Sunday, December 18, 2011

Artists' Images That Work Effectively With Status, Genre, Brand Or Message

Images In The Urban Scene
What comes to mind when you think of rap artists and their style? Do most rap and hip-hop artists wear baggy jeans, sneakers, long silver chains or the like? If so, does this style work for them? Why or why not? What about artists such as Marilyn Manson or Lady Gaga? In comparison to mainstream culture does their rebellious or unique attire play as a disservice to their artistry or does it work well with the image or message they convey?

Image Is Important Wherever You Go...
We all at one point in time have been obsessed with our image. Most of us have high standards and because of that we believe that first impressions are of great importance. Whether it's a job interview or you are heading to an audition, you should always-if not already-focus on making the best impression. You may wonder how can you do this and question whether you can or not. The truth is you have the potential and can do so, simply by making sure that your image coincides with either your music, your label, your contract, your message, what's fashionably trendy in your music genre, your established career in the industry or a particular culture. Lastly, this image must work for you and must not be a disservice to you or your artistry.

How Do Artists Do It, Image Wise?
So how do artists in the music industry select the perfect image that not only meshes well with their music, brand or the number of years they have been involved in the business? There is no easy recipe or formula on what works best. If you are an aspiring rapper, established rapper or singer trying to get back into the urban scene there are a few things you must consider before embarking on an image that may make you or break you. 

What Image Is Best For New Artists?
If you are starting out and need direction on what image and apparel will work best for you, then you must ask yourself the following questions.

1. Does your record label have a theme, image or message   
    they like to convey?
2. If you are a female rapper and have a contract, does your 
    contract require you to dress a certain way?
     A. If you are a female and the label requires that you    
          dress sexy and appealing is there a street  
          theme attached to it in the terms? For example, such 
          as the image of a female stepping out of social norms.
     B. If so are you comfortable with that? 
     C. Do you need to portray yourself as "hard" just as your 
         other male rapper counterparts?
     D. Do you have any endorsements and are what are the           attire requirements?
3. Are you an established artist or an upcoming artist?
4. Does your material convey a rebellious message, love  

    theme, does it embrace manpower or does it posses an  
    image such as a hardcore lifestyle or street life?

Choosing An Image....
Whatever route you go, that is, if you do not have a stylist, or are not bound to a legal contract and your label's style requirements then, choose an image that puts you ahead. Great examples of artists who are managing their image effectively are Jay-Z, Little Wayne, Rhianna and Nicki Minaj. 

The Established Rapper Look: Jay-Z
Jay-Z has a strong standing career in the hip hop scene. Today his image represents an image of a "well established rapper." Rarely dressing like the new hip-hop artists of today, who often wear baggy jeans with their hats to the side, Jay-Z's image is luxurious and it suits him very well. His videos are splashed not only with your no-so average priced liquor, but also with luxurious attire, fancy suits, beautiful companions and expensive rides.

Images Of Female Artists
Female artists such as Rhianna and Nicki Minaj are versatile but do maintain effective images that work for their music, their label and whatever genre they decide to experiment with. Nicki Minaj not only maintains a sexy and a "out of the social norms" look when it comes to women but she also maintains the "hard shell" image that is often required as a female rapper. Rhianna is always playing with her image, specially when it comes to playing in different genres. The one image she always maintains throughout her music and regardless of genre is the "young sexy rebellious" look. This can be tricky because changing images often may not work if it is not done correctly. In some cases provocative images are looked down but on the other hand, the truth is that sex sells. Rhianna's "rebellious and edgy" look allows her to transform and reshape her image as much as she likes and this works well with her music and the message she conveys.

I'm So Good, I Can Wear The "Whatever Look"
Little Wayne's look is unique and despite his jail time, his signature look of fitted skinny jeans, dreads, shades and a classic white wife-beater works quite effectively-with everything he does. Having a unique look is a privilege and and not all artists can embark on this look. Why not? Well, if you have not been in the rap game for a long time and people do not know your content, this image will not work for you. Little Wayne on the other hand, is charismatic, is well known and people love him so much that they could careless what he wears. In other words, they respect him for his music and that is what drives his fame-not his clothes.


