with Sophie Jaffe, Nicole Cogan, Laura Gimbert, and Erin Cutler
Let’s get real — we just entered a super scary moment to be a content creator. Small businesses are hurting. Influencer campaigns are getting postponed and cancelled. Deciding to post or not to post on social media or on our websites is a constant battle. When we find ourselves in the dark, or more importantly, when our #BlogHer community finds themselves with questions — we’re lucky we can consult women we trust.
Erin Cutler, Founder & CEO of Neon Rose Agency — an company that specializes in influencer and brand management, pooled together her top go-getting babes — Sophie Jaffe of Philosophie, Nicole Cogan of NoBread.com, and Laura Gimbert of Boss Mom Life, to bring some positive, educational advice to our community during this strange time. If you missed their Instagram Live, don’t worry! You can still catch their answers to to all your burning questions below. From strategies to growing your social following, from implementable marketing to business advice, these ladies covered it all.
How did you build your Instagram following?
SJ: Slowly over the last 6+ years. While I have a strong following now, it took a long time to get to this point and was a slow process. Lots of trial and error with different content and different ways of showing up on this platform. Early on, I built connections with brands and influencers that help me grow and it’s rewarding that I’m now in a place where I can enter a place of mentorship. I’m consistent with my posts and check in on my community every morning and evening – my community is able to expect posts from me on a regular basis.
I’m continuously checking in on my feed, running statistics, engaging with other accounts that inspire me, and show up with vulnerability. I offer TONS of free content and use Instagram as a place I can be myself and a space for others to feel the same.
What social media/blogging strategies have worked for you in the last year?
SJ: Real and authentic content! I share a lot of what’s happening right now in my life.
What is your publishing frequency on your blog and social medias?
SJ: Daily for social and 1-2x a week on the blog.
What social strategies do you recommend influencers adhere to right now?
LG: I would definitely encourage everyone to create helpful and motivational content for this particular time. Know your audience, and help them get through this time with specific tools and tips. I also think that we influencers need to be raw and honest, now more than ever, to be able to relate and show our audience that we are all going through this together. Show our struggles and how we personally overcome them. Show that we also have bad days, lazy days, unmotivated days, chaotic days, and are in lounge wear all day, a majority of the time too. That it is not ALL perfect and productive. The more real we are, the more we will be able to engage and grow.
If Instagram went away tomorrow, how would you proceed?
SJ: Business as usual! I would focus more on my superfood company, Philosophie, create more courses, and help moms and entrepreneurs in different ways. I would integrate more into my life with my children and share my life in other ways with my community. In a lot of ways the pressure would be taken off but I would just get creative on how to share aspects of my life and help support brands and others’ success!
NC: I think we’re all experiencing that to a certain degree right now! A lot of my brand partnerships are now on hold or canceled, and I’m relying on different revenue streams. My passion is writing, which is something I don’t discuss on my social media accounts, so I would shift more attention to my writing. I would also explore other platforms and put more of my attention there. I have a strong and engaged community, and I trust they would follow my journey on a different platform, too.
Erin, do you have any words of wisdom for anyone looking to bust into the influencer game?
EC: Just do what you’re passionate about and do it well! Don’t worry what every other influencer is doing, you just need to continue to put out quality and valuable content that stays true to your purpose of becoming an influencer in the first place.
Blogging & Marketing
What are some educational and implementable tips you can share with others when creating blog posts?
SJ: Use SEO — especially in your titles! Keep your audience in mind while writing and write something they’d want to read and not so much what you want to write. Ask the question, “what problem am I solving?” Create easy, digestible material and content they can keep returning to over and over again.
What are three things you make sure you always do before publishing a post for SEO benefits?
SJ: Use keywords in title and search preview. Pay attention to length (not as short as a social post and not as long as a full feature article (300+). And it doesn’t hurt to put alt text in your images!
What’s your email strategy?
SJ: Don’t “spam” your community! I send out a weekly email and an occasional monthly email and that’s about it! All of my emails are directly from my heart and what I authentically want to share. It’s all about what I can give to my community.
NC: I love my newsletter! It drives traffic to my blog and social media, and it feels more personal. I use MailChimp.
How do you turn your casual followers/readers in to loyalists?
