If you’re an influencer, you’ve heard of Brittany Hennessy, the author of Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media. We chatted about influencing and why influencer isn’t a bad word.
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In addition to her book, Brittany was the first head of influencer marketing at Hearst Magazines Digital Media where she booked influencers in fashion, beauty and lifestyle campaigns for Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Redbook, and Good Housekeeping. She is Co-Founder of Carbon August an Influencer Education Platform and the “Influencer Whisperer” with an upcoming book called Founder: Starting an Online Business in the Age of Personal Brands.
Why the Influencer Book was Necessary
We got into the rational for the Influencer book. Brittany had the opportunity to work with influencers just as the industry was beginning to take shape. She noticed a pattern with influencers. They had some blind spots with respect to working with brands. This book provides a foundation for those who are starting or have already started their influencer journey.
“Influencer” is Not a Bad Word
Additionally, we discussed the negative connotation that was attached to the word “influencer”. Brittany shared that although there are influencers that are “trash” (her word, hehehe, not mine), there are plenty that are not. Likewise, we need to take the word back as being an influencer is hard work! We discussed that taking this word back is what is needed to move the industry forward.
The Influencer Business Plan
We got into the courses that Brittany offers as an influencer educator. I’m currently taking her Influencer Business Plan. It has provided me with a way to focus on certain aspects of the business side of influencing. Brittany discussed the variety of topics covered in the course from “your why”, how much money do you need to make, to pitching and sponsorship. Additionally, the course gets into how to make money without relying solely on branded content.
Influencers as a Founders
Next, Brittany shared a preview of her upcoming book, Founder: Starting an Online Business in the Age of Personal Brands. She described the book as the “you’re an influencer, now what”. We discussed how influencers are becoming founders of their own products. Brittany discussed how starting a business comes with a new set of challenges. The book can provide guidance and share the experiences of successful influencers who have become founders.
The Two Things Influencers Should be Doing
Finally, we got into what influencers should be doing now. First Brittany mentioned that they should be educating their audience. Second, influencers need to be thinking about a long term plan. Additionally, a bonus tip, influencers need to have touch points with their audience, such as a site/blog, that they actually own instead of relying only on social media platforms.