Image is important and in the entertainment industry specially the music industry, the image you choose not only must sell but be in line with your label as well as with your contract's terms. If you are not bound to any legal terms then use an image that puts your best foot forward and not in the backseat.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Use Innovation, Looks, Charisma or Do It Better Than The Key Players To Succeed In The Entertainment Industry!

What Do Celebrities Have That We Don't?
So what does it take to make it as a model, a musical artist, an actor or an actress? What must one have in order to appeal to mainstream audiences or to even make it in the entertainment industry? Today's television stars, artists and other entertainment professionals posses one or a combination or attributes and skills that off-screen folks, like you and others do not have. So what are those attributes and skills? Can they be learned or possibly obtained? In some cases, some of these skills can be obtained and in other cases, some folks just don't have those certain traits.

What Traits And How Can I Get Them?
In order to succeed in the entertainment industry and minimize competition one must have good looks, charisma and personality, the ability to create innovation, or the ability to create something that is currently happening in the industry better than those that are doing it. Yes folks, when you look through those magazines, flip through those channels and attend those entertainment events, these professionals you see, have one or a combination of the listed traits. So how do you know if you posses one of those eye-catching traits? 

Traits That Are Must Haves In Show Business
In order to find out whether or not you have what it takes to make it in the entertainment industry, you must have completed or received one of the following:

1. perform in front of the live audience and received positive responses

2. sent out surveys of your new innovation and received awesome responses

3. you succeeded in a talent or model competition or the like

4. everyone has told you, that you have good looks and that you should be doing something about it

5. everyone says you have a great personality and are extremely funny

6. people say you have a unique look that's made for television

If you have completed or received any of the above statements, chances are you have the looks, a great idea, a winning personality or something that could potentially land you a career in the entertainment industry! 

Creating A Plan Of Attack For Success!
If you decide to proceed ahead, and depending on the professional career you choose whether it's being an actor, an actress, an entertainment business owner, a comedian, the next step is to prepare an execution plan. What this means is that you must assess the needs and costs of your career and understand the requirements of your selected career. 

Know Your Role In And Out!
So, even if you like the career without knowing the requirements you may have a rude awakening once you step into the career. Simply put, make sure you understand what your job duties will be and what you have to put in to succeed in completing the career tasks. Second, understand the time involved in doing a career such as the one you have chosen. Actors and actresses often attend countless and numerous of trainings, practice long hours, memorize long scripts, complete auditions, build reels and have a professional portfolio handy in case an opportunity presents itself. If you need an idea of what a professional video resume looks like, I suggest you take a look at Geoff Eigemann's profile.  This video resume is not just appealing but also innovative! If you are looking for a great reel, I suggest you look at Omar Mora's reel. This reel is excellent in that it shows the actor's highlights, past gigs and current works.

You Must Network And Create Exposure That Works to Your Benefit And Not Against You...
To that effect, it is also helpful to join a entertainment community online and build a professional profile on a social network to get (1) exposure and (2) to connect with others in the industry. Two sites I recommend are Twitter and Stage32. On Twitter, if used correctly, you can follow and meet professionals online who may be able to connect you to gigs and people in high places of your industry. When you are online remember that your professional network and your professional image is visible to millions of people online so, please tweet and communicate wisely. 

Do What Needs To Be Done To Get The Spotlight
If you think this is a "wait for it to happen" kind of industry then, you are in the wrong field! One thing you must understand, is that in order to get the job of your choice you must do the work to get there. So, yes you must attend auditions, do live comedy nights and perform in places you may have never thought of before actually landing that perfect opportunity. More importantly, you must remain positive and humble. No one in the industry likes a "know-it-all," or someone who insults the intelligence of the industry's most reputable leaders. You want to gain the trust of the industry pros not push them away. Lastly, if you know you have that certain something, never give up. Regardless of who you are competing with move ahead, stand high, focus and reach for your dream; you too, have a shot in this industry so make it count!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Transforming Your Business Idea Into A Stellar Business Plan

