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The creators tackling the cost of living crisis

We share the creators using their platform for good in a time of need

By Bella Hales and Nana Akosua Frimpong

Thursday, 19th of November 2022

With the cost of living crisis being an ever prevalent issue in the UK, there have been questions raised about influencer culture and their seemingly cash-rich lifestyles.

According to a survey by Room Unlocked, six out of ten people find influencers insensitive and infuriating amid the dramatic rise in the cost of living. There are, however, many people using their platform for good during the recession. The #costoflivingcrisis hashtag, for example, has been trending on TikTok and has been viewed over 556 million times – but this time for a more positive reason. Under this hashtag, you will find content creators across many different niches using their platform to make a difference, whether it be by providing their audience with accessible budgeting tips and financial information or key money saving advice. 

Keep reading to find out some of the top content creators who have used their financial expertise to help their audience during this difficult time and, if you would like to see a more extensive list of creators sharing their best financial advice, head over to our Instagram.

Gemma Bird is a very well known money saving guru. Growing up with a saving addiction, she decided to turn this into her personal brand where she educates people on the power of scrimping and saving. She can be found sharing bargains, deals and discounts to her audience in an attempt to show that being thrifty doesn’t have to be boring. Her relatability and down-to-earth personality has grown her a loyal and dedicated following.

Clare Seal aka My Frugal Year is a Fin-fluencer (financial influencer) from London. She began her account in 2019 as a means to tackle her £27,000 debt that she had accumulated, and now shares tips and tricks on budgeting and improving relationships with money. Clare founded @thefwforum as a place for honest and supportive conversations about money and more recently, is known for her coverage on topics such as mortgage and financial property.

In addition to the increase in financial advice being shared by content creators, here at THE FIFTH we have seen a noticeable increase in crafting and DIY content. #CraftTok, for example, has now been viewed over 1.3 billion times on TikTok, with more and more people going online to get DIY and crafting inspiration in a bid to spruce up their homes and give their decor a refresh on a budget. 

Here we highlight two of the top craft creators using their platforms to share thrifty craft and DIY tips:

Sergei Urban aka The Dad Lab is a craft, DIY and parenting content creator and shares cheap yet exciting activities to do with your children. These include fun science activities, building sets, activity books, educational tools and creative paper crafts. A lot of the activities are created from upcycling, for instance making an infinity car track from cardboard, all of which share the message that entertainment doesn’t have to include buying expensive toys.

Duygu is a DIY content creator, retired teacher and founder of the Good Things Studio. She specialises in Punch needle embroidery, an old and special technique where a punch needle is used to poke loops into fabric. In 2015, she started her youtube channel, Duygu’s DIY Diary, in order to share her crafty, do-it-yourself ideas with more people. As her content creation career has progressed she has taken this over to Instagram and TikTok where she shares how-tos of her latest cheap and innovative creations. 

If you would like to continue reading on crafty influencers, head over to our Instagram post where we spotlighted some of the key talent in this area. 

Crafting and DIY isn’t the only thing to trend as a result of the cost of living crisis. With  supermarket prices on the rise, there has been an increase in appetite for cheap and budget-friendly recipes. Below, we include some of the most influential UK foodies and content creators who are exhibiting some of the most delicious and cheap, home cooked meals, for those who are looking to tighten their belts.

Jack Monroe is food content creator, author and anti-poverty campaigner. She used to be known as the £10-a-week blogger, who would share how you can make 3 cheap and easy recipes a day for a total £10 a week. Now she shares affordable recipes on her website and often creates series such as 20p recipes or 15-minute meals. Most noticeably, after the increase in prices of essential products at Asda, Monroe complained that even the low-price range was too expensive. This resulted in the supermarket agreeing to make the range more accessible. She is a great example of the power influencers have in making a positive impact. 

Nina Mackenzie is a lifestyle blogger who shares parenting content on instagram. This can include reviews and recommendations of children’s products and crafting activities. Nina is also well known for her cooking content, where she shares affordable meals for the family, and recently has partnered up with Sainsburys to create a series called family dinner for under £5. 

