WELCOME TO MODELING 101!!!

There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Branding & Modeling Pt V: Quality & Content Creation

Notice the title of this latest post in the mini blog series is "Quality & Content Creation"? That's because even though it's important to post often and keep creating content, it's also vital to think about what you're posting and what you're trying to communicate to followers.
Because this mini blog post series is focused on branding and modeling, it only makes sense that I’ll be talking about creating quality content related to…yep, you guessed it: modeling! But what does that mean?

PROFESSIONAL IMAGES

Photo of one of the magazines I had an editorial feature in.
Digital tearsheet of one of the romance novel covers I've been on.


What better way to promote your brand as a model than by sharing the fruit of your labors? Posting images from your latest shoots, tearsheets of published work and other pictures related to your career are the best way to show people, including potential clients, what you’ve done and what you can do.
There’s no better proof of your success than these kinds of images, and sharing them on your social media sites and official website makes it very clear to anyone who is just learning about you for the first time who you are, what you do and what you’re about.

BTS IMAGES

BTS shot of me doing a bridal/beauty shoot in-studio.
BTS shot of me getting my makeup done during a bridal show.

Behind the scenes images are always popular because it gives people an insider look as to what goes on in things they don’t have access to. Who doesn’t want to know what happens during modeling shoots, shows and other related happenings?

Posting BTS photos in the makeup chair, shopping for wardrobe, posing with other models, candid shots of you in studio or on location is a wonderful way to let people into your world. Modeling in general is still considered mysterious by many so any insight you give them will be appreciated.

CAREER UPDATES/HIGHLIGHTS

A short snippet of my own Twitter feed, where I like to do quick updates about what's going on in my career.

Your brand can be enforced and better understood if your images are also paired with descriptive captions/text that explains to people what you are up to, what’s coming up and other projects that may be in the works.

Excited about a casting or go-see coming up in the next few days? Post about it. Booked a modeling assignment? Definitely post about it! Tired after a long shoot and just want to take a nap? Tell people about it.

Those brief and fun play-by-plays showcase your personality and the things that are important to you. In addition to the other info described above, it paints a better overall picture of you as a person and that makes it easier for followers of your brand to understand what matters to you, as well as attract new followers to your profiles who can identify with various aspects of your life and personality.

SHOUTOUTS TO OTHERS

This was a collage I posted as a shoutout, where I thanked the photographer, makeup artist and the model I was mentoring. I made sure to include each person's social media handle and tagged them as well so it popped up in their feeds

Networking plays a large part in a person’s ability to get opportunities and line up future gigs. This can’t happen without the help of others. I like to say that people work with the model, not for the model.

That being said, it’s a good practice to give shoutouts to recognize and give credit to the people you work with by mentioning them on your social media profiles (and/or reposting content they’ve posted of you). Links to their professional sites and including other relevant info is also ideal for not just spreading the love and hopefully getting them future work but to show others the kind of company you surround yourself with.

When you do shoutouts, you not only put those folks on the radar of your followers, it works the other way as well. A company or individual that is connected to someone you shoutout could easily reach out to you now based on the shoutout they’ll undoubtedly see on that person’s profile. Plus, it helps when you’re booked on a project that has mutual friends/colleagues on it. You may even get booked with the same people you’ve worked with before and that’s always fun.

SILLY, MISC THINGS

Fun candid of me and my girls during the 2016 USA Petite Pageant in Florida.
I'm terrible about snacking before, during and after photo shoots.

There’s totally nothing wrong with being candid and breaking away from the professional model mode to show a silly and playful side. Whether it’s work related or during your free time, it can be refreshing for followers to be reminded that you are a real person, too.

Both photos and video of you having a great time with friends and family can also strengthen a brand if you choose to share that part of your life with others (and depending on the audience you are trying to reach). Of course it is your choice to make. Not including things about friends and family won’t hurt your brand and there are many people who value their privacy in that respect by keeping those types of content on a separate profile.

Should you choose to include it, have fun but still be aware that you are posting on a profile that is associated with your brand. Presentation is important!

More about those dos and don’ts and tips in the final installment of this mini blog post series. Homestretch!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Branding & Modeling Pt IV: Consistency is Key

People are always in search of the next new thing. Updated content and info is what many online users crave.

The fact that smartphones have grown to become as attached to us as a body part makes it that much more crucial to stay on top of your efforts to enforce your brand.

The best way to go about this? By posting and posting often. But remember, there’s also quality of the content you’re putting out into the universe.

Let’s tackle the “posting and posting often” part first. This is one area where people who are really serious and dedicated to realizing their goals for modeling separate them from the people who want the results but aren’t willing to put forth the work it takes to get there.

Unless you’ve got money at your disposal to hire a social media manager and PR team or have a modeling agency getting you castings and bookings fairly often, chances are you’re going to be solely responsible for whatever end results get generated. And you’re going to have to hustle constantly.

To make yourself visible to followers and potential clients, you’ll want to post at least once a day at a minimum. For those of you that do this anyway, implementing such a practice will be like second nature. But if you aren’t a huge fan of technology and social media or just don’t like the idea of having to post so often, you’re going to need to come out of your comfort zone to truly have a shot at making your brand recognizable enough to create opportunities for yourself over time.

