As someone who is known by “1984’s George Whorewell” by close to 100 thousand people, I personally understand how difficult it can be to determine an identity for yourself. How do you stand out from the internet (or real life) obscurity? By developing a bad-ass brand.
Background Information: I graduated from college in December (Go Pirates) and when I wasn’t blacking out at frat houses, I was living in paralyzing fear of never being able to pay off the student loans I took out to live my dream of alcohol poisoning and making out with boys who didn’t know my name on weekends. As a fashion merchandising major, we studied different brands and the idea of each brand having an identity and aesthetic was drilled into our brains for 4 years until it hit me- I could do that too.
Thus, my senior project, George Whorewell, was born. I had always had a twitter, but I decided to stop posting inside jokes at various degrees of drunkness, and instead turn it into my senior project that would determine if I would graduate- which convinced my parents I would not only fail out of college but fuck up my life forever. Could I convince not only random strangers to invest in me, the conductor of the hot mess express, but also employers?
The short answer is yes.
Determine Who You Are
I have always been a proponent of authenticity over appropriateness, and I wanted my brand to be an extension of myself. Going off of this, I wanted to write about the things that were important to me: Sex, Drugs, and Alcohol. Just kidding (kind of). I determined my core pillars of content to be: Feminism (aka: proudly being a slut and gender-egalitarian), Contemporary Issues (Depression, Global Warming, etc), and My Personal Life.
And so began my beautiful Sad Slut journey.
Creating A Culture
After figuring out “who I was”, I began producing content assuming that everyone would care what a random 23-year-old in bumfuck, North Carolina would have to say as long as it was funny. Surprise, that’s not how it works!!! After barely getting above an average of 4 likes per tweet, I decided to change strategies- aka, make people give a fuck.
I began searching for content I cared about using keyword searches, or even random things I thought were funny in Buzzfeed articles. I followed people who made me laugh and had the same core values as me religiously and brainwashed them into being my friends. Even now, I go through lengths to respond to as many comments and messages I can a day- find a common culture and support the people who support you.
After determining the culture you want to be a part of (in my case, “joke twitter”), be strategic with your content. Revisit the first step of what you want to post and your core themes. Research what’s trending in your niche.
I personally try to post 3 times a day on twitter and at least create 3 Instagram “stories” a day. Yes, this is exhausting, but that’s show bizz baby. If you’re struggling to create content, look at meme formats that are going viral, or topics people are talking about and incorporate them into your content.
You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just make sure it’s the roundest wheel ever invented.
Stop here if you just want to be an internet bad-ass. Read on if you want to be an employable internet bad-ass.
Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You
While it may not be fast, the steps above are a guaranteed route to eventually creating (some sort) of internet following. Keep in mind, your growth may be quicker, or slower than others just based on dumb luck. I was lucky enough to have a tweet go viral last August and have my following shoot up from 900 followers to 4 thousand in one day. No one likes to hear it, but sometimes it does truly boil down to dumb luck.
That being said, you can take your successes and make them much more valuable if you know how to leverage them. Growth of an account is not the end-all, be-all.
Know Your Engagement
Engagement is the metric that most brands and companies care about. Honestly, you can have the most boring, horribly cliche, local content ever and as long as your engagement is high, companies will want to work with you. Engagement is not just vanity metrics (likes and follower count) but instead is how many people interacting with your content.
This means you can have a follower count of 900, but if your posts are continually getting 100 likes, or going semi-viral (5 thousand plus likes), you can brand yourself as at least a micro-influencer within your niche. Brands WILL pay for this “influence” (and sometimes even give you free shit).
Convert This Into Applicable Experience
If you want me to sit here and tell you having an internet following doesn’t help your life or make it better, I can’t. By having so much exposure, I’m able to leverage the fact I produce content that resonates with a millennial target audience as a way for employers to take my content creation experience seriously- especially just being out of college.
But there are ways you can do this even if you haven’t gone viral yet.
Create a Portfolio
The internet is kind of like a gigantic high school- it’s all about who you know and how they know you. People think my tweets are funny all the time but don’t know I’m a copywriter for hire. Take the time to create a digital portfolio of your content so businesses can look at the strategy behind what you do. Include your highest performing tweets, their analytics, and why this content performed well.
Pimp Yourself Out
I am on every platform imaginable and cross-promote myself frequently because I never know where my next job is going to be coming from. Most recently, a great tool I’ve found is sharing content that does well (Tik Toks, Instagrams and Tweets) on LinkedIn and explaining why my content did as well as it did or sharing the strategy of why I wrote it the way I did to create such strong engagement. You can connect with me on LinkedIn here– commenting and connecting with others in your desired creative field is a great way to gain exposure, even if your account is still starting out.
If you’re struggling to find jobs or cross-promote your platforms, create content that works with your promotion. For example. When I’m going through a freelance dry spell, I post tweets about low wages, existential dread based on my job, or general job angst. This generally resonates and creates high engagement, so I promote my LinkedIn or portfolio underneath it- you never know who’s going to look at your content.
I’m happy to help- you can DM me on any of my social networks or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to give you any advice I can. Dumb bitches support dumb bitches.