Contrary to what some of us may believe regarding the economy and unemployment, there are job seekers and others who are not shying away from their business ideas and are not afraid of launching a business. The truth is some of us are looking at other options for generating income; we are all weighing the pros and cons and also finding that opening a business may be the best option. So if you are wondering, the answer is yes, you can too open a business!
Why You Should Consider Launching A Business...
I know this can be overwhelming, especially if you do not have a background in business or have no clue on the basics of developing a business. I too was once overwhelmed with the idea of developing a business but once I learned how business plans are structured and what they encompass, I was motivated and ready to create my business plan. Fret not, have faith and put your idea to work for you not for someone else. There are risks to opening a business but with appropriate planning, research and investment, your chances of creating a thriving business are much greater.
What To Keep In Mind
People today are taking risks and preparing themselves to launch a business. With that said, you will not be alone. Second, being your own boss is really not as far fetched, as some may believe. A unique or innovative idea can be turned into a great business with proper presentation of market research, a thorough industry analysis, financial projections, start-up costs and other pieces that are needed to successfully operate a business. Lastly, as per research, a business plan should be no more than 20 pages in length, which means it needs to be concise and not a book's worth of content.

Expand On Your Idea...
After you have concluded that your business idea is a seller or have developed an idea that is unique or innovative, the next step is research. In other words, its time to expand on the idea, that is the one you have in mind or the one that you wrote on the back of a napkin. Do you think investors will be interested in a half-done idea? The answer is, no. Remember that, investors want to see what you have in mind not your initial idea that you wrote on a napkin. Second, investors are more interested when you have an understanding of your business idea and are able to give a presentation/pitch that is short-to the point-thorough and covers all bases. A business plan that has three years worth of financial projections, staffing costs, employers' costs and so on is right around the ballpark.

Questions To Ask Yourself...

As a future entertainment business owner, I have learned that you must know all the pieces that are needed to operate the business. In other words the details of production from products, to your staff, to the tools needed for everyday office functions and much more. If you are a future business owner and want to pitch your idea to an investor, you must think about what will it take to start up the company and give details on the costs that are involved in operating the business. If you already have designated a business location, know what services or goods your company will offer, have a general idea of costs and have staff in mind, then, congrats! You are on the right track.

Business Plan: A Realistic Presentation Of Your Business
The next step is to develop a realistic idea of your business, its operations and costs. You can do this by asking your self the following questions.                                                        

Have I designated a business location and what are my costs?
What services will I offer and what is the unit price?
What is my cost to producing those services and or products?
Will I hire full-time or part-time staff and what benefits will I offer?
How much working capital is needed?
What insurances do I need for my employees and property?
What supplies do I need to produce services or products offered to clients?
What legal services do l need for liability purposes?
What licenses and permits are needed to operate as a business in my state?
Do I need to hire a consulting team or a graphic designer for purposes of my website and branding?
For business marketing and advertising efforts will I need marketing specialists or other trade specialists for promotions and advertising?
Will I be outsourcing any portion of the services or goods I sell?
How much commission is involved in outsourcing a specific service or product?

Words Of Wisdom...
Once you are able to answer these questions you can start writing your business plan. If you have questions, research "business plans" online, ask a colleague or contact me; I may have answers or can point you to resources. Schooling and expert studies made me realize that business plans need to be thorough and if you spend too much time on the "planning," your business idea will likely never launch. As I finalize my plan, I will continue to keep in mind my industry's trends, ensure that my services and products are innovative and that my projections are realistic. Lastly, I will make sure that my company has a strong mission and executive summary. Investors want to invest in a company that can produce and be successful, short-term and long term; investors do not want a company that is similar to a one-time gig, such as a one hit wonder. Your company’s mission, company culture/values and executive summary can make or break your pitch so make sure you focus on these portions. If you believe in your company, its staff and its purpose then you should have no trouble writing your mission, values or executive summary. It may seem like a lot but once you know what is needed trust me, you can and will be able to start your own business ! Once its completed ask yourself would you invest in this company. If you say yes, it is likely that your business plan was completed correctly!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why We Should Refer To The Experts for Guidance When Creating a Business Plan

It is no surprise to hear that television stars such as Bobby Flay and Oprah Winfrey are referred to as business experts. As per research, Bobby Flay, known as one of America’s most popular chefs, and owner to six luxurious restaurants and five lay-back diners is bringing millions of dollars annually and he is not stopping there! Flay first was introduced to the restaurant atmosphere when he was seventeen years old and landed a job at Joe Allen’s restaurant which happened to be one of his father’s business partners. He later entered the French Culinary Institute in New York. With other projects under way, Bobby Flay will continue to grow his multimillion dollar empire!

