What does it take to become Internet fabulous? Today, I open my marketing cookbook to share the ingredients for a cyber-soufle of gooey web goodness. Although this article is directed at those wanting to make a splash as a web personality, specifically a model, a lot of the morsels within can be applied to other professions. I use many of these tactics in my own photography marketing.
It all begins with a commitment to do the work and follow through. If you do it half-assed, you will get half-assed results. Getting noticed in a modern time with so many competing messages is hard enough without laziness handicapping you. So, remember that you get out of it what you put into it effort-wise. Sometimes that is grunt work, sometimes it is having the audacity to do something to distinguish yourself among the pack.
You also find your campaign boosted by thinking strategically so you don’t waste time or resources on things that do not
A) Raise awareness of your brand,
B) Deepen your relationship with followers or
C) Sell something to put cash in your pocket.
I put merchandising last because A & B ultimately support C in non-obnoxious ways. People will choose to do business with whomever, but once a relationship is formed and nurtured, they are reluctant to let a friend down. Become their FRIEND. Exchange goodwill. Don’t spend more than 20% of your interactions pushing stuff that costs money on people or they’ll feel used.
Without further ado, here’s the ingredients you need to build a strong web presence:
A Kick-Ass Website
Or at least your own personalized web domain. Not one of those cheesy Wix websites. That’s like emailing a company you want to work for from a Hotmail address. That says, “I’m too cheap to buy a dedicated domain…” Your website is your HQ on the web, your storefront, the place where all your good stuff will be stored. Don’t skimp. Some people rely too heavily on a Facebook Page, then suffer the consequences when their Page gets deleted or suspended for some reason. WordPress templates can get you a decent looking website. Spend more money if you want greater functionality.
Social Media Pages/Profiles
I’m talking Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube, at minimum. You’ll want to seed content (pics) to select Facebook groups where there are quality photographers to notice you or niche fan groups to appeal to. You’ll definitely want to set up a Facebook Branded Page that ultimately directs people to your website and occasionally pay $5 so Facebook will “boost” your promoted post beyond what it would get organically. Target who you want to see it very carefully to get your money’s worth. Preferably have the same username and avatar on all your channels for branding consistency across the web. Speaking of which…
A Great Brand Name (Alias)
Not absolutely critical, but definitely recommended. You may dream of having your name in lights, but once something’s on the Internet, it’s there forever. Plus, you might want to insulate yourself and your loved ones from stalkers. Remember, some names sound sexier than others. Norma Jean became Marilyn Monroe. At the very least, I recommend using first and middle name only! And don’t go posting from your personal accounts to your branded pages, which defeats the whole damn purpose for having an alias. Tip: Do a GoDaddy search and a basic search of social channels to make sure your alias will be available for your website, FB, Twitter, etc. Not good to have a different name on every channel!
You owe it to yourself to take an evening and articulate what your goals are, who your desired fan base should be, what those people want, and your basic messaging that will appeal to them. Know where you want to be in 6 months! Figure out what makes you unique and how you can amplify it. Are you the funny girl? The Twerker? The artsy introvert? The fitness buff? Can you sing? Are you a sexy sci-fi geek? Can you sing like an angel? Are you adept at using a bow and arrow? Do you love to cook more than anything? Your persona makes you worth following and determines so much of your messaging. Sure, you’re pretty, but so are a lot of models on the web. What makes you, in particular, worth our time?
Also, what makes all of this effort worth YOUR time? The opportunity to be admired by others? Sure, but that gets old after a while. Think larger. Do you want to make money? Get free products sent to you to hawk on Instagram? Transition from modeling to someday acting? Meet a really rich guy who wants to date a model? If you simply want to model for the love of it, hey I get it. But don’t miss the opportunity to do more if you can.
A Strong Support System
Your campaign to gain fame on the web won’t get very far if you are thin-skinned because there are some real shits on the Internet who will humiliate you for sport. Love your haters for at least they are paying attention to you and are probably jealous anyway. Also, you won’t get very far if your boyfriend doesn’t support what you are doing or your parents will cut you off for putting yourself out there on the internet. Most people dream of doing something but lack the audacity to follow through. Which are you? Make sure the people who matter have your back.
A Subscription to Constant Contact
What the… ?! Yeah, we’re getting more sophisticated than merely slapping some pics of your ass on Instagram now!
To build a fan base, you need to take advantage of having a captive audience that gives you permission to send them eNewsletters, which are really just emails that are mostly photos with a little bit of text linking somewhere else. You should email them at least once a month with a special photo, what you have going on in your life/career and some opportunity to buy something from you. More on that below. If you’re going to be making an appearance somewhere, you definitely want your fans to be in the know, right? I know you don’t want to spend any cash, but unfortunately, you have to invest in the tools in order to get money out of something. Constant Contact allows you to operate like a business rather than amateur hour.
