Are brands working with influencers effectively? The Slimming Foodie

Today we caught up with Pip Vincent, AKA the Slimming Foodie,  the Winner of 'Best Food Blog' at the MAD blog awards 2016 and Finalist in Food category at Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2017, We wanted to understand how Pip started out, her views on the industry of Influencer Marketing and what the future holds for her as a blogger / influencer! 

 
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Could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you started to build a following?

After my 2nd daughter was born, I joined Slimming World because I wanted to lose my baby weight. I was trying to find a Facebook page with good recipes that were Slimming World friendly, but I couldn’t find one so I set up my own and started just sharing what I was cooking every night- just a picture of the meal and how I’d made it. After I’d been doing it for a couple of months I thought there had been a glitch on Facebook as my followers started going up really quickly- about 1000 a day! The popularity of the page kept on so I decided to start the blog, to share all of the recipes and make them easily searchable. It grew from there- I knew absolutely nothing about blogging or social media before I started but I’ve absolutely loved learning about how it all works and developing my channels- it’s such an exciting industry because it’s so new, and there aren’t any rules- the world’s your oyster!

 Is this something you do full-time?

 Yes, I do it full-time now, although I fit it around my daughters so I work during school days, and don’t have much time in the holidays!

What sort of content do you create and what content works best with your audience?

 I’ve always been passionate about good food. I focus on making great tasting recipes that are accessible to the average person- not difficult to source or stupidly expensive ingredients, and not complex to cook. There’s a focus on being healthy, cutting down fat or sugar where possible, and trying to include healthy ingredients, but in a realistic way- meals that you could eat every day for the rest of your life- no fad diets or trends that don’t work in the long-term. Some of my most popular recipes are for meals that might be typically unhealthy if you bought them in a takeaway or as a ready meal (eg. chicken tikka masala, or chicken chow mein) but my recipes are both easy to cook at home, and also healthy! My audience loves a fakeaway, but also a new idea- for example replacing the pastry part of quiche with a sweet potato crust.

What would you define Influencer Marketing as?

A brand collaborating with an influencer in order to create a marketing message that will appeal to that influencer’s engaged audience.

What brands have you worked with so far? How was it? 

I’ve only worked with brands who value what I have to offer (and are willing to pay for it!) and therefore I have had really brilliant experiences so far! some of the brands I have worked with are: Tefal, Frylight, Iceland, Nandos, Sonos, Lee Kum Kee, Naked Noodle, Alaskan Seafood, The Mushroom Council, Maryland Cookies, Pink'n'Whites, The Saucy Fish Company and lots more!

How do you think Influencer Marketing will evolve over the next 12 months?

I think that it will continue to burgeon, that newer influencers will become more savvy about disclosure, and I hope that brands will continue to get on board with, and see the power of influencer marketing.

How has the Influencer world evolved since you began?

I think the market has become a lot more flooded, but I also think that many brands have stopped trying to get influencers to market for them for free, and realised the value in paying proper rates for the influencer’s expertise and audience.

How do you feel brands are working with Influencers?

All the brands I have worked with have been fantastic, they are open to suggestions and trust that I know my own audience. Unfortunately there are still many brands who think influencers should be a free resource for their marketing activities, or PRs who have not discerned the difference between a blogger (who will expect to be paid for their time and access to their audience), and a journalist who is typically on a salary from their publication so does not need to be paid for exposure.

Have you seen any brands that you feel are doing great work with Influencers? 

Iceland works brilliantly with influencers, I think their strategy has been very clever.

How do you balance your online life with offline?

It’s not easy, as it’s not something that has set hours, and there is so much involved with running a blog and social media channels- plus many campaigns are quite last minute! I try to stay away from my phone once the girls are home from school and concentrate on them! It’s definitely a juggling act, and hard to switch off! I always try and respond to potential clients quickly so I’m always contactable by email.

Which influencers inspire you and look up to?

One of my favourite influencers is Hayley from Sparkles and Stretchmarks (http://www.sparklesandstretchmarks.com/) - she really writes from the heart and tackles taboo subjects. She also writes brilliant posts for other bloggers about working with brands, and shares lots of info about how she makes a full-time income from blogging. I’ve also become more and more interested in photography and creating beautiful looking content and so I love to follow influencers who have beautiful Instagram feeds such as Twigg Studios (https://www.instagram.com/twiggstudios/?hl=en).

If you could work with any brand, who would that be?

I’d love to work with Waitrose, and Cath Kidston!

Tell us something about you that people might not know?

I live in a converted Victorian psychiatric hospital! 

What’s your favourite social platform and why?

At the moment it’s Instagram, I love creating attractive images, and I love the genuine interaction on there. I really enjoy using stories, and again, for brands I think it’s where the best organic engagement lies. I used to love Facebook, but the newest algorithm has really strangled my organic reach and I’m finding it frustrating!

Where do you want to take your career as an Influencer?

I want to be able to keep this as my full-time job, and stay on the cutting edge in terms of content and strategy- ultimately I would love to have a cookbook too!