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The Key to Establishing YOU and Your Brand with YouTube Veteran Stephanie Ledda AKA SMLX0: Beauty and the Vlog Podcast 86


What do you represent? One of the most difficult aspects of establishing yourself as an influencer is finding that thing that makes you unique and leveraging your ‘superpower’ to stand out in a crowded field of YouTubers. The platform has evolved into a lucrative business, and that means your channel is its own brand. And when your personality matches up with a beauty brand, collaborations follow. Today’s guest is a YouTube veteran with a unique brand identity who is ready to share how her individuality as an influencer has led to some awesome opportunities.

Stephanie Ledda is a 26-year-old New York native with a passion for beauty and a unique eye for fashion. Her channel, SMLx0, has over 900,000 subscribers who look to Stephanie for inspiring hair, makeup and styling tutorials. She was a college student when she started her channel in 2009. A business management and marketing major, Stephanie enjoyed watching YouTube videos and decided to try it out herself. Using the webcam on her MacBook to make videos in her dorm room, she created celebrity-inspired looks and gained a modest following.

Stephanie considered YouTube a fun hobby, but she didn’t realize its potential to become a career until StyleHaul and the YouTube Partner Program reached out to her in 2011. After graduating from college, she tried to balance a traditional job in marketing at a bridal boutique with her channel, but quickly recognized that she couldn’t do both – and she really missed YouTube! Certain she could support herself through the channel, Stephanie quit her marketing job to pursue YouTube full-time. She definitely made the right decision, considering that she’s partnered with major brands like Schwarzkopf, Maybelline, Sephora, Ulta Beauty, and Tarte. Today she chats about sharing your personal life with your followers, the value of a degree, and how she chooses brands for sponsored videos.

 Key Interview Takeaways

You are a brand. Understand what you represent and present yourself in a professional manner. Stephanie, for example, sees herself as your makeup friend – someone you can connect with – who loves the same things you do.

Respond to feedback from brands and networks like StyleHaul. Industry professionals notice and appreciate it when influencers are prompt, flexible, consistent, and enthusiastic.

Work to find a balance between sharing your personal life with your audience and keeping things private. Stephanie recognizes that there is an expectation to put yourself out there; however, you want to avoid compromising your privacy and safety.

There is value in having a college degree. Though Stephanie doesn’t have plans to use her BA in business management and marketing in the traditional sense, she is able to leverage her education in her work as a YouTuber.

If you’re struggling to come up with fresh ideas, ask your followers. Stephanie has had much success with videos based on subscriber suggestions, i.e.: Makeup for Glasses.

If you’re considering the transition from iMovie to Final Cut Pro, don’t be intimidated. Yes, Final Cut has more options, but Stephanie doesn’t find it any more difficult to navigate than iMovie.

Consider using a good camera and lighting from the start. Stephanie recommends the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II or the Canon EOS 70D, and her go-to lighting tools are the ring light and softbox.

If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Only work with brands that you genuinely know and love, and don’t force it to make a video that isn’t relatable just because everyone else is doing it.

There is no magic formula to get noticed on YouTube. Because the algorithm is always changing, it is best to focus on creating quality content rather than worrying about analytics.

Having fun and sharing your ‘goofy self’ makes a big difference. Stephanie’s favorite video is an Instagram inspired post she made last year that allowed her to share a silly side of her personality.

YouTube gives you the opportunity to make friends with people you wouldn’t have connected with otherwise. Stephanie recently returned from a trip sponsored by Tarte, where she had an amazing opportunity to travel with girls who share her interest in beauty.

Episode Sponsor:

Make sure you check out our current podcast sponsor, GloProfessional. To be added to their PR list, make sure that you fill out the blogger interest form  or to take advantage of the 15% discount (use code Erika15) check out my favorite products HERE. 

Resources

Jaclyn Hill

Shay Mitchell

Stephanie’s Tarte Trip Vlog

Stephanie’s Instagram Inspired Makeup Video

Connect with Stephanie Ledda

YouTube Channel

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

 

Facebook Group:

Don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Facebook group if you are a YouTube content creator or you are thinking of starting a channel!

If you haven’t already make sure you grab your YouTube tools guide below!

YouTube Tools Guide 2016

Reinventing Yourself and Your Brand with Food and Lifestyle Influencer Theodore Leaf: Beauty and the Vlog Podcast 85

Reinventing Yourself and Your Brand with Food and Lifestyle Influencer Theodore Leaf: Beauty and the Vlog Podcast 85

“How many fishtail braids can someone do before their eyes bleed?”

Chatting with today’s guest on Beauty and the Vlog is a master class in sharing your authentic voice. Prepare to laugh and learn from a lifestyle and food influencer who has been on YouTube since 2008, amassing 150,000 followers and 18.5M video views.

