Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Why You Need a Media Kit

20th March 2020

Hello, hello friends! I know that it has been insanely chaotic lately and my heart is with all of you, wherever in the world you are. Please stay healthy and practice responsible measures to prevent spreading or contracting illnesses during this time! I encourage you all to stay informed and, again, be responsible not only to keep yourself safe but to keep others safe and healthy as well. For more information, please read more here: Coronavirus Disease 2019 by the CDC. Alright. Now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, let’s talk about why you need a media kit (lol). 

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Insights for Beginners

13th March 2020

Hello, hello, friends! This week has been… something else. Today will actually be my very last day of in-person classes for law school; we’ll be switching to online, distance learning then-after. So weird! Earlier this week, I was supposed to be in Arizona this weekend for my step-brother’s graduation, but here I am, flights canceled and out of school for the rest of the semester. Well. On-campus, anyway. But, I just want to remind you guys that it will not be like this forever. Even amidst all of these changes, I want to encourage you guys to stay optimistic during this time. Perhaps, maybe, maintaining parts of our routines that we can is a good idea. So… here’s a blog post on Insights and Analytics, which I wrote two weeks ago when all of this wasn’t happening. Let me know what you guys think! I’d love to continue discussions about things we love during this weird time.  read more

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Instagram Stories: Why They Matter [+ I Started a Podcast!]

6th March 2020

Hello, hello, friends! I am so excited about discussing this week’s topic with you all… not just because I love Instagram Stories, but because this is the first week where a blog will be supplemented with a PODCAST. That’s right — a podcast. I know you’re screaming right now in excitement [right?] and you’re oh-so-excited to listen; the link is at veeeerry end of this blog post, so if you want it, you’re going to have to read this! Or… scroll to the bottom of the page without reading a single thing at all. Just don’t tell me if you do that, okay?

Today, we’re talking all about Instagram Stories, friends. Not just what they are [c’mon, we all know what they are], but how they’ve quickly evolved to be one of the very most important social media tools we can implement into our routines. In some ways, social media marketers are regarding Stories as its own social media platform because of the vast opportunity they afford us to engage uniquely with our audiences. In this blog post, we’re going to be covering why. 

But First… 

Before we get into the good stuff, I just wanted to reiterate to you guys this is my very first week with a theme or main topic/subject across all of my different content that’s going up. This week’s theme, for example, is Instagram Stories! I would love to know which type of content you’d like to see next from me; it could be anything from “Freelance Social Media Management” to “Graphic Design” to “Forming an Effective Pitch to Brands.” [Hint hint: those are all topics I have scheduled] If there are any other topics you’d love for me to talk about, comment on this post and let me know or message me on any of my social media platforms. I’d love to hear from you! 

Okay. Let’s get into it! 

Engagement, Engagement, Engagement

Perhaps most importantly, Stories allow for amazing direct engagement with your audience that is truly unparalleled to any other social media networking site out there. The platform smartly utilizes integrated engagement tools, such as Poll Stickers, Quizzes, Question Stickers, and Swipe-up links to allow users to directly connect with their favorite creators. [Not familiar with Engagement Stickers? I’ve got you covered! Read this article about them.]

Instagram actually rewards those who regularly and strategically engage with their audiences by algorithmically favoring those accounts. It’s truly a win-win-win; if you’re not using Instagram Stories to engage with your audience, you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity to build a genuine community, foster close relationships, and engage in thoughtful conversations with your audience. I’ll talk all about how to garner more genuine engagement with your viewers over on my podcast, so be sure to check that out. 

Challenge: I challenge you all to ask a question on Stories using the “Question Sticker” this week — your goal is to get at least ten responses, no matter how “big” your audience is [I use this arbitrarily; a “sizable” audience is subjective]. This challenge will require you to ask a question that really invites, or even demands, a response from your viewers. 

