Author Archives: Chanelle Garcia

4 ways web creators build community

Creators are always looking for ways to connect with their audiences, starting with producing and sharing content that resonates with them. But how do you take these interactions to the next level and build a stronger sense of connection with your followers? We asked creators who cover a wide range of topics how they turned their followings into active, engaged communities.

Use multiple platforms to build your audience

Most creators have a favorite platform they post on, but there are benefits to being active on more than one. For example, posting on multiple platforms can help with discovery, boost engagement and drive traffic to your website. Lindsey Bomgren, a fitness trainer and blogger who posts at Nourish Move Love, says, “I use Instagram for building audience engagement, Pinterest for driving traffic to my website and YouTube for sharing full-length workout videos. No matter where you post, you can always link back to a common destination, like your website. Our most loyal readers are our email subscribers, but we love YouTube and Pinterest for their discoverability!”

Lindsey wears athletic clothes while performing a stretch by standing on one leg.

Lindsey Bomgren posts content for her brand, Nourish Move Love, on multiple platforms to boost discoverability and engagement.

Choose how you want to measure and define success

As a creator, how do you know whether you’re building community among your target audience? Should you focus on how big your audience is, how well your topics resonate with them or both? Two important tools to measure success are analytics and direct feedback, including using direct messaging through platforms, comments or emails.

Lindsey uses analytics to understand “which posts are driving the most traffic, and where that traffic is coming from.” She adds, “We create content for different audiences. Some of our content is designed for search engine optimization; whereas other content, like full body high intensity interval training (HITT) and pyramid workouts, is geared toward our Instagram followers.”

Other creators rely more on community feedback to find out what content is resonating. Payton Cavin, who built the media brand Mellow Yellow Media to inspire women to explore the world and their passions while working remotely, shares, “Analytics help us understand what our audience is craving more of. That being said, direct feedback is always more beneficial. There's nothing like having a conversation with a follower who found value in what you shared.”

Payton, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and cowboy boots, sits on a white bed in front of a yellow wall that says “Mellow Yellow.”

Mellow Yellow Media founder Payton Cavin values direct feedback from her fans and followers.

Find ways to engage

Interacting directly with your audience can not only help you figure out what's working, it can build community and bring your brand to life. Many creators shared that they interact with followers in comments or direct messages on social platforms, or via email. Beauty blogger Kendall Alfred says, “I try to respond to as many YouTube comments as I can, and my direct messages are always open on Instagram. I go live on my platforms and answer questions in real time. I also try to do giveaways and donations as often as possible.”

And Lindsey hosts “live workouts on YouTube and Instagram, sharing weekly seven-day workout plans and daily #WOD's [workouts of the day] that we follow together as a community.”

Kendall wears a black tank top and holds an eyeshadow palette next to her face.

Beauty blogger Kendall Alfred engages with her community through live sessions, giveaways and donations to promote her YouTube channel.

Partner up

Eager to grow your brand’s reputation and think outside the box? Partnering with other creators can be an effective way to mix things up while bringing your communities together. It can also help you get creative by exploring more topics related to your brand.

Shylah May, a lifestyle and wellness blogger, says, “I’ve made friends with a lot of other creators throughout the years. We travel, take photos and attend events together, and they even help promote my clothing line, Shop Shylah May. Teaming up with other creators helps your brand so much — it creates awareness, better defines your brand and allows you to grow your audience.”

Shylah stands in front of an open window wearing a white satin dress.

Shylah May loves partnering with other creators.

Source: The Keyword

4 ways creators can bounce back from setbacks

Life is never completely smooth sailing, and challenges can strike even with the best-laid plans in place. We asked creators how they handle challenges and how these obstacles — while often difficult in the moment — can serve as opportunities to learn, grow and build resilience.

Learn from your mistakes, and do better next time

Take Monique Elise, an author, financial analyst and lifestyle influencer passionate about empowering women. After her first brand collaboration failed, Monique realized these campaigns require more work than they appear to on the surface, and that being an influencer means much more than taking pretty photos. “I underestimated just how much work, preparation and organization goes into creating content that I’m truly proud of,” she shares. While initially disappointed in her results, she quickly shifted her mindset and learned what to do differently in the future. “Truthfully, that experience was so necessary,” she says, “because it made me understand how important it is to be prepared, especially if I want to represent my business in a meaningful way.”

Monique wears a pink suit and black shirt while sitting on a desk.

Monique builds her confidence from a support group of family members, friends and peers.

