a customer, you do not pay any extra when purchasing an item! This is just a great way for influencers to make money and be able to track their influence and back up their pitch to new brands (ie: which brands sell most, which items sell most, what doesn’t attract any attention,…).

5. HOW TO GROW YOUR INSTAGRAM + THINGS TO AVOID.

Clearly I forgot to mention the most obvious one, but I think it just ties in with what I am saying in the clip below: don’t buy anything. Followers, likes, comments,… Just don’t. You might think no one will noticed, that you are being so cautious with how you are handling things (ie: getting just a few extra followers a day to avoid attention), but bloggers AND BRANDS know. And bloggers talk to other bloggers, and brands talk to other brands… Don’t put yourself in the situation where you will have to explain and defend yourself in the future, because it will catch up with you. Even if it means being at the same number for weeks/months. Be genuine, and your audience WILL follow.

I need to say that all this worked for me, but I cannot guarantee it will work for you! This is such a new line of work, and there is no record available to see how things will turn out in the future, so please take this information and hopefully it will help, but keep in mind everyone is different. 

Thank you so much for following along and allowing me to live this life – I would have never been in this classroom talking about a job that I love if you weren’t here supporting me! I am forever grateful.

 

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