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Agency Life

The Influencer

The Influencer

Maggie Adhami

Maggie Adhami

January 8, 2019

By day, she’s an adwoman. By night, she’s one of Toronto’s most sought-after bloggers.

That was my assignment. Do what took the Kardashians ten years to build and do it in just one semester.

I vividly remember September 2015. I had a crazy deadline due at work, a six-month-old keeping me up all night, and I was enrolled in a part-time master’s degree program at Harvard University—one course away from finishing. I decided to take Social Media 101 thinking it would be a breeze, but I was given an almost impossible task: Create a brand, including a blog, three social media accounts, and accumulate a significant and engaged following. Yup, that was my assignment. Do what took the Kardashians 10 years to build and do it in just one semester. OK, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

Though the professor gave us full creative control, she also gave us some life-changing advice: “Pick a topic that you are passionate about. It will make it much easier to write about.” That simple instruction is the reason I still maintain my blog, Over Exposed.

When I first launched Over Exposed, I was all about earning a high mark in the class. I was writing a post once a week and engaging on social media to grow my following. What I didn’t expect was how exciting this assignment would be. I thought after I earned my A, I would go back to my normal, although busy, life.

People aren’t interested in seeing editorial quality images anymore. They want to see my real life.

But then something interesting happened: I joined a network of bloggers. I met them in real life and started to see the other side of my brand. I started to see the influence it had on others and to appreciate the perks it gave me. I began going to incredible events for product launches—products that were being revealed for the first time to influencers only. I left these events with pre-launch swag that no one else had. There was a level of exclusivity that was exciting, exhilarating even. I was approached at least twice a week by brands asking me to review their products—brands that viewed me as the expert. More than that, my followers validated my style, my choices, and, well, me. It’s like the feeling you get when someone compliments your new haircut. That’s the feeling I got whenever I published a new post.

It was something I did not anticipate at the outset, but this excitement has kept me invested. I began to care about my community of more than 20,000 readers and followers. What started as photographing flatlays and taking selfies to showcase my outfits, evolved into a lifestyle blog.

Today, I write about much more than style. I write about beauty, kids, motherhood, home renovations, decor, and nutrition. People aren’t interested in seeing editorial quality images anymore. They want to see my real life. They want to follow people who are relatable and who are, well, like them. This creative outlet gives me a level of confidence which, three years ago, I didn’t think was possible. I never thought I would open up to the world about my pregnancy. But earlier this year, I did just that.

No matter how busy my life gets—and it is busy—I maintain my blog and social channels. Working for one of the world’s largest advertising and public relations companies makes it even easier to continue my hobby. I’ve been given the opportunity to use my influencer networks and learnings from my ‘night job’ to help carve out an influencer discipline in Toronto—one that we traditionally looked to other agencies to provide.

Over Exposed evolved far beyond my school project and became a personal passion. It an avenue to take a break from everything: work, kids, chores, family. The 7 to 10 hours that I spend on my blog each week is my meditation, introspection, and self-reflection. It’s my personal therapy, and I won’t change it for anything.

That was my assignment. Do what took the Kardashians ten years to build and do it in just one semester.

I vividly remember September 2015. I had a crazy deadline due at work, a six-month-old keeping me up all night, and I was enrolled in a part-time master’s degree program at Harvard University—one course away from finishing. I decided to take Social Media 101 thinking it would be a breeze, but I was given an almost impossible task: Create a brand, including a blog, three social media accounts, and accumulate a significant and engaged following. Yup, that was my assignment. Do what took the Kardashians 10 years to build and do it in just one semester. OK, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

Though the professor gave us full creative control, she also gave us some life-changing advice: “Pick a topic that you are passionate about. It will make it much easier to write about.” That simple instruction is the reason I still maintain my blog, Over Exposed.

When I first launched Over Exposed, I was all about earning a high mark in the class. I was writing a post once a week and engaging on social media to grow my following. What I didn’t expect was how exciting this assignment would be. I thought after I earned my A, I would go back to my normal, although busy, life.

People aren’t interested in seeing editorial quality images anymore. They want to see my real life.

But then something interesting happened: I joined a network of bloggers. I met them in real life and started to see the other side of my brand. I started to see the influence it had on others and to appreciate the perks it gave me. I began going to incredible events for product launches—products that were being revealed for the first time to influencers only. I left these events with pre-launch swag that no one else had. There was a level of exclusivity that was exciting, exhilarating even. I was approached at least twice a week by brands asking me to review their products—brands that viewed me as the expert. More than that, my followers validated my style, my choices, and, well, me. It’s like the feeling you get when someone compliments your new haircut. That’s the feeling I got whenever I published a new post.

It was something I did not anticipate at the outset, but this excitement has kept me invested. I began to care about my community of more than 20,000 readers and followers. What started as photographing flatlays and taking selfies to showcase my outfits, evolved into a lifestyle blog.

Today, I write about much more than style. I write about beauty, kids, motherhood, home renovations, decor, and nutrition. People aren’t interested in seeing editorial quality images anymore. They want to see my real life. They want to follow people who are relatable and who are, well, like them. This creative outlet gives me a level of confidence which, three years ago, I didn’t think was possible. I never thought I would open up to the world about my pregnancy. But earlier this year, I did just that.

No matter how busy my life gets—and it is busy—I maintain my blog and social channels. Working for one of the world’s largest advertising and public relations companies makes it even easier to continue my hobby. I’ve been given the opportunity to use my influencer networks and learnings from my ‘night job’ to help carve out an influencer discipline in Toronto—one that we traditionally looked to other agencies to provide.

Over Exposed evolved far beyond my school project and became a personal passion. It an avenue to take a break from everything: work, kids, chores, family. The 7 to 10 hours that I spend on my blog each week is my meditation, introspection, and self-reflection. It’s my personal therapy, and I won’t change it for anything.

Adwoman by day, blogger by night.

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