In this Spotlight Feature, we had the pleasure of speaking with a beautiful, young lady, Alana Hebenton, from Portsmouth UK, who shared with us her journey into blogging, photography, and funny dating experiences. She has been an ongoing inspiration to her close friends and family which has driven her to start blogging about a variety of topics.
Hear what she has to say about how she first got into blogging which also led to an amazing opportunity to write for a known local Wedding Photography company in her area. In addition to her diary, she also shares with us her funny past dating experiences (read all about it on her blog, they’re hilarious!), and her advice for those aspiring to becoming an influencer just like her!
What first sparked your interest starting your blog? How and what got you interested in photography and especially wedding photography? What topic do you most enjoy writing about?
Alana: I’ve always loved writing, telling stories and when I was little, I dreamed of becoming a journalist. However, it was a holiday diary, written by my mum that first inspired me to start a blog. She’d just been on this amazing holiday across America and she’d kept a diary so she would remember everything her and my dad did. Not long after, my sister and I were going on holiday and she said I should do the same. I loved writing the diary so much, I decided to share it on a blogging platform and after receiving some positive feedback from friends and family I wanted to write more. My blogging then took a wedding focus when my sister got married and her photographer put an advert on Instagram saying she was looking for writer to blog her weddings. Based on my travel blogs my sister put me forward and I got the job. I now write about everything from holidays to work to my relationship. I don’t have one favourite thing to write about, just as long as I make one person smile, it’s worth it.
Do you have an interesting/funny dating disaster story you’d like to share?
Alana: Being on the online dating scene for nearly five years, I had a lot of funny/interesting disasters! Thankfully, blogging was very cathartic, because I always knew however bad the date was, at least I’d get a good blog out of it. I think one date that particularly stands out was with a guy I referred to in my blog as a “sharkophile with a tickling fetish.” It had all been going so well until he got a little bit too excited about watching this shark film I had. The date then got worse when he asked me to tickle his hand during the film…because his mother used to do it! You can read the full dating experience here.
When did you start incorporating blogging / social media, and what was your motivation for getting started? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with those that are looking to follow in similar footsteps? Is there one particular platform you feel you are able to make more of an impact on?
Alana: I’ve always shared my blogs on Facebook as it was the quickest way to tell my stories to my friends and family. As my blogging has developed so have the social media channels I use so I now also use Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and I’ve just started using Pinterest to promote my blogs. As I don’t have a massive following, I find I get most engagement from my Facebook friends and in Facebook blogging groups.
Do you see yourself as an influencer, and if so, what does that mean to you? If not, how do you see yourself making an impact in this community (state the community you feel that you are making the most impact in)
Alana: I’m still a relative newbie when it comes to social media and blogging and would definitely class myself as a micro influencer. However, my main bit of advice to people would be to firstly enjoy what you do and be authentic. Users will soon realize if you are trying to be something you’re not and if you don’t enjoy it, maybe you should be doing something else. Also, while I understand blogging is a very competitive industry, with more and more bloggers coming out every day, I think it’s important to support your fellow bloggers and engage with your peers. If you do this, you will get good blogging karma which will help boost your platform.
Where do you see the world of ‘influencers’ in the next 5-10 years? How do you see this space evolving?
Alana: As brands become savvier to influencers buying followers and likes, I think they will start to realize that sometimes less is more. With this we will then see a rise in the micro influencer over the next few years. Many influencers buy fake followers, so their engagement rate is low. On the contrary, micro-influencers have less followers but they work to maintain personal bonds with their audience. Therefore, their posts get higher engagement. Unlike popular influencers who have a huge following on social media, micro-influencers are more reasonably priced. Micro-influencers will rule the future of influencer marketing.
On the flipside, for brands with bigger budgets I also see in 5-10 years the rise of CGI influencers. CGI influencers are influencers who are created with the help of computer-generated imagery. Manufactured in the virtual world, programmers and designers work for hours to create each scene from a CGI influencer’s life. On their social media channels, CGI influencers can be seen posing at exotic locations. CGI influencers are becoming increasingly popular for brands because they allow brands to completely control how their products are advertised. The unpredictability that comes with real-life influencers can be avoided.
What is your ultimate goal for yourself – professional and/or personal?
Alana: To write a book!
Tell me about a time when you really impacted someone’s life with your projects. What was the result?
Alana: I like to think that I have small impact every time someone reads one of my blogs. Just recently, with current health climate, I’ve put a real focus on positivity in my blogs and how to keep a good head space during these uncertain times. When I’ve shared these blogs I’ve had lovely comments and I hope that in some way I’ve made my readers’ lives a little happier.
What is the one piece of advice you can give to empower women?
Alana: If someone compliments you, thank them and hold on to it, even if you don’t believe it at the time. Use these to fight against those negative thoughts that always creep into our heads when we are our most low. We must remember and praise our strengths and not waste time holding on to the insults.
Alana is truly inspirational and putting a positive focus in her writing during the current health crisis is a impactful and humbling feat. We wish her much success and are rooting for her and her future book publishing goal! If you would like to contact Alana with any questions, collaborations, or even photography hire, feel free to reach out to her via any of her social accounts below:
Alana’s Website: https://alanahebenton.wordpress.com/
If you’re interested in reaching out to Alana directly, message her via her Instagram!