Live From Our NYC Experience With Danielle Speisman Owens Of MediaVine

Today we’re speaking with Danielle Speisman Owens of MediaVine. She is the Director of Influencer Partnerships & Content, joined Mediavine a little over 3 years ago. With a background in creative custom content ideation and influencer marketing strategies, Danielle develops impactful campaigns for brands using the influential voices of our Mediavine Publishers, helping advertisers reach their target consumers in an authentic way while providing additional revenue streams to our bloggers.



[00:00:00] Jessy: Hi everyone and welcome to the WIIM Podcast. Women in Influencer Marketing is a first of its kind exclusive networking group made up of inspirational women. This podcast is where we explore influencer marketing and get real about women in business. Find us wherever you download podcasts, and of course, you can always find us at iamwiim.com. That’s iamwiim.com. 

 Hey guys. Welcome back to the Women in Influencer Marketing podcast. My name is Jessy Grossman. I’m your host and I also run this awesome community. If you guys are new here, big welcome. Very excited to have you. And if you are not new here I guess all of you guys are in for a really big treat today. 

So if you have been listening for the past few weeks of 2023, you may have noticed that we’ve been mixing it up this year in terms of the podcast. Trying to keep it fresh, trying to keep you all entertained on your toes, bringing cool new guests, et cetera, et cetera. And today is no different.

Today’s episode was actually a live podcast recording that we did in front of an audience. It was so fun and it was part of our New York City Experience that happened, just a couple weeks ago. 

So I’m so excited for you guys to hear from our guest, Danielle of Mediavine. And then we also can hear from the audience cuz we had a really fun q and a at the end and I was like yep. Y’all wanna be part of the podcast, come up with a question. And we got really good questions and at the end.

But this was part of our New York City experience. I know you guys have heard me talk about it for the last few weeks, and my God, it was so incredible. It was like a magical night having everybody in person, in downtown Manhattan.

We had a three hour long event and every hour we had a different experience. So the first hour was members only, and it was this live podcast recording, which was so fun. It was a surprise for everybody. We kept it like that intentionally. 

And then the next hour when everybody else came. All of the guests. We had a taco bar. It was all Valentine’s Day themed, so we had cookies and treats, drinks. It was incredible. The food was so good.

And then the last hour was professional speed dating, which we’ve seen photos of on all of our social platforms. If you guys follow us on Instagram, which is @iamwiim. That’s W I I M on Instagram. That’s the photos that everyone was like blown away by because we had about 80 women show up to this event. Men and women, mostly women.

And the professional speed dating part was everybody paired up and a line of 80 women. And then every two to three minutes you would switch so you could get to know the next person and then the next person.

And we asked these really like thought provoking questions like, what was the best part of your childhood? All right, discuss or, what’s your favorite vacation spot? Discuss our favorite social platform. We ask some really fun questions. 

The whole point of it was really just to suck out any insecurities out of the room. Get them out of there. I know that with any networking event, people just inevitably feel uncomfortable or dread networking events, but like we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and we go cuz we know it’s important. It’s important to meet other people. It’s important to just put ourselves out there. So what I was trying to do is just make comfortable as humanly possible, and I really think we achieved it. 

Anyways, today’s podcasts episode, though you’re gonna get to enjoy the conversation that I had with Danielle of Mediavine. She was just an incredible person to hear from. I had a lot of people afterwards oh, I’m so glad you had her as your guest. she’s just so well spoken and she had a really interesting things to say. So I’m excited for you guys to hear from her. 

But Danielle is the director of Influencer partnerships and content at Mediavine. She’s got a background in creative custom content ideation and influencer marketing strategies. She’s develops impactful campaigns for brands using the influential voices of their Mediavine publishers. She helps advertisers reach their target consumers in a super authentic way and provides additional revenue streams to their bloggers. 

I’ve really enjoyed learning more and more about Mediavine, and like their support of influencers and just like the whole landscape. I think it’s fascinating what they do, and I’m excited for you to learn more. So without further ado, enjoy my conversation with Danielle Speisman Owens.


[00:04:55] Jessy: So thank you guys first and foremost for coming. We have the beautiful Danielle Owens, from Mediavine, and I’m just super excited to have you as my guest. So thank you for joining. First, I think it would be really nice to just tell everybody a little bit about yourself, like how you even ended up in influencer marketing in the first place.

[00:05:15] Danielle: Yeah, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. So I, have worked in like digital marketing and sales strategy and selling branded content for quite a while now. I started in this industry working for a pretty well-known female lifestyle site, and we would sell editorial content written by writers.