Maintaining Visibility

Instagram Stories are incredible ways to maintain visibility throughout the day; they are, after all, designed to show viewers what your “day to day” experiences look like. Stories are an amazing way to provide content [even if it’s just surface-level; i.e. showing people what you ate for breakfast, where you’re at this evening, or maybe even just a quick selfie] to your audience throughout the day that doesn’t have to be so thought-out, organized, or structured. It can be quick and with little to no effort or thought, if you so choose. This is a great way to remain at the top of your followers’ Stories throughout the day. 

Parasocial Interaction

In a way, Stories are a way to truly showcase who you are rather than how you present yourself on social media, if that makes sense. On my Stories, I find that it’s a lot easier for me to be candid, and showcase a goofy side of me that doesn’t often come through on edited copy and structured posts. 

Have you ever heard of “parasocial interaction?” We actually talked about this phenomenon occasionally in j-school, but mostly in the context of news anchor/audience viewer interaction. Parasocial interaction, or PSI, is defined as “an imaginary relationship, an imaginary friendship, an illusion of face-to-face relationship and an interpersonal interaction between media user and the consumed media.” [Inquiries Journal

Parasocial interaction is, essentially, the feeling an audience member has for someone like a news anchor, or a YouTube vlogger, or a content creator; this is the feeling that they actually are “friends,” with this person, or that they truly know the person. Talking on video during a Story or even just simply contributing frequently and genuinely with Stories is a great way to establish a strong parasocial interaction with your audience. Stories are, arguably, one of the best ways to do just that. Because the platform allows such candid material, viewers often get the sense that they truly are “in the know” about their favorite creators’ lives. [Continue reading about parasocial interaction by viewing this study or by reading this article by Stephen Elliott

How Should I Design My Instagram Stories? 

Funny you asked that, my friend. This week, I released an IGTV that goes into detail about creating beautiful stories using apps like Canva. You can watch that here

How Should I Strategically Use Instagram Stories? 

Ah, another amazing question that I am so glad you asked! I’ve released a podcast this week all about How to Strategically Use IG Stories to Leverage Engagement. You can listen to that here. 

Don’t forget to leave me suggestions for future topics to cover. I’d love to hear what y’all have to say! And let me know if you implement any of these tactics into your social strategy, too. 

Survey Questions

Okay, okay, don’t think I forgot. My friends, if you’re from the podcast, welcome to the blog! Here are the survey questions I asked over on my Instagram to perform that little focus group we talked about. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should def head over to the podcast so that you are no longer left out. You can totally feel free to use these, or you can create your own version! 

  1. What time do you check Instagram stories? [Quiz poll: In the morning, Throughout the Day, At Night, I Don’t Watch]
  2. Do you view Stories right away when you log on, or do you scroll through some static posts first? 
  3. What kind of content makes you stay on an Instagram story? 
  4. Do you prefer highly produced content or off-the-cuff material? 
  5. Do you listen to your Stories with the sound on or off? 
  6. Who are creators that create story content you really admire? 
  7. What really irks you about others’ Instagram stories? 
  8. What do you really love about others’ Instagram stories? 
  9. Do you usually watch my Instagram Stories? If not, why not? [Honesty Appreciated!] 
  10. What do you wish to see more of on Stories? 

Oh, and, by the way. Here’s my podcast: https://theblogbreakdown.buzzsprout.com

XO,

Jade Nicole

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5 Mistakes New Bloggers Make

3rd November 2019

Hello, hello, friends! This is a blog post I’ve teetered on creating many times, but I always opted to wait until I had more “experience” here in the realms of the blogging world. This is all a learning process, and sharing what I’ve learned, I think, can help new bloggers navigate the somewhat tricky landscape of blogging as well. I never want to come off as dictating what is “right” and “wrong” in terms of blogging — the beauty of this is that you have complete control over your content, your imagery, your story. Whether you use your blog as a personal journal or a resource for others, I think there are some things I’ve learned along the way that may be of value to you, no matter how long you’ve been blogging.

