Up in the Clouds With Jenn Cloud
Just Go Right In and Do Your Best
Jenn Cloud, freelance Videographer, and former spokesperson for Young & Free St. Louis for Vantage Credit Union, learned through many obstacles, how to become a social media wiz and master personal branding. She graduated college in 2008, when the economy was doing horribly, and of course it was difficult to find a job. After trial and error, she was forced to go back to her hourly-pay job at the Cheesecake Factory, which is where she decided she was going to take a leap of faith and do what she loved.
“Get in the cockpit and take control because we’re all counting on you,” is what Cloud advised the class. She had to start from scratch and learn how to put herself out there, and show credibility to future employers in hopes of getting hired. She said, “To set yourself apart, take blogging seriously.” One of her big starts was becoming the spokesperson for Young & Free St. Louis, and her ability to have an active presence online made her stand out among the other candidates for the position. For a whole year she was the key content creator for Vantage Credit Union in order to get young adults between the ages of 18-25 to sign up with their bank. Some of her duties included making appealing videos, blogging, and visiting events.
Now that she’s freelance, she still continues to go to different events around the St. Louis and surrounding areas, to build connections, and to stay on top of what is happening. When you stay on top of trends, you stay relevant. She also spends a lot of time volunteering, because it shows she cares about something, and as a brand, it shows loyalty and trust. Clouds currently is doing a lot of work with cat rescue group, Tenth Life. Those two elements also help your audience connect to you and as Clouds said, “Make them love you.”
We learned all throughout this class to live out your brand, and not just save it for the internet. Actually physically putting ourselves out there, we can achieve this. It is required to blog because it is meant to set us up to being comfortable with our online presence and know how to create the best blog for our brand that we can. This practice is to help us when it comes time to sitting with our potential boss and having to successfully sell ourselves with more than just a piece of paper of achievements.
Mistakes Don’t Keep You From Succeeding
Clouds is no stranger to embarrassing ones self. The reason behind sharing all of her fails, was to be a live example for us to see that when you mess up, it does not mean the world is over and you’ve entirely screwed up any chances of doing your dream job. “Messing up doesn’t put you back, the next step will always be a greater one than before,” Clouds reassured the class. She had her fair share of stories from when she was told she looked naked in front of a large group of people, to completely misinterpreting the interview for the Young & Free St. Louis spokesperson position (which we all know how that ended).
She reminded us that mistakes make us a person and that you have to work really hard to get where you want to be. It’s easy to hear that, but to hear it from somebody who shared many stories of failure, made the advice a lot easier to swallow. “Overtime you have to learn your own weaknesses and get better,” Clouds reminded us.
It’s easy to want to become a big star overnight, and sometimes it seems like some people did, but that is just a mirage. What it seems like the biggest concern for the class is, is how to get a lot of followers and fast. We’re inpatient, but it won’t happen as fast as we would like it to. Overtime you have to build yourself on social media, and produce quality content. Clouds didn’t become as popular as she did without having to try out different jobs and mess up a few times along the way.
Find Out Who You Are As a Person
“Be honest and realistic as you develop your story.” Part of what made Clouds appealing as a person to listen to and follow on social media, was the fact that she acted exactly like she does online -spunky, energetic, and clever. Even just the way her appearance was fit her brand, with the bright red hair that made her stand out. She told the class, “The more realistic and honest you are, the happier you’ll be.” She of course, was beaming with happiness. Plus, there is less stress to try and think outside of your natural element if you’re already acting how you are online, how you are in real life.
“Ask other people what they think of you. There’s no bias, and you see what people really think.” Luckily for this class, we were assigned to do just that, which personally helped with being confident in the brand we want to portray. We found out that we are already fitting the brand we are pursuing to be. Although, she reminded us to constantly do it, because it helps us stay on top of living out our brand.
One rule that she has for herself and encouraged us to have for ourselves, is to be fearless. Try something new, do something that scares us, and don’t hold back. No matter what niche you’re going for in a blog, there will always be something that you will have to do that will take you out of your comfort-zone. If you want to do a blog on decorating dorm rooms and you’re a female, it might take you out of your element to do blog posts for men. If you are an animal activist blogger, it might scare you to actually visit a slaughterhouse and interview someone. No matter what, if you aren’t putting yourself out there, you’re not doing your job, and aren’t providing quality content. Cloud’s favorite quote that everyone should always keep in mind is from the late Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do something everyday that scares you.”