And I remember when that started to shift a little over, maybe 10 years ago, and people started to wanna hear from real women just like them. So we started to hire guest writers and doctors and moms and experts. And that’s what we called them at the time. And then it turned out that those experts were, a lot of them were bloggers.

And so with time we’ve seen how consumers connect with bloggers and how advertisers have started to put more dollars there. And so with time it went from selling, everyday voices to really focusing on the blogging world. And then after blogging, it became all these social platforms. 

And so now here I am, I’ve been at Mediavine for about three years and head up their Influencer Partnerships Department and we can talk a little bit more about what Mediavine does as a whole. But we represent close to 10,000 lifestyle bloggers or publishers or influencers or creators you’ll hear me say, all the same things as you guys know in this room.

But we represent them for all their ad management exclusively. So we make sure that their site is in good standing, they have good traffic. It’s all organic. They’re constantly contributing content. And so when someone’s a part of Mediavine, they basically have an opportunity to diversify how they make money, and our department brings them other opportunities to work with brands outside of just display ads and that type of thing.

[00:06:57] Jessy: I think it’s fascinating what you do, cuz I know very little about it transparently. It’s not the world that I come from, it’s not the world that I’m super familiar with. So I’m happy that you explained it and I hope that we’re all gonna learn a little bit more about it together. 

If you guys listen to the podcast, which I hope that you do, shameless plug .We try to keep it real as much as humanly possible. We can go on and on about how like amazing the industry is and talk about how fantastic everybody is, but like the realities can be that like we struggle a bit and there are definitely some flaws in the industry, and I think it’s just really important that we talk about that as well for the purposes of learning and growing and like we’re all here to be the forefront of our industry and like just make it better.

So in the spirit of, problem solving and going in the right direction. Where do you think our industry struggles the most, and how do you hope that it improves this year in particular? 

[00:07:53] Danielle: That’s a good question. I think our industry, I gave some history, but it’s constantly evolving, right? So we all know we have to stay in the know with the trends and make sure that we’re, always keeping those things top of mind.

I think there’s two kind of focuses I’d say we struggle with that I really hope to see improve this year. One is, I think, making sure when you’re working with brands, you really are including an inclusive list of voices, a diverse group of voices.

I think making sure everyone has equal pay, and inclusion. I think those are things that we truly try to focus on whenever we work with a brand, depending on the scope of work and what we’re asking people to do. If someone is undervaluing their time as a creator, we often will give them a raise, right?

So we really look at creators as entrepreneurs themselves. These are people who are devoting their time to promote something to their following. They’ve done a great job marketing themselves and building these trusted audiences. And so I think that, a lot of times if we don’t have a good representation of all different types of voices, A brands miss out on true consumers. But I think that that’s something that people have to be more mindful of as an industry as a whole.

The other thing I would say it’s a good thing, but we’re seeing advertisers allocating a lot more budget towards this space. Towards influencer and wanting to try out this tactic. But we find we do a lot of educating. Which is not a bad thing, but they are so used to buying traditional media or other marketing tactics that they want, maybe you guys have heard this, like what’s my ROI gonna be? How many click-throughs am I gonna get? And it is a lot of educating that influencer is really a different space. It’s It’s not about a CPM and impressions. 

Sure it’s how many times you get something in front of people. That is an impression in a real way, but maybe it’s something that someone has to see, multiple times before they decide to go back and purchase something they saw.

I mentioned blogging. We do a lot in the social space, but we still really are rooted in bloggers who have created content for a long time. And so they have, a disability to create evergreen content that’s gonna create awareness for a brand over and over again. And that’s an educational shift for a lot with them. When they wanna put their dollars here and they wanna see that instant ROI, we have to explain that’s like an ongoing.

So I think that they wanna put their dollars in influencer and they wanna test this space, but there’s definitely a need for really understanding what they’re buying, 

[00:10:24] Jessy: Totally. And also from the blogger’s perspective, or the creator’s perspective, just like creating longevity within their careers and like additional revenue streams and knowing that one project is gonna have legs beyond maybe the initial scope and the initial project, because they’re still leaning into, that evergreen content.

And I feel like there’s like certain categories in particular that like really thrive in that. I just did a panel a couple weeks ago about the social platforms and I got off the panel and people were like, you didn’t talk about Pinterest. And I was like, oh, you’re right. 

So when I think of like evergreen content and bloggers, like Pinterest comes to mind for sure. And in the food space. And what I look for, recipes and stuff. And I’m sure you guys similar and, I wanna always remember those different areas of partnership. 

