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  Influencer Spotlight

For the latest interviews, advice, & spotlight features with YouTubers, Instagrammers, bloggers, & top social media influencers, check out our weekly series below.

Top YouTuber Spotlight: Austin Evans

Top YouTuber Spotlight Austin EvansTop YouTuber Austin Evans

In the world of YouTube gaming and technology reviews, few names rank higher with community affinity and influence than self-professed geek, Austin Evans. Though he's been "in the game" for the better part of YouTube's entire history, Austin is quick to advise aspiring YouTubers to "be persistent," recounting the 3 years it took him to get "a handle on what makes a good video and another two years before [he] could actually deliver the content." Along the way, Austin has built a vibrant tech community and highly engaged follower base -- one that pitched in and helped him get back on his feet with a new MacBook Pro when he lost everything due to a house fire in 2014.

Now arguably one of the biggest and most respected names in tech, Austin began his YouTube journey six years ago in 2009. In the years to come, Austin, who's work has been prominently featured by Mashable and is frequently a topic of favorable discussion on reddit, ascribes his massive success to constinual learning-based growth. Earlier this year, Austin was part of tech media network The Verge's CES 2015 roundtable with other top YouTuber friends, Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) and Jonathan Morrison (TLDToday).

Check out Austin's exclusive Mediakix interview feature as he details his humble beginnings to working alongside global brands like Castrol and VIZIO, shares how the YouTube vlogging world has significantly changed, and the kinds of epic projects Austin only imagined working on when starting out.

Mediakix: How did you get started making YouTube videos?

Austin Evans: In 2009 I was just getting into doing written reviews of the first batch of iPhone and iPod touch apps, a friend was starting to make video app reviews and he suggested I give it a try. I made one video on YouTube and never looked back.

What was your first video?

It was Application Review 1. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I didn’t even own a camera at the time. I took screenshots on my iPod and recorded a voiceover using the microphone from the game Rock Band on the PlayStation. A few people liked the video though and that was all the motivation I needed to keep going.

What was your breakout moment?

You know I don’t think I ever had one big moment where everything just clicked. It’s really been a steady ride the last six years, lots of consistent learning and growth.

Has anything you’ve posted gone viral?

My first big ‘hit’ was a speed test between the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3. Mashable picked it up and it got 100,000 views the first day which was huge for me. Funnily enough two years later an updated version of that video with the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5 also blew up with nearly 5 million views so far.

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in blog, Influencer Spotlight, Online Video Marketing, Social Media Influencers, YouTube Influencers

How YouTube Influencers Go Viral: Beauty Blogger Creates My Pale Skin Video

YouTuber Em Ford Makes Viral YouTube Video "You Look Disgusting"

YouTube beauty star Em Ford, of My Pale Skin Blog, is no stranger to the glaring world of beauty & fashion. A former model, Em is now working full-time at a creative agency pursuing her passion for storytelling and filmmaking. She has since developed her own beauty channel on YouTube -- her adjoining blog celebrated it's one year mark in January 2015. Em’s cheeky and straightforward video tutorials have attracted a sizeable following of 200K+ subscribers and 15M total video views.

Recently there has been an uptick in body acceptance movements, where models and YouTube influencers with seemingly unattainable standards of beauty speak out regarding body shaming, often revealing themselves "sans fards." While the response has been overwhelmingly positive, the polarity of social media comments is startling.

Em recently garnered attention with her YouTube video campaign #YouLookDisgusting. This blisteringly candid behind-the-scenes reveals the internet’s response to her video where she reveals herself with and without makeup. Her message is clear: “One challenge many face today, is that as a society, we’re so used to seeing false images of perfection, and comparing ourselves to unrealistic beauty standards that it can be hard to remember the most important thing: you are beautiful.”

