I'm so excited to be introducing this month's influencer to you. This second installment of our "Influencer Chat Series" will focus on style & travel, and we're going to be chatting with one gal that's shaking up the influencer space in both categories: Ashley Nelson of On the 10. Ashley has been a great friend of mine since 2014 when we met in New York while I was attending my very first Fashion Week in the city. She played an instrumental role in helping me get settled in the city when I decided to move there a year later to grow my blog by introducing me to several other amazing influencers who I'm still friends with today! Ashley (also a fellow Texan) has called New York home for several years now. She runs her blog full time and also has an impressive background in PR. She is driven, inspiring, and the perfect example of how hard work and determination can get you anywhere. I've always been inspired by Ashley's drive and passion for what she does, and know you will be too! Read on for more on ways in which Ashley balances both her full-time PR career in the city along with her website On the 10.
"I started On the 10 while in a full-time role as a managing director at a large PR agency."
Before starting On the 10, what were you up to professionally, what role did digital play in your job, and what were some of your goals and aspirations within your career?
I started On the 10 while in a full-time role as a managing director at a large PR agency. I had been in traditional PR at some of the world's largest, most respected agencies for a long time running major campaigns for Fortune 500 companies. During this time it was the start of the blogger/influencer world that we now live in, I was on the forefront of developing blogger campaigns and programs that we were trying to determine how to navigate this new space. It was exciting and allowed me so much growth in the digital marketing world that it drove my desire to shift from traditional PR to digital/social media.
Walk us through your day-to-day in the city. How do you balance both On the 10 and your career in NYC? What does a day in the life of an Influencer/PR, Digital Marketing, and Social Strategist look like?
What I love the most about what I do is that each day is often a different schedule, and it's rarely consistent. I may have a client shoot on Monday morning followed by three meetings for clients, and end it with two events for On the 10. I did find that when I first started to work for myself, I needed to get into a bit of a routine, so I made sure that I had some structure to my schedule when possible. For instance, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are reserved for in-person meetings in the city (I live in Brooklyn), and I have client calls scheduled for specific days. But regardless of what my schedule is, my days typically start around 630 AM (unless I'm working with a London based client, then they start MUCH earlier!) I've gotten heavily into meditation this past year, so I do 5 – 10 minutes of meditation before I start my day. Getting in the right mindset is important!
What made you want to start blogging, and where do you gather inspiration for On the 10? What are some notable moments within your blogging career so far, and what long term goals do you have for On the 10?
I started blogging shortly after attending the Alt Summit for work. I was having a conversation with a big blogger at the time, and she asked why I wasn't doing this for myself. I recall sitting there asking myself the same question during panels. I came home, started my site (now in its second life with a new name) and began blogging my daily outfits and happenings in NYC. Over time, my direction for On the 10 has shifted, but I've stayed true to who I am during the evolution. My biggest milestone so far was last year; I was interviewed by Women's Health where I had a print piece in their February issue. I also partnered with New Balance last spring for a women's campaign with Teen Vogue.
How did you first hear about PLANOLY? What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate PLANOLY within your social media strategy, and what do you love most about the app?
I was at a conference talking with a friend of mine who told me about this "new app that will change my life," I downloaded it, played around with it for about 5 minutes and quickly realized she was right. Scheduling my posts, adding hashtags, seeing the feed was a game changer not only for myself but my work with clients too. I use PLANOLY daily for both myself and my clients – it ensures that my clients are feeling good about their feed, we can also be reactive and add in links from influencers or retailers who have tagged the brand which has been huge for us to drop that link in to regram it!
You frequently travel for On the 10 with brands and are always jet-setting to amazing locations around the globe! Tell us a little more about what those brand partnerships are like, and what you enjoy most about being a travel blogger. What is the one key tip that you've learned along the way when collaborating with brands and doing sponsored content?
Stay true to who you are, what your brand is, and never sell yourself short. Know your worth. I could go on and on, especially as I oversee influencer relations for brands, so I live on both sides of this and speak from both influencer and brand side. I also know what my readers and followers resonate best with. If a brand reaches out that I don't feel will work for me, I simply decline. And if it's an agency, I let them know that I would love to stay in touch about other clients of theirs; because you never know what they work on or where they could go work at next, so build that relationship!
If you could advise any first-time bloggers, what would be your top tips for entering the influencer space?
There is so much I wish I had known! As we see, this space continues to evolve on a minute by minute basis, but I wish early on that I had fully understood the importance of SEO in ALL aspects of my site. I openly admit that I did not understand the importance of understanding it, and have now course corrected, but it took me a while to fix that. Once you've decided to get into being an influencer, it's important to get to know your audience and your posting times. When are they online? When are they active and engaged? Knowing this is huge! I also wish I had invested more time on Pinterest – this has been a huge traffic driver for me over the years, but initially, I wasn't investing time in Pinterest at all. It is now one of my highest trafficked platforms.
What are your top best practices and tips for influencers throughout their growth phase?
My biggest tips and advice for influencers who are just getting started are to:
- Build your brand
- Build your relationships
- Build your network
- Always be a good partner
Get to know your audience! Understanding your audience will only help you carve out the best practices, such as your posting schedule and when your engagement will be at it's best. I use PLANOLY to help me with monitoring the best posting times – this has been a tremendous help! Building and investing in all of these things will only pay off in the long run and help you establish yourself as a credible influencer.
To see more from our Influencer Chat Series, follow us through the hashtag: #InfluencerChatSeries on Instagram.