 The ones we don’t forget, we’re not always just focused on like the one-off Instagram post, the one-off TikTok and things like that. What ways that we can create long-term audience influencer relationships? What are some other things that come to mind for you?

[00:11:33] Danielle: I think I touched on this a little, but, so a Mediavine blogger, they have to have a pretty high threshold of monthly traffic to even apply to be a part of Mediavine. And so these are people that have spent years building that audience relationship. And it’s like it’s a relationship, right?

We follow people, we make that choice, and then we choose to continue following them or unfollowing them if we want to. But we are building this trusting relationship. Every time they post a new piece of content, every time they write a new blog post, share a new recipe. And so I think it goes just back to authenticity and making sure that whatever type of partnership you do with a brand, it’s so true to your voice and whichever platform it’s living on, that it just feels real.

It feels like something that you would genuinely want to use. And so I think that, if we’re talking about sponsorships and working in influencer marketing, trying to get clients to be forward thinking and being okay to commit to multiple touchpoints, multiple pieces of content, being okay to pivot halfway through, I think is really impactful for our industry. If something isn’t working, we can change that message, which a lot of other advertising tactics, you can’t do that. So I think that’s something that helps. 

[00:12:47] Jessy: Yeah, no, I love that last one. I don’t think enough people, like even realize that’s a possibility, like they do all this upfront work, which of course I understand and you feel like you have to remain on the path and for so many reasons, it could be more powerful to have learnings halfway through and, to even plan to pivot. It could be dramatically, but could also be subtle. And maybe, if you’ve got an entire, let’s say 50 influencers, start with 25 and do that partnership, see what you learn and get that feedback quickly so that hopefully you can pivot and the latter half of the campaign can be that much better than if you just stayed the path. 

[00:13:27] Danielle: Totally. And I think having somewhat of a clear objective, which is sometimes hard. Front helps. So we did a campaign pretty recently during the holidays for a children’s toy, and the whole thing was to be driving purchases during that peak time of year.

And so we had some social posts that were driving to the sponsor blog content and halfway through those bloggers were fine going in and making some changes to the social stuff to make sure we were driving to the retailer instead, so it was still their voice. We still were promoting their content as well.

But we saw that we needed to ship something a simple change, made a big difference. And the creators were fine doing it too because they want this partnership to go well. They hope it turns into a longer term relationship and a future opportunity for them also. 

[00:14:14] Jessy: I can imagine there can be hesitation of being that person to raise your hand halfway through when all these people are doing a tremendous amount of work and being like, this isn’t working. Like that takes guts to say that.

So I can empathize with that for sure. But also I think maybe what we’re trying to get at right, is like to empower you to be that person. Because on the flip side of that if you are the sole person, perhaps that raises your hand and then the end of the campaign is like significantly improved because of as you’re saying what you said, I think that could be a pretty powerful thing. 

[00:14:47] Danielle: Totally. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:14:49] Jessy: So I wanna talk a little bit about trends. It’s like hot topic especially like in our industry, especially like with the rise of TikTok and short form video and things like that. Just broadly, you could take this wherever you want it.

What are your thoughts on trends? Is it worth it to focus on them? Is it a strong long-term strategy like, or…

[00:15:09] Danielle: Yeah.

[00:15:09] Jessy: Is it more of a short-term play? What are your thoughts broadly?

[00:15:13] Danielle: So giving everything I said about us representing bloggers and evergreen content, a lot of people, I saw something recently.

I don’t know about your LinkedIn, but mine kicked off January where everyone was sharing what the trends of 2023 were for our industry, and I saw someone post, is blogging a trend that’s going away? Of course, that triggered me a little bit because it’s like what we do, but also I was like, no, it’s not a trend that’s just like the bread and butter of where creators started.

And so I think it’s leveraging both. Of course, we had advertisers that they just come to us and we want TikTok. They don’t know why yet. They don’t know how it’s gonna work or what it’s gonna look like, but we understand that you need that shiny new object. We need to test the market where the consumers are. I think we all are seeing, like TikTok is exploding as a search engine now for people, so… 

[00:16:02] Jessy: I use it to search. 

[00:16:04] Danielle: Yeah a lot of people do. And so while we talk about blog content and being impactful for that, now TikTok is too. So leveraging that new trend and then seeing how you can kinda plug and play the two together, I think makes for the most impactful campaign.

