Emily Skye, named the third most influential fitness blogger in the world by Forbes magazine, shares her advice for building a brand online with Healthista
When personal trainer Emily Skye started blogging in 2011, she knew she wanted to be the most looked to fitness star out there. Six years later she has a following of over 13 million across Facebook, Twitter and not one but TWO Instagram accounts (@emilyskyefit and @emilyskyefitness). People from across the world love to hear about her day to day life in Queensland, Australia especially as she is currently expecting her first child with partner, Declan Redmond.
Sharing video workouts and health advice every day gained her popularity until she was able to sell online workout programme F.I.T plans to those serious about becoming as toned as the Australian. Now, she faces some serious income from a trainer line with Reebok in 2018 and her own makeup line.
But putting her life out for the world to see has been tough for the self-coined ‘sensitive’ 32 year old. ‘Everything I put out there is being judged and that’s hard for a human being to go through on such a large scale’, she says. Particularly now that she is pregnant, Emily finds people always have something to say. Her journey to motherhood has been both adored and criticised at every step as she has shared her workouts – which she has been given the all clear by her doctor to do. ‘I’ve had people say ‘you’re baby won’t live because you are exercising’. I’ve learnt not to listen to that negativity’, she says.
What Emily has focused on is sheer determination. ‘People have their dreams and they don’t realise what it takes to get there. When you’re working hard for years, day in day out, it can be really taxing and people give up thinking it can’t be done. I know it can, because I’ve done it’, she said.
So how, exactly, did she do it? We spoke to Emily at the launch of the new Lucozade Fit Water (of which she is fronting) for her best tips.
17 tips for building your brand online
Use your spare time well Getting followers and success takes time – it doesn’t happen overnight. I spent many years staying up till 3 or 4am creating content, doing collaborations with others and interacting with people across the world. I’m all about balance, but when you want something you have to be obsessive about it.
Know your goals I had the goal to be someone people look to to be inspired to be healthier and fitter. I had to keep reminding myself of that whilst doing the hard work.
Think quality, not quantity It’s not about throwing whatever you can online. It needs to be something that’s attention-grabbing and stops people as they scroll – ‘thumb stoppers’ as we call them. You’ve got to stand out. If I was to take a picture of a training shoe, I don’t think it’s going to get much attention. But me flexing, doing a workout or showing my abs will – and then you need to attach a message to it.
Get caption clever Underneath everything, I will always give value. I made sure I was putting content out there that people could relate to or become educated from. Not just a photo saying ‘look at me, look at my abs’. That wasn’t enough for me. It needed to be something motivational or informative explaining something about healthy eating or exercise.
Be relatable I’m human too so I’m going through the same things as other people. I make sure I let people in on that. The response reassures me that people do like hearing personal things.
Emily makes sure she is relateable
Listen to your audience I’m always thinking ‘what would I want to see?’ and gauging the response of my audience and customers as well.
Understand the different platforms I use Instagram as more of a personal blog whereas Facebook is where my business comes from and where I sell programmes. I also share my website posts on Facebook to direct traffic there.
Tell a story There are so many transformations out there. When I show my customers’ transformations, I think the story is the most important thing. For women doing my programmes, sometimes they gain weight but they are fitter and healthier and the story behind what they’ve been through, mentally too, is what matters more than their before and after visuals.
Use your own voice I most often post a photo of me and I’ll write something from experience. Maybe its dealing with negativity or, at the moment, things to do with pregnancy. Rather than regurgitate things from a book or someone else, I’d rather be able to say something because I’ve done it.
Teach yourself I do everything myself. I was always learning about things such as algorithms, analytics and how each channel is so different to each other. I film the workouts, I edit them on Premiere Pro, I take my own photos and use Photoshop. It’s been a big part of my success. Until you can hire someone to do that for you, sometimes better quality, you need to be across it.
An iPhone will do I studied photography so I can set a professional camera up on a tripod with a timer. But I don’t think that was a necessity – a lot of people start with an iPhone. Cameras on phones are amazing nowadays, if you can’t get good content with that, you’re just making excuses in my opinion. When you reach a certain point, you can buy cheap equipment such as lighting on Ebay.
Haters gon’ hate Sometimes someone has misjudged me and I get angry but hey, you can’t please everyone. Most of the time, the people out there waiting to jump and judge aren’t happy with themselves which is unfortunate. The only people’s opinions I value are clear professionals or my customers who give constructive advice.
Be an influencer, not influenced There are a lot of internet ‘experts’ out there. I only listen to my doctor and my own body when it comes to health. This is my journey and I trust my own decisions.
Consistency is key A huge part of growing my social media presence was the consistent videos I was putting out. It was important to make sure that every single day you’re posting good quality content. Workout videos are the biggest thing that grew my Facebook in the beginning. One of the first ones I did went viral with a reach of about 60 million. That was five years ago and back then pages didn’t have that sort of following. I realised people liked it so I committed to putting a video up every single day. I’ve done thousands now.
Emily posted her workouts on Facebook every day
Throw yourself in deep end I went through a lot of anxiety and depression years ago. I came out of it and still deal with it now. My mum’s very similar to me, but she’s sort of stuck in that place. I said it’s because I’ve thrown myself out there and got out of my comfort zone. I had to adapt and that helped my confidence. Humans like to feel comfortable.
Never compare: Do your research and look at your competitors but don’t compare. Find out what sets you apart and focus on it – don’t be a copy.
And lastly, work bloody hard!
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