Be prepared for the unexpected

As Monique shared, being prepared is key — and that includes being prepared for the unexpected. Rae Allen learned this as she was building her brand as a fitness and style creator. Rae’s goal was to run a mile every day, and just as she was getting started, she found out she needed a series of back-to-back surgeries. She quickly turned this setback into an opportunity to grow her platform in an authentic way.

“At first, I felt like a failure because I couldn’t technically run,” Rae shares. “But I realized I set the rules.” After her surgeries, she started walking, jogging, then finally running again — regularly posting about her recovery, and her favorite workout outfits, on Instagram. “If it weren’t for this setback, I never would have found my true passion for creating,” she says. “My platform changed immensely, as did my fitness journey as an athlete. Today people look to me for inspiration, motivation and empowerment.”

Rae Allen runs down the street next to her father, who rides a bicycle next to her.

Rae Allen recently celebrated 2,700 days of running a mile every day.

Lean on your support group

When a challenge inevitably arises, it can feel like you need to solve it on your own. But that doesn't have to be the case. Monique depends on her support group of “friends, fellow creators and my boyfriend.” She shares, “Having a support system really helps when you’re suffering from self-doubt. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’d be surprised at how many people want to help you and see you succeed.” Having a peer group to share your experiences with can be especially comforting, because they can empathize with the nature of your work and offer actionable suggestions.

Channel resilience

No matter the endeavor, it’s important to keep moving forward and reaching for your goals. Monique and Rae both found strength in the face of disappointment, and the determination to press onward. It’s something that still inspires Rae today, and she wants to share that spirit of resilience with every creator: “Keep going! Whatever it is you’re facing — just keep going with one foot in front of the other. There will be highs and lows and it will be hard. No matter what we do in life, we will always face obstacles. So why not face obstacles doing something you love? The journey is worth it.”

Gen Z creator uses the web to educate on racial justice

Kahlil Greene is a self-described “Gen Z historian” who uses social media to advocate for change. He established himself as an influencer, educator and voice for justice with his thought-provoking videos, engaging oratory style and eye-catching graphics. He has more than 500,000 followers and 20 million views across his social media profiles — with 5.5 million likes on TikTok alone.

From influencer to entrepreneur

Kahlil first used social media to educate, activate and inform students while he was a sophomore at Yale. He was elected the college’s first Black student body president, and worked to represent student activists, whose voices were historically marginalized or suppressed. To help do so, he designed social media infographics for the Yale College Council, and their Instagram post on “Being the Change” lists over 70 advocacy projects that were completed under his leadership.

Off campus, Kahlil worked to develop an online presence as a racial justice advocate, usinghis TikTok andInstagram accounts to spark candid conversation about Black history and racism. HisJuneteenth slideshow on Instagram from July 2020 “went insanely viral,” with over 57,000 likes. Another post from a month earlier about how people talk aboutviolence against the Black community gained as much attention.

Kahlil’s Instagram profile features his image superimposed over posts addressing current events.

Kahlil’s Instagram profile features his take on current events, using videos and infographics.

Today, Kahlil is an in-demand public speaker and consultant, educating schools, nonprofits and businesses on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. He also works with brands on their corporate social responsibility campaigns. “I share a Gen Z perspective on subjects related to history, culture and politics,” he explains. “I can amplify arguments that other Gen Zers might not be able to make. I'm forging a bridge between our generational ideas and large organizations and their leaders.”

Brands value the perspective and insights Kahlil brings, as they seek to reach Gen Z — a socially conscious, social-media savvy generation. “Society is trending towards the values that Gen Z holds,” Kahlil says. “Gen Zers are graduating college and choosing where to work. I wrote a Harvard Business Review article about how companies fail to meet those standards. Diversity and inclusion is not a 'nice to have' anymore. It's a 'need to have.'”

As Kahlil’s influence grew, businesses were reaching out to him via his email links on social media. “But those [profiles] didn’t tell people enough about me,” he says. “Other creators I admired had websites with blogs that looked very professional.” Kahlil decided he needed his own website to develop his voice as a writer, showcase his work and create a hub for his brand.

Kahlil is pictured on his website smiling, wearing a black Yale sweatshirt with a big  kente-patterned “Y” and jeans. His homepage text lists his accomplishments as the Gen Z Historian.

Kahlil’s website pulls together his experience as the Gen Z Historian.

Creating a business website

Kahlil launched his Gen Z Historian website in March 2021, bringing together his ideas, experiences and media coverage. “I wanted my own space where I could document my journey and develop deeper connections with people,” Kahlil says. A website also gives Kahlil ownership over his content, he notes. In January 2022, he launched his blog, where he posts long-form articles such as “What Is DEI in the New Decade?,” a popular topic for his public speaking.

Kahlil keeps an editorial calendar and posts frequently, including around holidays, remembrances and other events, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. His ongoing Instagram series on “Hidden History” tells America’s untold stories, such as the link between racism and the Salem Witch Trials. He plans to reach an even wider audience through book, podcast and TV projects in the works.

Kahlil stands outside, in front of a tree in a green and white striped shirt and khaki pants. A building can be seen in the distance.

Kahlil encourages other advocacy-focused creators to find their voice on major online platforms to engage and enlighten audiences.

Finding a voice

To creators seeking a platform for advocacy, Kahlil offers this advice: “Find out what is not being said clearly, and use your voice to clarify that. Also, find topics that haven’t been talked about to death. A lot of my niche and audience come from either ideas that I clarify with my communication style or ideas that exist but haven't been shared for mass audience engagement. Those are the ways that you grab an audience if you want to be an online educator.”

This creator turned donuts into dollars

Google for Creators recently launched The Conversation, a new YouTube series spotlighting the experiences of women of color creators. This month, we’re featuring designer, photo stylist and donut aficionado Samantha Ushiro, the talent behind the successful online brand Aww Sam. Learn more about Sam below and check out the full interview.

Samantha Ushiro’s love for donuts, confetti, bright colors and vintage fashion led to an unexpected — and successful — career move. Today, her Aww Sam brand has nearly 300,000 followers across her web properties, including her Pinterest profile, which receives 2.4 million monthly views. She’s also partnered with brands like Refinery29, Bustle, HGTV and Brit + Co.

Sam made a leap of faith to get where she is today. She was studying industrial design at the Parsons School of Design in New York. For her final project, she created a photo book of handmade, colorful donuts decorated in her whimsical style. A blogger since high school, Sam decided to post some of the photos online. “People were asking me, ‘What’s the recipe? How do I make these?’” Sam recalls. “That’s how it all started.”

Sam began posting her work on Instagram. Brands took notice of Sam’s upbeat, retro style, and paid gigs started rolling in. “I realized, OK, I could make a career doing this,” Sam says. She left her job in 3D modeling to dive into online content creation full time.

In 2015, Sam launched Aww Sam, a creative lifestyle blog “with a focus on making every day fun.” She expanded her content to include party planning, crafting, vintage fashion and home décor. Her audience ate it all up.

Sam now toggles between New York City and her home in Austin, Texas, which she shares with her husband, Kyle, and new baby Kiki. Here, Sam shares a few ingredients from her recipe for success.

Screen capture of Sam Ushiro’s “Category: Donuts” webpage features a photo of Sam in a pink dress and hat emerging from a giant box of donuts, along with other donut photographs.

Sam Ushiro’s love for decorated, handmade donuts launched the Aww Sam brand.

Commit to your passion

In the beginning, Sam was juggling college, a job and her social media content. Like so many aspiring creators, Sam had to choose where to focus her time and energy. “Some people wait until their social media work surpasses their salary, then they make the leap full time,” Sam shares. “It was hard for me to do both at once.” She decided to take a chance and become a full-time content creator. “I figured, if this fails, I can go back to my industrial design career.” Sam never had to revert to plan B, as Aww Sam became even more successful than she imagined.

Start with what you have

Sam didn’t start out with fancy equipment or a studio. Working out of her one-bedroom apartment in New York, she taped paper to the walls to create a photography backdrop. “I used Photoshop to extend the colored backgrounds,” Sam shares. She had a flip phone (no smartphone), so she improvised with the tools available. “I used a digital camera,” Sam explains. “I would email the photos to myself, and then I’d go on my iPod touch and post them on Instagram.”

Sam, Kyle, and baby Kiki pose against a shimmery, wintry white backdrop. Sam wears a baby blue princess dress and hair bow, Kyle is in a white suit with a blue scarf and black top hat and baby Kiki wears a yellow dress with a blue pom-pom headband.

Sam’s husband, Kyle, and baby Kiki are part of the Aww Sam experience.

Find inspiration in unexpected places

Sam’s design aesthetic is uniquely her own. But she’s drawn inspiration from outside of the Aww Sam orbit, too. “I look at other creative things, like films, graphic novels and surrealist art,” Sam says. “You can gather inspiration from stuff that’s not directly related to your work.”

Sam’s pink Jell-O crown cake has red and orange fruit chunks and white balls of cream. It sits atop a yellow cake stand.

Sam’s Jell-O crown cake is inspired by vintage recipes, when Jell-O was a kitchen staple.

Use your platform for social advocacy

Sam has built her brand on spreading joy. But she also uses her platform to educate her audience. Her Instagram Stories cover the Black Lives Matter movement and other important issues, including the rise in violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. In one post, Sam shared her experience growing up as a Japanese American, and how her grandparents were relocated and confined in U.S. internment camps during World War II. The post enlightened her audience, “some of whom didn’t know Japanese internment camps existed,” Sam says.

Photo of Sam as a young child. She sits on top of a green bouncy ride outside, wearing a blue dress, white tights and her hair styled with bangs in a bob cut.

Sam shared her experience growing up as a Japanese American with her followers.

Sam hopes her content serves as a bright spot in her followers’ social media feeds. She encourages other creators to start posting and see where their journey takes them. “I think all creative work is valid,” Sam says. “Even if you don't think you've done a good job, you still made this thing. You made something out of nothing. And that in itself is still valid.”

Want to hear more? Check out the full video interviewwith Sam on The Conversation.

From intern to million-dollar creator in four years

Christina Galbato began her career as a public relations intern in 2015. She launched a personal blog and an Instagram profile in 2016, posting about travel and life in New York City. “Back then, it was just a passion project,” recalls Christina. Soon, she started connecting with other content creators, including those earning income as bloggers and social media influencers.

That led to a life-changing, “aha” moment.

“I realized I could actually make money and have a full-time career doing this,” Christina says. She landed her first paid gig creating content for a Caribbean tourism board. One job led to another, and another. She grew her network and built herwebsite, herblog and her following, establishing herself as a dependable and engaging influencer. Other brands came calling, and Christina’s success skyrocketed.

Within a year, she’d earned enough income as a content creator to quit her job as a marketing assistant. She built her portfolio and attracted more business deals, earning six figures from brand collaborations. She traveled the world, visiting 16 countries. As her community and success grew, things began to shift. “My followers started to ask me, ‘How can I do what you do?’” Christina says. She transitioned away from travel content to become an online educator, creatingcourses and apodcast to help other creators monetize their businesses.

Screen capture of a website features images of women against a pink background, and titles of three different podcast episodes focused on content creation.

Christina’s podcast includes influencer industry news, business and blogging strategies and social media advice.

By 2020, Christina’s business brought in its first $1 million in revenue. By 2021, she more than doubled that revenue stream, with enough work to hire 20 team members — most of whom are women. With an audience of over 500,000 online, she has already helped 10,000 other women become successful influencers and is expanding her courses and coaching offerings to help even more.

Christina offers her advice in the latest Creator Insights series, launching today on the Google for Creators YouTube channel. “I'm excited to encourage other creators and show them a number of different ways that they can monetize their content,” she says. Some topics Christina covers include creating a strategic content plan, making your pitches stand out to brands and calculating rates for sponsored content.

Here, she shares three tips for content creators to get on track to achieve their own success.

Christina leans against a railing overlooking the water and the New York City skyline. She is smiling with long brown hair, wearing a flowy, long-sleeved red dress.

Christina transitioned away from travel blogging to become an online educator, sharing what she’s learned with other content creators and social media influencers.

Network with other creators and brands

Christina’s success didn’t happen by accident. She followed and connected with other content creators, inviting them into her community and tapping into theirs. At the same time, she reached out to brands and public relations companies representing brands. “Do not underestimate the power of networking,” Christina advises. “You want to run a business that serves people, that serves your audience. So if you're not talking to them, you're missing out on a huge opportunity.”

Focus on your audience, not yourself

“The biggest mistake new creators make is too much focus on ‘me me me content, and not enough on value,” Christina observes. “The online landscape and what it means to be a successful influencer has changed a lot. Five years ago, you could post about what you were doing, selfies, pictures of what you were eating. People don't care about that stuff anymore. People are always asking, ‘What is in it for me?’ Lead from a point of view of always providing value to your audience — whether that is entertainment, informational content or inspiration. That's going to set you apart from people who aren’t leading with that mindset…and bring you success a lot quicker.”

Diversify your platforms and income streams

Christina’s content strategy includes a website that serves as her brand hub, which branches out onto her social media channels. She also reaches her audience through an email list and her podcasts. “It’s not just being on Instagram, but also having an email list and growing your audience on a platform that you own, like a blog,” she advises. “Creators should also explore different ways to monetize their content. In addition to brand collaborations, there’s affiliate marketing, creating online courses and other digital products. Never put all of your eggs in one basket, whether it's a content publishing platform or an income stream.”

Holding her dog, Koa, and smiling, Christina stands on the sidewalk with a wrought-iron fence and brick building behind her. She has long brown hair down and wears an off-the-shoulder, long-sleeved peach-colored dress.

Christina is expanding her classes and coaching programs to help more aspiring entrepreneurs become successful creators and influencers.

Want to learn more about becoming a successful content creator and social influencer? Watch Christina’s first Creator Insights video on the Google for Creators YouTube channel and stay tuned for more.

A creator who started posting at age 12 now has over 700,000 fans

Google for Creators recently launched The Conversation, a new YouTube series spotlighting the experiences of women of color creators. This month, we’re featuring 21-year-old creative director, model and social media influencer Hannah Mussette, who began creating and posting content at age 12. Learn more about Hannah below and check out the full interview.

Social media influencer Hannah Mussette grew up on the internet, creating and posting content starting at age 12. Now, at 21, Hannah has a successful brand and over half a million followers. But the road to get there wasn’t easy. Like many others, she found that middle school wasn’t always a welcoming, inclusive environment. “I had very bad social anxiety,” Hannah recalls. “I was getting made fun of in school. I didn’t have any friends. My only outlet was to turn to the internet.”

Hannah began creating and sharing videos as a way to express her bubbly personality — showing what she had in her backpack or just goofing around with her sister. “I felt the internet wouldn’t judge me,” she shares. “I felt more comfortable being myself online, which I couldn’t do in [my] environment.”

Hannah began posting makeup tutorials in high school, taking note of what other women of color were doing online. At 16, she decided to go public with a deeply personal issue — her hair. “I used a relaxer, which is the devil,” she says. “My father said, ‘Do something with your hair. It looks fried.’ I said, ‘OK, I got you.’” Hannah took matters, and scissors, into her own hands. 30 minutes later, she emerged from the bathroom with her hair cut short. She documented the process in a YouTube video calledMy BIG Chop!, which quickly went viral. “I was watching the views go up,” Hannah says. “It was 20,000. Then, it was 50,000. Then, it was a million before I knew it. I was like, ‘Wow!’ And I knew that was my niche.”

Hannah’s YouTube homepage featuring her “Nighttime skincare and shower routine,” among other haircare and skincare videos.

Hannah shares haircare, skincare and modeling tips, as well as her thoughts on sexuality and self-care, in her YouTube videos.

Since it was first posted in 2016, Hannah’s haircut video has attracted more than 1.5 million views. HerYouTube channel now has 433,000 subscribers, who watch Hannah’s take on natural haircare and skincare, beauty, style, relationships and more. And herInstagram profile has 240,000 followers.

Today, Hannah is a professional model, content creator and social media influencer, with sponsorship and affiliate deals from multiple beauty brands. She is also co-founder and creative director ofJumu, a company that sells natural hair products.

Hannah shares some of what she’s learned from growing up in the social media spotlight.

Hannah smiles as she shows off her brown curly hair, which she wears in an afro. She has on a tank top, gold necklaces, hoop earrings and rings on her fingers.

Creating and sharing content helped Hannah overcome anxiety and find herself. It also jump-started her career in modeling and business.

Evolving with her content

Hannah’s content evolved as she grew into a young woman. “My content has changed dramatically,” she says. “Between the [ages] of 14 to 17, it was usually hair videos or school vlogs. I would take my camera to school and film with my friends.” Today, Hannah still shares beauty and styling tips, but she also vlogs on self-care and sexuality. She even opened up about her adoption story. “Now we're talking about grown-up stuff,” she says. “We're having girl talks.”

Taking on social issues

Hannah also promotes Black-owned businesses and posts about women’s rights and social justice issues. She doesn’t intend to stir up controversy, but she doesn’t shy away from it either. “I’m trying to educate,” she says. “People will either agree with me or they won’t. That’s the joy of social media. For every negative comment, there are 30 more from people wanting to know more, and thanking me for posting and speaking up.” Still, living in the social media spotlight can be challenging. “Social media can be a little bit scary,” Hannah admits. “I’m showing my personality, but some people will throw that back in your face. I try not to listen to [the negative] comments.”

Being a role model

Hannah wishes she could tell her 12-year-old self that everything would turn out OK. Now, she wants to inspire other girls and women of color to feel good about themselves. “My biggest inspiration is little girls, Black girls,” Hannah says. “Because when I first started [posting] the hair videos, the initial comments were, ‘Oh, I'm 10, or I’m 12, and my mom won't let me cut my hair, but I want to. I want to be like you one day.’ I want to be that person for little girls… that person that they can look up to.”

Hannah stands on a sidewalk in Manhattan, New York, with trees and a metal fence behind her. She wears a red, oversized blazer with a lacy black top, red lipstick and her hair in braids.

Hannah looks ahead to a bright future, which includes inspiring other girls and women of color.

How a creator’s natural hair journey built community

Google for Creators recently launched The Conversation, a new YouTube series spotlighting the experiences of women of color creators. This month, we’re featuring beauty and lifestyle creator Tyla-Lauren Gilmore, who shared how her natural hair journey led her to build an online community and become a full-time content creator. Learn more about Tyla-Lauren below and check out the full interview.

In 2014, Tyla-Lauren Gilmore graduated college and began to earn a living on her own. She was also trying to find herself, and started thinking about what kind of image she presented to the world. As she looked in the mirror, she wondered why, as a woman of color, she was straightening her natural curls — a process that, over many years, left her hair dry and damaged.

“A college friend told me, ‘Ty, people pay for your curly hair. You should embrace it,’” the native New Yorker says. “Not many of my friends had curly hair, so it was up to me. I was in search of community.”

Tyla-Lauren took to social media to find other women who looked like her. After following a few beauty bloggers on YouTube and Instagram, she began documenting her own natural hair journey. “I was figuring out what to do with my big afro,” she says. “I started posting my natural hair care tips and tricks onInstagram.” Almost immediately, other women took notice, and her online following grew.

Tyla-Lauren knew she’d tapped into something special when a widowed dad reached out for advice. “A father [messaged] me saying, ‘Hey, I just lost my wife, and I have no idea how to do my daughter’s hair,’” she recalls. “I gave him step-by-step processes of how to do his daughter’s hair. And he was so grateful. From then on, I knew this was something I wanted to do.”

She continued to grow her web presence over the next few years, including starting aYouTube channel. In 2018, she quit her 9-to-5 job at a beauty products company to become a full-time digital content creator.

Tyla-Lauren’s YouTube homepage features a hero video on her new curly hair routine, along with five other hairstyling videos.

Tyla-Lauren Gilmore’s YouTube channel features dozens of videos and has almost 10,000 subscribers.

Now, Tyla-Lauren has more than 150,000 followers across her social media channels, creating a supportive space for women to connect and share their experiences. She posts on beauty and fashion, lifestyle, cooking, parenting, travel and self-care. She aims to create authentic content that people can relate to. “I love helping people, especially younger girls looking for a role model,” she says. She has also developed business partnerships with major brands across different industries, with herTyLauren website serving as the home base for her growing portfolio.

Tyla-Lauren smiles as she sits at a wooden table with a hot drink and phone in front of her. She wears her hair long, in curls, with a beige coat and black shirt.

Tyla-Lauren Gilmore started posting about her natural hair journey on social media; today, she’s a full-time content creator.

For Tyla-Lauren, helping other women and girls on their own self-discovery journeys makes the hard work of being a full-time content creator well worth the effort. She offers two pieces of advice to other women considering becoming creators themselves.

Know your self-worth

Tyla-Lauren recalls the first $50 she received for creating original content. “At first, I viewed it as extra gas money for my commute into the city,” she remembers. But when she left her corporate job, Tyla-Lauren had to get savvy about how to survive and thrive as a solopreneur. She recommends researching the content creation space you’re in to learn more about what brands will pay for product reviews, content sponsorship and other types of business deals. “You may be super appreciative to [work with brands], but it’s not about working for free,” she notes. “Brands have money, and you are a contractor who is doing a job for them. I want all young creators to know this: Take pride in your work and know your self-worth. Be savage! Never sell yourself short!”

Be relatable… and vulnerable

So many social media influencers, including celebrities, curate seemingly flawless images online. Tyla-Lauren strives to create a welcoming community for all women and girls, inviting them to share their day-to-day life experiences. “I’m a creator, but I’m also a human being,” she says. “I want to erase that [ideal] that everything is perfect and all flowy dresses and vacations. That’s not what being a creator is about. I talk to people about normal stuff like laundry and grocery shopping and things that we all go through.” Her posts on mental health and self-care, including her own experiences in therapy, have been very popular with her followers. “These posts get a huge response,” she says. “People connect with you. Everyone’s story matters. We’re all human.”

Tyla-Lauren stands on a deck outside with a checkered flannel shirt. A mountain and trees with changing color leaves are in the background.

Tyla-Lauren wants her readers to be vulnerable and know their worth.

Want to hear more? Check out the full video interview with Tyla-Lauren on The Conversation.

Women of color creators share their journeys to success

Women of color are doing incredible things online. They are creating educational and inspiring content, and making their marks as influencers in fashion and beauty, health and wellness, business, and more. They’re making a living building their brands and presenting their authentic selves . And they’re creating strong communities around their shared experiences.

Today, on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we’re launching The Conversation — a new YouTube series to share and celebrate the experiences of women of color creators. Each interview will feature a new woman of color creator talking about her background and journey, including her struggles and successes. Guests will share how they’ve built brands that resonate with others, and how they’ve turned their passions into full-time careers. They’ll also discuss how gender, race and culture have influenced their paths, the ups and downs of getting to where they are today, and what they hope to share with the world. No topic is off the table, including how to handle haters and overcome creator burnout.

Our first episode features creator Tyla-Lauren Gilmore. In 2015, after many years of straightening her hair, Tyla-Lauren decided to embrace her natural curls. She began documenting her personal transformation on Instagram and YouTube, and almost immediately, other women took notice. Today, more than 150,000 subscribers follow her beauty and lifestyle posts across her social media channels. Tyla-Lauren continues to share her personal stories in the hopes of inspiring other women to embrace their natural beauty and feel comfortable in their own skin.

Tyla-Lauren poses for the camera wearing a white button-down shirt and stylish glasses frames.

Tyla-Lauren Gilmore is the first creator featured in The Conversation.

Next month, we’ll hear from beauty and style influencer, fashion model and creative director Hannah Mussette. Hannah started creating content at the age of 12. Now, at 21, she’s a popular social media personality sharing modeling, fashion, makeup and hair care tips on YouTube and Instagram, and inviting candid discussions on topics such as self-care and social justice. She also co-founded a line of hair care products for natural Black hair called JuMu. The youngest creator interviewed in our series, Hannah shares what it’s been like to grow up online in front of an audience that supports and occasionally scrutinizes her content, which has evolved over the nine years she's been posting.

Hannah Musette walks on a sidewalk in front of a grey tiled wall. She has waist-length braids and is wearing a white shirt, baggy black pants, and a purse.

Hannah Musette is a fashion model and influencer who started creating YouTube videos in high school

The goal of The Conversation is to pull back the curtain on creators like Tyla-Lauren and Hannah so you can get to know the women behind the brands. Visit the Google for Creators YouTube channel to watch the first episode of The Conversation, and share what you thought in the comments.

Building community and bridges through Black food culture

Eden Hagos grew up in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in a family of East African food entrepreneurs. Her parents ran a restaurant, among other food businesses, and her grandmother sold injera (a sour fermented flatbread). When she moved to Toronto to attend university, Eden “wanted to fit in,” leaving her East African diet and traditions — such as using injera, instead of utensils, to scoop fragrantly spiced dishes — behind.

However, when Eden experienced racism from restaurant staff while dining out for her 26th birthday, her worldview changed forever. “Being denied respect because of my skin color made me ask myself why I had never considered celebrating special occasions at an African or Caribbean restaurant,” Eden recalls. “Why didn’t I cook my cultural foods? I knew then that I wanted to change the way I looked at food.”

Eden traveled the world, attending food festivals and interviewing chefs about Black food and culture. She discovered a gap in the food industry and set out to build a digital community around Black cuisine. In 2015, she launched theBLACK FOODIE website and social media accounts, bringing together chefs, restaurateurs, and other experts and influencers to celebrate what it means to beBlack in the kitchen.

The BLACK FOODIE community onInstagram and Facebook began to grow. As the content got cooking, Eden realized her audience was expanding as well. Two years after she started the community, the BLACK FOODIE team blossomed into a group of three with the addition of Elle Asiedu, Chief Brand Architect, and Kema Joseph, who supports the brand's PR strategy. The team developed BLACK FOODIE into a cross-channel brand with its website at the center — sharing recipes, stories, restaurant recommendations and food travel guides.

Black Foodie founder Eden Hagos smiles in a white halter top with red necklace, hoop earrings and upswept hair, as she chops green veggies at the kitchen counter.

Eden Hagos founded BLACK FOODIE to change the conversation around Black food culture.

Today, BLACK FOODIE’s web presence brings 230,000 followers to the table and the conversation. They’ve attracted business partnerships and media attention, and hosted events such as BLACK FOODIE Week in Toronto in support of Black-owned businesses.

"There are so many content opportunities for us to tell unique stories across different platforms,” says Elle. “We want to include the different voices and perspectives of the diaspora to truly help our audience and food lovers around the world understand the diversity of Black food culture."

Community is at the heart of all BLACK FOODIE is and does. Eden and Elle sat down with us to share a few tips on how they built the BLACK FOODIE digital community.

Mix up content formats

Video is a great format for recipes, Eden says, because people want to see how the dishes are made. BLACK FOODIE shares short videos on Instagram and even shorter videos on TikTok. They post longer stories and written recipes on the BLACK FOODIE website. “People can do a deeper dive on our website,” Eden says. “Our website allows us to have a broader base to include folks who aren’t on social media. If you’re going to type a search into Google, we want to have robust content on the website so you can find us. We reformat and repackage our content so nobody gets left out.”