You’re gonna have that social conversation that you’ve sparked and you’re a part of, but if you have something long lasting and evergreen, like blog content, if it’s done correctly, it could be really impactful.

We did a campaign, last spring with a fashion brand, and we watch it over time. It was social, it was like an unboxing. Instagram Reels, but also just like a straight up review that lived on these fashion bloggers.

And my team, we watched the metrics of like page views and so we saw recently it was a campaign that ran in the spring and then we checked it in the fall and it was ranking on Google for 500 keywords. And a month later it had more than doubled the amount of keywords it was ranking for, and that’s something that’s about spring fashion.

But it wasn’t only about that, it’s because the way that it was written and the keywords that were used help, as people are searching, no matter what time of year, that same piece of content is continuing to perform. 

So we’re able to continue to tell our client like, wow, look at this thing you bought last year, it’s still growing. Do you wanna do another campaign this year? Do we wanna use some of those same voices because that long lasting relationships gonna probably work again and maybe we pepper a few new ones in there too. 

So I think it’s like staying on top of the trends, but let’s not lose sight of what we know works. As experts in this industry, we do know what works. There’s always gonna be that next shiny object. So I think it’s about balance.

[00:17:39] Jessy: Yeah. Balance everything. Like about balance. That’s right. 

[00:17:42] Danielle: Good word. Yeah. 

[00:17:44] Jessy: I feel like everyone has a word for 2023. I’ve had a lot of people say balance, balance. But it’s true. It is true. And I appreciate that, trends can certainly equate to like the next shiny thing. And sometimes it’s a really shiny thing and sometimes it’s like a doll shine.

[00:18:03] Danielle: Yeah.

[00:18:04] Jessy: So it depends I dunno, I was talking with somebody else on the podcast actually. It’s not live yet. We recorded it a couple days ago and they were talking about trends. They were talking about they said, elf, I referred to it as E L F. I don’t know. 

It was a guy. So I think that’s why he said Elf. And we were talking about, E L F on TikTok in particular. I think of them as being like definitely at the forefront of leaning into TikTok and being some of the first people on TikTok to have like pretty successful trending content.

And there’s something to say for that, like being first to something, it’s more risky being first to anything, but of course like with risk comes reward. I also love what you’re talking about, just like about SEO and that you come from, the world of websites, I don’t personally like to even refer to them as blogs.

[00:18:56] Danielle: Great. 

[00:18:56] Jessy: But like they’re websites or landing pages. And I think also there’s so many small business owners in this room as well, and I just wanna empower you guys to be thinking about that for your own businesses as well, and your own, personal brands in addition to the influencers. I just wanna like chime in with that as well.

[00:19:19] Danielle: And Mediavine, we refer to them as our publishers. So every single influencer is a publisher. They all have a site that they’ve been contributing content to. And to your point, a lot of these people that are really big, that when you’re searching those recipes, if you’re Googling a lot of the ones that are on those first pages, if you scroll down, we’ll say Mediavine Food, right?

So there the ones that have been doing this and they’re ranking and they’re doing it time and time again. But a lot of them, they were first. They were the first to buy that when that was the first, shiny new object. I could have a website and I could write my recipes and have it live on a WordPress site, right?

That was the new exciting thing. And then they were like, we can put ads on this site and you can make money that way. And that’s actually how Mediavine started. Our co-founders were all, publishers and creators themselves, and decided to take ad management in-house. 

And in a few short years they went from five to now almost 10,000. That was pretty, pretty cool to see. But yeah, they were some of those first people, so yeah, it’s true. You can get in at the right time. It can be a little trial and error, but if it works out, it could be great. 

[00:20:19] Jessy: Absolutely. So whether they’re creators, publishers, influencers, whatever word we wanna term them. And I think all of them are completely valid in different scenarios and in all scenarios, but I think it’s important to just generally talk about how brands and creators can work better together.

Because I don’t know about you guys. I know there’s also some like talent managers in the room, I hear that a lot from you guys. There’s some friction points, when it comes to the approval process, when it comes to, that ROI at the end of a campaign and like expectations not being aligned or the results not necessarily being aligned. So is there any advice that you can give to the ladies in the room?

[00:20:59] Danielle: Yeah.

[00:20:59] Jessy: Ladies and gentlemen, about just broadly how creators and brands can work better together? 

[00:21:06] Danielle: Yeah, it’s definitely a relationship that you have to, handle carefully every time, all around. We do a few things to help. when we’re working with a brand, we have a very detailed like, questionnaire, but we customize that for every campaign.