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in blog, Bloggers, Fashion Influencers, Influencer Spotlight, Online Video Marketing, Social Media Influencers, YouTube Influencers

YouTuber Bethany Mota Delivers Empowering Message At BeautyCon LA 2015

BeautyCon LA 2015 Bethany Mota

BeautyCon LA 2015 Spotlight Q&A: Bethany Mota With Cosmopolitan.com Editor, Amy Odell

On July 11, 2015, BeautyCon LA 2015 brought together over 80 top beauty and fashion brands, 140 digital influencers, and thousands of their most coveted fans at The Reef, an indoor and outdoor "creative habitat” in downtown Los Angeles. At the heart of BeautyCon LA 2015, YouTube superstar Bethany Mota delivers an oftentimes emotional Q&A that sheds invaluable insight for other content creators, highlights her multi-faceted YouTube success, and ultimately showcases the positive and far-reaching ramifications of the vlogging industry. Amy Odell, editor of Cosmopolitan.com (a major BeautyCon LA 2015 partner), moderated Bethany's Q&A.

Established in 2011, BeautyCon not only comprised of global industry summits filled with YouTuber panels, Q&A’s, live performances, and meet-ups, but following a successful $2M round of seed funding, has become a “formidable consumer-facing media platform for young women and their YouTube heroes” (via Fast Company). Bethany Mota, nominated by Cosmopolitan as "Internet's Most Fascinating," is a key investor in BeautyCon. This year's BeautyCon LA 2015 panel topics included "The Evolution of Fashion & Beauty" (presented by sponsor Barbie), "The Business of Beauty Inside + Out," and "Becoming a Digital Media Sensation," in addition to makeup demos, #GirlProbs, and a timely "Being True to You LGBTQ+."

Bethany's Q&A elicited all the fan fervor and animated reactions in line with a teen social media star sporting over 9M YouTube subscribers. Like BeautyCon and much of it's surrounding industry, Bethany's success is predicated on empowering the viewer. As she eloquently articulates during one of the Q&A's more poignant moments,

"Do what genuinely feels right for you. We are the next generation. We need to be brave enough to make that change. Please remember how much you have to offer the world."

Bethany Mota at BeautyCon LA 2015

Here are Bethany Mota's BeautyCon LA 2015 keynote points:

On her humble beginnings: Bethany expressed difficulty in believing her channel would ever reach 1,000 subscribers. Instead, she recalls her desire to simply make good content for her audience where "we can all relate and connect no matter where in the world."

On being a "YouTuber:" In the early part of her YouTube career, Bethany relates how she couldn't explain the nature of what she was doing to family and friends, but took comfort in the fact that "only fans got it."

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in blog, Fashion Influencers, Influencer Spotlight, Social Media Influencers, YouTube Influencers

Blogger Spotlight: Emily Malone of Daily Garnish Blog

Blogger Emily Malone of Daily Garnish Blog

Blogger Emily Malone of Daily Garnish

Emily Malone began her blogging journey when she applied and was selected to blog about running for her local newspaper. Since then the culinary school graduate has blogged extensively about her entire culinary school experience, planning for a wedding, recipe development, parenting, and much more.

In her blogger spotlight feature, Emily shares how blogging is now a viable business and how it has rapidly emerged as "a platform for businesses to connect with an audience through a writer they trust." With the proper brand-blogger alignment in mind, Daily Garnish provides businesses like Blue Apron and NatureBox (close to 1,000 community feedback on her review and giveaway post) with high-reach, targeted, and engaged audience platform.

Check out her complete blogger interview to learn how the blogging industry has changed, what Emily wishes she had more time for, and her timely advice to both bloggers and businesses looking to partner together.

How did you get started blogging?

I had just decided to train for my first marathon, and our local newspaper was looking for bloggers to write about their running and training. I applied on a whim along with my best friend, and they chose us! It was a fantastic experience, and it was so fun to share my story with my local community.

What was your first blog post?

I think it was just introducing myself to the newspaper audience, and sharing my running journey to date. Once I finished up my stint as a marathon blogger, I started my own blog because I enjoyed writing and engaging with my audience so much. From there it grew from wedding planning, to general twenty-something musings, to culinary school, to recipe development, to family planning, to parenting -- and now it’s some sort of crazy hybrid of all of that. Except for the twenty-something part...

What was your breakout moment?

I gained a lot of readers when I was in culinary school because I don’t think many people had been given such an inside look at that experience before. I also had big boosts in my audience when I was featured in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine as a “blog to watch for” and during the Project Foodblog competition through Foodbuzz.

