This month’s Feature Influencer is Jenell B. Stewart. A pro at the influencer lifestyle, Jenell brings you all-things-woman on her blog! Whether you’re looking for a little support in your #MomLife, or need some practical beauty tips, Jenell is your girl. Covering topics like how to get your kids to play outside, ways to connect deeper with your spouse, and even dipping into recipes – Jenell keeps it real, and that’s why we love her! We can’t get enough of Jenell because she always creates authentic sponsored content that weaves each brand seamlessly into her lifestyle. Want to learn more about Jenell? Keep reading!

How did you start blogging?

I started blogging back in 2006 when I was in college. At that time I talked about any random thing on the planet.  In 2010 I became very passionate about my natural hair journey and decided to shut down my original blog “Me & My Ego” titled after one of my favorite Beyonce songs, and I started a natural hair and beauty blog, KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com which is now the destination website for black women with natural hair. After the birth of my children and many life changes I decided it was time to create a self-titled blog JenellBStewart.com where I would share my experience of motherhood, weight loss, marriage, travel and overall lifestyle. I have managed my beauty website, my lifestyle blog, 3 youtube channels and over a dozen social media accounts for my brand full time for the last 5 years. Blogging has changed my life so much and I am so thankful for the many relationships and partnerships I’ve developed during this time.

What social media outlet do you use most frequently and why?

I use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter every single day. Facebook and Twitter allow me to share my blog posts, videos, and the content of others in a way that is user-friendly. My audiences there are mature and want their daily fix of what’s going on in the world. My Instagram is all things Jenell and what my day to day looks like as a mom, wife and business owner.

How did you develop such a unique personal style?

My style is original. I literally fall in love with trends when they are no longer trendy. Do you know how long it took me to try the beauty blender?  I’m literally always a little behind the curve because I only do things out of my own personal interest not because everyone’s talking about it.

Your blog covers several topics (Lifestyle, Parenting, Podcast, etc) how do you balance all of them?

It is so incredibly easy to balance my topics when you live them every day.  All of my posts are my real life and when you’re writing your true life it doesn’t take much effort. The effort comes in with sharing and committing to posting. I stay really organized and plan out my days to allow for work and play. There was a point in time when I wrote blog posts all day every day and never took the time to do much else. When I became a wife and mom my husband and kids made it clear they needed me more than my blog and my readers and I worked hard to find a work life balance.

What is your favorite topic to blog about and why?

I love blogging about mom-life from my perspective. Parenting is not one size fits all and when I share stories with other moms I realize how different we all are. I like to share the differences and normalize the hardships of parenting while celebrating its beauty.

What are some of your blog photography tips?

I’ve was blessed with a good eye for photography even before camera phones were a thing and when I started blogging back in 2006 camera phones literally weren’t a thing.  Technology has come so far that there is just no excuse to have blurry, dark and out of focus photos anymore. Where they do that at?

My first tip is always and I do mean always, wipe off the lens of your front and back phone camera before taking a picture. It’s second nature to me, I don’t even open my camera app before wiping the lens.  

My next tip is: find the light. This is so easy to do but often ignored. When you put your phone up to take a photo or a selfie turn around 360 degrees until you find the light. Sometimes this might mean moving closer to a window or a  light source when in doors but if you don’t have the light your picture won’t be right.  Yes there are apps you can use to lighten your dark photos and I use them all the time but it’s so much easier to just find good lighting.

My third tip would be to invest in a DSLR camera when you can. Key words here are when you can. Having a DSLR camera is a great investment because it can take your photos up to a professional level, however, a good camera is only as good as the photographer. If you don’t know how to use your camera, your photos won’t ever look professional and the best way to learn how to use your camera is by actually using your camera in various environments and in under various conditions with various subjects. YouTube is a great resource for photography support. Type in the name of your camera, I use the Canon 70D, and there will be tons of videos teaching you how to use it for what you need.

What are some clever tips for planning out/organizing your posts every week?

Create a schedule that is realistic and practical. You may want to post every day but if you work full time, have kids, work out, buy the groceries, cook, clean, laundry, sex -yes sex takes time – then how can you post every day?

Write out all your blog post ideas as soon as they come into your brain. Do not wait until you have time to actually write the post because you will lose the topic and all supplemental ideas by then. My favorite way to get my ideas out immediately goes a little something like this. Pick up iPhone “Hey Siri, make the note, “how to get your kids to eat healthy on the go.” And Siri does the rest. That takes all of 8 seconds to do and.

Get an editorial calendar to help you visually see your layout. I’m very visual and this has helped me tremendously.

 

How do you put your own unique and personal twist on sponsored posts?

I write every sponsored post in a lifestyle format. No reviews. No sales pitches. My post has to be about something other than the product, and then I weave it in. I almost never agree to put the product name in my title because readers can smell “sponsored” from a mile away. Sometimes it takes me several planning sessions over several days to finally come up with a blog post topic that is organic to who I am and naturally integrates the product or service.  Because my children are a part of everything I do and every decision I make I often create sponsored posts around them and our lifestyle. Partly because my kids are super cute and partly because it’s natural for them to be at my hip in everything I do. As I answer these interview questions they are both here with me in my office, moms never get a break.

When writing posts that focus on me as a woman I come up with angles that match the product to my life. Basically, if I wasn’t being paid, would I use/buy this? How would I best use this? To offer a more engaging post I often take my thoughts a step further I think about everyone else in my circle and how they might use it as well. I talk it out with my husband to get his feedback on my blog ideas and thoughts on the sponsoring company to see what comes to his mind as a man. Sometimes I even call my best friend or my mom to ask them questions and will sometimes use their responses in my posts.

Check out some highlights from Jenell’s work with CLEVER here:  Colgate® Total Advanced Health MouthwashDixie® Ultra Disposable PlatesKidsParkGrace Eleyae,Softsoap.

 

 

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