Click here to read more on the most influential talent creating budget friendly recipes. 

As mentioned previously, influencers and celebrities who spend large amounts of money on clothes are frowned upon amid the rising costs of living. There are, however, a number of fashion content creators, who are promoting upcycling and thrifting as a way of staying stylish whilst saving money. Here we highlight those creators who are using their platform to talk about how cost-effective these methods are, and not to forget, how sustainable they are too! Head over to our Instagram post to read more.

Hudi Charin aka @thethriftythinker is the CEO of the sustainable and personalised fashionwear service @bigsisterswap. She encourages her followers to swap clothes instead of buying new clothes as a contribution to being sustainable and without breaking the bank.

Alexandra Stedman is an art director, writer and social media consultant, best known for her ethos that ‘dressing stylishly needn’t be expensive’. She is also the owner of the blog page The Frugality, where she shares accessible and budget-friendly fashion tips.

With the cost of living crisis being troublesome for most, it is understandable as to why creators who are sharing content centred around budgeting and financial advice are more in-demand than ever. Crucially, social media and content creators play an integral role in providing their audiences with accessible and easy-to-digest financial information. 

THE top video podcasts you should be listening to right now 

We look at why vodcasts have become so popular – and which ones you should be watching

By Nana Akosua Frimpong

Wednesday, 26th of October 2022

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an influx of creators take to podcasting alongside posting on their various other channels. 

While podcasting has been around for more than a decade, video podcasts have grown in popularity as it connects listeners to the hosts in a different way – and adds another element to the way in which you can consume the content. 

Video podcasts have created an opportunity for listeners to feel much more involved, almost as though they are privy to behind-the-scenes of the filming process. 

It has created an intimate interaction between the host and their listeners, as they pick up on body language nuances that you can’t experience through audio. It creates a feeling of being part of the conversation as it transpires.

With 24.2% of users going on YouTube to watch and listen to podcasts, it’s no surprise that Spotify has taken to expanding its podcast resources to include vodcasts. Pushing this expansion to other territories such as Italy, Germany, France, Spain and others, Spotify is looking to compete with YouTube and Apple Podcasts as the best platform for vodcasts.

Here, we share a few of our favourite video podcasts where the conversations are real, unfiltered and, most importantly, entertaining.

Nailing it: A Spotify Original vodcast about navigating the everyday challenges and toasting the triumphs of life in your twenties with your hosts Priscilla Anyabu, Wunmi Bello and Adesayo Talabi aka Simply Sayo.

The Receipts Podcast: A Spotify exclusive podcast where Your girl, Tolly T, Just Call me Audrey and your Mamacita Milena Sanchez come together to give their fun and honest truths about anything and everything.

Cocktails and Takeaways: Hosted by Madame Joyce, C&T is a podcast all about oversharing, unpopular opinions, failed relationships, light-hearted banter, celebrity gossip, world news and everything in between with a dash of alcohol to keep in good spirits. 

Call her daddy: Alex Cooper hosts the most listened-to podcast by women. Cooper cuts through the small talk with every guest and topic. Asking the questions you want answers to, you can never guess what is going to happen or be said.

Private Parts: Join Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing and friends as they dive deep under the covers of your favourite celeb’s lives to find out their most intimate stories and naked truths.

Say It with your chest: Hosted by Char, this is a visual podcast that shines the light on the corners of important conversations that are often missed out of the media or seen as taboo.

Working hard, hardly working: Grace Beverely moves away from the traditional business podcast rhetoric to get a better understanding of what actually goes on behind the scenes of the brightest success stories. 

Diary of a CEO: The unfiltered journey into the remarkable people who have defined culture, achieved greatness and created stories worth studying. Hosted by entrepreneur Steven Bartlett, this podcast regularly tops the podcast charts. 

The Peter Crouch Podcast: Hosted by Pete Crouch, this podcast is a guide to being a professional football player with insight on dressing rooms, transfers, managers, football confessions and everything in between. 

ShxtsNGigs: A weekly podcast from two best friends, James and Fuhad, where they try to give their full, unfiltered opinion on anything that comes to mind. 