1. Focusing on Vanity Metrics

This is one mistake I certainly made when I first began my blog. I was obsessed with the numbers, and I felt so discouraged if I wasn’t growing. It’s taken me months to realize this, but in all honesty, the numbers are just that — numbers. What’s more important is to commit to building meaningful relationships with the people behind those numbers; what good are a million followers if none of them have an authentic relationship with you? 

And let me let you in on a little secret — brands know that, too. In a time where vanity metrics are so easy to fake [through purchase], it’s more meaningful for brands to take a look at your engagement rate. What is your average engagement rate? Are you creating ‘engaging’ content? 

What Brands Think About the Numbers

I’d be lying if I said that all brands don’t care about your follower count, though. In full disclosure, my brand collaborations really started kicking up after the 5500 mark on Instagram. I’m not sure if it was because of the follower count, but I’d be willing to bet it was a factor. And this makes sense, because if brands are investing in you, they want to ensure they’re maximizing their “marketing budget” and investing in strategic partnerships. However, I 100% think brands look at users engaging with my content and ensure I have authentic relationships with my followers. 

Long story short, don’t focus on vanity metrics. Put time and effort and energy into building authentic connections that are rooted in genuine, intentional relationships — the numbers will follow. 

2. Assuming You Can’t Create Great Content Without a Professional Camera

I talk about this a lot, because it’s a reason [or, excuse, I think] I hear a lot. Others have told me they want to wait to start their blog or content creation until they have a better camera, and in all honesty, you don’t need a professional camera to create beautiful, creative and thoughtful content. Is it nice to have later on? Of course. Will your content probably improve once you get your hands on a camera? Well, maybe. I had a Canon Rebel T6 and shot in auto for a whole year before trying out manual and actually amping up the quality of my photography. 

In my opinion, I think it is 100x more important to focus on creating thoughtful content. I see so often where it feels like a creator has just “shot and posted” without genuine care for the content; this can be anything from taking mirror pics with a really messy background, not finding optimal lighting for a photo (lighting is EVERYTHING), or just bluntly… not putting a lot of thought into it. If you’re seeking collaborations, brands don’t want to work with someone who isn’t obviously putting work into their content creation. Why would they invest in that, you know? 

Think Through Your Blog Content

Start by putting thought into photos. When you’re sitting down to highlight something specific, write out a plan and brainstorm. For example, I have an upcoming content campaign coming out with Honest Beauty. I really wanted something that felt raw, natural and easy, as I think that’s what the brand feels like to me. Therefore, I chose light colored pastels to wear that paired well with the packaging; chose a white background to keep with the “clean” branding; utilized rattan detailing for flatlays to preserve that “natural” feel, etc. etc. This is just an example of how thoughtful you can (and maybe should) be about content creation.

And, if it’s not for a brand, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be thoughtful. Your IG is your portfolio for not only brands, but for prospective readers/viewers. Everything I put out there is very thoughtful, and that’s one thing I take a lot of pride in. I never quite understand when people post subpar content just to post it (messy backgrounds, poor quality lighting, blurred photographs, etc.) because I think quality over quantity is so much better. 

3. Skipping Over Blog Insights and Analytics

I’m a bit of an insights and analytics freak, if I’m being honest. I love Digital Audience Analytics and looking at social media insights to judge how I’m doing — and this is a step I think a lot of bloggers miss. I see some people complaining online that their content isn’t receiving the engagement they think it deserves, and in some cases, that may be true; the algorithm is a bit tricky, and you may have put a lot of time and effort and energy into beautiful content that just isn’t being seen by audience. That’s a totally fair argument; however, that’s not always the case. It’s important to realize that (more often than not) engagement is a direct measurement of how  your audience is receiving your content. 

