HSC Influencer Series - with Mariann Yip
Veteran blogger, Mariann Yip has graced Insta-feeds around the world with her brand of fashion and lifestyle photography, sharing her insights and expertise on all things life in NYC and beyond.
Mariann now shares with us at HSC a little about how she got her start and how she’s managed to turn a humble blog into a thriving business.
You can find Mariann on Instagram at @mariann_yip or follow her blog at http://mariannyc.com/
How did you get started in blogging?
I started my blog May 2015 because I wanted a creative outlet and side passion
project. When I graduated college, I had a job right away and worked in
advertising. I felt like I was being an employee and I didn’t have anything to call
for myself. I always had an interest in fashion and social media so it was natural
to start my blog and share my style and interests on the platform.
How did you first reach out to potential clients? Has that process changed today? How do you go about finding new clients or do they find you?
To be quite honest, in the beginning I never actually reached out to clients.
Blogging for me was a hobby so I would collaborate with brands here and
there, but I never pitched myself until I quit my job this past February.
Building relationships is key and I realized this throughout the few years I’ve been
blogging. I always try to get to know a potential client by speaking with them at
an event, following up with them afterwards and then having a one one one
coffee or lunch date. I try to come up with creative ideas based on what’s
relevant to the brand. For example, if they’re launching a new product and it fits
with my brand, I would send them an overview of what I want to do and go
When did blogging switch from hobby to profession? Was it a moment or a
process? Tell us about that transition and how it felt.
I never thought blogging would be my fulltime career and I am extremely
grateful for it. The moment I realized this can actually be a business was when I
found out that I can monetize off it. I saw that advertising was changing from
traditional to digital and influencers were the forefront of this transition. I
decided to adopt a business mindset and saw my social media platforms as a
reflection of my brand so I was more careful in my content creation. I put more
effort into my photo shoots, and challenged myself creatively and realized
quality is better than quantity.
How has your previous work or training helped in building your business?
I studied public relations in college with a minor in fashion communications, so
this definitely helped me with my career. I also interned for fashion designers and
PR companies so I knew how to pitch myself because I was on the other side of
the spectrum. I knew what brands were looking for and I always try to think with
their needs in minds. And over time, I’ve learned negotiation, communication
and business skills with my email exchanges with brands and clients over the
What would you say is the strongest asset or skill that you posses and have
used to build your business?
I am very organized and disciplined and I think this has helped me with my
business because it’s easy to fall off track when you’re your own boss. I have
flexibility in creating my own schedule and if it weren’t for my self discipline, I
don’t think working for myself would be as successful. I’ve always been a type A
person so I am extremely organized when it comes to setting up daily and
weekly goals for myself.
In your opinion what are the vital skills needed to be a successful blogger?
If you don’t have passion for blogging, then you won’t be successful. You have
to love what you do and be in it for the right reasons. People think blogging is
easy but it’s actually a 24/7 job and there are so many factors that go in. I think
a successful blogger should have the basic skills including writing, editing and
communication as these are extremely essential in maintaining a blog and
interacting with your audience. Another important skill would have to be
creativity because you need to constantly be coming up with new ideas
whether it’s for a blog post, a photo shoot, etc.
You work with a lot of clients. How do you manage your workflow day to
To do lists and spreadsheets are my secrets to managing my workflow. I also
have a planner where I write my to-dos for the day as well for the week. I have
due dates written next to my projects, reminders for follow ups, starred emails I
need to get back to, etc.
Do you often work with the same clients again? How do you go about
building and maintaining those relationships?
Ideally, I like to work with the same clients because I prefer building meaningful
long term relationships with brands rather than one off projects with many
brands. Emailing and following up is how I make sure I keep the relationship in
tact. I also follow up on the company so if there are any news, I email them to
let them know I am in the loop. And of course, I always try to set coffee dates
every now and then to maintain the relationship and catch up.
What’s one vital tool or system that you use every day and couldn’t live
without (and you can’t say coffee…)
I would say my planner because I am very visual so I find that it helps me feel
organized when I write everything down. It definitely keeps me on track and
helps me complete all my tasks.
What is the hardest thing you've had to deal with as a blogger? Would you
have done anything differently along the way?
It might be surprising but there are still brands that don’t really understand the
scope of work that influencers do. It’s still a challenge when brands undervalue
me and I used to feel the need to defend my work but I now only work with
brands that believe and support me. Since the industry is so saturated and
there’s a lot of competition, it’s sometimes hard to stand out and think outside
the box, but I’ve learned to just focus on myself and not worry about others
because at the end of the day, this is my career and I need to put all my energy into myself and my work. The only thing I would have changed in the beginning is to be confident in myself and my worth. At the time, I don’t think anyone knew
how big influencer marketing would be so there were definitely brands that took
advantage, but I am also grateful for those experiences because it made me a
better business woman.
Any advice for budding bloggers?
Be authentic, be relatable and be true to who you are. People will relate to you
if you are honest with who you are and your interests. I would also advise to try
and build your own brand. Ask yourself who you are, what you want to do and
why. Instead of always trying to land partnerships, focus on building your brand
and image because that will get you farther.