On Purpose with Jay Shetty: Join Jay Shetty as he has fascinating conversations with the most insightful people in the world.

Pass the Meerkat: 8D Audio of the animated web series hosted by 9 Black/Asian men from London. The guys give their interesting takes on a variety of topics and share crazy stories.

JaackMaate’s Happy Hour: Join Jack and Stevie as they invite an array of the internet’s best celebrities to join the conversation ranging from YouTube drama to life’s big questions.

Saving Grace – Join TikTok’s GKBarry for absolutely outrageous conversations with a selection of very special guests, walking you through her WILD life filled with embarrassing stories from university and beyond.

Podcasts have an innate ability to reach a captive audience with personalised messaging and with many podcasters having built a passionately dedicated following over the years, brands would be remiss not to consider podcast adverts as a marketing tool.

Spotify keeping up and listening to its audience’s preference by boosting video podcasting on its platform is a step in the right direction. It is also an excellent opportunity for brands to further connect with new audiences or engage their current audience through authentic brand partnerships. 

Podcasts or vodcasts are intimate and trusted digital media channels that reach people in a very direct and personal way, and they offer brands the ultimate opportunity to gain insights into their audiences and creative solutions that can truly capture consumer attention.

What vodcast keeps you engaged and entertained?

It’s Disability Pride Month so why is nobody talking about it?

I explain how and why we need to be more inclusive to Disabled people.

By Disabled Eliza

Friday, 22nd of July 2022

July is Disability Pride Month. A month to celebrate all Disabled people regardless of gender or sexuality. Disability Pride is for all Disabled people and even has its own flag designed by Ann Magill. The reason it takes place in July is because the American Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 so the month coexists with that. It is a worldwide event that happens every year in July. 

But why do Disabled people need a pride month? The simple answer is: we don’t have equal rights. 

Disabled people in the UK (and around the world – however I am talking about my experience here) are more likely to be in poverty and have issues with accessing housing, work or funding, healthcare, education, self care, carers. The list is endless. In fact, it costs on average £500 more a month to be Disabled.

I speak from experience. I am a 25-year-old Disabled person, I am a wheelchair user and I have various health issues which impact me every day. Let me tell you it is expensive. One of the worst things for me about living in a world only made for non disabled people is I can’t get into most of the shops in my local area because they are simply not accessible. This isn’t rare either, I’d go so far as to say most places are not accessible for me. So, until Disabled people have equal rights, we are going to need Disability Pride. 

But if you are non disabled or a brand, why is it important to talk about Disability Pride Month? Well, for starters, it’s important because a LOT of people are Disabled – the estimate is around 14.6 million in the UK alone. That is one of the biggest minority groups. It is also a group that anyone could become a part of at any time. Yes that’s right, anyone could become Disabled at any second of their lives, and many will! 

As our age increases, unfortunately for many our health may decline. So when we don’t talk and learn about these things, it means we are leaving out a large group of people and shows we are not educated on the topic. A topic that could directly impact us at any moment. That isn’t to ‘scare’ anyone into caring about Disability rights. It’s just a simple fact, but as a society we often hide disability away. It’s something to be scared of, ashamed of, a ‘negative’ but that isn’t the case. It is simply neutral. Disabled people have always existed and will always exist. So rather than shaming us for our existence, we should love and embrace the community and show that Disabled people exist too.

Many brands don’t talk about Disability. We don’t see many Disabled models, actors or presenters and we are often pushed out of the spotlight. But Disabled people are wonderful and, speaking from experience, we are pretty cool too. Disabled people want to support companies, events, shows and more but so often we are not given accessibility or feel we are not represented by brands. This is only highlighted further when companies don’t mention us at all during Disability Pride. The silence feels empty, as if Disabled people are not valued consumers.

This is made evident from inaccessible shops and the lack of inclusion – which aside from everything else is a terrible business model (please be aware the reason for supporting and including Disabled people in business should not amount to money, however I am aware that money exists and is important when it comes to business so here we go…). 

