Taylor Shold: Tell us a little about yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Istiana: I’m a Toronto lifestyle blogger, singer/songwriter, and YouTuber. I share content to inspire young women to live confident, creative, and healthy lives. It’s definitely a lot to keep up with and sometimes I wonder if I do too many things!
Taylor: Why did you want to start your blog and what were your first steps in making your idea into a reality?
Istiana: I’ve always been a creative person. I started YouTube first but I also loved writing and photography. A blog seemed like the natural solution. It was actually my boyfriend who convinced me to start it. So in 2 weeks I learned how to make a website and basic HTML coding and here we are today.
Taylor: What challenges have you faced thus far and how do you overcome them?
Istiana: I’ve definitely learned and grown a lot since starting a blog. From the technical and communication skills–but also I’ve developed stronger self-confidence just because putting so much of yourself on the internet can make you feel really vulnerable. But I’ve also met a lot of inspiring people since. As for challenges, there’s a ton of competition in the blogging world and trying to stand out is always tough. There’s always stuff to keep up with– your SEO, making sure you always have content coming out, keeping up with social media…but I enjoy it all and learning every day.
Taylor: How important is it these days to have a great social media presence?
Istiana: If you’re a business or brand, having good social media presence is absolutely necessary to not only letting people know that you exist, but building your actual brand and staying relevant in people’s minds. When I meet someone or see a new store or get an email from a brand, the first thing I do is check out their website or social media. Your social media accounts are almost like a resume now.
Taylor: How can people build their own following? What are some tips you may have?
Istiana: That’s still something I’m figuring out myself! It can be a bit of trial and error. But some general key tips is to post consistently. Have a schedule and make your posts into something people look forward to seeing every day. Also make sure everything you post fits with your brand. That might mean posting your personal photos to a separate personal account or only posting photos that match your theme/colour scheme. Another important thing is be engaging. Ask questions, tell stories, and put out content that will start conversations with your followers.
Taylor: Where do you see yourself and your site going in the future?
Istiana: I’d love to have additional writers on the team to help produce content and add their own unique perspectives. I’d also like to put out a product in the next few years–maybe a course or a product line. I haven’t quite figured it out yet but I’ll keep working on refining what I do and continuing to make content that I as a young woman would want to see myself.
Taylor: What’s your advice for someone who is looking to create their own website and build a great social media presence?
Istiana: There’s lots of great resources out there to help you learn the technical skills, Youtube, Pinterest, skillshare.com; people like Melyssa Griffin have courses and webinars on it. If you’re a busy person or would rather focus on creating actual content than doing all this back work, there’s plenty of talented web designers you can hire. As for social media, invest in some good quality visuals. Whether that’s working with better lighting, using a higher quality camera, or working with a photographer. Your visuals should look amazing, other wise who’s going to follow you? Especially upon first impression? Outside of my blog I help other people do all that for their own brands with my business. I’m always happy to look over someone’s stuff and offer feedback.
For more great articles, features and job postings, follow us on Twitter @SholdMediaGroup
Join Shold Media Group
Joining the Shold Media Group and getting connected with other young media professionals is simple. All you need to do is ‘LIKE’ SMG on Facebook and ‘Follow’ SMG on Twitter. Once you do that, you’ll have all the great articles, videos, event invites and much more delivered right to you. Click the links below to Join.