What’s Your Angle?: Follow Up To Our Conversation At Create & Cultivate

Last weekend I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the "What’s Your Angle?" panel at Create & Cultivate in Dallas.

The conference series aims to empower and inform women entrepreneurs in the digital space. It was an honor to speak more about my experiences in defining The Style Line’s point of view and having that translate into our client work at CONNECT(ED)ITORIAL. Below are a few points I mentioned/spoke more on with my fellow panelists, as well as a couple of ideas that will help lay a solid framework for developing your angle. Keep in mind that all of this is a process…

Build a community, and in tandem You'll build a business

The most important discovery I’ve made in building The Style Line is to never compromise community for business (and of course vice-versa). In an increasingly connected age it’s crucial to establish a two-way dialogue and incentive for your customers/readers to continue engaging with your brand. Never lose sight of the value that comes with creating a core-base of people that will help inform your decisions, next steps and of course, brand development.

Social Media is not your business, it’s supplemental

In addition to speaking on the panel I also participated in four mentoring sessions, where interestingly one of the biggest questions I was approached with was this: “I want a bigger social following. How do I do that?” With the rise of terms like “influencer” and “social monetization” it’s easy to assume that putting all of our eggs in the Instagram basket is the way to go about cultivating an online influence. For us, it’s been the opposite. We put our dollars and our attention on our core product, (The Style Line as platform that is independent from any one social network), and use social media as a way to further amplify the content. Despite being a digitally-driven business remember that social media isn’t going to start out being your main source for revenue, rather a tool to help drive people back to your primary platform. It may be considered a slower approach to growth, in the grand scheme everything will align.

Always consider the big picture

Speaking more to the previous point, only you can assess what works best for your business based on data and response from your community. As much as we’re conditioned to believe so, building a business is not a uniform process - what works for one may not work for another. Look at what’s happening within your market and based on what you see, find opportunities to improve upon what your competitors or peers may not be capitalizing on. In a sense it’s important to put on the blinders and focus on what longevity means for your business and respective goals. Trends come and go but always be sure to keep pushing your business’ core values and strengths. That’s what will get people to come back and stay.

Create a sense of tangibility

In digital we’re seeing the introduction of crazy new technology and methods that truly cater to our globally-connected age. From virtual reality to an increase in video content, I’ve personally learned how important it is to create experiential content that not only tells a story but provides a very authentic and intimate point of view for the reader/customer. We personally do this by investing in original/exclusive content that our readers can’t get anywhere else and advise this as a good first step for all new online businesses. Set the standards high early in the process.

Consider if there is enough room

The panel closed with the question, “Is there enough room for everyone?” and followed with a quick and collective agreement of, “No.” Well, I’ve always been a glass-half-full kind of thinker, and while aspects of this may be true, consider this an opportunity to take your brand’s story/point-of-view one step further. My thought process is that most people start a business with an intrinsic belief that it will work and/or will solve a problem that’s not being considered already. Stay true to that courage and if you find yourself questioning things along the way, you can always pivot. Flexibility and fearlessness will add some moxie to your story!

No matter where you’re approaching it from, storytelling is king and before indulging in the digital bells and whistles that help tell your story (what’s the point of virtual reality, when you’re still shaping your reality?), it’s more important to understand how to get there in the first place. To me that discovery is one of the most exciting aspects of building a solid brand, and of course community.