On the other hand we have Oprah, who despite growing up in a troubled home and being a victim of sexual abuse for several years, quickly turned her life around. Leaving experiences behind, she moved in with her father, a businessman and a barber in Nashville. A little later, Oprah entered college and began working in radio and in broadcasting. Currently she is one of the wealthiest women alive! Sources say that during the first year of “The Oprah Show,” the show brought in over a $125 million in profits.  

Oprah Winfrey and Bobby Flay are great examples of the many individuals who successfully managed to create effective business plans that resulted in the birth of their personal money empires. So how did they do it? If you had a business idea and wanted to write a business plan, what things would you consider and how would you go about it? What makes a business more effective than another?  What is it that Bobby Flay and Oprah Winfrey have that some of us have yet not been able to harness, when it comes to launching successful businesses?

So what do investors want when they look at business plans? Based upon sources, investors look at “key and critical components” that make-up a business plan before making any type of investments. For those of you who are thinking about launching a business, it is suggested that you must have a working concept, a functional and working business name, a good logo and a catchy slogan. Sources suggest that in order for a business to function properly and thrive, the business idea must be attractive, unique and highly marketable. In other words if you are bringing something new to the table ask yourself why it is important and if it is something old as  yourself what makes this business idea unique. Without innovation or marketability potential the concept is more than likely to fail.

To that effect the name of a business is highly important because it is a representation of the products and services as well as the owner. So, for example if you are interested in selling spaghetti and you decide to call the business “Lick the Noodle,” some audiences may be offended by the name yet others may not. When deciding a name, be considerate of all audiences and make sure it is related to your product and that evokes a message that you want to instill and not one that may ruin the credibility of the business.

Sources underline that in order for logos to be effective they must be simple. Think of the McDonald’s logo, it is simple, appealing and easy to remember. If the logo had a milkshake and a spaceship, wouldn’t it be hard to remember and would it still be appealing? The answer is, probably not.  In a nutshell, make sure that the logo is relevant to your industry, product and the message or feeling you want customers to obtain when they see it. For example, if you are launching a restaurant, you may want to consider the emotions or feelings you want people to obtain when they see the logo. Do you want them to think mouth watering tacos or yuck? Lastly, the slogan that is attached to the business must also be catchy, relevant and easy to grasp. A 20 word slogan would probably drive less attention than a five word slogan or one like “just do it,” by Nike.

In any case, when it comes to making a business plan appealing to investors, it is important to look at the celebrities who have been up that road and had their share of success and how they are still running their businesses. Second, you must create a plan that holds the key and critical components to making a business successful. Planning, thorough research, having an appealing concept and being innovative will also help you tremendously in developing a striking business plan. If they did it, why can't you? 

"Feed Your Entertainment is dedicated to bringing you the latest news in entertainment, providing resources and tips on running your entertainment business for the purpose of helping your current or future career eandeavors"....Itzel Yagual


Sunday, October 16, 2011

What To Consider When A Child Is Interested In An Acting Career

If you have a child, have you ever thought, how cool it would be to see your little one on the big screen, on a television show or even on a commercial? As a mother to a happy    go lucky five year old, the thought has crossed my mind, not once but many times. From the moment my daughter was two, neighbors, friends and strangers would say, "she is too adorable" and that her round "expressive eyes, could win over audiences." Back then, I thought, "that is sweet" and didn't pay much attention to the complements or think that there may be some truth to what was being said. Today, I see a lot of potential in my daughter and not because she has an adorable look but because she is confident in speaking in front of people and unafraid of being herself. 