So if there’s TikTok and we need to know do we have licensing to use music or every little detail, we get as much of that upfront as we can and communicate that to the bloggers or the influencers as much as we can. so it’s all captured somewhere. 

I was going back to when I was saying, if you can establish any goals or objectives with a client upfront, that’s really helpful because if it’s just about general awareness and then we get these different types of storytelling pieces back and they’re underwhelmed, we didn’t really know what you were going after. 

So just trying to define those with them upfront helps. I think, like we mentioned, not being afraid to pivot if something doesn’t resonate with an audience or didn’t, aligned with the brand’s voice.

I think Covid was like a really impactful time to recognize this. I had a lot of campaigns that were gonna be going live about, right? Gatherings and summer graduations and holidays and all these, marketers and advertisers were like, what are we gonna do with our budgets? An influencer was one space that they could just change that story really easily. We’re gonna do holidays at home now instead, right? Or whatever it is. And so I think that’s something that’s really unique about what our offering is.

So yeah, to answer your question is just really trying to define it all around and then making sure it’s an equal partnership. So the other thing that we do is when you hear 10,000, that’s like a daunting number to some people.

We also don’t use like a software. We don’t just check boxes and spit out these influencers and this is who you’re gonna get. We have some really unique ways of doing deep dives into our community and really finding those voices, not only who we think wanna work with that brand, but that they wanna work with that brand too.

And then we go through that list and we look at, how are you gonna write about this? How are you gonna talk about it with your audience? And we share that with our clients up front when we’re really narrowing down.

And so again, at our business, our creators are our clients. We are trying to help them have sustainable businesses as creators. And so we’re not gonna just partner them up with anyone. It has to make sense for their audience too. And everyone has to feel warm and fuzzy, right about what they’re writing and what the brand is spending money on. So… 

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[00:24:30] Jessy: Yeah, it’s a really interesting perspective that you guys have. That, your client is the, like the blogger, but essentially, you and like I mentioned, talent managers maybe your client is technically one side, but also you wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for everybody on either side. 

[00:24:48] Danielle: Yeah.

[00:24:48] Jessy: So being like the middle man or middle woman.

[00:24:51] Danielle: It is interesting. 

[00:24:52] Jessy: Yeah. It’s interesting.

[00:24:52] Danielle: I’ve worked at other companies where we just pleased the advertiser, right? So they’re like, we need influencers who will stand on their head and make a grilled cheese, right? Like they’ll act these crazy things and we’re like, sure we’ll do it.

We just want the money. We will find the influencers who will stand on their head and make a grilled cheese. And then I started working at Mediavine and I was like, oh, we’re not just gonna say yes to the advertiser. Yes, we want that revenue. We wanna give it to them. We wanna make, everyone wants to make money. We want our creators to make more money, but if it’s something that’s a no for us, we say no. There’s definitely been campaigns that just don’t feel right for our voices, and you have to respect that too. 

The other thing I would say, just the importance of if you’re working as a talent manager or we’re like an in-house agency, but we handle everything right? So contracts, making sure that the usage rights are covered, the exclusivity. Making sure they’re paid on time, making sure those, arrangements are like locked down upfront because we wanna make sure that the client is happy, we wanna make sure they wanna spend money with us again and with those influencers again.

But we wanna make sure our creators get paid for that work that they did. And so as a creator, having a manager or a company like ours to advocate for them and just to make sure everything is done, correctly. I know not all influencers can do that or get to that threshold, but certainly something to push them to work towards.

[00:26:11] Jessy: I think was something that resonated with me in particular, a few things, but one that was about, just there’s a lot of power and no. And that’s a strong thing to set that mindset at the beginning of a, I guess we’re in February now, but the beginning of a new year in 2023 and not just saying yes for all the reasons that you can say yes, but there’s actually a lot of power and no, there’s so many scenarios where, you know, when I used to manage talent, my best clients would really feel comfortable saying no to things and miraculously they would come back with more money or like a number of different things. 

It’s all a miracle and to really just having, so whether you’re an influencer doing that or just a business owner or whatever, negotiations we’re all doing on a regular basis in our every day, feeling confident in your value, knowing your value, and knowing what your like ideal scenario is and knowing that there is power in saying no. And, it’s not only okay to do it if anyone here needs permission, it’s a really powerful thing to, have in your arsenal. 

[00:27:18] Danielle: Yeah, I agree. I think if you work with influencers individually, it’s something to just advocate for them to remind them that they are a business owner, that they’re an entrepreneur, that they are doing this to make a living, or most of them are right, so they need to treat it that way. 

