Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
Em Sheldon, founder of award-winning fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog EmTalks, on covering everything a woman could want, the brands she'd most like to work with and why honesty is key to a PR relationship.
You started your blog at University to write about what you got up to on a day to day basis. How has your blog evolved and what is its main focus today?
My blog has evolved in the sense that I no longer take my photos on an iPhone for a start, ha-ha! It started off being called adayinthelifeofems, with me talking about my day. I then decided to rebrand as EmTalks when I won the Cosmopolitan Best Newcomer award and I’ve never looked back.
I like a lot of things, I am a very passionate person and I wanted to tell people what I’m talking about and what I’m loving. I really didn’t want to give myself a niche and feel like I can only talk about one topic - life is too short!
I’d say today, EmTalks' main focus is lifestyle, so everything that people love rolled into one. Whether that’s me talking about the latest and best new beauty treatments, the best new luxury hotel or showing off some new trends. Or it can be just taking my readers on a little stroll with me through a cute little city.
I want EmTalks to be a little bible for everything a female could want really, but also a way to escape and just get lost whilst reading. I do tackle quite a lot of personal topics too, such as my experiences with self-confidence and more, and they go down really well to because it’s real and no-one can be Instagram filtered every single day!
What do your stats look like?
I currently have more than 50,000 unique users per month, over 200,000 monthly page views, more than 30,000 Instagram followers and around 13,000 Twitter followers.
How would you identify your readership today?
I would say my readership has grown in terms of stats since I started, but I still have loyal readers who were there from the start, which is so nice. I’d say my readers are females with a love for travel, fashion, general wanderlusting and beauty. I guess just the every-day-girl who likes a touch of luxury and to be pampered or, to just explore. I like to see my readership as friends, I’d love to get them all in a room and just have a big old pamper session and drink lots of hot chocolate.
What does a typical week look like for you?
No week is the same. I’ve been hopping on planes left right and centre, which is great fun but exhausting! Generally though, when I am around, I wake up and always do my emails first. I love doing my emails in bed because then I feel like I can get up and I’ve already accomplished one task.
I then make myself a nice big bowl of oats (breakfast is such an important meal so I never skip it, ever!), I head to either a spinning or yoga class and then try to fit in a sauna and steam room session too, then it’s back to the emails, content creation and also running my online store, LVNDR. I tend to spend at least one day per week in London too. I really try to factor in some me time because I do work a lot, for me, my ‘me time’ is the gym!
How often do you post new content on the site?
Sometimes it can be daily, but generally it’s every other day just so it gives people time to catch up. It completely depends on the day, on how I’m feeling and on my schedule really!
How would you describe the mix of content on the site?
I’d say its fashion, beauty, travel and fitness all rolled into one, for example, here I am in the Bahamas, wearing this outfit which is great for the beach, these are my must-have travel beauty products and these are some great exercises you can do whilst away. I think it’s nice that everything fits in together.
How important are images on your site?
Images are really important. People are so much more engaged when things are visual. My travel posts tend to be particularly photo heavy because sometimes the only way to tell someone how amazing a place was is to show them the photos. It’s the closest someone can get to actually being there with you in that moment and I absolutely love it when people say they feel like they experienced a trip with me. A photo can paint a thousand words.
Which brands resonate best with EmTalks?
I feel honoured that recently I’ve been able to work with Topshop and Adidas, two of my all time favourite brands. In the future, it would be amazing to have the chance to work with Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs (another two of my favourite brands), Mulberry, Love and Lemons, and Burberry fashion. I am open to hearing about exciting new brands too though! The online world has opened up so many doors and it isn’t just about famous household names anymore.
What brands have you worked with and how successful has that been?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with such a variety of brands, including Malaysian Airlines, Topshop, Adidas, Urban Decay, Kiehl’s, ASOS and more. It’s so great to be taken seriously and to have such a great, exciting relationship with such incredible companies.
How would you describe your relationship with PRs?
I think I have a very good relationship with PRs. I love to be introduced to new brands, new people and gain new opportunities and experiences, so there really are so many benefits of working with PRs.
Relationships are very important. You tend to get more exciting opportunities if you actually go out and meet someone rather than hiding behind emails. I also think honesty is important. I am always honest in my approach to working with PRs, so if I don't like something, I'll say so.
What opportunities are there for PRs?
Bloggers have a very large voice and a very large audience, they can make or break a brand within seconds (hopefully never the latter!) and I just think it’s so exciting that we are using our voices in positive ways, to tell people about great experiences and opportunities etc.
PRs can work with bloggers in so many ways, whether it’s launching a new campaign, becoming the face of a campaign, modelling for a brand, creating content, writing reviews or trialling new products. The list really is endless.
What should PRs keep in mind when approaching with a pitch?
That for many of us, blogging is a full time job and, unfortunately, a lot of work for no return doesn't pay the bills!
What’s the best way for PRs to send products?
I’d always love an email conversation first but it’s nice to get a surprise delivery when I least expect it.
And finally, what’s your favourite cocktail and ice cream flavour?
My favourite cocktail is a raspberry mojito and my favourite ice cream flavour has to be cookie dough!
Em was talking to Gorkana's Matt Peake.