The influencer journey and content creation with Vanessa Chilimanzi
Vanessa Chilimanzi is a Zimbabwean blogger, currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is also a small business owner and a self published digital marketing author.
How did you get into blogging and at which point did you realize you have become an influencer?
In all honesty, I find it difficult to refer to myself as an Influencer. Maybe it’s because of the negative connotation the title carried initially. I like to think of myself as the girl next door who shares her life with an online family and I happen to get paid to share some of the things I genuinely love.
I realized I was regarded as an Influencer in February of 2017 when the Spree marketing team reached out to me for a collaboration. Back then I didn’t know people got paid to post stuff online. I was blogging out of pure love for fashion. So obviously when I was offered a handbag in exchange for a post I was over the moon and without hesitation I agreed to the terms of our one post partnership. I started blogging in December of 2015 and the 2nd of December 2020 marks 5 years since I published my first blog post :)
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced on your influencer journey?
Besides chasing brands for payment, I would say staying true to self when you start gaining an understanding of your social media stats. Knowing that your online family prefers certain types of content makes it a bit difficult to create because as much as we create out of love for the craft we have to maintain ourselves and pay bills. However, I have found a way to balance the preferred content with my preferred content.
I don’t solely create for other people’s consumption, I have to be happy with the posts I publish in order to stay creative and true to myself because I started this thing with zero audience and the following I have now came because I have always been myself.
My health is more important than securing the bag
You have a Podcast, YouTube and a blog, how do you manage to have consistent content for these while some are struggling with one platform?
The truth is I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t struggle with inconsistency in this industry. As organized as I am, I don’t manage to stay consistent on all platforms. At the moment my podcast hasn’t had an upload in two weeks, before that I had abandoned my YouTube channel for 5 months but I’m back on YouTube now, YAY!
Content creators are human beings and as long as they do not have a team of people they delegate work to, inconsistency will always exist one way or another. Personally, I minimize inconsistency by planning ahead. Eventually when fatigue hits, I let myself rest and if that means I don’t post anything for a month, so be it. My health is more important than securing the bag. If I’m unhealthy I won’t get to enjoy the money so I might as well be healthy enough to continue going on those brunch dates with friends. Lol
Having worked with so many brands, what would you say has been the secret to clinching these collaborations?
I believe that I have managed to work with some of these brands because I made the first move. I introduced myself to them because I genuinely loved their brand or they reached out to me because they felt I was a perfect fit for their brand. I’d like to believe that constantly improving the quality of one’s work also helps.
You recently published an influencer guide, what can people expect to get out of the book?
That book teaches Influencers how to navigate the world of Influencer Marketing. I share everything I have learnt in this Industry with the main focus being Instagram monetization, growth and engagement.
What advice would you give to someone new in the blogging space?
Be yourself. It might not be the easiest thing at times but stay true to who you are and don’t try to rush the process.
Share at least 3 bloggers you keep visiting, for inspiration.
- Shirley B Eniang : http://shirleyswardrobe.com/
- Monroe Steele: http://fashionsteelenyc.com/
- Kefilwe Mabote. https://www.instagram.com/kefilwe_mabote
Which books are on your bookshelf?
Currently, I’m waiting to gift myself, A Promised Land, by Barack Obama for my birthday this December.
What does blogging success look like to Vanessa?
Since my blogging started solely as fashion, a luxury clothing line for the everyday working woman is the final destination for me.