Branding Specialist and Side Hustling Success Kayla Hollatz Teaches You How To Be A Thought Leader
When it comes time to get serious about your brand, blog and/or business, there's Kayla Hollatz and then there's everybody else. Kayla helps "creative bloggers and entrepreneurs make a killer impression online with seriously actionable content," and "build organic communities with a pulse." How good is THAT?
What makes her so good is 1) Her buoyant personality that breaks through the written word and static visual (I mean, that smile! That energy!) on a webpage to make you feel as if she's in the room with you and 2) The expertise she's gleaned as a social media and media relations specialist at global PR firm Fleishman Hillard (if you're not familiar with Fleishman, they are the ones behind "It Can Wait" and responsible for this lil beauty empowerment ditty).
want to be seen as a leader in [their] field, the clear choice in [their] industry
are eager to turn [their] customers and readers into outspoken cheerleaders for [their] brand
have a knock-out product or service that's ready to be launched
want to build a passionate community that can’t help but swoon over [their] creative work
are ready to say hello to a brand that looks and feels like [them]
And she gets them there with actionable posts like 'How To Create A Comment Frenzy on Your Blog Post,' 'Twitter Chats for Creativeprenuers' and a step-by-step on "How You Can Benefit From Blog Jealousy;" and #createlounge, a weekly Twitter chat that brings in experts on to shed even more light on being the blogging, business-building, burgeoning badass that you are.
In an amazing twist, Kayla's also a poet, so if you're devoid of creativity, take a break from all your social media strategizing and mosey on over to her Tumblr for a creative reprise.
Since she's such a wealth of information, I thought it only appropriate to ask the important questions of this creative-business-minded brainiac.
Here are all the goods she shared. You'll want to absorb every bit. She's good. Real good.
What did you set out to create when you started your site and what void did you want to fill?
This is a really great question. When I first started blogging about a year and a half ago, I wanted to create an online resource for young public relations professionals, giving them the tools and motivation to build a fruitful career. But like any beginning blogger, I didn’t stay in one niche for long. I shifted and rebranded a few times in my first year in order to find the right fit.
It wasn’t until I launched my Twitter chat, #createlounge, in January 2015 that I started to realize just how much I had positioned myself as a community leader. It’s the one thing that stayed constant throughout each shift. Naturally, I ran with this and started to intentionally build my thought leadership platform as a builder of sustainable and organic communities and it’s been blast-off growth from there.
I actually started #createlounge to fill a void I saw in Twitter chats early on. I had been participating in chats for about a year and a half and although they were great, I couldn’t find any that were tailored specifically to creative bloggers and entrepreneurs. Now 10 months later, I’m so happy I took the leap into becoming a weekly Twitter chat host. It has absolutely been my most successful brand decision thus far.
How did you set yourself apart from the rest and become a blogging success in such a short time?
Thank you, that means a lot! I’m willing to go above and beyond for my community and I think that’s what has helped me stand out. Need help with your vision? I’ll jump on a video call with you. Need feedback on your new website design or copy? Send over the link and I’ll give you some love and advice. It’s all about going that extra step to make a lasting impression.
You describe yourself as a multi-passionate online presence and community strategist. How did you develop the confidence and courage to start your own site/business that fulfilled all your creative interests?
Funny enough, it actually came from the confidence I gained after posting my poetry online. Poetry is one of the most vulnerable art forms there is. Posting my poetry publicly for strangers (and friends!) to read was a bit nerve-wracking at first, especially with being an introvert, but as I heard stories from people whose lives had changed no matter how small from my words, my confidence in my writing style in all forms grew. I knew if I could share my poetry, I could share just about anything, so that’s what I did with my site that has now grown into a side hustle.
You recently went through a transition with the blog, specifically tied to shifting your monetization game plan midstream. What did you learn in that process and how did your site/business change for the better?
Great question! With launching myself into monetization, I thought initially starting with a passive income product like an ebook would be a great way to share actionable content while fitting well into my hectic work schedule. The more I developed the product, the more I felt a disconnect because I hadn’t launched the “mothership” part of my brand: working one-on-one with creative bloggers and entrepreneurs on community building. I knew that needed to come first, regardless of my fears.
When I refocused on the bigger vision, I decided to table the ebook project for a while so I could first launch my consulting services. What became difficult was that I had already announced that I would be publishing the ebook a few months earlier. Instead of taking down the announcement page and hoping people would forget I had ever said anything, I took it as an opportunity to write a transparent blog post saying “Hey, things are shifting and didn’t work out as I had originally planned, but that’s okay.” It was really liberating. After lining up some clients pre-launch, I know it was the right decision.
What has been the best advice about the business of blogging that you've received so far and who shared it with you?
Branding designer, #createlounge regular, and one of my closest blog besties, Devan Danielle, has been instrumental these past few months in giving me fuel to launch my business. While she has had many great pieces of advice, one that will particularly stick with me is “When you take a stand, you may turn some people off, but it’s worth it to turn the right people on.” I can sometimes fall into the habit of being a people pleaser so it’s great when Devan reminds me that when you’re building a platform and voicing your opinions, some may not agree, but the community you’ve built that agrees with you will draw even closer to you. That’s what matters.
What's a fun fact about you?
You wouldn’t know from my headshots online, but I’m ridiculously tall at 6’. It really comes in handy at live concerts.
Get. Out. That IS a fun fact! Reveling in a relationship, single and loving it, or Tindering?
Single and loving it! Patiently waiting for someone to take on the world with.
Yassss, girl. That's the only way to do it. And what can you never leave home without?
I know everyone says this, but my phone is my life line. I check into Twitter more than I’d like to admit… That and a notebook since I’m a bit old school too.