An Influencer Introduction With Paige Backstage
Paige Backstage shares their favorite tools, how they grow their audience, how they find sponsors, and more.
1 of 12What question are you asked the most when you tell someone you're a blogger/content creator?
More often than I get a question, I get a look. It’s a very specific look that says “ummm I don’t think that’s a real job”. When I do get questions, they’re usually asking about how many followers I have or how you get paid for your work. I think it’s such a new industry still that no one knows how to react, but I’m hoping that in time they will.
2 of 12How do brands find you?
Brands usually find me through YouTube, or occasionally through Instagram. I always have my email address somewhere on each of my profiles. You never know how many opportunities you could miss out on just because you made it a little too hard for someone to contact you properly.
3 of 12Is there anything that you believe a brand should know before they begin reaching out to influencers?
I think the main disconnect right now between bloggers & brands is in regards to what kind of payment is deserved in exchange for our work. Often, we’re told that our pay is the free product sent to us in order to create the content… but that won’t cover rent or put food on the table. If you hire someone to take photos for your brand’s Instagram or create a promotional video for advertising, they would receive payment. We’re creating that visual content, writing a post, promoting it, sharing it with an engaged audience, SEO optimizing, sharing our personal testimonial, etc. There’s so much that goes into each post, and I think we need to build a stronger connection between brand & influencer to make sure everyone is getting what they need out of collaborations.
4 of 12What one tool for your content or your business can you not live without?
There’s a few that come to mind, but I’m going to say Adobe Lightroom. Some creators are incredible at having a cohesive aesthetic throughout all of their content. It’s something I’m working on, but I have more trouble with it. Some of the problem can come from the photos themselves, but Lightroom is great for making sure everything is edited in a similar way. If you create a preset and tweak it from there, you’re sure to have your photos look at least a little more in sync. I love VSCO as well, but Lightroom is a real lifesaver.
5 of 12How do you decide how much to charge a brand?
It depends on a ton of things. I charge more for videos because they take me a lot longer to put together, and my audience is bigger on YouTube so it reaches more people. But I also change my rates depending on if it’s a full sponsored post, a mention within a bigger piece, if it requires me to do anything above & beyond to complete it, etc. I also adjust my rates depending on the budget of the brand and how they plan to help promote my content. All of this is why I don’t have set rates; it makes way more sense to work something out on a case by case basis.
6 of 12What is the biggest challenge you face now that you have an established audience?
I think for me, one of the biggest challenges is fighting the voice in my head that says I’m not doing enough. It was enough to build my audience to this point but for some reason, my brain keeps telling me I have to do more in order to continue. Sometimes I spread myself so thin, I end up doing nothing at all… so not only am I not achieving more, I’m moving backwards instead. I’ll never be able to keep doing what I’m doing if I don’t shut that voice up, so it’s something I’m actively working on.
7 of 12What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome when starting out?
Starting out, my main issue was that my blog was considered a conflict of interest in my industry. If I want to get a job at a major record label or any other big company, I’d have to shut down my site & my channel. It was a real Sophie’s Choice, having to decide between the two things I loved and knowing I couldn’t have it both ways. I got some great advice from a coworker who reminded me that if you work for someone else, they can take away everything you’ve built at the drop of a hat. Working for myself gives me more control over my career, even if it’s less stable. I prefer it way more.
8 of 12How do you personally keep your content true to your voice while also delivering value to a brand?
I don’t take opportunities if they don’t fit with my content. I won’t take something just because it’s offering money if it doesn’t make sense. If I look at a proposal and draw a total blank on how to create something around it, it’s probably not going to be worth it for either of us if I force myself to make something that won’t end up meshing well anyway.
9 of 12What helps you maintain your motivation to continue creating content?
I’m really passionate about music and sharing it with the people around me. Having an outlet to do that without annoying the hell out of everyone around me has been really good for me. It’s also helpful to be able to look back and see which bands I was early to discover as I think it helps build credibility. I’m equally passionate about helping more young women break into the music industry because currently, it’s a real boys club. Occasionally I get messages from girls who have chosen a college program specifically to get into the music industry after reading my posts, and I literally cry every time. Knowing that my content might actually help fix a problem that I’ve been dealing with is so cool, and I want to keep writing to hopefully continue sparking the change I wish to see.
10 of 12What's the one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out in content creation?
Don’t do it if you don’t love it. There are some jobs you can do just for the sake of paying the bills, but I don’t believe this is one of them. At the beginning, it will probably be more of a hobby than a career, and you need the passion to get you through that and to actually appreciate it for what it is. Also, learn as many skills as you can to help yourself so you’re not constantly putting things off because you can’t afford to hire someone. Learn how to edit photos, do basic HTML coding, optimize SEO, use the Adobe suite… anything that will help you to move forward independently and not be able to make excuses when a road block pops up. Plus, it could turn into a way to make money on the side while you’re getting your own creator career going!
11 of 12What is your most defining piece of content in your opinion? Why?
It’s hard to say. I’m inclined to say my video about the bands I left behind last year around the #MeToo movement. I don’t feel comfortable supporting people in the industry who are using their platform to harm their fans, especially when there are so many other deserving bands/artists out there. I knew it would probably spark some backlash, but I shared my opinion because I would never want my audience to think I’m putting a band’s music over their safety. I got death threats, assault threats, all sorts of crazy reactions. But I spoke my mind because I knew it was true to myself, and because silence is complicity in situations like these. I think this was a defining moment for me as a content creator and really set the tone for who I am. My goal is to make sure women know there’s a place for them in the music industry, and I’ll take the backlash if it helps get that message to them.
12 of 12What brands would you most like to work with?
I’d love to work with some music festivals! I’ve flown to the UK for Reading Festival a handful of times and I’d love to be able to cover it in a more amped up way. I’d also love to be able to create more content with bands themselves that’s less like a standard interview and more like the content we generally create. Or maybe work with some brands that are music adjacent, like the Hard Rock Hotel/Cafe. I just want to stretch my legs a little bit and try out some new types of content. I don’t see a point in creating if I just do the same thing over and over again, so I’m definitely keeping myself open to new opportunities!