SJ: I’m loyal to my community and in turn, they’re loyal to me. I post consistently in the morning and evening every day and share everything — the good, bad and ugly. My page is a safe space for people to follow where I share my everyday moments and my community comes to feel this too.
Business & Brand Building
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?
SJ: The best advice I’ve been told is that it’s important to know what else is happening in your market and to stay on top of trends, but more importantly, to know when to shut out what everyone else is doing and stay aligned with what you value.
NC: When Instagram changed their algorithm and limited our reach, I was so frustrated that my numbers weren’t as high as they used to be and I wasn’t able to connect with all of my followers. I was talking to my therapist and he gave me the best advice I have ever received. He reminded me the purpose of my platform is to change lives, and he told me to do it for the ONE person who sees it. So what if I don’t reach my maximum number of followers, do it for the ONE person who sees it and whose life you change. Ever since then, I have ignored my numbers.
How has your business evolved?
SJ: My business has evolved as our community has evolved. My superfood company is going through some transitions right now that feels so much more aligned in how we can support this community and be there for them more, especially during this time.
Sophie, how is Philosophie adapting to life with COVID-19? Are you pivoting your business model in any way?
SJ: Not much has changed but we have seen a huge demand for what we offer — non-perishable, superfood blends. This has been even more of an opportunity for Philosophie to shine as what we offer and how incredible these superfood blends are. Blends that support the body and nourish you from the inside out so you feel most vibrantly beautiful and abundant self! We are placing more of a focus on our goods that are especially immune-boosting like our Berry Bliss line which includes camu camu, one of the most abundant forms of vitamin C and our Liquid Sunshine which helps detoxifies the body and boosts immunity.
What challenges do you see your business facing in the next few months? How are you shifting your strategies?
SJ: We’re doing all we can to keep business in production, keep our products in stock and maintain customer support! Business hasn’t changed much for us and we don’t expect any major challenges to come up that we can’t work through.
When you think of your career, is there a woman who stands out as someone who was instrumental in getting you where you are today? How are you paying it forward and helping other women who are coming up behind you?
SJ: My superfood business, Philosophie is primarily run by women and my manager is a woman and runs her own female-run company. I am inspired, motivated and supported by women. Another girl’s win is my win and her success is mine too. We rise by lifting each other up.
What’s the best way to build a brand that stands out from the rest?
LG: Hands down, be you. Looking at what others are doing for inspiration and to improve your own skills is key, but ultimately you have to be real to who you are and that can only come from within. Create content that you are truly passionate and knowledgeable about and a style that comes organically to you. You will stand out by being your unique real self, not by copying some else.
Erin, what led you to found Neon Rose?
EC: I saw a hole in the industry where health & wellness creators didn’t have an agency they could be represented by that really knew and understood the wellness space. Thus, Neon Rose was born and focused only on representing talent with a mindful focus in the wellness industry.
What’s been your greatest obstacle on your business journey? How have you overcome it?
EC: Owning a business is hard work but is so rewarding! I had to learn to delegate and trust the process. Expanding your team is a wonderful thing, you just have to be sure to align everyone’s role with their strengths.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your career journey?
SJ: There have been so many beautiful moments that have come from this journey it’s hard to choose! Over the years, I’ve shared some really brutal, honest, and heartbreaking parts of my life and it’s been so incredible to see how I’ve helped people through it and offered a space where they don’t feel alone. In sharing really challenging moments of my life I’ve been able to support other people from all over the world and all walks of life in moving through their own challenges.
NC: The most rewarding part of my journey has been meeting the people in my community and hearing that I have had an impact on their lives. That is why I do what I do, to change people’s lives. Whether it’s through something as simple as creating a recipe or providing a wellness tip that allows someone to have a little bit more ease in their day, nothing makes me happier!
How are you staying productive and sane while social-distancing?
SJ: Removing ALL pressure to feel accomplished or successful during this time has given the space to show up to my work from a genuine place.
NC: Staying productive is hard! Let’s start with sanity. I’m keeping my sanity by FaceTiming with people I LOVE and who make me feel my best. I’m also taking walks as often as I can so I can get some fresh air.