In June of 2010, before moving to North Hollywood, California, I took my daughter to an audition at the Macy's shopping center in Seattle, Washington. There were about a pocketful of young children there, similar to my daughter's age and the rest were in their mid teens. I was a little scared thinking to myself, "am I pushing this on her?" They interviewed her and without any nervousness, and with a diva attitude she answered all the questions as if she was talking to one of her close friends from school. This experience was an eye opener as well as a confirmation in that my daughter does have that star potential. Even though this was her first time being in front of a camera, taking directions and in memorizing lines, she was a natural. The agents loved her and wanted to sign her that day. Unfortunately, at that time I could not accept the offer because my family and I were planning a big move. 

On the way home, my daughter said to me, "when are we coming back?" I explained to her that I wanted her to experience what it's like to participate in an audition and being in front of the camera with a live audience. She then replied confidently, "I liked it mom. I want to be on the Disney channel. I know I can do it mom!" This was the very moment I knew that my daughter was seriously interested in acting and that it was time for me to start contacting talent agencies. Now residing in California and having sat down with my daughter several times to explain the pros and cons of pursuing an acting career, we are finally ready to take her potential to the next step. She is very interested, aware of the work that is involved and excited about pursuing an acting career.

After much research, understanding the ramifications of child actors/actresses and some good old soul searching, I have learned that there are several things you should be aware of as well as consider before making the plunge. One thing you must ask yourself, do you have time to manage your child's career? If not, is there someone you can trust to manage your child's career? If you are the parent or guardian of the child, know that it is you who knows the child better than anyone else; an acting career has its pros and cons and your involvement in this process is in your child's best interest. So, if you are not going to be your child's manager, be involved no matter what! 

Second, prepare your child by taking print photos, creating a reel, portfolio, video resume, blog or video log. Agencies usually have a submission process, which is having information about the child, a portfolio, and print photos. Sending an email or letter to an agent without these requirements will take you back to square one or even diminish your child's chances of landing a gig with that particular agency. 

Blogs are quite popular with adults but your child could also create a blog with your authorization of course. If you are interested in seeing a great example of a child blog, please take a look at Andrew's Voice. This eight-year old is not only blogging but he is also showcasing videos on his blog. Not only will this add more kudos to your child's resume but also is a great way to get your child in the habit of creating content as well as engaging an audience. To that effect, you could add Google Analytics to the blog and use SEO components to help your little one learn about his or her audience and how to effectively market his or her content.

Having a reel or video resume can also add a lot of flair to your child's portfolio. Take a look at Hannah Taylor Greene's reel, as well as Dante Brown's reel, both impressive and quite effective. Having a reel shows not only creativity but also showcases your child's experience in photo as well as in acting. On another note, if you are showing up at an agent's office, make sure you have either print photos or a portfolio. Most agents will want to have a physical photo to keep as a reference. 

Lastly, there are many agencies to choose from so, make sure you choose wisely and are reading the fine print. As a conscience parent, I know that I would certainly not want my daughter working with an agency that does not have her best interest at heart. If you can afford having a lawyer present at all times great! If not, be sure to read the fine print and educate yourself on contracts before investing or signing any agreement. In addition to this, remembering that your child is a child and that he or she may change his or her mind at anytime in pursuing this type of career is very important. Acting is not easy and will dramatically change your child's life, which can be good as well as bad. It is important that you realize that even though you would love to see your little one make it big, it is their sacrifice and taking your child's needs into consideration should be your number one priority.

Again, take notes, work diligently at getting your child a good agency if you are not planning on managing your child's career and be involved in the process. No matter how natural a child may be on camera or how much stardom the child achieves, when that adorable face looks at you and says, "I don't want to do this anymore," you need to listen and do what's right for the child and not your personal outcomes. 


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blogging To New Heights: Content, Consistency, Creativity, Engagement and Uniqueness Are The Vitamins Your Blog Needs

So, you think you have what it takes to blog? This was a question I pondered previously at the end of January 2011, after my first course as a graduate student at Full Sail University. I thought to myself, what is blogging and why would I blab about my personal life or anything for that matter? At the time I didn't see a need but little did I know that I too would soon be a blogger. As a requirement to the first course in the graduate program, Media Literacy and Research, all students had to start their own blog. I was nervous and very skeptical of what to expect after I wrote my first blog post. Believe it or not that is how I began blogging. During this time I had an array of interests and somewhat unsure as to what was truly my calling within the entertainment industry. I blogged about various topics relating to music, issues within the entertainment industry and other topics relating to Latin artists.