When they get a partnership that’s offered to them, they need to assess it. Is it fair? Am I gonna be paid correctly? What time of year is it? What does it look like on my editorial calendar? Is that a really busy time of year? Is this gonna hurt my traffic or help my traffic? There’s a lot of things to consider versus just the name of the brand or oh, I’m gonna squeeze this in to get another quick check. Because that doesn’t feel authentic and their audiences are gonna feel that too. And then to your earlier question about building those relationships, that’s not gonna help anybody. 

[00:28:04] Jessy: And let’s all be real. There are lots of influencers out there who will say yes to anything and accept a check and let’s acknowledge those people too. But is that the best way to have a sustainable. I won’t answer that question. Somebody else just did. 

 One of my last questions and then we’re gonna open it up to Q&A if you guys have any questions or I don’t know, conversations that you guys wanna talk about, cause I do want this to be interactive. As much as this is women in influencer marketing, it’s women in influencer marketing, and I think that one of my goals this year is to just like talk about ways that we’re unique and ways that like, it’s a pretty powerful thing that it’s like a female dominated industry and like how do we really embrace that? How do we use it to advantage? So my question here now, cause I wanna make it fun, is what is one of your superpowers as a woman in business? 

[00:28:53] Danielle: I think our superpower is that we are just women in business. I think being a woman is pretty dang powerful. I think we have the ability to multitask. It’s okay to be proud that we’re a strong women business because you’re right. There’s not a lot of industries that we can say that about. 

I think our ability to be most of us are guiding multitaskers. We joke a lot about, as women, we have 50,000 tabs open in our browsers all the time, which I know resonates in a room full of people in my industry, which is nice to say.

But my husband probably has one tab open at a time. I can’t say that as my own. I heard a comic say that once and she delivered it much better. But it is true. And it actually, like I’m a one and a half year old, and so this last year was like really impactful for me.

We’re building this part of our company. I have this exciting department and I’m learning how to be a mom at the same time. And so learning how to balance and there we go again. But also just our ability to say, we just gotta suck it up and power through and we find the time and we find the way. I think that’s just a women’s way. I think we’re pretty strong people. 

[00:29:59] Jessy: We are, we are. I’m looking at lots of strong people in the room today, so…

[00:30:05] Danielle: That’s great. 

[00:30:05] Jessy: Just celebrating all of you guys. So I’m gonna turn it to you guys. Does anyone have a question or a comment? We have a couple. So we’ll go to Desiree and then Stacy. 

[00:30:15] Desiree: How do you advise those of us who are influencers or those of us that are trying to contact brands, how do we deal with ghosting culture? I feel like right now, because there are so many influencers or so many people trying to reach the people that have the influencer, it’s lot of unanswered emails and LinkedIn messages and being ignored even when we’re doing all the things like personalization and trying to connect them with where they are and stuff that, so how do we deal with ghosting and to ultimately get what we want? 

[00:30:45] Danielle: That’s a good question.

[00:30:46] Jessy: That’s a good question.

[00:30:47] Danielle: I would be, lying if I said I don’t feel that too. I I think at any level I’ve been feeling a bit of this, uncertainty right? Going on. There’s recession, there’s been pandemics, and I think that advertisers are weary of where to spend their ad dollars sometimes, or they’re not sure. We’ve had a few that are going down one, creative initiative and then they decide to hold back. 

And so sometimes it truly has nothing to do with ghosting you, the creator or whoever it is. They’re just in their own like space of unknown with those marketing dollars. So I do think that’s a big thing we’re all feeling right now.

I think finding those unique ways to stand out is tricky. It’s tricky. I think moments like this are exciting for me because we’re in a room together and I think some of this stuff is starting to happen again. When you can connect in person, it’s like we’ve all been just struggling behind our computer trying to like network through LinkedIn and we can only make so much noise.

 But one thing that we really try to do is, think about who you’re reaching out to. Spend a little time look at their social, look at what kind of content they talk about. If you’re a creator or you’re advising one? I think it’s also important to just look at the type of content that the brand puts out. What’s their voice? How consistently are they doing it?

We’ve worked with nonprofits, we work with CPG brands like, but it doesn’t matter. It has to feel authentic. It has to feel good. And if you see something that really connects with you and there’s a way to connect those dots, then try.