Can’t commit to posting at least one thing every day? Then start off slow with 2-3 times a week if you don’t include weekends (although you should). That basically breaks down to every other day. Even the busiest person could manage this.

One trick I’ve turned to in order to make my life easier when it comes to posting content is to set it up so that when I post on one social media site, it automatically posts to my other sites at the same time.

I have an Android and basically what I do is post on Instagram, which automatically posts to my Dania Denise FB Page and to Twitter. I have my Twitter set up so that it automatically posts to my regular Facebook profile.

Because all my friends and family know about my entertainment career and are very supportive of my projects, I have no problem posting that content to my regular profile but for my FB Page I stick to only posts dealing with my modeling/acting career (I always send people to my FB Page and not my regular profile when networking).

I also have a FB Pages Manager app on my phone that I use when I want to post straight to my FB Page. Sometimes I have quick status updates not involving an image that are best for my page and not Instagram. I also post separately to my LinkedIn profile.

When I’m tagged or featured in someone else’s social media post, I use a repost app that simply copies the image and caption so all I need to do is copy and paste the content wherever I want to share it to. I don’t have to retype the caption or try to remember the hashtags and it includes the social media handle for the person who did the original post. Sometimes I’ll even use this shortcut for my own posts and I love that anyone who isn’t already following me can easily look up my info because the repost app displays it.

Remember, when you take a break and don’t post for a while, people lose interest and it doesn’t take much for them to find other things to capture their attention. I’ve even lost subscribers of this blog because I allowed entirely too much time to pass in between writing posts. So even I’m not immune to the consequences, which I’m finally in a position to correct and try to get those people back, as well as attract new subscribers/readers.

While technology has made branding more convenient in terms of setup and execution, the constant demand for new content from the world does make the process of staying fresh in people’s minds exhausting.

With time, practice and the new knowledge gained through creating, promoting and enforcing your brand, it is possible to find a balance but it takes time, patience and dedication. Not to mention the trials, tribulations and mistakes that will be made along the way.

Not sure how to craft your posts to work with your brand and attract people online? Well, that’s what we’ll dive into for Part 5!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Branding & Modeling Pt III: Know the Basics

You've got a name and you know what you want to do with your modeling career. You've got the ball rolling on this whole "branding" thing.

Now what?

In Part 2 of this mini blog series, I briefly mentioned applying your brand name across your social media platforms.

Unless you hate technology or have been living under a rock somewhere, chances are you have a few or all of the most current social media profiles. But there is method to the madness and it involves a bit more strategy than just posting a bunch of selfies randomly.

First off, let's talk about specific social media sites. There's so many out there but I'm only going to touch on the basic ones to start you out, especially if you're diving into all this for the first time:

Twitter: it's short and sweet and easy to update followers with on a regular basis with little effort.

Instagram: it's a visual-based site, which makes it perfect for models to showcase their day-to-day happenings.

Facebook Page: notice I said "Page." Again, it's about branding and you'll want to have a page that is dedicated to your modeling career that isn't distracted by non-modeling related friends and family events.

Snapchat: it's quirky, it's fun and even though posts are only on there for a short time, it's a very candid way of letting people into your world in a unique way.

LinkedIn: it's a more formal business networking site but if you plan on pursuing modeling seriously, having a profile set up on this platform is great for adding yet another way for people to find you online and can serve as an additional resource for networking, as well as linking visitors back to your other social media sites/profiles.

Modeling Website: it's easier than ever these days to have a website up and running without any need for learning how to do programming or graphic design. Your website should be your home base for establishing everything that has to do with your modeling career.

Why are all these sites essential for branding? The only way for people to know who you are is to have exposure that allows you to be found easily. There is so much on the internet that not putting forth the right content in the right places will park you in the abyss of search engines on page 10 or 20 or farther (when have you ever gone past the 2nd page of an online search result?).

When you have profiles set up across the board on the most popular platforms it increases your chances of popping up on someone's radar. Having an online presence on these sites is also effective for attracting visitors regardless of which sites they use and have a profile on.

Because these are a lot of sites to keep track of, organization is going to be key. It's important to set up a routine of sorts for what days and time frames you'll plan on posting.

So where do you even begin with creating content, posting and organizing such a schedule of branding domination? You'll have to stick around for Part 4!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Branding & Modeling Pt II: Where Do You Start?

“What's in a name? That which we call a rose / by any other name would smell as sweet.”

One of the many famous quotes from Shakespeares's play, "Romeo & Juliet" is not only beautifully poetic, it also relates to the subject of this second installment in my mini blog series about branding as it relates to modeling.

When trying to figure out where to start, deciding what name you'll use for your modeling career is a great jumping off point. The name you choose as a model to brand yourself with is important but not to the point where you should over analyze.

Each person will have his/her own reasons for the name they choose to brand themselves with. In my case, I use "Dania Denise." "Denise" is my middle name. I own and operate several businesses that are unrelated to the entertainment field and don't want to "cross-brand" or overlap so I use my legal last name for those businesses and my middle name in association with my modeling, acting, pageantry and so on.

