INTERVIEW WITH EM SHELDON OF EMTALKS. How brands can survive Lockdown. Time to Pivot.

Em began her blog in 2012 and started her Youtube channel soon after but was too nervous about having her face on she camera so she quit for a few years.  But, upon returning she’s built up an impressively active audience of over 116k Instagram followers, 38k on Twitter and 78k on Youtube and has become a mainstay in the daily content consumption of her audience.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR BRAND

A fulltime content creator, Em has diversified her offering beyond merely the vlog and blogging arena. Ensuring the development and growth of every aspect of her career. It was very clear to her from the start that she had to consider her blog as a business enterprise and not merely a casual website.

“You have to take responsibility for your brand,” she says, “So, as well as acting as a consultant to other brands and businesses regarding social media, I also sell Instagram filters through my website. A great deal of my time and work is spent showing brands how to utilise social media.”

Her Instagram filters can be seen at www.emspresets.com and according to her, she has seen a rise in website traffic as well as engagement on her social media. People are sending a lot more messages and are keen to chat and ask for recommendations on products, recipes and health and fitness.

She says that this sort of engagement drives the need for development of these social media platforms to ensure that they are consistently offering new and engaging content for their users. This in turn causes the landscape to change and a surprising number of brands lack the flexibility to adapt at the necessary pace. This is where Em can help, providing workable solutions for engagement, tool usage and trending topics.

“Right now, people are sat at home and interacting more in content as a means of connecting,” she explains, “On the flip side however, viewers are seeing so much content at the moment that they are wanting something that is outside of the norm to give them a sense of escapism. The brands that are able to adapt to these changes in viewer expectation are the ones that will flourish when the lockdown ends.”

BEING PRESENT

With a multi-faceted audience that respond to the varied subject matter on Emtalks.co.uk, Em has been making sure that she is present during this period. Not only on her fitness videos and vlogs but also her blog entries regarding  lifestyle, diet and interest pieces such as “How to Support Small Business During Covid 19”. There is a call for people with an established audience to step up to the plate to lead, motivate and be present during this time of crisis to keep spirits high.

“Everyone in the world is feeling anxious and lonely,” she says, “A global call for self-isolation is something that none of us have ever seen before and it’s more than just missing a visit to a coffee shop or missing the gym.”

Em is spending more time than ever chatting to her audience, making sure they know that everyone is in the same boat and encouraging people to reach out on social media and be as present as possible. This is the time for you to reconnect with that school friend you’ve been Facebook friends with since graduation, but you haven’t spoken to them once. Now is the time to say “Hi.”

“I also do a lot of home workouts to hopefully inspire people to move more and stay active,” she says, “As well as showing lots of easy, free healthy recipes to keep people trying new things during this period.”

EMS PHILOSOPHY

Em has a very simple philosophy when it comes to health. Move more and eat better, not less. Consistently trying to change the mindset that exists around eating food she is constantly responding to messages from people saying things like: “you eat so much” or “I’m scared of carbs,” or “How should I cut calories?”.

There is still a great deal of misunderstanding and pseudoscience regarding diet and fitness out there. Much of which has no basis on any sort of professional research. This makes it dangerous and people could be hurting themselves without realising it and Em believes that it is down to the professionals in the industry to change this.

“A message focussed on health and not merely appearance needs to be put out there,” she says, “And as part of this I think we need more education on the importance of movement, exercise and stretching. There also needs to be a united front about developing and maintaining a balanced diet..”

PRODUCING CONTENT

The length of time to produce her quality content really depends on the project at hand. For example, Em reveals that for a weekly blog she will film every day for five days and then edit at night. This ends up taking around seven hours of editing and probably five hours of filming. A blog post usually takes around two hours depending on the topic and a sit down YouTube video can take anywhere from one hour to three to film and then the edit is another few hours on top of that. Of course, it does depend on how long the video is. 

HER OWN TRAINING

Regards to her own training Em exercises at least three to six times a week although that does depend on her schedule. Usually this includes a mixture of spin classes, Blaze classes and Kobox, alongside her own gym workouts.

“I go to David Lloyd and their strength and cardio Blaze HIIT classes have changed my life,” she says, “They are utterly fantastic and get my heart pumping like nothing else. I also adore Kobox, a London based boxing gym with the best vibes, the best music, such incredible instructors and it gives you a full body sweat.”

Em explains that for her it is all about the endorphins and feeling like part of a community. Most of her favourite gyms are offering free workouts via Instagram live at the moment which has shown her just how much she used to love working out from home.

“It has also  proven to me that I can still do it. I find it quite refreshing having a gym closed and having to mix my routine up too,” she says, “I’ve started running again, doing a few 10 mile runs to kick myself off, I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite activity as I find it mentally boring but it’s good to try new things. Generally, I’m more of an explosive, get it done quick and fast kind of workout girl.”

This has helped mitigate the current issues of boredom and confinement that everyone is feeling and have encouraged her to set a good example for her audience. Sharing workout videos and providing lots of free, super easy recipes which need very basic ingredients has proved as valuable to her as it has to her viewers.

HOW IS COVID-19 GOING TO CHANGE THE FACE OF HEALTH AND FITNESS BLOGS?

Em believes there is no doubt that the current hurdle we’re climbing will change the way many industries work. For hers especially she can see some changes on the horizon that could shape the future of vlogging.

“I think we will see even more apps and e-books launched by fitness influencers because it’s hard to make a living from giving free recipes and workouts,” she says, “Obviously the free content helps grow social channels but they’re not monetizable which is why we are seeing so many people use their knowledge in purchasable guides and virtual personal training sessions!”

THREE LOCKDOWN EXERCISES

Below Em has kindly shared her best Lockdown exercises. Three solid moves that get everything working. 

Squats: because you can do them body weight, jump them out or pulse them down to get a deep burn.

Lunges: because similar to squats, you can do so much with them whether you’re jumping for cardio, slowly pulsing for a burn or doing weighted lunges.

Plank: because you can rock it back and forth, do plank toe taps or hold it static.

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