Every month we do an insta-live interview with bad ass chicks who are killing it in the creative industries (if you didn’t know, now you do) so for those who missed out, here’s what we learned from this month’s insta-live babe Emily Murray from interior design blog The Pink House…
1. If you still haven’t found your calling, look for the telling signs
Emily grew up in a down-to-earth, outdoorsy family who spent their holidays on campsites rather than fancy hotels, but she always had a ‘guilty secret’ – she was obsessed with luxury! Growing up, her childhood bedroom and university dorm were a place to express her creativity and were always beautifully decorated, but it was a career in journalism that she initially pursued. After realising the only reason she wanted to go out for dinner was to take pictures and ogle at the restaurant interiors, it finally became evident her truest passion (interior design) had been under her nose the whole time.
2. Have a game plan
I spoke to Emily about setting goals, and how we have both set longterm goals that have veered off into directions we could never have imagined. Emily always had big dreams for The Pink House, which started out with a 2-year plan: she would start by growing her brand through her blog, and once it had built up enough of an audience she would introduce product and move into retail – but along the way a bunch of other cool stuff ended up happening. Moral of the story: if you’ve got the drive and an end goal, you’ll find your way to success (it’s just rarely through the route that you planned).
3. Be a man about it
Without sounding too anti-feminist, Emily’s best business advice is to man up. When it comes to matters of business, she always asks herself how the archetypal corporate businessman would do things. This rule as forced her to be up-front and no bullshit when it comes to business negotiations, and has clearly served her well. Interestingly enough, Emily said that rather than even acknowledging the gender pay gap or workplace inequality, she completely brushes past it. She already sees herself as equal to that corporate businessman, so why accept that inequality even exists? And when I asked her about being a mum? “Being a mum doesn’t EVER have to define you as a businesswoman!” I find that pretty refreshing!
4. Forget speaking to an audience, speak to one specific person
Rather than writing with a group of people in mind, Emily has fabricated a fictional character that embodies her readers. She even refers to this character as a ‘she’ and has written down all of the personality traits, likes, dislikes, hobbies etc that this person has. It means that her content is always written for the same person, it’s always personal and feels like she’s writing to her best friend. Emily also spoke about how magazines and blogs are often written for the same demographic, but where they differ is that blogs are relatable. You invest in the blogger, watch them grow and live a similar life to them. That’s why writing in a personal tone of voice is so important – detail is key!
5. Think of the bigger picture
I loved hearing about Emily’s Instagram strategy. Her best advice was to have a clear idea of what your content should look like, and make sure there is a clear aesthetic and strict brand ethos present in each post. She also said that it helps to look at your feed in squares of 9 – are they all going to look good together? Is there a diverse mix of content, aspirational and relatable?
On Instagram trends… Recently, I came to the conclusion that Instagram is a series of microtrends. First it was all about random pics of food/friends etc, then it became all about glossy brand images, and now it’s about creative, innovative content and real life stuff. Emily said that where her professional pics used to get her a tonne of likes and engagement, now her phone pics have taken over. People are starting to see through the gloss and high-res, they want the real story now!
6. You’ve got to think one step ahead to keep people’s attention
When Emily and I got onto the topic of Instagram Stories, she has some serious wisdom to share. Gone are the days of just taking videos of your nice lunch or sitting talking at the camera – you gotta take it to the next level! Emily storyboards her stories and treats them like a mini-documentary. How can you keep your audience engaged? How can you make them stay on your story instead of swiping to the next one? According to Emily, a big one is to make your stories work for sound-off. If people don’t want to turn up the volume, you’ve gotta give them subtitles so they can still watch. Make sure your story actually flows, so that when people accidentally find themselves on your story, they can’t help but watch it to the end!
7. You and your brand are separate entities
Similar to how I treat the NBBS, Emily treats The Pink House as a separate entity to her personal brand, even though they both live under the same umbrella brand. So rather than saying, ‘I’ve just launched new products’ she would say ‘The Pink House has launched new products’. Why? While it’s important to have a personable side to a business, in order for the business to grow, it needs to be all about the product and brand name rather than the person behind it. The brand is its own thing, you’re just the spokesperson for it.
Check out The Pink House X Sofas & Stuff new collection here!
8. If you want to grow your following…
Emily said it’s down to two things: introducing a product and collaborating with others. If you guys have read any of our other Insta-live articles then you’ll be noticing a pattern by now – its all about collabs and products/services if you want to turn your brand into a fully-fledged biz!
9. Do what works for you
There is no set path to success. Emily always had a goal in mind for The Pink House, but instead of starting with a product and using social media to promote it, she started with social media, and eventually got round to making a product. “I had to start somewhere, and words is where I wanted to start.”
10. It’s never too late to do what you love
Emily went from journalist, to full-time mum to influencer, and along the way she did stints in brand consultancy, PR and even spent some time as a Parkour stuntwoman! Though these things aren’t necessarily connected, Emily credits her success to being a jack-of-all-trades and being able to adapt and roll with the punches.