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in blog, Bloggers, Influencer Spotlight

Blogger Spotlight: Thistlewood Farm by KariAnne Wood

Thistlewood Farm Blogger KariAnne Wood

Home and Design Blogger KariAnne Wood of Thistlewood Farm

Ready for a much-needed change from an increasingly busy city life, KariAnne and her family relocated to a countryside farmhouse. Her home and design blog, Thistlewood Farms, documents the beautiful renovation (complete with a well photographed house tour) of their newfound home alongside many associated DIY and house projects. KariAnne's engaging blog offers many novel and crafty tips for homeowners seeking to add a touch of fresh country to their own decor (check out 5 Simple 10-Minute Organizing Ideas), a wealth of elegantly photographed home projects (like her IKEA Bathroom Shelf Hack and Painted Porch Swing), and scrumptious dessert recipes.

In addition to running her high-reach blog, KariAnne consults on the business of blogging and home design. As a 2014 recipient of Home and Gardens Top 10 Decorating Blogger Award and an expert on bHome's app, Thistlewood Farms blog occupies a coveted niche vertical for home improvement, living, and decor brands looking to provide both products and services to a targeted, consumer audience base. Read her entertaining blogger spotlight feature to learn about her viral Burlap Curtain Project, top list of daily reads, and how to create a winning sponsored blog post campaign:

How did you get started blogging?

I couldn't resist!

We had just moved from the city to the country and bought an old farmhouse and renovated it from top to bottom. And I wanted to shout it out to the world. It just took a little time for everyone to listen!

Thistwood Farms Blog Karianne Wood

 

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in blog, Bloggers, Influencer Spotlight

Blogger Spotlight: Fannetastic Food

Lifestyle Blogger fANNEtastic food Anne Mauney

Anne Mauney of Fannetastic Food Blog Chronicles Her Blogger Journey

Amidst her travels abroad and graduate dietetic studies, Anne Mauney started her current blog, fANNEtastic food. Anne, who holds both a Masters in Public Health and is a registered dietician in Washington DC, writes authoritatively on food recipes and fitness, while also blogging on her latest travel adventures, race recaps, and weekend outings. A quick look at both her blog and our spotlight feature reveals how there's much more to blogging than what meets the eye.

When it comes to blog sponsorships, Anne advises brands to look far beyond surface-level metrics, and instead cultivate a profitable blogger relationship by evaluating a blogger's audience engagement level and precise content alignment between the blog and sponsoring brand. For sponsored blog content, Anne deftly integrates her exercise and nutrition acumen into working with brands like Blue Apron and Bombas Socks. For the aspiring blogger, Anne also shares her tips on food photography and how the art of blogging needs to arise first from an inherent fervor.

Read below as Anne shares a wealth of truly "fannetastic" blog sponsorship tips for brands, blog strategy insights, and her personal take on social media as a leading lifestyle blogger:

How did you get started blogging?

I first started blogging in October of 2009. I had just returned from teaching English in Prague, where I had a travel blog, and I wanted to stay involved in the blogging community, but incorporate my passion for food and fitness. I was just starting my prerequisites and applying to go back to grad school to become a Registered Dietitian, so I decided to start fANNEtastic food as a way to share my journey back to school and to inspire readers to live healthier, more active lives. I started mostly sharing healthy recipes and quick meal ideas, but as I got more into fitness (and running in particular), I started sharing a lot more exercise-related training updates and adventures, too. My blog also incorporates a lot of travel recaps now - it's been fun to have the blog evolve as I have! 

What was your first blog post?

My very first blog post was kind of random - it was fall, so I wrote about a cool tea mug that I'd found recently and was loving, along with some random life updates. Here it is if you'd like to see it in all its randomness: I Love Me Some Fall! I remember debating forever about starting a new blog, and finally decided to just go for it, even if I didn't have a super fancy recipe or anything to share for the first post. Sometimes I think you just have to dive in - if you wait until everything is perfectly set up/ready, you'll never start. That advice applies to life in general, in fact.