The Purple Pound is the spending power of Disabled households and is over £249 billion in the UK alone. That is a lot of money. Keeping us out of your business model is not only discrimination, it’s also losing you a lot of pennies! Access and inclusion helps everyone! Not just Disabled people. The more accessible and inclusive you make your business the more people will want to shop and support your company. 

Disability Pride is the perfect time for brands to be showing their support for Disabled people, paying Disabled content creators, donating to charities and publicly saying that you support the community. 

Question yourself: how accessible is your business? How could it be improved? Could you pay for an accessibility consultant to make it better? 

Remember, this isn’t just about words or a simple Instagram post. It is about making your brand more inclusive, about championing Disabled voices and being pioneers in a vital movement. It is about listening to a mix of Disabled voices and educating yourself on a topic. 

Always remember to pay your Disabled employees and creators fairly because we have high overheads and it’s hard to get work out here. 

Happy Disability Pride Month.

Find out more about Eliza and the work they do here. 

HAS AI KILLED OFF THE CREATIVE?

dall-e 2 takes on the role of creative and designer

By Joel Newman

Thursday, 14th of June 2022

AI has taken another scalp, and this time it’s come for us Creatives.

This might not be wholly true (cue a collective sigh of relief), but OpenAI are getting mightily close. They’ve created a system called ‘DALL-E 2’ that uses AI to create images and art based on a collection of descriptive words inputted by its users.

The service has already seen its first brand involvement with Cosmopolitan, the entertainment magazine, using it to create a bespoke front cover for their latest edition. Although the service is still quite clunky – it took Cosmo quite a few hours (and a few hundred prompts) to perfect the combination of descriptive keywords – it does take on the role of both Creative and Designer. This streamlines the creation process and opens us up to the possibility of endless outcomes mere mortals may never have considered.

For years I’ve fought the case that Creatives are a sacred species (admittedly I am perhaps a bit biased) and something AI could never replace. The creation of DALL-E 2 however, has potentially derailed my theory, bringing it crashing down to earth in a burst of flames, sharpies, and precious tantrums – creative stereotypes the OpenAI team have overlooked for some reason.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the end is nigh for us Creatives. I’m sure when services like Photoshop were first launched, similar questions were likely to have been asked. Similarly throughout history whenever new creative innovation came about, uncertainty arose on the necessity of the older, less shiny version, but ultimately it just creates the opportunity for collaboration between the two.

For example, DALLE-2 can be used by us as a creative tool; hours of endless searching on Google Images for that one incredibly niche, impossible to find, reference for a pitch deck has now been reduced to a quick search and a few key words. In the same vein, this could also be a quicker, sleeker, partner to specialist skills such as scamping and storyboarding – both of which are seen as necessary requirements for all Creatives to have in their arsenal.

Ultimately the OpenAI team have created more questions than they’ve answered, which I suppose is the goal when launching industry defining projects. The big question though, is what is next for AI in creative? Personally, I’ll start getting worried when the waitlists to use services like DALL-E 2 are shorter than my lifetime. 

How my skills are changing the influencer marketing game

WHat makes our campaigns stand out?

By Esra Gurkan

Tuesday, 13th of July 2021

What makes an influencer marketing campaign stand out?

A brand that allows you the freedom to create innovative campaigns and a talented content creator to execute ideas is key, but so is an agency that pushes creative boundaries. And that is made possible by an agency that thinks outside of the box. 

There are some roles you wouldn’t ordinarily expect to see in influencer marketing. For us, it’s our special ingredient to ensure our agency and the campaigns we create not only hit KPIs but are also groundbreaking and progressive.

Here, we speak to several members of the Fifth team to hear about what they bring to the agency and how their role is revolutionising and professionalising the space.

Creative Strategy Lead Alice Thompson

Alice Thompson explains why creative strategy is important in influencer marketing: “We know that influencers bring creative flair to content and know what their audiences love. But often brands think of them as a media channel rather than as content creators and use them for pure product placement. It’s important to find a really relevant and interesting place for the brands to naturally slot into the feeds of the influencers that we work with, which is where creative strategy comes in. 

