May 24, 2018
Unity meets…Em Sheldon
In the second installment of ‘Unity meets…’ we caught up with 24-year-old Em Sheldon over lunch at Burger & Lobster discussing how she likes to work with brands, what her favourite brand to work with would be and how she grew her blog and Instagram following. With 85,000 followers on Instagram and 36,000 on Twitter, Em Sheldon is an influencer to watch…
1. For those who don’t know, what kind of topics are you creating content around?
I blog full-time about fashion, beauty, travel, fitness and lifestyle as well as incorporating some personal topics. I make weekly vlogs on my YouTube channel called ‘Em Weeklies’ which go out on my channel every Friday and Sunday. I’m really into fitness and I love getting dressed up and using nice products. A bit of everything really.
2. How did you become an influential blogger?
When I was applying for courses at University I contacted the English admissions tutor at Leeds University and asked how I could get onto the course, how I could make myself stand out from the rest and he told me best thing you can do is start a blog. So that’s what I did! Without expecting anyone to read it I found that 10 months later I’d won Cosmopolitan’s best newcomer award. Since then the blog has received more accolades. It’s incredible that this blog I created to get into University has become my full-time job.
3. What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently an ambassador for Topshop, which I find incredible because they’ve always been such an enormous British institution. I love them because they make attainable products whilst still offering premium items. Plus they are seen on fashion week; so, I think they are the perfect high street brand.
I’m also working on some really cool stuff with Neutrogena, which will be coming out later this year.
4. Did you set out to create a personal brand, or influence around your work – or was it more organic growth?
Absolutely not, it just naturally happened and I’m so glad it did because nowadays you have bloggers selling business plans and bloggers telling people how to become bloggers, which is fine but every day I get e-mails from people asking me how they can make money from becoming a blogger. That’s the worst way to start a blog.
I started a blog because I had a passion for writing and I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I didn’t know you could make money from it when I first started out and I think sadly that some people just see it as a financial tool, unaware of how much hard work and passion needs investing to be successful.
5. When did you first notice your social channels start to get traction?
I only graduated about a year and a half ago – I’ve been so busy studying that it’s only been during the last year that I’ve really pushed it as a full-time job and that’s when I’ve seen the biggest growth.
6. What’s changed in the way you use social media since you started?
I now consider Twitter as a CV and although I am always going to be honest, because I’m a real person and my followers appreciate that, I won’t be swearing or drunk tweeting anymore because it portrays me in a negative light is not a good example to set.
7. What was the first brand you worked with?
The first brand I worked with was Xen-Tan; the partnership was on a gifting basis, I still love them to this day, having used their products for years.
The first paid campaign I did was with Nivea and it was all about baking a cake, breaking out into a sweat and seeing if their new deodorant protected me, which was really cool actually.
8. How do you like to work with brands?
It varies from brand to brand. I think the first question the company should be asking is do you use / like the product? Having a mood board and a clear picture of what an ideal post will look like also helps.
For example, I’m never going to hold a product to my face, that just wouldn’t go down well with my followers. If I think a product is great then I may already be talking about it so when I do an #ad, my followers are like ‘Of course, because she naturally loves the product!’.
9. Do you prefer to be given a brief or to create first?
I think an influencer needs to get their head around the key messages, so both parties are on the same wave length, but there must also be room to make adjustments. It’s all about being able to make those tiny tweaks to ensure the product seems organic.
A lot of brands come to me and say that ‘this is a collaboration’ when the process is very one-way. Agencies should try to find out what has already been successful on the influencer’s channel as this will give a strong indication as to what will work best in future.
10. Who would be your dream brand to work with?
I’m frequently asked this, I feel so fortunate because I would have said ASOS, Nike and Topshop but luckily, I have been able to work with those brands already.
I’d like to work with Virgin holidays and create some content with them. For fashion obviously a designer brand like Gucci would be a dream, but my platforms are more of a mix of audiences with a mix of incomes so I would bear them in mind.
11. And what makes you happy and motivated to work with brands?
This is an easy one, I’m motivated to work with brands when they’re understanding. So, when I say to them ‘sorry I can’t post on Monday because I already have sponsored content going out on that day’ they understand that I am giving each campaign my full attention. Sometimes e-mails from brands can come across quite blunt. We are all busy people, I’d much rather spend 5 minutes on the phone to figure out the way forward and it’s sorted.
Bloggers are humans too, so just treat each other respectfully and we can create some incredible content.