Who: Elise Armitage
What: Industry predictions, cinemagraphs, and balancing a full-time job.
Where: San Francisco, CA
We recently chatted with Elise Armitage, a full-time Googler and the creative behind What The Fab, an online hub for fashion and travel.
She’s been blogging for more than 6 years and has witnessed a ton of growth within the industry and for her own personal blog. Through it all, she’s remained nimble, constantly innovating her content to keep her community of dedicated readers engaged.
Q: What's your biggest prediction for Influencer Marketing?
Instagram will continue to reign, and social platforms will keep pushing video in all formats in an effort to increase the amount of time viewers' eyes are glued to their screens—and therefore engaged on the platform. We see it with Instagram's front-and-center positioning of IG Stories, Live, and now Highlights where your Story videos are viewable on your profile after they expire. And with Facebook, Facebook Live, Watch, and Shows will grow and continue to draw more eyes to the platform.
Q: You're a big fan of the cinemagraph, and have found the medium to be a perfect balance between video and static images. Can you say more?
Cinemagraphs are photographs that have been edited to include small repeating movements, ultimately turning it into a video clip. I love creating these because they're super easy to produce and add a little something extra to my photography. I use Fixel to create all my cinemagraphs. Check out some of my favorites here and here.
Q: You recently unveiled a full website redesign! Can you share a few reasons for doing this, what steps you took, and any advice you'd give others who might be establishing a blog presence for the first time or considering a similar redesign?
When I first launched my blog, I had no idea what I was doing! Blogger was a super easy platform with little barrier to entry, and its simple features made it less intimidating for a newbie like me. It was great for the first few years, but as my blog continued to grow I wanted to incorporate new features and designs. I started coming up against the platform’s limitations so I finally made the decision to move over to Wordpress. My biggest piece of advice would be to do your research! Ask other bloggers and designers for recommendations, comb through blogger groups on Facebook, and find blog posts from other bloggers chronicling the steps to starting or redesigning a blog.
If you’re considering hiring a service to assist with site development, do the due diligence and get quotes from multiple people/agencies. The first agency that I reached out to quoted me $6,000, while an individual web developer who came highly recommended from a friend quoted me $1,000. I ended up going with her, and she absolutely killed it. If you're looking for a web developer, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be happy to refer my gal!
Ask other bloggers and designers for recommendations, comb through blogger groups on Facebook, and find blog posts from other bloggers chronicling the steps to starting or redesigning a blog.
Q: Travel is becoming a more dedicated content focus for you. In what ways have you been able to differentiate yourself against the standard "travel guide" site?
I have had so much fun shifting my focus to travel content! Part of my blog's redesign included a travel page with an interactive map of the world, where you can see pins and a drop-down menu that lists each location I’ve visited and written about. If you're planning a trip to Barcelona, click on Barcelona and you'll see my city guide, outfit posts, and Instagram posts from Barcelona will pop up.
My travel guides are very in-depth, with tons of photos, recommendations, and links to help make your trip planning a breeze. You can find inspiration for things to do and places to eat, or dive in and go precisely where I went. I've had readers email me saying they copied my entire trip itinerary!
Q: You also have a full-time day job. How do you manage to do both?
This is probably the #1 question I get asked, so I wrote a whole article about it! It comes down to four things: crazy-mad organization, all of the efficiency tips and tricks, taking care of yourself so you can perform at optimum capacity, and just everyday grit and hard work. All the details for how I manage to work full-time and blog, as well as the exact tools and resources I use, can be found here.
Q: Increased sponsored content opportunities can lead to an oversaturation of ads on one's feed. In what ways have you been able to maintain authentic relationships with your followers while also taking on more partnerships with brands?
Some bloggers will talk at their readers, but I prefer to talk with my readers. It's not just, "Hey, buy these jeans." It's "Hey, I wore these jeans and my husband couldn't stop commenting on how great my booty looked in them. Have you heard of this brand? They were new to me, and they're so flattering. I'm on the hunt for more comfy/flattering jeans—what are some of your other favorite denim brands?"
This approach is more enjoyable for me, and I love connecting with people around the world who share the same interests and might be able to teach me something or recommend something new, whether it's a new beauty product or a spot I should check out on an upcoming weekend trip. I love sharing my discoveries, but I also love hearing what my readers are discovering, too.
Some bloggers will talk at their readers, but I prefer to talk with my readers. It's not just, "Hey, buy these jeans." It's "Hey, I wore these jeans and my husband couldn't stop commenting on how great my booty looked in them."
Q: You started blogging six years ago and mentioned that your style has been evolving (or maturing) ever since. How do you go about translating this into your content in a way that allows your followers to grow alongside you?
As I've gotten older, my readers have too. They're working just as hard as I do to get that promotion at work, that bonus, or extra income from a side hustle. They're treating themselves to that pair of shoes or handbag they've been drooling over. I like to style low and high price point brands and even throw in some great vintage finds, too. It's not hard to make a head-to-toe Dolce & Gabbana outfit look good, but it's not realistic or approachable for most of my readers. Styling a look around more reasonably-priced brands with a single piece from a high-end designer (and making it look cohesive and put-together!) is something my readers find useful.
Q: When presented with campaign opportunities, how do you go about assessing whether or not it's a good fit?
Off the bat, it's pretty easy for me to determine if it's a brand I'm excited about or not. If I am excited about it, the next step is to understand the campaign requirements and how much flexibility there is. Sometimes brands have a particular story they want to be told, but the story may not resonate with my personal brand. I prefer having flexibility and being able to weave the brand and their story into my own, rather than forcing something predetermined by the brand.
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