For example, quote photos just don’t perform as well on my IG as, for example, pictures with me in them. There’s no rhyme or reason; that’s just how it is. When I post a quote or graphic, I just know that it won’t get as much engagement. And so, I use that information to know what performs best; I want to post the photos that people have proven to enjoy in the past during times when I know my engagement is highest, and save the less-engaged-with content for less engaging times. It’s just a strategic way to optimize your time and your content. 

But, aside from using that information to gauge posting times, it’s also helpful just to know what performs best in general. Pictures of me do better than graphics or landscape shots for me, but that may be totally different for you since our audiences are inevitably different. 

Don’t just write it off to the algorithm; it may be an indication that this type of content just isn’t the best for your audience. 

4. Thinking Hashtags Drive Traffic to Your Blog Like They Used To 

This is one thing I’ve really learned in the past few months, as I’ve done more research on hashtags and utilizing them. There was once a time when you could add hashtags to your images and you would be exposed to a large new audience; however, that’s just not the case anymore. The market [Instagram] is so oversaturated that hashtags aren’t working the way they used to, because more people are using them and thus burying your content in with everyone else’s. 

Do I still use hashtags? Yeah. It’s silly not to use them just because they don’t work like they used to because utilizing that feature still drives *some* traffic. However, I don’t waste my real estate in my captions by bogging them down with hashtags. No one likes a lot of hashtags in captions, lol, let’s just be honest. It’s not visually appealing and actually turns viewers away from your content. 

Pro Tip: Bury them in your comments — it works just the same. Also pro tip: use SmartHash for easy hashtag research. 

5. Thinking Communication is Unilateral 

One thing I see a lot is the negligence of new bloggers to get out there and make connections — this is essential for getting people to notice you in the heavily saturated blogging game. I don’t advocate the follow/unfollow technique at all, but you definitely NEED to find like-minded creators and follow/engage with their content. This will help you build a target audience. Most of my followers are other gals who do this type of work as well; I’ve built a community of like-minded creators. So, I take the time to find at least 2-3 accounts to build genuine relationships with per day.

Set aside 30 minutes at the end of your day, or perhaps on your lunch break, to engage with your in-feed contacts. This means people you already follow; maintaining your relationships is essential to maintaining community. Then, commit 10 minutes to engaging with new accounts; commenting or DM’ing new bloggers and creators, connecting with local businesses, following new hashtags, etc. In order for you to grow, you have to initiate relationships. Shouting into the void doesn’t work for blogging; you have to focus on building two-way streets. 

Don’t just wait for people to come and follow you; communication is bilateral (and that’s how it should be). It’s a mistake to just wait for others to come along and discover your blog. Make the first move! 

This Is a Learning Process

Lastly, I should note that this is all a learning process. I’m learning each and every day how to improve my blog and I honestly always will. What are some ‘mistakes’ you think you made in the past on your blog? I’d love to know, because maybe I’m making them now.

XO,

Jade Nicole

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Website Don’ts for Creators

13th October 2019

Alright, y’all, today we’re going to talk all about the web. I realize that this may not be relevant to a good handful of you, but I’ve asked over on IG Stories (hey, do ya follow me?) what content you all liked most. I was so surprised to know that an overwhelming percentage of you are interested in blogging and social media tips! Last week was all about product photography, and this week, we’re turning to our websites. Many bloggers choose not to have a website nowadays — which is totally fine! I honestly think you can get away with having a mini-blog on Instagram or “vlogging” on YouTube rather than having an actual site. However, this post is alllll about how to ensure your website runs as smoothly, efficiently and beautifully as possible. 

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Beginner Photography Equipment

11th October 2019

Hello, friends! Keeping up with the theme of product photography for this week, I thought I’d go over some of my recommended beginner photography tools. I don’t *yet* have an Amazon store (I’m in the approval process rn), so I thought I’d just link ’em up here. These are NOT affiliate links! *cue the cheering* I will admit, I don’t think of myself as a photographer (lol), but I do take photos for my blog and I think there’s a difference. These are just the tools I use, and I think they’re convenient and awesome if you’re beginning blogging, too. 

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