Episode 139 | How to Grow a Successful Brand with Emma Cortes

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Grow a Successful Brand Using These Tactics

Are you waiting to launch your TikTok, blog, or Youtube channel until you've learned all there is to know? Do you know where to start with monetizing your brand? In this episode, Bree chats with Emma Cortes, of Emma's Edition, about her journey as a blogger and the valuable lessons she's learned along the way. If you want to grow a successful brand but don't know where to start, this is the episode for you!

How to Grow a Successful Brand

"The one thing I probably would tell anyone is that you're never going to be 100% ready. So just do it! Make the commitment. Make your TikTok account, start your Instagram posts, start the blog, because you'll never be 100% ready."

Discussed in this episode...

What is the number one thing you wish someone had told you when you were first getting started?

You're never going to be 100%  ready. So just do it! Make the commitment. Make your TikTok account, start your Instagram posts, and start the blog, because you'll never be 100% ready. And for Emma, at least, when she started during her senior year of college she was going through final round interviews for various companies. She knew she wanted a creative space, so she just start a blog. Where she feels like she could have done a bit better though is, that she waited about two years before really taking it seriously - because she didn't feel ready.

The thing is, you learn with experience. And if you are withholding yourself from taking those steps and experiencing what you need to experience, you literally delay that learning time. It's just better to step into it and learn as much as you can early on. Because the truth is, you're going to continuously learn and grow and evolve as a creator! Emma is not a new blogger anymore, but she is still learning every year!

The first 3 things Emma would do if she were starting a blog or social media account today!

1. Find a mission statement.

Define your mission statement, your purpose, your why. Really lay out why you want to create content for your passions, why you want to connect with a specific community, why you want to share your story; because of that mission statement! Actually define some overarching goals for your content plan and strategy. That mission statement also gives potential audience members a clearer understanding of who you are! Typically, a mission statement is one to two sentences. Just layout for yourself why you're starting.

2. Start to think about your target audience.

A lot of new creators really wait for that sense of community. Once you make that shift though, as a creator and as a blogger, everything changes. When you realize "Oh, yes, I'm creating content to express my passions and share my journey". But once you switch to a community-focused lens, it becomes much easier to grow your brand. And also, when you actually think about your target audience, you create better content for your audience. No matter what niche you're in, you're going to experiment with the types of content that your audience wants and will resonate with. But at least if you have a clear understanding of who that potential audience target audience is, it so much with your journey.

3. Define your idea of Success

Emma always brings up with creators (no matter what stage they're at) is define your idea of success. Because if you don't define that, it will be very easy to feel like you're failing every year.

If you're starting a new blog, and, for this example, we'll say you want to help people learn to take care of their house plants. If that's your overarching mission statement, then when the numbers fluctuate it's not devastating because no matter what, you're still helping your audience take care of their houseplants. By that definition you're doing a great job, you are fulfilling your mission statement, you are helping your audience. Emma likes to say to define your idea of success; whether it's consistency, it's money, it's what you do for your audience, maybe it's what you do for yourself. But really take that step back and say, "Okay, this is what success means to me"

What would Emma do to start making money quickly if she were brand new?

Assuming that you've defined your mission statement, know your target audience, and are posting consistently, now you're looking for ways to monetize. If you want to start making money as a creator, Emma has two pieces of advice!

1. Explore different revenue channels.

This is not new news; different creators have different revenue channels based on their strengths as a creator, their brand, what they're known for, and what their audience expects from them. Emma's advice is to explore and test out the different revenue channels and see what it's like. 

  • Affiliate links

If your audience is already inclined to ask what you're wearing, and where is it from? Or how is your house decorated? What brands are you buying? Then affiliate links might make sense.

  • Brand Partnerships

We could do a whole episode on branding or mentorships but join different influence platforms. Emma recommends Collectively, rewardStyle (LTK), AspireIQ. Start testing out what it's like to work with brands! You may find that you don't like working with brands. There are some creators out there who find it too restrictive and want to have full creative control. It's really important to test it out!

  • Digital or physical products

If your audience expects educational types of content or informational types of content, and they're asking you for tips they're asking you to teach them or to coach them. Maybe courses make sense! Maybe ebooks make sense. Or if you're very creative and you make candles, or you make your own earrings, and your audience is saying, "Where can I get this?" or "I want this unique piece!" Then maybe it's a good time to test out creating physical products.
Those are just a few different revenue streams we walked through, but there are many more you can do as a creator!

2. Set a financial revenue goal

Emma has so many creators come to her unhappy with how much money they're making. When asked what their revenue goal was for the year, they don't usually have an answer! So why is this important?

In growing a successful brand, it's important to set a revenue goal. You need to start thinking about what's realistic for your capacity, or where you're at as a creator. If you know that you want to make $10,000 this year, it's really important to define why you make money as a creator. Society has typically said money is a taboo topic, but it's important to define why you might want to make money as a creator. Do you want to pay down your debt? Are you paying off your car? Do you want to save for a house? All of these are amazing motivators for truly making that side hustle, or career into something.

Emma gives a personal example; in 2018 she was working her aerospace job full time, and attending graduate school full time in the evenings. She wanted to make $10,000 as a side hustle because she was learning, she had strategies and she had the excitement and belief that she could do it. Now, $10,000 sounded like a lot, but then she broke it down by quarter. That's $2,500 per quarter. From there she figured out how many partnerships would mean per quarter. Breaking it down even further her goal was less than $1,000 a month and felt more manageable because she could look at it in smaller increments. It worked and that is always her approach now! She sets a revenue goal every year and then breaks it down into quarterly goals that are achievable.

Additional Topics Discussed:

  • How did Emma determine her niche and content pillars?
  • Advice for cultivating a community around your brand.
  • Finding community for yourself as a creator!


Resources Mentioned

More about Emma Cortes:

Emma is a Seattle Content Creator. Her blog and Instagram Emma's Edition aims to inspire the modern woman to create, travel, and live life with style. As a fashion and lifestyle blogger, Emma share's everything from fashion trends to try each season to content creation tips. She loves sharing posing ideas, Instagrammable places, as well as her journey as a content creator. Emma also co-hosts the Content Creatives Podcast with her friend and fellow Seattle content creator Maddy from @madcrayy. Together they share how aspiring influencers and small businesses can discover, grow, and own their brand.


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