A Blog on your website
OK, don’t get intimidated. It will mostly be pictures. But it CAN be so much more:
- Fitness tips,
- ways you make your days hella awesome,
- how you stay motivated,
- your favorite spots/stores,
- describing something you tried that didn’t work,
- promoting a product/service you like,
- favorite apps,
- your WHY you want to model,
- shout-out to a particularly devoted fan,
- tips/tricks followers can try today,
- goals for the week/month,
- asking for their opinion on something,
- reminder to join your email list,
- post about someone you admire,
- sneak peek at what you’re getting ready to share,
- ask on FB to follow you on Twitter, etc.,
- quotes from others,
- a challenge for your followers to try,
- photos of you from the past,
- a giveaway of some sort (to generate email list signups)…
Aim for 3 blog posts per week minimum.
Photos and Videos
Whoa, you say, shouldn’t that be the first ingredient? Presumably you already have some photos or you wouldn’t be angling to be a model. No, I’m talking more than Selfies, although you do need to continue taking lots of those giving the impression that your life is fun-loving and people should want to be you instead of their miserable selves. I’m talking about professional photo shoots that set you apart from just another Snapchat babe. Quality lighting. Splurging for a make-up artist if you don’t know how to do that yourself. Nothing says “I’m special and you should take notice” more than magazine-quality images you can strategically share online. Quality photos create the impression that someone took notice of you as an influencer worth paying attention to at the next level of media.
When you shoot with photographers, make sure they give you permission to share on your website and social media. Give em photo credit and/or, even better, pay em for making you look great. Don’t shoot with shitty photographers who make you look like crap. And if you’re going to be selling the photos to fans or submitting to publications, TELL the photographer first. He or she might step it up a notch and plan something special, especially if you share the $$$ you make from it. As for video, behind-the-scenes footage of your sexy shoot on YouTube can be a powerful way to go viral. Again, just make sure it doesn’t all look amateurish.
Outfits and Props for Photo Shoots
Take note of upcoming holidays and build up content rather than having to react at the last minute and throw something shitty together. St Paddy’s Day just around the corner? Find that green bikini in January and have your St Paddy’s graphic ready to go. The further ahead you can shoot, the better off you’ll be if you are in a car accident and have to take a break from doing photo shoots, etc. Plus, it’s nice to not be stressed over stuff that is supposed to be fun.
Tip: If you set yourself up as a business, you should be able to deduct at least some of what you buy on your taxes. Save those receipts!
A List of Publications to Submit to
Take some time to find out who and what is out there. Look up their submission policies. Tag them on Instagram so they’ll notice you and be aware of your interest. When the time is right and you have something that fits their needs, contact them with something to offer up. If they reject you, move on to the next one and don’t take it personally. Be persistent. The personalities you follow on the web do this. They actively work to make opportunities happen! You can’t simply sit back and wait for someone to discover you and do most of the work for you. Show some hustle.
Publications used to go to agencies to find quality models – now they have incentive to feature models who have a big web following because they bring with them a built-in fan base of potential issue buyers and a social media army promoting THEM while promoting you.
Make sure your website is looking slick and taking advantage of every opportunity to A) Raise awareness of your brand, B) Deepen your relationship with followers or C) Sell something to put cash in your pocket.
The more you connect with people, take the time to answer questions, comment, and even just say thanks, the more you’ll build a genuine connection and the more likely those people will be to hire you or make a purchase. This, more than anything, is the key to succeeding beyond your wildest dreams, regardless of what you’re doing.
Yes, unfortunately, you can do all of the above and still hit a brick wall. Such is life. Perhaps the title of this article was misleading. It should read “how to TRY to become an Internet Celebrity”. But would you have really clicked to read that article instead of this one? What is the saying? “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity…”
Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Meaning, yeah, you have to do the actual grunt work and not just bask in the aftermath of it. It’s one thing to admire other people you see on the Internet, but it is merely an illusion to perceive that they got there without lifting a finger. Nothing worthwhile comes easily. That’s it for today’s sermon.
So yeah, that’s the basics. You’re welcome!
Feeling intimidated and overwhelmed? You thought this would be a lot simplier? Never fear, Steven is here to help you automate a lot of this and save you time/money. Ask me how.
Text by Steven Stiefel – All of Steven Stiefel’s content is made available to you for free, with no subscription fees or paywalls. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to contribute: