Saturday, 21 April 2018 / London, UK

Should I Join a YouTube Network? | My Experience with an MCN

Should I Join a YouTube Network? | My Experience with an MCN

If you're a small YouTuber who has just started out and you maybe haven't got that many followers, you may be wondering about YouTube Networks (also known as Multi-Channel Networks or MCNs) or you have already been approached by one looking to partner up with you. Before you make a decision, it's important to do lots of research.

There are good and not-so-good YouTube networks to join. Some YouTubers have great experiences with networks like StyleHaul, The Game Station, Omnia Media, etc. But I've found that these are more exclusive and harder to gain access to. I joined Broadband TV, which has tens of thousands of partners, and here is my experience:

Being Approched by a YouTube Network


I was approached by BroadbandTV, or BBTV, two years ago. At this point, I had less than 1000 followers on YouTube (that didn't really matter to me, and still doesn't. I make YouTube videos because I love sharing my fashion and beauty advice on different platforms alongside my blog).

A really friendly representative emailed me talking about a business opportunity, which sounded great, and wanted to chat to me via phone. Me being very careful, I researched both the representative and the company to check that they were legit, before entering into any form of verbal contact.

We had a long chat where I asked her questions about what BBTV could do to improve my channel. She told me that BBTV could:

- help me collaborate with different YouTubers

- give me a free subscription to royalty free music

- access additional information on my analytics

- provide expert customer service to help with my channel

- send me a useful bi-weekly newsletter featuring YouTube tips and tricks

- and do a whole load of extras which weren't really relevant to me at the time (provide social media management tools, help me create merchandise, etc.)


All of this was new to me, but it sounded really cool. I told her that I was interested, so she sent over a contract for me to look through. Luckily, I personally know a solicitor, so I gave the contract to them to look through and tell me if there were any major no-no's that I should be aware of. There weren't, so I signed it and went ahead.

BBTV asked for 40% of my earnings in exchange for all of the above. For me this was fine, as I didn't make much money from YouTube, so it seemed like I was getting the better end of that deal. They also stated that the contract lasts a year, after which I could leave if I wanted to.

My Experience of Being Part of a YouTube Network


Over the next year, I gained just under 900 new subscribers which, for me as a small YouTuber, seemed like a lot. HOWEVER, I wholeheartedly feel that being part of BBTV played no part in this.

In fact, after the onboarding process, there was no personalised contact from BBTV for the entire length of the partnership (apart from one which I will mention further down) - which says a lot for their 'expert customer service'. There were no YouTuber collaborations; the royalty free music subscription was pointless as YouTube has their own music library anyway; I found the additional analytical information to be unhelpful; and there were no newsletters full of tips and tricks (I even sent them an email asking to be signed up as I hadn't received anything, and they said they didn't offer one...).

Basically, I was giving the MCN 40% of my income, without getting any personalised help in return.

I reached out to BBTV with my concerns, and they sent me back a copied-and-pasted response in which they (again) did not offer any personalised help - instead, they listed their 'tools' and told me to make use of them. How do I know this response was copied-and-pasted? Because I saw the same exact response on this blogger's post.

I responded by saying that I was unhappy with their service, but that I would like to give them another chance if they gave me a shoutout on their social media. They said that they could try, but couldn't guarantee anything.

About a week later, one of my videos got a shoutout on their Twitter page, which gained me about a dozen views despite their 69.7k strong following. Needless to say, I was disappointed.

Ending my relationship with BBTV


For some reason, possibly because I couldn't be bothered to actively terminate my contract with BBTV, I stayed with them for two years. This February, just after YouTube changed the requirements for its partnership program, I received an email from them saying that they were 'repositioning their services and partner network' and releasing me from their contract.

Since leaving them, I have seen my views and subscribers go up significantly quicker than it did when I was part of their program. I'm not sure if this is because I've created better content in the past few months, but nevertheless I've taken note. My videos are still monetised on YouTube, and I am now pocketing that (albeit small) 40% that BBTV were taking.

On the whole, I feel like I haven't lost anything whilst being a part of BBTV's YouTube Network - potential income aside - but I didn't gain anything either. Perhaps I needed to actively contact BBTV more often to get them to help me out (although when I did, they were just really cagey and I do wonder if pestering them for help would produce better results). The relationship was completely one-sided, and I personally will not be entering into a partnership program with an MCN again, unless I am guaranteed drastic improvements.
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Thursday, 19 April 2018 / Waterford, Ireland

The Amazing Outdoor Art of Waterford, Ireland

Waterford Walls - Grafitti in Ireland

How many graffiti artists do you know? I think most of us can name, at most, one - and that 'one' is probably Banksy. But the wonderful world of public art has moved on since the satirical street artist's heyday, and over the years we've seen a bloom of new names in the world of public art. 

I have family in Ireland, so I visit the country regularly. On my last visit, I took a trip into the city of Waterford (which is apparently the country's oldest city). Having been here several times before, I wasn't expecting anything exciting. But then something magical caught my eye - the walls of the city were covered in breathtaking art.

I later found out that this was part of Waterford Walls, an International Street Art festival which turned the city into an open-air gallery. Artists have come from all over the world - Argentina, Spain, Canada and more - as well as locally, to transform this urban landscape into something really mesmorising. It really gives you a good reason to explore the entire city.

Take a look through the photos I snapped, and let me know which piece of art is your favourite!

Waterford Walls - Grafitti in Ireland
Waterford Walls - Grafitti in Ireland
Waterford Walls - Grafitti in Ireland
Waterford Walls - Grafitti in Ireland
Waterford Walls - Grafitti in Ireland
Waterford Walls - Grafitti in Ireland

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Monday, 16 April 2018 / Suffolk, UK

How one woman turned her gin obsession into a business

Becca Green founded her business, The Gin Caddy, after spotting the rising demand for gin at events. 
When she's not talking trends at her day job as a Style Editor, she's quenching Suffolk's gin-thirst from her three-wheeler Piaggo van...

How one woman turned her gin obsession into a business

Tell me about The Gin Caddy, and what you do!
The Gin Caddy is a mobile gin bar housed in a lovingly converted three-wheeler Piaggio van! We are based in Suffolk and love to celebrate locally sourced and distilled gins as well as a select few a bit further afield.  You’ll see us parked up at your local food and drink festivals, weddings and private events serving up gorgeous G&Ts to gin lovers all over East Anglia.

What inspired you to start up The Gin Caddy?
First and foremost, I’m a gin lover. I was working in London at the time and as a regular festival-goer I would see these adorable little three wheeler vans perched everywhere ­– they would usually be serving up coffee or pizza (which I am also a massive fan of)! One day I thought why not set up my own gin version? Gin is having a real moment right now and as I’ve worked in marketing in the past I had an inkling of an idea how to build up a brand from scratch. But, honestly – I had no real clue how to get started. So, my immediate reaction was to give it a go and see how it turned out. We are still early days, but the future is looking very exciting.

How one woman turned her gin obsession into a business
Becca in her Gin Caddy van. Photo cred: Ellen Whight

How has your background helped you in developing your own business?
Having worked in PR and journalism, I really have experienced both sides of the same coin. I believe that working in this industry gives you a great understanding of how a brand/business can effectively reach out to its target audience. Also, social media has played a huge part in The Gin Caddy’s success so far and this is definitely something I have learnt from working on a consumer magazine – as well as learning the importance of beautiful imagery, of course!

Who are the people who have helped you most along the way to starting your own business?
My mum, without a doubt. Not only is The Gin Caddy physically parked in her garage but also the support she has given me has been incredible. At first, when I had the idea of starting up my own mobile gin bar, she wasn’t too keen but when she saw me starting to take it seriously and developing it into a viable business, she became fully on board. She’s brilliant!

Photo cred: Ellen Whight

Who are your biggest female influencers?
I have loads! I wouldn’t say they necessarily correlate with The Gin Caddy directly but they have definitely influenced me, without them even knowing it. Any woman who has carved their own path and had the tenacity to take the leap of faith and start their own business influences me in a huge way.

What's your biggest goal right now?
I think goals are great. But, sometimes I fear they come hand-in-hand with too much pressure and expectation. I’d say I’m aiming to achieve a balance with my job as a Style Editor with The Gin Caddy, as well as maintaining a social life! I’m beyond happy to be doing what I love and I just want this to continue at a steady pace.

How one woman turned her gin obsession into a business
Photo cred: Ellen Whight

What's the next step for you and The Gin Caddy? 
A fun-filled summer! We are so excited to be out and about introducing The Gin Caddy to the world.

Any advice to give to women wanting to start a business alongside their career?

Stop thinking about it and just do it. I know it’s cliché, but I had so many doubts when starting up The Gin Caddy and no one believed that I was going to follow through with it. On the whole, society tells us to stay in our box, especially as women, but what’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t go to plan and you put it all down to experience. If you can’t stop thinking about an idea, stop making excuses, throw yourself in headfirst and go for it. 

Visit Becca's website at https://www.thegincaddy.com, and follow The Gin Caddy on Facebook and Instagram!
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Thursday, 15 March 2018 / London, UK

MAC is now stocked on ASOS!


How has your week been? I guess it really doesn't matter, because it's about to get a lot better - MAC is now being sold on ASOS! 

Finally, right?

If you've ever browsed ASOS and thought something was lacking in their beauty department (which has often crossed my mind, too), MAC has now filled that makeup-shaped hole with over 600 products. 

You read that right. OVER. SIX. HUNDRED.

Yes, some of them have sold out already, but I guess that's what comes with a massive drop like this. They'll be restocked soon. Don't you worry.

And better still, you can use your ASOS A-List vouchers to get money off, which you wouldn't be able to do on MAC's online store. Combine that with free shipping if you spend over £20 (it's easily done) or free next day delivery for a year for £9.95 (which is what I invested in, and it's so worth it) and you've got one happy customer base.

Without further ado, I've created an edit of all my favourite MAC products now available at ASOS, below. Cilck the images or text to head straight to the ASOS website!

[This post contains affiliate links]

      


      


      


      


      


      

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Wednesday, 14 March 2018 / London, UK

How to Dress like Cheryl Blossom


I'm a little bit obsessed with Riverdale. I don't know whether it's because of my neverending love of the YA genre, or my addiction to the neon pink aesthetic of Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe - either way, I'm OBSESSED. In particular, with Cheryl Blossom who, if you aren't a fan of the show, is the resident mean girl at Riverdale High School.


Cheryl is played by Madelaine Petsch, who has stunning, natural red hair. It was like she was born to play this character, and she does an amazing job. Even though I never read the comics, I'm really invested in her portrayal of Cheryl as a fabulous bitch with a Gothic aesthetic. The fact that Madelaine also has her own regularly updated YouTube channel is so cool - it's not often that you see relatively high profile celebrities devote as much effort into something as time intensive as YouTube.



If you're from the pre-Netflix generation and remember watching Gossip Girl the first time round, you may have shown a similar liking towards Blair Waldorf. Cheryl and Blair share similar attributes: they're both rich, manipulative, self-absorbed and popular (usually because people are afraid of them, not because they're liked). They also both have a vulnerable side when it comes to love and their families.


However, what I find most appealing about the two characters is their iconic style. Blair's is Upper East Side preppy with pearls and berets as a regular wardrobe fixture, whilst Cheryl's is often vampy and her signature colour is cherry red. While Blair is the girl I idolised whilst I was growing up, I feel like Cheryl's style is far more 'me' - her skinny chokers, short hemlines and bejeweled brooches are so wearable. Not to mention, I'm a sucker for her colour palette.


If you love Cheryl as much as I do, and don't think it's insane for a grown adult to dress like a comic book/TV character, I've put together a collection of pieces which I feel reflect Cheryl's style. Brands and prices are listed below the images, and you can click on each image to be taken to the brand's online shop.

[This post contains affiliate links]

      

CROP TOP, £28, ASOS // HEADBAND, £6, ASOS // SOCKS, £4, ASOS

      

CO-ORD, £21, ASOS // LACE TOP, £29, COAST AT HOUSE OF FRASER // MESH TOP, £47, MINK PINK AT ASOS


      

LACE DRESS, £75, GUESS AT HOUSE OF FRASER // BELL SLEEVE TOP, £65, PHASE EIGHT AT HOUSE OF FRASER // HIGH WAIST TROUSERS, £26.99, QUIZ AT HOUSE OF FRASER

      

BURGUNDY CORD SKIRT, £30, MISS SELFRIDGE // FLORAL WRAP BLOUSE, £25, MISS SELFRIDGE // LACE CHOKER, £10, MISS SELFRIDGE

      

PATENT OMBRE HEELS, £119.95, MODA IN PELLE // OVER THE KNEE BOOTS, £44.99, PUBLIC DESIRE // BURGUNDY VELVET HEELS, £29.99, PUBLIC DESIRE

      

SPIDER BROOCH, £275, ALEXANDER MCQUEEN AT MATCHES FASHION // MINI LIP BULLET IN DREAMBOAT, £5, TOPSHOP // RED CAPE, £95.99, ZARA
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