“We apply the insight gathering, audience understanding and strategic thinking that goes into creative content, then we work with influencers on the end product. The result is a great partnership that tells a deeper, more noticeable and longer lasting story”. 

Graphic Designer Patricia Ascorreta

Patricia Ascoretta says that “Having in house design and production allows us to work together with creators to elevate the content with special effects, animation, editing and design. This gives us a much wider range of content creators we can work with as we don’t have to rely on their post-production skills or access to them. It also means we can push our creative ideas further and get talent to deliver innovative content for brands that is normally reserved for ads with huge budgets or specific influencers”.

Campaign Director Oliver Bond

Oliver Bond says: “Most agencies would have Account Managers and Campaign Managers as separate roles, and so being able to almost combine the two ensures we are not only servicing the talent and their respective representatives but also the client, and means there is a full 360 service. This is a great skill set to have as your approach to different conversations has to differ depending on a whole host of factors, ranging from budgets to timelines and performance. 

“The Fifth empowers people to be a master-of-all-trades, encouraging you to add as many strings to your bow as possible in order to benefit your personal development. Obviously supporting resource is always important, but to be given the responsibility and accountability to manage campaigns 360 definitely gives us scope for professional and personal growth. 

“This is crucial at The Fifth as each campaign is so different. One minute we can be working with talent purely on Instagram to showcase a new product range, and the next we can be hosting live streams with some of the biggest YouTubers in the country to raise money for charity. The variety of campaigns means we need to have the skills to manage full circle, something some agencies might have separate roles for”.

Creative Stefan Dezou

Stefan Dezou explains: “As a Creative at The Fifth, our job is to reimagine the possibility of a social post, pushing the client brief through innovative and exciting ideas. We don’t just think about the content, we also think about the impact that it can have and the lasting impressions we can make on behalf of the brand.

“Creativity in influencer marketing is about understanding and utilising the amazing capabilities of the creators. This allows you to create truly authentic campaigns”.

Business Strategist Rob Stevenson

Rob Stevenson says: “As Business Strategist, my role involves both an art and science approach.

“I am tasked with keeping my eyes up and ahead to spot cultural trends and commercial opportunities amongst a sea of information. A little like sitting in the crow’s nest of a ship!

My role might be unusual for an influencer agency because it enables us to build and develop services, giving our clients an edge on social media and beyond! Our creative campaigns feature talent who push boundaries and have cultural resonance – I love seeing brands allow themselves to be a part of that. It always pays dividends”. 

What other roles do you see becoming a priority in influencer marketing?

Social content creators going mainstream

Who are you recognising on tv?

By Esra Gurkan

Monday, 21st of June 2021

We’re often told by the mainstream press that influencers earn too much for doing too little. Some people think they simply take photographs of themselves posing and earn hundreds of thousands of pounds a year for doing it. Whilst a lot of bigger creators do earn a good living, there is so much work that goes into being a social-first content creator that the media often miss out. 

There has, however, been a change in the tide over the last couple of years. Slowly but surely, digital creators are proving their worth and are being welcomed by traditional and established broadcasting and publishing outlets. They’re appearing on well-known TV shows, writing books and even competing in boxing matches shown around the globe. Recognising the worth of including established online talent and their influence, the mainstream media has started working with them, rather than against them. It’s about time.

But who are some of the social-first creators taking their content creation offline? And what does it mean for traditional media? Here, we look at some of the talent finally being recognised by your parents and grandparents, rather than just by you.

Munya Chawawa

Munya Chawawa is a comedian, satirist and content creator known for his sketches and many different characters. Behind the scenes, Munya has been honing his craft for years but has recently found his fame flourish. 

Munya was a writer on Charlie Brooker’s Netflix mockumentary Death to 2020, and his fictional drill rapper ‘Unknown P’ signed a deal with Atlantic Records. Now, he’s making regular appearances on primetime television shows. 