So like for example, let’s just say it’s like a chocolate brand and we have an influencer that ranks for all these chocolate recipes or, had a TikTok that went viral. We can say all day we’ve got 10,000 bloggers and we have, this many that do food. But if we’re able to say, but look at this one. They use your ingredient all the time and it’s already doing so well organically, it might peak their. So that’s just an idea, but I think we’re all feeling that a little bit, so don’t feel alone with it either.

[00:32:47] Jessy: I would also say I don’t know, we were talking earlier about like power of no, and I almost feel like there’s power in just saying that’s not my person. That’s not the person who’s gonna help me. And like they’re doing their own thing. They’re in their own world, or they’re, just not helpful. So forget them. I need to find another person, like a better person.

I’m guilty of being hella stubborn. I don’t know if that’s like the Capricorn in me, but I’m like this is the person, so I need to reach them. I need to figure it out. I need to problem solve. I think of that as a trait that a lot of us women, probably have as well. 

But I think it’s important to pause and look at the bigger picture and take a breath. I’m just speaking for myself personally, and saying is this the right path? Is this the right person? Am I just being stubborn or is there just a better way broadly? That’s just what I’ve experienced. So maybe there’s just like a better person to connect with, a better company to work with, things like that. 

[00:33:46] Rogers: Erica Rogers …and I am guilty of the ghost. Let me tell you. I’m on the buyer side of, talent and influencers, and from our side, we’re just doing fishing, right? So if I’m reaching out, I’ve got like a hundred names. I’m going through checking, are you available? Are you interested? Then I’m going back to the brand. Who do they pick? And so I could spend my whole day replying to 75 people, but I still have a million other campaigns. 

So I always tell the agents, assume it’s a no unless it’s a yes. And then one of the other things that happens is the brands that you love post about them. them It’s free publicity for them, but they see you. They have their social media teams. Right now we had a CPG brand that’s can you find this person’s agent because we wanna send them free goods. And that’s how the relationship starts. So apologies for ghosting.

[00:34:43] Danielle: My name is Erica, and sometimes I ghost you.

[00:34:46] Jessy: I may have ghosted you in the past but it’s valid. And look, I think one thing that’s interesting is that, a lot of us are also guilty perhaps of just trying to scale influencer marketing.

And some people might vehemently disagree with me. So controversial topic. That’s fine. I don’t think influencer marketing is scalable at all personally. Because it’s a relationship business and I don’t think if you’re really truly cultivating relationships, I don’t think that’s a scalable thing. 

I think you can be efficient. I think you can be smart about the way that you work, but I don’t think it’s scalable. And I think that if so many companies, if you really drill down to how they operate as a business, everyone’s looking to make money. I’m looking to make money too.

But so many of them go the route of I’m looking to make money by scaling this. And I just, again, is there a better way? Because personally I don’t think influencer marketing is scalable. So next question belongs to Stacy. What’s your question? 

[00:35:45] Stacy: For Danielle. Nice talking to you before. 

[00:35:47] Danielle: Yes.

[00:35:47] Stacy: I’m listening to you. A lot of what you said resonates. I’m a talent manager for food creators, just a handful of them that are exactly Mediavine’s client and some of them are Mediavine clients. What really resonated, I had a conversation last night with a food creator who said to me, I’m so sick of brands, wanting just TikTok. I’ve got a million views a month. I’ve been doing this forever. I’m in the food industry, she’s been on TV. 

Real woman of substance and a recipe I did six years ago for thanksgiving is still bringing in, thousands and thousands of views. So I applaud you as a company for trying to educate brands on that, and I think brands do understand that, but I’m just curious, who are you talking to and how are those efforts going? 

[00:36:39] Danielle: Yeah, so one thing that’s definitely, really unique to the blogging side and that content side was like this fear of the third party cookies going away that we’ve heard for a couple years now. And so I know for us, when everyone who comes to us, if you want influencer, even if they have an Instagram only, RFP and that’s all that they want, that’s fine we can do it. 

But we always touch on who our influencers are. And at Mediavine to even apply, you have to have 50,000 monthly uniques, right? So these people are bloggers, this is their publishers and their writers. And you’re absolutely right. A lot of them don’t even have to create new recipes anymore cuz that same piece is creating enough revenue for them time and time again.

So when I go back to that first question you asked, a lot of it’s educating. So they may come to us, we can say for Instagram only, this is what you get, this is who you get. But would you consider including a couple pieces of evergreen content? So it is just more of an educational play.

We have a lot of those bloggers that have been doing this a long time and like it has to be worthwhile for them too, and not devaluing the fact that maybe they don’t need to write a brand new recipe because it’s not gonna be good for their business or their time. So it goes back to saying no, and also making sure that they don’t devalue it.

