Fashion and lifestyle influencers Ashley Ballard, Coco Bassey and Lucie Fink share what it’s like to be a digital creator from home and offer tips and tricks for connecting with a digital audience.
"As a content creator with my own business online I'm normally someone who works from home but ever since the coronavirus outbreak and the call to stay indoors not only has the type of content I'm producing shifted but also my workflow has shifted," says Lucie Fink, video producer and lifestyle host.
Founder of Millenielle, blogger Coco Bassey would normally be out shooting content for brands and sometimes taking a client out to lunch but things have changed. "It's definitely not ideal for creatives like me who do most of our jobs outdoors," she says.
How their content strategies have changed
"Often I'm working with a team of other people. If I'm doing a high-quality video shoot outside of my apartment sometimes I'll hire a videographer or an audio expert. When it comes to videographers and photographers, I have totally had to do that on my own. So a lot of what I'm shooting is just setting up a camera on a tripod or just leaning it against the window sill and shooting it myself," says Lucie.
"At the start of this it was really tempting to kind of continue creating content like normal but I realise that right now the world is just not normal and if you just avoid that and don't talk about it people are not going to find what you're saying to be useful or relevant at all," she adds.
For Coco, creating content at home doesn't always have to be a huge production. "I think that's one of the things that a lot of creators kind of get stuck doing. When we are unable to get outside and create this amazing, extravagant set up we think that we're unable to work at all and that's totally not true," Coco says.
"I have my iPhone, my vlogging camera — which is a Canon G7X - and then I also have my DSLR camera that I tend to use for some of my bigger brand projects. I will always make sure that the camera is at my hip or waist level because that's where it looks the most flattering. I don't like to go lower otherwise it kind of feels like the camera is looking up my nose, which is not that great either."
Lucie says, "More and more recently I've found myself gravitating towards shooting on my iPhone. I don't have any of my soft box lights with me so I've just been using windows as a source of natural light."
Ashley Ballard, blogger and social media editor, has had to be creative with limited resources. "I usually have a tripod but since I left it at my office before the quarantine happened, I've been using a stack of books on top of a stool. This is a-okay if you don't own a tripod, you can totally improvise with anything that you have," she says.
Experimenting with video-based content
"Personally I'm focused on doing video-based content because that is a way for me to diversify my work and connect with people better. It also gives people more of an idea of how I'm doing in my house and what I'm working on makes me feel connected to the outside world," says Ashley.
Coco says she has been loving running polls on her Instagram stories.
Coco says, "So I when it comes to the experimental content I will definitely, without a doubt, say that it's been getting into TikTok - which is kind of crazy to think about. I never though I'd be the creator that would get into TikTok, I just didn't think it was a platform for me but I've seen some really really cool content on there. And it's also kind of cool to play around with video editing, which is something I've always wanted to be better at."
"I started using TikTok just as a fun outlet for me to dance — and it actually makes me sweat a lot — and then people seemed to like the TikTok stuff so I created a YouTube video tutorial showing them how to do a TikTok dance that I love. I'm not a dance instructor so I usually work with dance instructors," says Lucie. "And I've also been experimenting with some quarantine specific content, so cutting my husband's hair in quarantine and also my morning routine in quarantine and people seem to be resonating with that as well."
As far as experimenting with different content, Coco says, "I've been doing a lot more skincare and beauty, I feel like now is the time to get out there and experiment with some new products and stuff, and even play around with makeup because if you mess it up one is going to see it. And adds that it that during this pandemic she has so much more time to connect with my audience.
For other content creators, Ashley suggests that you make an effort to engage more. "This is easier said than done depending on the size of your account but it's important to be extra responsive to your audience. A lot of people are probably coming to you from a very anxious and unsure place," she says.
Lucie adds, "Digital connection is everything, it's one of the only way people are able to stay connected with their families and friends that they not with right now. And, honestly, it's how people are maintaining a lifeline and a connection to the outside world."
Another tip from Ashley, "Just finding the tool that gets you the closest to your audience that makes you feel comfortable. One big thing that I've been experimenting with more is doing live streaming when I make my coffee in the morning and I'm relaxing on my window sill. I just turn on my live and I just ask people how they're feeling."
"Some of the ways that I've connected with my audience right now are by using the sticker tab on Instagram, that's a great way to hear directly from your audience in response to a targeted question. I use my YouTube community tab pretty often as a way to ask questions or to take polls," says Lucie.
These creators agree that during this pandemic, it is a good idea to use your platform for good. Ashley says this is because "a lot of people are turning to content right now to just feel a little ounce of normality". And Lucie adds, "If you do have a platform and an audience that's listening to you just use it right now to spread some sort of positivity".
Complied by Phelokazi Mbude
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