Now, 9 months into graduate school, and 9 months of blogging, I have learned and realized that blogging and social networking are extremely valuable. Blogging is essential not only for marketing your products and services, getting exposure, connecting with your followers, meeting potential employers but also for maintaining your professional online profile. To my amazement, I am very excited about blogging and despite my schooling and the demands that come along with parenting a 5 year old, I manage to release new content online, 2-3 times a week. My next step is to take my blog to new heights. By this I mean to provide 3-4 posts a week, add a weekly podcast and offer services through my site. After that, when I have obtained a greater number in followers, I will host a giveaway. Of course this is all great and dandy but how exactly will I meet these goals? I'm sure you are wondering and because I have been doing a lot of research on this topic I feel it is only fair for you all, to know how I will meet my blogging goals. Whether you are a beginner or professional feel free to take away any of these following tips to help you on your very own blogging endeavors. 

Professors, online bloggers as well as online sources emphasize that a successful blog requires maintenance. In other words, whether it's geared to something personal or for professional means the blog must demonstrate consistency, must have quality content, the blogger must connect and engage with his or her followers regularly, and the blogger should always spice things up by displaying his or her content creatively. 

If you are looking to spice up your blog and produce creative content, I suggest you look at creative content blogger, performer, writer and much more Sujeiry, whose blog will certainly catch your eye. My blogging tip #1 is being creative with what you provide. I had the pleasure of meeting Sujeiry online a few months ago and she is a lovely person. This gal is not only actively engaging with her followers, hosting giveaways but she is also creating quality and unique content on her blog, From hosting tweet chats, to delivering relationship advice, to creative posts and video logs on her site and on YouTube, Sujeiry delivers creativity on many levels and she manages to do so, very well. She is creating not only a name for herself online with her content and creativity but is also generating a lot of buzz. Whatever you provide on your blog, make it unique, interesting and no matter how daring be consistent with your craft. 

At some point you will need to get well acquainted with social networks and an understanding to why social networks are crucial in boosting your blog. My blogging tip #2 is, follow social media experts to maximize your blogging potential. Neil Schaffer, author of two books and a leader in helping businesses and self creators excel in social media marketing as well as teaching others how to position themselves strategically within social media networks, is one of favorites and a, must follow. I first learned about Neil Shaffer through my first course at Full Sail University. His blog, Windmill Networking provides useful information as well as tips on how to position yourself across social media platforms, quality engagement and how to use social media to your benefit. 

Per research, my blogging tip #3 is, add a podcast to your blog. According to a recent article published on September 15, 2011, titled the flexibility of consistency, by Ewan Spence, "regular content is the key to a good blog, and it's also the key to a good podcast." In other words, if you already have great written content and you provide consistent content people will listen to your podcast; the other great part about podcasting is that your listenership and readership stats can go up too! If you are confident about your content and are in a stable position to add a podcast, by all means go for it! Also neat about having a podcast is that you can have a guest speaker and schedule a time to answer calls from listeners. With the feedback you receive, you can learn what your listeners like and don't like. A great podcast I follow is Gordon P. Firemark's weekly entertainment podcast. The podcast provides information on current legal issues and cases relating to the entertainment industry as well as commentary. As an entertainment lawyer, he is well known in his community and has an increasing number of followers throughout social networks. As Hector Cuevas stated in his article 5 reasons to add a podcast, having a podcast will not only set you apart from your competition, enable you to be in direct communication with your audience, will increase your blogs reach, will create loyalty between you and your listeners but will also create a platform that will allow you to interact with industry experts. 

Lastly, blogging tip #4 is, conduct an interview for your blog. Whenever you get answers from an expert, viewers are more likely to receive your content as trustworthy and that is the feedback that you want to have time after time.  A blogger I often visit for my hip-hop information and latest interviews is Dita Quinones's blog titled ghetto news flash. From hip-hop celebrity beef information, segment on politics within the entertainment industry, her remarkable photography skills and to her exclusive hip-hop artist interviews this blog is a definite one-stop shop for entertainment. If you need to see some uniquely crafted live video interviews as examples, I suggest you visit this blog. You will fall in love with the layout and the presentation will give you a well-constructed idea as to how interviews are done correctly. 