So if it’s someone like that’s really established, make sure that they’re charging what they should. And if the brand says no, then that’s a no. Even this year, we know every study is saying that brands are putting, I think it’s 20% more budget into influencer. So if we know that I’m not gonna go to market, and when they say they don’t really have that money, I’m gonna say, okay, come back when you do.

Or let’s talk about your billing cycle, right? Do you have X amount of budget? Now that we do one round of content, but do I have a commitment from you? We’re gonna do a second round of content because we know long lasting relationships work because we know if that person’s audience sees the same product being mentioned more than once, you know it’s gonna move the needle more. 

And some of those really established bloggers. I went to a retreat recently with some of them and we were talking about them, and when you hit that level, when you have recipes that are ranking and you only really like to use certain ingredients, it’s also really important to understand who is it that they would want to work with or maybe do more of a brand ambassadorship with, if you think of it that way, instead of just a one off campaign, then even those more established creators get excited because there like oh, I use that flower all the time. And so they’d be more inclined to do it. And it goes back to what you were saying, post about the stuff you’re using anyway, but then some of those bigger guys can get some of those bigger budgets too. I think it goes back to that shiny object, right? 

Some people are like, I just wanna Reel. I’ve heard video performs and sometimes we have to start there. Sometimes that’s a test. But again, like we’ve had to do a lot of educating and say you wanna test with influencer, but you only have $10,000, you’re not gonna make that much noise. You’re not gonna get that much reach. And is this a true test on if this marketing tactic works for you, it’s not, so I think it’s saying no, but it’s being fair. It’s explaining it. Because even for you, and if your creator’s content flops and they don’t wanna buy again not gonna be a win all around. So…

[00:39:59] Jessy: I agree. I think that you’re certainly onto something. I think that a lot of what we’ve been discussing this past like 30, 45 minutes is a lot about expectation setting and communication. And we’re all talking about like just doing more business broadly, like it’s building relationships. And so how do you do that? You like treat the other person as if they’re a human. 

You are like straightforward with them. If you’re like, look I would love to do a long-term ambassadorship with you like my client, like they need more proof that this can work. I believe in this relationship, let’s prove it to them together. But this is a test. Like just saying things like that. 

Like I don’t know who’s trying to keep things from whom and why, but I have found that just being communicative and like just transparent goes a really long way. I can say when I was on the receiving end of that, as a talent manager, I would take my defenses down. My defenses would totally come down. I’d be like, oh. 

So if you’re looking for a tactic to get the other side, to get their defenses down a little bit, just be transparent with them. You’ll be really pleasantly surprised I think, what you get in return. 

[00:41:06] Danielle: They just forget. 

[00:41:07] Jessy: Yeah.

[00:41:07] Danielle: That creators are writers, photographers, videographers, social media managers, marketers, like they’re all these things. And so it’s our jobs as managers or however you’re representing them, to remind those brands.

You’re not buying a 300 by 250 graphic that we’re gonna push out across the internet. You’re buying someone’s time, someone’s voice, someone’s trusted following that they built on their own. So let’s leverage their expertise as marketing themselves for your brand.

[00:41:36] Jessy: I love that so much. I think that’s a really great way to even end this conversation. Again, intention setting for 2023. We are like a really powerful group of people in this room who are giving a lot of opportunities to a lot of people.

We have the purse strings to open up a lot of opportunities and doors for people and persuade a lot of people. You have a lot of power in your hands in this room and I just wanna remind all of us to, I think just like broadly, be really open-minded with who you’re casting. I think we talked about diversity and inclusion in the beginning of the conversation, and I think also just, experimentation is a big takeaway away that I personally took away from this conversation and I think that just knowing the power that you have, use it wisely.

 If you enjoyed this episode, we gotta have you back. Check out our website for more ways to get involved, including all the information you need about joining our collective. You can check out all the information at iamwiim.com. Leave us a review, a rating, but the most important thing that we can ask you to do is to share this podcast.

Thanks for listening. Tune in next week.

Danielle Speisman Owens

Director of Influencer Partnerships, MEDIAVINE

Danielle Speisman Owens is the Director of Influencer Partnerships & Content, joined Mediavine a little over 3 years ago. With a background in creative custom content ideation and influencer marketing strategies, Danielle develops impactful campaigns for brands using the influential voices of our Mediavine Publishers, helping advertisers reach their target consumers in an authentic way, while providing additional revenue streams to our bloggers.

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