Some models want to keep their real name completely anonymous when it comes to their modeling career and will choose a totally made up name or something similar to their legal name.

Others get a bit more "theatrical" with their names by using some kind of title (i.e. Queen Jasmine or Model Jasmine--I totally made that up for the purpose of having an example, btw) or they try to have the supermodel effect by just using one name.

Modeling agencies have even been known to change a model's name that they've signed to the roster to make it more appealing to potential clients and for marketing purposes. So the concept of coming up with a name for a model to use isn't uncommon.

There really isn't a magical formula for what your branded name should be. If you want to just keep it as your legal first and last name, go for it. If you want to be more unique and create a name/persona for your branding, have at it.

The main thing to keep in mind is that whatever name you go with, you better love it because it will tie directly into your brand as a model. One of the biggest things that makes branding work effectively is consistency. Even the biggest company brands had trouble when the decision was made to change their name. Remember Kinko's? It became FedEx Office years ago but I can't tell you how many times I--and many others--still say, "I need to go to Kinko's."

That doesn't mean you have to live with your model name forever and can't change it because you can but it will save you a lot of grief in the long run if you at least choose a name that you know you'll stick with for a while.

Having a catchy or memorable model name to brand yourself with is helpful but doesn't always mean it will guarantee you success in your career. Make sure it speaks to who you are and what you want to represent as a model, that it is memorable and can be easily applied to your website, social media profiles, comp cards, business cards, etc. And remember to use it consistently across the board in all your projects, marketing materials and when promoting yourself.

Don't forget to do your due diligence and find out if anyone else is using the name you want. If so, the easier path would be to choose something else or a different variation of that name. If the person who already has your top pick is already established and/or has been using it for a while, it really won't do much good to share the name. Even if the person isn't a model, the last thing you want is for people to get pointed to the wrong person. Confusion can lead to disinterest and a potential loss for an opportunity or networking connection.

Once you've got your model name set, you can quickly start applying it, which is the best part so get those creative juices flowing and see what name (if you aren't going to use your legal name) would be the best fit.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Branding & Modeling Part I: What Is It?

An article from the site Entrepreneur.com defines the word "Branding" as follows:

The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.

It goes on further to break down this concept:

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

I agree 100% with the statement/definition above. Of course we normally think of branding when it comes to actual companies and products but you may be surprised to know that this concept also applies to modeling.

How so?

The definition of branding doesn't apply literally in all aspects when it comes to modeling. For example, you don't have to create a logo for yourself as a model. You can and it'd probably be pretty cool but it's not mandatory.

However, the philosophy behind the idea of branding definitely goes hand-in-hand in the sense that as a model you want people to recognize your name, who you are, what you represent and what potential clients can expect from working with you.

In essence: by dealing with you, what are they going to get? Will they like the end results? Will they come back? Will they recommend you to others in their network?

Many models build their brand using their names and is the easiest way to do so. How would we even know who the most famous models were if it weren't for their names? The Kate Mosses, Giseles, Tyras, Naomi Campbells, etc, etc...these are models that have created empires for themselves based on their name recognition as it relates to their modeling careers.

Think about it: even people who hate the modeling world or those who don't keep up with it in any way, shape or form would recognize the women above as models just because of the prevalence of their names over the years.

The good news is you don't have to be a supermodel to be a brand. Once you decide you want to become a professional model you'll want to start critically thinking about how you want to approach things, what you want to do, the goals you want to set, what you stand for, etc.

Speaking for myself, I use my name heavily in relation to my brand. When you think of "Dania Denise," what do you automatically think of? Most people would automatically say: model, blogger, actor, coach, pageant winner or entrepreneur. That's pretty accurate in terms of what I do and, while basic, it gets the point across. You don't have to guess what any of those things actually are, hence, making it clear what I do within the entertainment industry and making it easier to match me up with potential clients.

Just like a traditional business uses branding, models need to make sure they understand what type of experience they are providing to those that want to work with them. I would hope you aim to be branded as a model who is professional, reliable, easy to work with, diverse, etc.

When people work with you and those branding ideals are displayed, they'll know you stand by your brand identity/reputation. That is what will keep them coming back and motivate positive word of mouth among the industry.

I pride myself on the fact that I have a good reputation within my respective networking circles. Nothing makes me happier than knowing when I reach out to people about projects, they're more than happy to jump on board because they know (based on my branding and consistency with results) that anything my name is on or associated with means they're going to be treated well, professionally, their time will be respected and we'll produce the highest quality end results that will benefit everyone. And THAT is what drives my branding to continue to be at its best at all times.

If you set your branding to high standards and can uphold them, you'll attract like-minded clients, networking contacts and quality opportunities. Do the opposite and you'll also get the flip side of those results.

There is more to branding in modeling than one post can cover, which is why I'll be breaking this up into a mini series of blog posts to tackle specific areas in more detail and hopefully provide a blueprint of sorts for how you can create your own brand successfully and effectively.

Stay tuned for Part 2!