So yes, anyone can blog! All of the above will help you in delivering a good blog as well as in shaping your blog to meet your needs! There are several questions you must ask yourself before you actually start blogging. What is the purpose of your blog? Are you targeting a specific audience? What do you want to get out of your blog? Will this be a personal blog or a professional blog? How often will you commit to posting? Can you set a routine for blogging purposes? Will you be tracking your audience and visitor views? Once you have answered these questions, decide what platform you want to use to set up your blog. Then, you must decide whether or not you want to use search engine optimization and voilà, begin blogging! Once your blog is up and running, make sure you engage with your audience and are consistent. If visitors and followers leave comments, respond to their comments. When all is said and done, what you produce is a representation of you, so take your time and make your content worthwhile and meaningful. Besides, who wants to be misrepresented?

Best of luck on your creative content and blogging adventures!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Supercharge Your Drive By Following Your Industry Experts: Ana L. Ochoa-Monaco, One Of My Inspirations

With so many talented artists, businesses and other professionals who already have a well-known respected mark or presence, pursuing a career in the entertainment industry can be a little intimidating. Yet there are many, like myself who are driven and ambitious that regardless of the competition or obstacle, continue to pursue their dreams. If you lack experience and you still haven’t landed that internship or industry part time gig you’ve been wanting, how do you stay motivated? Are their leaders in the industry that inspire you to continue fighting the good fight? In what ways can you promote your skills, your brand and get the exposure you have been dreaming about?

Feelings of discouragement are normal when pursuing a challenging career. Even though you may get upset for not getting a job you wanted or didn't get the recognition you felt you deserved, to stay in this game, you must stay grounded, learn to step out of your comfort zone, use social networks to your advantage and not let your emotions deter you from achieving your goals. In other words, whether you are or not, seeking to be the next hottest R&B singer, best horror flick producer or aspiring to be a manager of a well-known music production company, there is hope and your chances of claiming your spot in the entertainment industry depends truly on your efforts and creativity. If you lack experience, a great way to get exposure and to get an insight look in your field, is simply by interacting with leaders who already play a role in the industry and have access to industry events. To me, seeing how leaders interact with others online, how they manage their businesses and how successful they are in maintaining their personal and professional online profiles, is not only inspiring but also plays as a great point of reference. If I am lost when it comes to a business procedure or need the lowdown on industry events, I can always refer to that leader for help.

As a Latina, as a mom and as a woman, I am always inspired by other Latinas who are excelling in managing their own businesses, that have the ability to empower other women and who successfully maintain their reputation online as well as offline. On my top 5 leaders list is entrepreneur Ana L. Ochoa-Monaco, known as @latinaprpro who is the owner of Padma Media and Marketing, Inc., is a designer, a PR expert and the creator of the #Latina Lifestyle Bloggers Group. Alongside her business endeavors, she also manages a personal blog titled “(Tienes) Una Cabeza de Coco” which she defines as being hard headed. What I love about this leader is not only her consistency throughout social networks and online activities (through #vllblog, #llblog tweet chats, Facebook and other groups) but her willingness to help others as well as her commitment to empowering female Latina bloggers. Some businesses today are still having difficulties in managing their online business profiles let alone have the ability to create a group based on a good cause. Although Ana has a lot on her plate, she manages her endeavors with flair and is very good at what she does.

Whether you are new to blogging, are establishing a business or simply want to know how the pros do it, keeping @latinaprpro in your Twitter timeline is an excellent way to go. Having her on my Twitter and Facebook timelines allows me to learn about not only current trends and topics for my blog but also a helps me to learn how leaders interact with followers, gives me a network to refer to in my field and keeps me in the loop for upcoming events.  One event you don’t want to miss out on is “The Latina Lifestyle Bloggers Group #Vllblog National Conference and Blogger Junket” which will be held on October 20, 2011 at 6pm, at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event is sure to be educational and motivational, a showstopper! From personal branding workshops, to blogger presentation skills, to sessions on blog monetization, fashion and beauty previews, freebies and much more, it is the event that you’ll certainly want to be a part of!