Now for productivity. It’s rare to have all the time in the world to complete the things I’ve always wanted to complete. But given the anxiety and uncertainty of these times, I’m finding it so hard to pay attention and focus. I’ve decided to allow myself to go through this emotional roller coaster and not force working or creating. Prioritizing mental sanity and self love and care is my priority right now.
LG: Having daily to-do lists, weekly goals and projects, as well as a set schedule. I have a daughter and work to keep up with daily, so having a structure to my days helps me get things done. I block time by activities, and rotate with my husband to spend time between the office and with her, so we can both focus on one thing at a time, and even if we get little hours of office per day, we are very work-productive during those. Having the to-do lists, helps me get straight to business and not waste my limited time. And the weekly goals and projects to do around the house give us a passion and purpose to keep productive and feel more accomplished. I also think that since we are cutting out socializing and pampering (gym, chiropractor, facials, nails…), we also have to include home self-care, fitness and virtual socializing in our to-do lists, in order to make those a priority as well, and be able to keep our sanity!
Sophie, how can followers boost their immunities from home?
Keep up with your regular workout routine. Walking, jogging, or doing any exercise will increase immune function and make you feel happier. I’m hosting LIVE online movement classes — join me! https://masters.livekick.com/sophiejaffe
A spoonful of raw superfood honey a day keeps the flu away! The moment you feel a scratchy throat, try Philosophie Green Bee Honey or Berry Bee Honey (loaded with extra vitamin C) to lubricate the throat and boost your immune system with superfoods and adaptogens to heal you quickly.
Sleep, rest, repeat. Aiming to get a good seven to eight hours of sleep every night is deeply healing to your body and fuels your body for the day ahead.
Drink your chlorophyll water! Chlorophyll helps to eliminate harmful bacteria from the body, hydrates + heals the skin and boosts your energy.
Get outside. Being in nature can be calming and nurturing to your soul, spirit and body.
How do you recommend talking to children about COVID-19?
SJ: My advice for other parents out there is to stay positive! If your kiddos are really little then they’re so in the moment that they don’t even see all that’s going on and it can be so rewarding to get swept up in their world with them, even if just for a little while. For your older kids that notice a difference, stay empathetic about all that has changed for them and offer support. Hold space for them, move through emotions with them and embrace joyful, positive memories together.
There’s no reason for your kiddos to be exposed to the media at this time. We don’t keep it on at all in the house. If they ask questions, don’t approach it like you’re the expert and instead explain what doctors are advising and other professionals.
We’ve shifted our perspective as a household and are choosing to focus on the moments together we’re creating and the more time we’re able to spend together creating obstacle courses in our backyard, watching movies, making new superfood recipes together, and blasting good music for dance parties in our living room.
Nicole, you’ve been in the health & wellness game for quite a while now. How do you stay on top of trends in the industry while creating unique content?
NC: One of my favorite things to do is predict future trends! I’m a major nerd, so I’m always reading up on new wellness practices and trying them out before they become mainstream so I can be a resource for people to turn to with their questions. I then come up with a strategy for the best way to convey the mission and the purpose of the product/trend.
How do you recommend staying on top of your fitness goals without a gym?
NC: Walk, walk, walk, and move, move, move. Thankfully those are my top fitness recommendations even when I have a gym or fitness class to go to! Movement does so much for our bodies, and even more for our minds. There are so many amazing virtual workouts now, too. It can be hard to stay motivated during a virtual class with no one holding you accountable, so I recommend taking the class with a friend. Have each other on FaceTime while you take the class, so you can motivate each other!
What’s your day-to-day self-quarantine routine? What do you recommend our community include in theirs?
NC: Each day is different, but for the most part: wake up by 8am and start your day by MOVING. Whether it’s going for a walk or doing a yoga flow, at home workout, or pilates. Shower, have breakfast, check your emails, fix up whatever needs fixing in the house. Write out what work should be done in the day, and slot them into that calendar, breaking out times for meals. I schedule a few phone FaceTime calls and put them in my calendar… 10am-10:30am: X. 1pm-1:30pm: Y. Reading a book? Quantify how many pages or chapters you would like to accomplish and add it to the cal. SET GOALS. After dinner…. chill! Watch a show, movie, take a bath, skincare routine. Whatever your best form of self-care is so you can sleep well at night! Use this time to take care of YOU.