Don’t be afraid to make your own content, says the popular influencer.
One Toronto-based influencer has gained herself four million followers in four years, across multiple platforms, having risen above an already crowded arena.
The influencer (an online content creator) is a phenomenon that has been rapidly growing in the past half decade. They are countless, accruing millions, tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of hits and followers.
Valeria (pronounced Val-air-ya) Lipovetsky is now a popular content creator and entrepreneur, who developed her very own brand. Through a variety of online media, she informs and entertains her viewers on topics such as beauty, health and motherhood.
Together with her husband, Gary, they present paradigm lessons for many entrepreneurs: the patience to learn new technologies, and the ability to recognize the value of media for modern businesses.
Valeria Inc. was built from a modest start, and eventually found its niche, and success.
After a decade of in the modeling industry, Valeria believed video content creation to be the “natural transition.”
“I felt pretty comfortable in front of the camera. After I got my nutrition degree, I realized that I wanted to contribute the knowledge I had, on a larger scale. Social media just made sense for me. I didn’t think that being an influencer was an actual career,” she notes.
“I just did it as a side project, where I learned how to edit and upload, and all these small little things.”
She went from dabbling in YouTube to being a full-time content producer, when she and Gary – a former online media maven – decided to join forces using their respective talents. (Gary later began his own channel, Bestie).
It was a relief for Valeria, who no longer wanted to be “in a situation where I’m putting my success in other people’s hands.”
Like with any new beginning, the operation was a learning curve, as much on the technical side, as the business side.
“Back then, even pricing, and the way we work with companies, and usage rights, and creative control, all of these things I, as a model, never had any part of, because I was represented by middle people, like agents. That was a very interesting thing to learn – a lot of trial and error,” Valeria explains.
Today they are a fully-functioning media company, with a 25-person staff, working directly with clients and agencies.
With literally hundreds of videos produced, she received a hundred and four million views for her pregnancy transformation video; three million hits for their birthing vlog; over a million hits for Eight Instant Ways to Look More Attractive, and a half-million hits for Ten Weight Loss Mistakes.
How the product (the content) remains popular, and alluring to audiences, is all about knowing how or when to make adjustments.
“For us, it’s always being ready to pivot or change, because our industry is so dynamic, and changes so fast. It’s really feeling comfortable with the uncomfortable, every day,” she says.
Gary adds: “We can start doing things a certain way, and then a few weeks later, that content doesn’t hit anymore. So, now we have to change course. We have to constantly reinvent ourselves. That’s a weekly pivot we are doing – being constantly ahead of the game.”
One recent example was adopting TikTok: “we were a bit late to the game, and we should have been there earlier,” Gary notes, but now, they have amassed an audience of a million followers.
“Every time you start creating content for a new platform, it’s like starting all over again – not only from an audience development and growth standpoint, but also understanding what type of content resonates on that platform.”
Still another major shift, he says, was powering-up their e-commerce operation, which now consists of five employees that oversee their fashion and accessory line, Leia, her “tried and tested” line of shirts, sweatpants, and jewelry.
“Rather than taking the time to figure it out ourselves, we hired top people in the industry to do that.” It is a critical entrepreneurial lesson, he says.
An important idea he wants to impart, is how visuals and multimedia are increasingly vital to market a business, and he advises newcomers to the field not to be daunted by the challenge.
Admittedly, there are algorithms and analytics to become familiar with, “but at the end of the day, it is not this elusive thing, where you need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.”
He recommends to “start putting out valuable content, and leveraging your expertise, to educate people. If you do this, you will find through trial and error, what works, and what doesn’t work.”
Gary suggests to not be shy about sharing your knowledge online, in order to gain a solid reputation in your field.
The key, ultimately, is to be authentic: genuinely and passionately talk about your topic.
“This is a buzzword that goes around in the industry. As opposed to creating content that you think people want to consume, to ‘game’ the system; it’s just a losing battle,” he explains. That authenticity, after all, is one of the many reasons why Valeria has accumulated such a vast following.
Dave Gordon | Contributing Writer