Theodore Leaf began his career – and his YouTube channel – as a stylist at Chris McMillan Salon in Los Angeles. Hoping to expand his client base, Theodore uploaded a demo video on YouTube, but had no intention of posting consistently to cultivate a following until he met and became friends with Michelle Phan.

Watching Michelle work and teaming up with her on projects for the For All Women Network (FAWN), Theodore got inspired to grow his own channel. He was able to capitalize on that social media presence to land network and cable gigs including Fashion Star and Secret Guide to Fabulous. But after a move to New York and a little soul searching, Theodore made the decision to shift the focus of his channel to lifestyle and cooking. He incorporated a vlog while attending culinary school, and thus began his quest to become the next Martha Stewart! Listen as Theodore shares the importance of being yourself, diversifying your online presence and capitalizing on the freedom provided by the YouTube framework.

Key Interview Takeaways

Hit the books. Theodore took classes on lighting, filming and editing to give his channel a professional look. The Apple Store even offers a free course to learn Final Cut Pro!

Do a gut check when considering unpaid opportunities. If the gig offers exposure, it may be worth it to work for free.

If you’re talented and have something to say, go for it and start your own channel. Yes, YouTube is more competitive now, but that just means you need to be more intentional.

If you are considering making a pivot on your channel, prepare for the backlash. Subscribers will complain when you shift your focus, but remember that they are not network executives. Part of the magic of YouTube is having the freedom to reinvent yourself.

YouTube is too much of a commitment for you to do it for the wrong reasons. Viewers are savvy, and they can tell when you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing.

Do market research on other social platforms. Theodore is planning to study the top pins on Pinterest and create complementary videos.

Be a social media triathlete. Choose two or three platforms that you navigate well and cultivate your presence on those fronts.

Consider using a tool like CoSchedule to plan and manage your time as well as create social campaigns.

Refine your photography game. Theodore recommends taking a good portrait that can be used on several different platforms.

Put your eggs in several different baskets. Theodore is in the process of growing his following on Facebook and Instagram, posting videos from his YouTube channel on those platforms as well.

Go where the eyeballs are. Brands are interested in ‘total outreach,’ so go to the social platforms where your audience is active.

You are your own best publicist. Theodore still makes an effort to connect personally with brands at trade shows.

Actively respond to comments on your videos. Theodore uses the Creator Studio app to engage with viewers.

Develop killer thumbnails and titles. Vivid colors and bold fonts make for a thumbnail that stands out, and catchy, creative titles like ‘3 Smoothies to Make You Prettier Than Her’ persuade viewers to click.

Spend money on the lens, not your camera. Theodore uses the Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera with 24-105mm f/4L lens.

Episode Sponsor:

Make sure you check out our current podcast sponsor, GloProfessional. To be added to their PR list, make sure that you fill out the blogger interest form  or to take advantage of the 15% discount (use code Erika15) check out my favorite products HERE. 

Resources

gloProfessional Promotion

CoSchedule

Creator Studio on iTunes

Creator Studio for Android

Apple Workshops

Theodore’s Lana Del Rey Tutorial Video

Connect with Theodore Leaf

YouTube Channel

theodoreleaf.com

Pinterest

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Facebook Group:

Don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Facebook group if you are a YouTube content creator or you are thinking of starting a channel!

If you haven’t already make sure you grab your YouTube tools guide below!

YouTube Tools Guide 2016

The BEST Skincare Tips You’ll Hear Plus All About Mineral Makeup with GloProfessional

The BEST Skincare Tips You’ll Hear Plus All About Mineral Makeup with GloProfessional

In this episode of Beauty and the Vlog, I had the pleasure of getting to know one of our podcast sponsors a little better and also picking up some awesome tips related to skincare and makeup! I was able to chat with GloProfessional brand representatives, Anna De la Cruz, Director of Brand Development and Janeena Billera Senior Makeup Artist Educator. They shared SO many amazing skincare and makeup tips along with insight into their careers and how they landed their positions with GloProfessional.

In this episode we discussed:

  • Career Paths of the podcast guests in the beauty and skincare industry.
  • What skincare ingredients are HOT right now.
  • The #1 skincare ingredient EVERYONE needs to be using to help with anti-aging.
  • What to use if you have very oily skin.
  • What “mineral makeup” really means and why it’s better.
  • How GlowProfessional works with influencers and content creators.

GlowProfessional is looking to work with YOU! They are currently looking to connect with bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers to add to their PR list. If you review and discuss makeup or skincare and want to work with them, head over HERE to fill out the blogger form. 

If you want to try some of the products mentioned in the podcast, I hooked up a special discount for you (this is not an affiliate code). Use the code Erika15 to get 15% off  and FREE shipping your order of $75+ or more. Check out their line of skincare and makeup HERE. 

 

Facebook Group:

Don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Facebook group if you are a YouTube content creator or you are thinking of starting a channel!

If you haven’t already make sure you grab your YouTube tools guide below!

YouTube Tools Guide 2016

 

 

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