Jennifer Powell On Why Blogs Are So Valuable To Advertisers
We all know by now that successful blogs can turn into multimillion-dollar businesses, but before most recognized the value of blogging, Jennifer Powell took notice. As the Influencer Manager at Next Models, she represents top fashion blogs and helps them with brand collaborations and business relations. Her clients include the likes of Rumi Neely (Fashion Toast), Danielle Bernstein (WeWoreWhat), Julie Sariñana (Sincerely Jules), and more. So basically all your favorite bloggers! Lucky for you, Jennifer is sharing her success story as well as secrets of the most successful blogs at our #SimplyLA conference, where she’ll be hosting a breakout session all about monetizing your social media. Who doesn’t want to know more about that?
You can get your conference tickets HERE, but in the meantime, Jennifer is sharing some advice about what she's learned along the way:
SS: Eight years ago, you expanded Next Models into a digital and social media talent agency. What inspired you to do this? This transition was never planned for. It was completely organic. When Rumi Neely came to Next, she had realized that she converted posts on her blog into sales. She then came to me to figure out how to monetize this. I am a model agent originally. When you look at a model's job, the point of it (beyond art) is to create imagery that converts into sales for a brand, whether through campaign shots, e-commerce, or catalog. To see this happen in an alternative, trackable way was fascinating to me. The creation of this division happened after multiple years and after trial, error, and experimentation. The journey has been really interesting.
SS: What makes you different than ordinary model agents? I guess I wasn't afraid or intimidated by seeing the world change and see how digital was becoming more important. I tried to figure out how to manipulate this new media to create sales and create a new revenue stream. Being in Los Angeles, we aren't necessarily in a primary fashion market, which gave us the luxury of having the time to be able to explore and try new things. Alexis Borges, the director of Next Los Angeles, has always been a huge supporter of mine. He gave me the freedom to explore this world. He also knew when it was too big just as a side project and when it needed to be given its own legs.
SS: You realized blogging’s potential far before it became popular.Why was it so appealing to you? The realization that blogging created trackable sales and the value that brings to a brand or designer made perfect sense as to why paying a blogger was a good investment. Up to that point, booking models to create beautiful images that create sales was the point of my job, so this new version of that concept was something that made a ton of sense to me. After being a model agent for so long, I had established trusted relationships with so many of the brands. When I suggested them to try something new and put money into this new version of advertising, some tried and it worked!
SS: What do your success stories (Fashion Toast, Kayture, Sincerely Jules, We Wore What, etc.) have in common? Every single one of those girls has been consistent in their perspective, the frequency of their blog and social postings, and their messaging. They have all evolved in their style (as we all do over time) but not the basic aesthetic of their imagery. They also realized the great potential that their blog had to become a brand and built ancillary businesses around them! Rumi has her clothing line Are You Am I, Kristina is pursuing her singing career, Jules has her clothing line Shop Sincerely Jules, Danielle has Second Skin Overalls, Archive Shoes, etc... I’m terribly proud of all of them.
SS: What do you look for in potential new clients? The talent I bring on has to have potential to be the face of the brand, ambassador for a brand, create beautiful or interesting content, and have a foundation that I believe I can build other businesses around. They need to have a truly engaged audience, which doesn't necessarily mean millions of followers, but rather an eager and engaged group of followers. And they also need to be open to identifying a charitable cause to work with. I believe with robust social media followings comes a great social responsibility. The effect that influencers have on people is profound. I love the idea of finding the good in this, not just financial gain.
SS: Name 3 ‘Do’s’ and 3 ‘Don’ts’ of the blogging industry. DO: be consistent in postings! DON'T: try to do this all on your own. There comes a point where it’s ok to turn over negotiations to an agent or to bring on an assistant. It’s all part of the growth of a business. DO: post on time and follow your scope of work for brand deals! DON'T: get too big for your britches. Be polite, write thank you notes, and be on time. Enjoy the amazing opportunity that you have to make a living like this! DO: support one another! There is enough room for all of us to be successful! Post images with other influencers and support brand collabs that others are doing! You grow your own following by collaborating with other influencers. And everybody likes an inclusive girl (or boy) gang! DON'T: do fit tea posts...
Want to learn more from Jennifer Powell? Don’t forget to order your #SimplyLA conference tickets HERE!