Most recently, Munya announced that he is to be a part of the BBC One Celebrity MasterChef 2021 line-up. Sharing the news with his followers on Twitter, Munya said: “Can’t believe a jerk rice parody 2 years ago has led to this! Barty Crease has a Netflix deal, Unknown P has signed to Atlantic and now Jonny Oliver is on @MasterChefUK (kind of) – the trilogy is complete.”​

Joe Sugg

Joe Sugg first became known to fans as Zoe Sugg’s little brother but soon carved out a career in his own right way back in 2012 when he began posting videos on YouTube as ThatcherJoe.

Since then, he became the first ‘social media star’ to appear on family favourite Strictly Come Dancing and even got to the final with his dancing partner and now girlfriend Dianne Buswell. He’s now gone on to portray Ogie Anhorn in the West End production of Waitress and has made his television acting debut in the fourth season of the BBC One drama, The Syndicate.

Candice Brathwaite 

Candice Brathwaite started blogging in 2016 in a bid to show that young black families weren’t just surviving but thriving, and share her experiences of motherhood. She is also the founder of online initiative Make Motherhood Diverse, which aims to ensure many more people see themselves reflected online. 

Now, Candice has a regular style segment on popular morning programme Lorraine on ITV where she has become loved by viewers for the way in which she gently encourages people to be bolder about embracing colours. She’s also now a Contributing Editor to Grazia and regularly appears on TV and radio where she talks about maternal mortality rates for black women in Britain.

Adding another string to her bow, Candice wrote her debut book I Am Not Your Baby Mother, which is about being a black British mum, last year. It has since made the Sunday Times Bestseller List.

KSI

KSI is a YouTuber, recording artist and boxer and is also part of the British YouTube group known as the Sidemen. After joining YouTube way back in 2009, KSI steadily built a following posting gaming-commentary videos of the FIFA video game series. 

Since then, it’s fair to say that KSI has diversified when it comes to creating content. He has gone on to launch a music career, with his debut studio album Dissimulation reaching number 2 on the UK Albums Chart. He’s also released singles with Craig David and Anne-Marie and Yungblud. 

KSI featured in comedy film Laid in America in 2016, has released an autobiography and been involved in boxing matches with fellow YouTubers Joe Weller and latterly Logan Paul, which was dubbed “the biggest internet event in history”. 

Not limited to online content creation, music and boxing, KSI is now a familiar face on mainstream television and has put on his apron for Celebrity Bake Off 2021 where he appeared in aid of Stand Up To Cancer.

Why are traditional formats wanting to work with social talent?

Social-first creators have built such large and engaged followings online that it was only a matter of time before traditional outlets started taking notice. Though some of them might still get negative press (the influencer-Dubai travel scandal, anyone?), traditional media is recognising the impact, and influence, that creators have – and their potential for multiple industries. 

After all, a lot of creators are multifaceted and can not only create engaging content but shoot, edit and produce it themselves. Social creators can also often have bigger and most importantly younger audiences than most traditional celebrities and TV personalities. 

By introducing social-first creators to traditional formats like television, the deal is mutually beneficial: not only will the digital creator gain an even greater fanbase, bigger career and earn money, the primetime TV shows will be able to tap into their lucrative younger audiences. An influencers’ audience is often highly engaged and incredibly loyal and more often than not, they will go to where that creator does, thus flocking in their droves to whichever mainstream programme they are appearing on. 

What does this mean for the future of traditional outlets?

The internet has completely transformed the way in which younger audiences consume content and as they are no longer familiar with traditional TV shows and formats, it is up to social-first creators who built their audiences online to bring their attention offline. 

Traditional and established broadcasting and publishing outlets are increasing their audience sizes, viewing ratings and their online engagement through social-first creators and so it doesn’t seem as though this method of incorporating creators into their formats will be coming to an end anytime soon. Why would they want to stop trying to bring in and attract crucial 16-34 year old audiences that they are severely lacking? 

As long as it is mutually beneficial to both parties, then the trend of seeing online talent moving more into the traditional media space will continue – and they might just be the ones to bring younger audiences back.

Books to add to your reading list from content creators and first time authors

that will make you think

By Esra Gurkan

Thursday, 17th of June 2021

When social-first content creators aren’t creating content online, they’re busy writing books about issues important to them and the world in which they are navigating.  