As you can see having leaders to refer to in your field when you have questions, when looking to take your entrepreneurial skills to new heights, or need a dose of inspiration are a definite must. If you feel stuck and unmotivated or need some guidance, seek a leader in your field and make sure you choose wisely. As one of my favorites, Ana is an amazing person not only because she is professional and successful but also because she is a great role model to many women that have aspirations of becoming successful business owners. I have my favorite industry experts, do you? What leader motivates you and have you interacted with them today? Don’t fright, reach out to one of your industry experts today; the experience and knowledge you can obtain from an industry expert is often very rewarding, simply priceless.

To learn more about the conference, please visit the following site:


Friday, September 16, 2011

Creating Your Personal Online Networking Experience With A Cultural Cap: How The LATISM Group Has Helped Me Refine My Leadership Skills

Besides the advantage of speaking more than one language, there are many perks to being multicultural. From new job offers, to exclusive invitations from secret online social networking groups and invitations from group leaders to attend other culture specific conferences and events, joining a social networking group of your preferred culture or having an ethnicity theme can be quite enriching. If you are like me, and have a multicultural background, why not expand the quality of your social networking experience and use what you possess to your advantage? 

Besides setting up an account and creating your online presence on Facebook, Twitter and similar sites, engage in one or two groups relating to your culture and or ethnicity. To that effect, once you have selected a group, make a commitment to participate in that group. Your commitment and engagement to the group can be displayed by posting daily on the group's message boards, by promoting the group's content or by promoting the group's leaders, by responding to other members' posts, by joining the group's tweet chats and by participating in the group's weekly events as well as joining the group's twitter parties.

As an American Latina, I have embraced social networking to its fullest, by connecting with others and joining groups that relate to my interests, passions and more importantly my heritage as well as my culture. It is social networking not only on an American page but also with subcategories that are in tune with my cultural background and it is practically my world! It is pure brilliance if you ask me! Joining several online social networking groups not only has helped me to be more aware of the issues that affect my culture and community, but has also allowed me to connect with people who share similar passions and interests as well as the opportunity to take that the online community experience and bring it to the offline world, via the group's exclusive conferences and events.

One of the groups I joined was the Latism group, also known as Latinos in Social Media (#Latism). I first learned about this group through one of my followers on Twitter. The Latism group, is a non-profit organization that focuses on empowering Latinos online and offline by creating learning opportunities through discussions and events, on health, education, business and other topics. After learning about what the group was all about, I immediately started following the group and participated, one or two times a week by posting an article or replying to others' comments in the group's hash tag. After a few weeks of engagement, noticing familiar faces and recognizing members who had similar interests, I decided to take my experience to the next level by joining the group's weekly Thursday night’s chat. After that, I participated in the group on a daily basis by communicating with other followers, promoting the group online, by creating posts with the group's hash tag and by replying to others' posts.

Currently, I can say that the knowledge I have obtained and the people I have met have played a significant role in my leadership skills. I am more confident in my field and because of Latism I have a group that I can always refer to whenever I have questions or need expertise. This year for the first time, from November 9 to 11, 2011, I will be attending the Latism Annual National Conference in Chicago, Illinois and I am completely elated! I am so excited because this conference will allow me to network, promote my brand, create connections and because I will finally get to meet some of the leaders who took me under their wings and showed me the ropes when I was first developing my online presence. 

Quality engagement, learning from the leaders in my fields of interest and the connections I have made are truly just some of the experiences that make the Latism group a winner in my book. Alongside my engagement in general online networking communities, having an alternate group to refer to that relates to me on a personal level is a great foundation for my educational endeavors as well as my business related goals. Whether you are building a site for your business to get exposure, or perhaps you are wanting to establish more contacts in your field or you want to know the facts from the experts in your field, joining and online group with a cultural specification has the potential of creating a quality online experience for you as well as for the establishment of your business. 

The next time you are considering a multicultural group online, I suggest you check out the Latism group or to select a group that relates to you culturally or shares similar career interests. Taking advantage of your abilities is accepting your uniqueness and by using your cultural heritage, you will be able to create a personal online experience that is richer and quality based.