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in blog, Bloggers, Influencer Spotlight, Social Media Influencers

YouTuber Spotlight: Casey Neistat, Filmmaker

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 9.42.15 AM

 

Casey Neistat Chronicles Daily Antics As YouTuber Celebrity Filmmaker

Maybe you’ve seen Casey Neistat on one of his daily YouTube vlogs. Maybe you’ve heard of him through his recent antics with Vogue. Or Nike. Or Apple, defacing one of their iPod ads in Manhattan. Perhaps he’s one of the Snapchat celebrities you follow. Wherever you come across the enigmatic Neistat, you can rest assured his content will always be highly entertaining, perhaps a bit provocative, and carefully (albeit subtly) crafted to elicit viewer response.

A look into Casey’s varied content matter, yields two delineating traits: he’s got a daredevil streak. But he’s also got a love for humanity. He’s the daredevil humanitarian. Brands who work with Neistat can count on him to provide unabashed commentary juxtaposed with well-paced cinematography, and a refreshing onscreen offbeat personality.

Although Casey’s career exploits began well before 2012, Nike’s “Make It Count” campaign featuring Neistat rapidly slingshot the filmmaker’s notoriety into even greater international renown. Yes, Nike provided the global audience. But it was Casey’s gut intuition about the entire campaign direction that yielded a truly viral internet short. Whatever design Nike had for Neistat, he scraped in favor of a 10-day impromptu globe trot with his friend, Max.

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in blog, Branded Content With Influencers, Influencer Spotlight, Instagram Influencers, Snapchat Influencers, Social Media Influencers, YouTube Influencers

Blogger Spotlight: Hungry Runner Girl

Janae Jacobs started her blogging journey five years ago while recovering from a running injury. Being an avid blog reader herself, she yearned to try her hand at something new and today her blog, Hungry Runner Girl, is one of the top lifestyle blogs in the space for running, fitness, food, and family. 
In our exclusive top Lifestyle Blogger Series, Janae shares her first blog post experience (she likens it to an awkward first date scenario), how openly sharing her major life events have greatly shaped her blog, and offers veteran advice to brands on how to work with top lifestyle bloggers for everyone’s best interest. 
In the hunt for a sub-3 marathon (she ran her first one, the Salt Lake Marathon in 2010), Janae posts frequently about her race gear, how she fuels up, eats well, and balances life with her “HRG Baby.” Her sponsored content posts for Blue Apron, Bombas, NatureBox, and other top brands have delivered consistent results and been an integral part of each brand’s integrated marketing strategy.
Top Lifestyle Blogger Hungry Runner Girl

Top Lifestyle Blogger - Janae Jacobs | Hungry Runner Girl

How did you get started blogging?

I started blogging about 5 years ago. I was taking a break from running due to injury and had some free time to invest into something new. I had read blogs for years and decided that I wanted to start my own so that I could track my nutrition and training. When I first started, I thought that just my mom, friends and a few random people would read it. I had no idea that it would turn into a full-time job eventually. I am one of those lucky people that was able to turn their passion into a job!

What was your first blog post?

My first blog post was titled "Awkward." It was one paragraph long and it included one picture. I told a random story about taking an ice bath after a run and then compared my first post to a first date. I didn’t want my first post to feel forced or awkward (like a first date does) and instead I just wanted to be my usual random self and let my readers get to know me over time!

You can find my first post here.

What was your breakout moment?

Anytime I have had a major life change my blog has grown. Whether it be my femoral stress fractures that I got just a few weeks before my goal race, pregnancy, the birth of my little girl, or my divorce. I notice that my blog grows with each of these events. The more open I was in those first beginning months of blogging, the more readers came, and my page views continued to grow.

Top Lifestyle Blogger Hungry Runner Girl HRG Baby

Top Lifestyle Blogger Hungry Runner Girl with "HRG Baby," Brooke.

Has anything you’ve written gone "viral?"

I can’t think of anything specific, but my personal posts seem to get the most attention. I wrote a post about women losing their periods due to working out too much and under eating. I shared my personal experience with that problem and that received a lot of attention. Posts where I talk about the feelings associated with my divorce and being a single mom tend to get shared the most.

