Life As Leslin, started February 2016 and through my journey I would like to share a couple of things I have learnt along the way.

Let’s start with the reason why I started blogging, I started a YouTube channel because lot’s of friends and family suggested I do it. I am very creative and need a creative outlet, I had time on my hands, but mostly it was because I wanted to inspire my community, through my journey past, present and future I wanted to inspire others, if they could see me do it they would believe they can do it to.

NOW. That is my core reasons why I started this venture of ‘putting myself out there’. It wasn’t easy, lots of inner battles were fought and I had lots of self doubt. However, whenever I feel discouraged to produce content I always have to think back on my WHY…

With saying that I’ll give you a couple of tips to help you get started.

1. Establish your why

Everyone will have their own personal reason and goals for becoming blogger or social media influencer, and everyone has their niche, their own personal brand and message. It’s also starting to feel its slowly becoming mainstream in South Africa because people are wanting to share what they do and what they love, but there is a big misconception of how hard it can be and even harder building a strategy. It’s very important knowing your why. Do you want it for extra income? Do you want it for free products ? Do you want it for the fame ? Or do you want to do it as a hobby? The reason why I mentioned those reasons is it will be awhile before you start to earn money, especially when starting out you have to ask yourself if you are willing to produce content for free. If you want to get into this industry it is going to have to be something you enjoy. And if you think of it as a hobby, DON’T, think of it as a business as your future employers are probably watching you. And if you want to do it to get free products you will learn quickly that sometimes your value extends the price of the products. To edit one video it takes 8 hours, that excludes, script writing if need be, meeting up with my videographer, photographer, setting up a venue, being the director, producer and the host. You have to think of it has being in it for the long game, not just making a quick buck.

Ok, so now I have all the ethical stuff out the way let’s get into the fun stuff.

2. Choosing Your Name

It’s really important choosing the right name. Your name has to stand the test of time. Choose something that if someone clicks on your link they going to know what you are going to talk about, some ideas are if you love knitting you could say Katie Knits, or if you want to be anonymous you can be Pearls of Wisdom, choose words around that theme of your blog. If it’s a lifestyle don’t choose Katie Knits, rather choose Daily Katie or Katie’s World. You can also self title like myself (which is quick and easy). Just remember to be original stay true to who you are and most of all make sure no one else has it.

3. Have A Plan

You have to think of a plan. Focus on one platform that comes natural to you. Do you love writing, do you love visuals do you like video? Focus on something you passionate about, having a niche will set you apart from the rest. Now if you love to write you can use WordPress – there is no need for you to buy yourself domain name especially in the beginning. I would say rather focus on your content first. The biggest video platform is YouTube, its very easy to setup an account and if you love photographs, Instagram is your name, Facebook is a great platform for video and images. Once you have figured out your platform, you have also figured out your money maker. It’s also important to respect each platform, and use all social media platforms to the full potential, exhaust all options. Example Twitter has the highest click rate so you need to ensure you’re promoting content there with a link, Instagram gives you the option to load a one minute video or 15 minutes on IGTV, which lead to believed being the new YouTube. Make sure your videos are monetised, boost your content on Facebook, ensure you are doing the most to capitalise on the work you produced. Don’t forget to tag brands in your descriptions on your social media as they might notice you and in return might get free publicity.

4. Stop Worrying About Equipment

Now that you established what you want to do, you need to start producing and executing your best content. The one thing that holds people back on starting is worrying about having the right equipment. I started filming, editing and uploading all from my iPhone 4 at 2 years ago. I wouldn’t recommend an iPhone 4, however an HD camera phone should suffice. All you need to do is START!

5. Quality Content

Always put your best foot first. You have to remember the content you’re creating is not for you. Its for the person reading your blogs and viewing your videos. One way to create quality content is to stay ahead of the game. Is there a trending topic you can shed light on, If you have to speak about something that can emotionally drive your audience, that’s when you will get that viral video or blog post. Always think about how the audience will receive it and make sure that you enjoy it.

6. Ask And You Shall Receive

This is especially important when starting out but I see even the most successful bloggers ask their audience for a call to action. What is a call to action? It may be subscribing to an email list, directing them to an Etsy store or subscribing to your course or YouTube channel. Tell your audience what you need from them. With you asking a call to action please take the time out to answer questions and reply to comments on your various platforms. There are many blogs out there and acknowledging and interacting with your followers will definitely make them feel appreciated.

Not forgetting to ask to collaborate with other bloggers.

7. Your Vibe Attracts You Tribe

It is important to identify your audience, your vibe attracts your tribe. For instance, you wouldn’t see Bonang do an advert for sunlight soap? Know who your audience are and what they expect from you. Also ensure your astetitics on your blog have the same look and feel on all platforms.

8. Stay Consistent

Even I slack at this sometimes, but you need to stay consistent, at the moment YouTube standard video upload is twice a week. However, I will stay true to what I can do. It is good practice with everything to stay consistent. And if you tell your audience you will be back, they are expecting you to come back! Don’t ever think that no one is watching, even if you feel like you not getting enough hits, or you not getting enough views – that is not true! Someone is always watching, and they are waiting for you to show up.

9. Set Yourself Up

If you really want to transition into making it a business, I wont lie its hard work but put yourself out there send brands you interested in working with proposals on how you would like to work with them. Make yourself a media kit and rate card. There are brands who would love to meet and work with you.

10 – Have Fun

Don’t just imagine all the things you like and want to do, do the work and go out and get it.

Until next time, Shine Bright
Leslin X