A colorful stew of fava beans, red onions, tomatoes and jalapeno peppers, topped with yogurt, cumin and lemon.

Eden shares her recipe for Ethiopian-style ful, a popular and colorful protein-packed stew.

Stir up audience comments

It’s obvious from social media that people love to look at, post photos of, and talk about food. BLACK FOODIE has found that audiences especially engage with content related to foods from their childhood. When a Toronto-based stand-up comedian posted about craving banana bread during the pandemic, for example, BLACK FOODIE was quick to repost. Another conversation-starter was a post on the great oat milk debate, as readers chimed in on their preferences for a non-dairy alternative. “We pin fun posts where people are commenting between themselves, so it has a chat room feel,” says Eden.

Open the door to everyone

Following the global social justice protests that took place throughout summer 2020, more people are seeking out the BLACK FOODIE platform as a common meeting place. “People are more interested in finding out about the Black experience to understand what’s happening and why it’s happening,” Elle notes. “We’ve seen a spike in followers who are not part of the Black community interacting with our posts and asking and answering questions. This sense of openness underscores the opportunity for food to be a gateway for social commentary and, in a lot of ways, justice. We try to keep our content light and engaging so folks feel like they can always join in and leave having learned something new.”

A woman wearing white halter top, shorts and straw hat holds a pink fruity drink while seated on a blue-and-green striped blanket in a backyard picnic.

BLACK FOODIE blogged on how to create a beautiful backyard picnic — a simple, outdoor activity for pandemic-weary people that appealed to a wide audience.

Want more advice on how to build your web community? Watch Eden and Elle share “3 tips for building your digital community.” And check out more of their Creator Insights videos on the Google Web Creators YouTube channel.

Highlights from the Web Stories Workshop

In May, over 100 content creators, publishers, agencies, and other businesses joined the Google Web Creators team for a virtual workshop on Web Stories. The workshop was designed to teach attendees about media-rich, tappable, web-based Stories so they could create their own. And now, we want to share the information and presentations from that workshop with you!

An introduction to Web Stories

In the workshop’s intro session, Raunak Mahesh from Google’s Global Product Partnerships team covered the basics of Web Stories. He explained how they’re an effective storytelling format for all types of content creators — from large news outlets like USA Today to individual creators like The Tiny Herbivore. He also shared that more people continue to access content on their mobile phones, and that 64% of readers prefer tappable content over scrolling articles.

Raunak Mahesh is seated in front of the camera, with a green plant and white walls behind him.

Google’s Raunak Mahesh presents Web Stories basics and benefits at the Web Stories Workshop.

Raunak also shared the benefits of Web Stories. Unlike closed platforms, you own your Web Stories, control how long they’re active, and can use them to direct readers to other content on your website or blog. And you don’t need to know how to write code to create Web Stories. Tools such as MakeStories, Newsroom AI, and the WordPress Web Stories plugin put building Stories within reach of busy bloggers and journalists.

Stories allow you to reach new audiences through Google Search and Discover, and can be embedded on your blog for added visual flair. They also help you monetize your content on your own terms, using affiliate links and ads.

Web Stories best practices

Next, Google Web Ecosystem Consultant Shishir Malani discussed best practices for creating Web Stories. Here are his top tips:

  1. Include a clear title and branding elements on your cover page.
  2. Create a complete narrative and flesh out your content with interviews, research, lists of items, and destinations or steps. Stories with incomplete narratives perform poorly compared to stories with complete narrative arcs.
  3. When deciding what to put on a page, think of the media first. “We like to think of Web Stories as writing a blog, but backwards,” Shishir said. “So start with the visuals that will best and most vibrantly tell your story, and then add in text to clarify the narrative.”
  4. Ideally, a Web Story should be 10 to 15 pages long. On each page, text should be readable — ideally less than 280 characters or the length of a tweet. “Shorter is better,” Shishir shared.
  5. Accessibility should be baked in, not an afterthought. In addition to making sure all text is readable, remember to caption your videos. When designing, stay within your tools’ safe zone — where important text and graphics won’t get cut off — so that all readers can fully understand your story.
Shishir wears a blue shirt and virtually presents a slide titled “Drafting the narrative.”

Web Ecosystem Consultant Shishir Malani discusses Web Stories best practices.

You can watch both sessions in the Web Stories workshop video. You can also check out other sessions from the workshop, including a presentation from Forbes about how they use Web Stories in their content mix, and a Q&A session with Google Web Stories experts. For more tips and resources for creating compelling Web Stories, visit the Storytime section of the Google Web Creators YouTube channel.