How has blogging changed since you got started?

There is a lot more negativity out there than there used to be, but as the negativity has risen my skin has also thickened:)

Another change that I have noticed is that companies are also seeing more and more how beneficial it is to work with bloggers. Each blog has such a specific audience which is great for different companies trying to get their product seen by their target group!  

Where do you see blogging evolving?

I see there being a lot more video posts. I see less writing and more pictures. I think our world is becoming busier and busier and people don’t feel like they have time to read longer articles and so they opt for the short posts full of visuals.

What’s on your list of daily reads?

My favorite blogs include Carrots & Cake, Healthy Tipping Point, Peanut Butter Fingers, Meals and Miles, Run Eat Repeat, Daily Garnish, Fannetastic Food, NYC Running Mama, and Preppy Runner.

How do you keep up with social media?

I set specific work hours each day. I stick to those work hours like glue and a big part of that time is set aside for keeping up with social media. I consider it a part of my job, and make sure to try my best to keep up with it all!

If you had more time, what would you do more of?

This is a fun question:)  I would read, bake, cook, cycle, sleep, and spend more time writing my book. Now can somebody go ahead and add a few more hours to each day?!

What advice would you give to a blogger just getting started?

Be yourself! Blog about what you are passionate about! Your passion will come through your writing, and both you and your audience will be more excited about what you are writing about.

What advice would you have to brands looking to build a campaign or partner with bloggers?

Be open to new ideas!! Each blogger is so different, and they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Work together to find the perfect fit for your product and their social media resources. For example, some bloggers have a strong Instagram presence, some do not and they are stronger on Facebook or Twitter. Some blogs do really well with giveaways, and some are better with product reviews. Come together to find a plan that works best for everyone involved.

in blog, Bloggers, Influencer Marketing, Influencer Spotlight, Social Media Influencers

Blogger Spotlight: Julie Fagan of Peanut Butter Fingers

pb fingers influencer marketing spotlight photo

Top Lifestyle Blogger Julie Fagan Shares Her Peanut Butter Fingers Blog Journey

Julie Fagan readily admits she did not expect her blog, Peanut Butter Fingers, to reach as large of an audience as it now does. Peanut Butter Fingers now ranks as one of the largest and most influential health, fitness, and lifestyle personal blogs in the space.

Instead of creating perfectly poised, polished, and styled photo shoots, a current trend and common philosophy shared by most lifestyle bloggers, Julie's authentic content focuses more on sharing her experiences in a genuine, conversational matter. Her traditional approach to blogging, and her consistent, relatable content is likely the reason why Peanut Butter Fingers excels as a top destination for readers, and has transitioned into a full-time source of income for Julie.

Not only do brands love working with Julie's congenial personality, but also her style of sponsored posts, such as this giveaway with custom furniture site Interior Define, and this meal prep giveaway with Blue Apron, both of which perform exceptionally well with her audience.

In our exclusive Influencer Spotlight Series, Julie dishes about her most-read blog posts, how she stays up to speed in the fast-evolving digital influencer and social media world, and where she sees the future of blogging and influencer marketing sponsorships:

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in blog, Bloggers, Branded Content With Influencers, Influencer Spotlight, Social Media Influencers

YouTube Influencer Spotlight: The LaVigneLife

TheLaVigneLife Title Card

For the latest news and trends on top YouTubers, Instagrammers, bloggers, & Snapchatters, subscribe to our industry digest newsletter!

YouTube Influencer Spotlight Feature: The LaVigne Life

Jerry and Dee, the couple behind growing family YouTube channel, TheLaVigneLife, document their family's daily adventures, focusing on their two kids, Jerry III and Jordan. With fun, engaging content and great personalities, their YouTube channel is making its way up the ranks as one of the top family and lifestyle channels in the space. They artfully integrate branded sponsorships such as one for Blue Apron and another for Audible into their daily vlog videos, proving to be a valuable YouTube influencer and a must-watch for audiences. Read about why they started vlogging, what they filmed that went viral, and how they forsee the future of YouTube.

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in blog, Influencer Spotlight, Social Media Influencers, YouTube Influencers

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