Thursday, 20 September 2018

Book Review | Influencer by Brittany Hennessy

Review by Iola Goulton @iolagoulton

Just to prove I occasionally read non-fiction ...

If the teen in your life (or even you) dreams of being the next big YouTube or Instagram sensation, then you need this book. It takes readers through the nitty-gritty of what it takes to be an influencer, and the basics of how to run your own influencer business.

And influencing is a business. 

Influencing isn't just taking a pretty photo and posting it on Instagram. It's also learning skills like design, photography, writing, social media, websites, modelling, and public speaking (because many of the successful influencers. The bigger influencers are mostly posting pictures of themselves, so it's also hiring the photographer to take those shots, and perhaps even the makeup artist and hairdresser so you look like Wow! not woah.

The focus of Influencer was on fashion, lifestyle, and travel influencers—the glamour end of the game. But many of the principles still hold true for us smaller-scale book bloggers. For example:
  • Blog on WordPress.
  • Be on social media, if only so people can tag or mention you.
  • Secure your username on every platform so no one can steal it.
  • Be honest.
  • Have a balance between organic content and advertisements.
  • Ask a question to build engagement (yes, I'm still working on this one).
  • Plan and prepare your content in advance.

(If you've followed me for any length of time, you'll know I've been recommending all these things to writers since forever.)

Hennessy also says:

If you are in this business for the right reasons, creating create content, and engaging with your audience, the followers will come. This isn't a sprint; it's a marathon. Never forget that.

(Also remember that sprinters spend just as many hours a day training as marathon runners!).

The one weakness of Influencer was the chapter on building an audience—how to get people to follow you and engage. She makes some good points (don't buy followers. Or Likes. Ever. Use hashtags. Follow hashtags.) But the chapter is light on detail.

Key learning points:

  • It takes time. The interviewed influencers worked on their blogs and Instagram profiles for two to six years before starting to make money.
  • It takes a lot of time. Even when you've "made it", this is a full-time job because you're a business owner.
  • It takes skill. You need to be able to write great content and sell products. And you need to be able to take direction.
The chapters on contracts and agents hit home the fact that being an influencer is a lot more than living an Instagram-ready life. It takes business savvy, hard work, and a determination to succeed. It takes knowing your "why"—why do you want to do this?

All in all, becoming a successful influencer sounds a lot like becoming a successful author.

A lot of hard work with no guarantees, so you need to learn to find joy and success in the process.

Recommended for anyone who wants to get into influencing on a small or larger scale, or anyone who is curious as to how and why anyone can justify paying some blogger thousands of dollars for posting a few photos on Instagram.

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Unpronounceable Names (Iola is pronounced yo-la, not eye-ola and definitely not Lola).

Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, and currently works as a freelance editor. When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, two teenagers and one cat. She is currently working on her first novel.

1 comment:

  1. Iola, fascinating review. Presumably the chapter on building an audience was light on because that's the hardest aspect for everyone and there's no single formula for success. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.


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