With growing audiences online, some creators have decided to take their content creation offline and have written memoirs, survival guides, works of fiction and self-help manuals. 

This year, the Sunday Times Bestseller charts have been packed with influencers sharing their stories and giving their new and long standing followers a different way in which to consume content. 

Here, we want to share with you a few books that dive deep into topics like race and identity, mindfulness, university and more. Proving their talents are far reaching, these creators have gone old school and put down their cameras and put pen to paper. 

Nicole Ocran and Emma Slade Edmondson – The Half of It 

Published: 09/06/2022

Hosts of the critically acclaimed podcast Mixed Up, Nicole Ocran and Emma Slade Edmondson will discuss what it truly means to be mixed-raced and all the different layers that fall into this in their upcoming debut book. The pair delve into everything from culture and identity, to interracial relationships, adoption, and understanding the historical context of mixed-race people which culminates in a rounder and deeper appreciation for the mixed-identity.

In The Half of It, which is out next year, Emma and Nicole will explore race and identity through the lens of the mixed race experience, creating a space for discussion and illuminating the true nuances of the mixed-raced identity and what this really means. If their podcast is anything to go by then we know this will be a roaring success!

Grace Victory – How To Calm It 

Available now

Award-winning digital-first creator Grace Victory has written a book unlike any other on mindfulness. Her second book, How To Calm It, was published early this year by #Merky Books, Stormzy’s imprint within Penguin Random House.

This non-fiction book, which has a foreword by Black Minds Matter UK, is an insight into how we can learn to process what’s going on inside our minds, heal our bodies for the better and learn to love ourselves. Filled with tangible tools, creative exercises and tailored tips, How To Heal It is the perfect accompaniment on your journey to detangling what’s going on in your head, and making a commitment to value yourself each and every day.

Candice Brathwaite – I Am Not Your Baby Mother⁣ 

Available now

Founder of Make Motherhood Diverse, Candice Brathwaite is the author of I Am Not Your Baby Mother, a book about the problematically homogenous portrayal of maternity in British media. Described as ‘urgent and eye-opening’, Candice’s book is an inspirational guide to life as a black mother.

I Am Not Your Baby Mother explores the various stages in between pregnancy and your child’s first day at school, while facing hurdles such as white privilege, racial micro-aggressions and unconscious bias along the way. Written in her trademark sense of humour and refreshing straight-talking style, the result is a call-to-arms that will allow mums to take control and make them want to scrap the parenting rulebook to mother in their own way.

Florence Given – Women Don’t Owe You Pretty

Available now

Artist and feminist social activist Florence Given covers everything from body image, toxic beauty standards, and identity-building in her debut novel Women Don’t Owe You Pretty.

Described as an ‘incredible mouthpiece for modern intersectional feminism’, Florence will help you to tackle and challenge the limiting narrative you have been bombarded with your whole life, and determine feminism on your own terms.

Through Florence’s story you will learn how to protect your energy, discover that you are the love of your own life, and realise that today ‘is a wonderful day to dump him’.

Candice Carty-Williams – ⁣Queenie 

Available now

Everyone has been talking about Queenie, the debut novel from Candice Carty-Williams. 

The book is described as a ‘luminous debut’ and a ‘joy-filled, painfully funny coming-of-age story set in modern Britain’. Candice brings to life the fabulously flawed, defiant but vulnerable Queenie Jenkins who is classed by many as one of the stand out fictional creations of the twenty-first century. 

The book tackles issues like mental health, race, class and consent and has made Candice one of the most talked-about and adored authors of her time. At the British Book Awards in June 2020, Candice became the first black woman to win the “Book of the Year” accolade.

Jack Edwards – The Ultimate University Survival Guide: The Uni-Verse

Available now

Lifestyle creator and YouTuber Jack Edwards has written a complete, unfiltered university handbook for students everywhere. From university applications to socials, The Ultimate University Survival Guide is filled with helpful tips and tricks, real advice and fun anecdotes, and is perfect to turn to for any questions you have about university – and we had a lot. 

When he first enrolled as a student at Durham University, Jack took his camera along and documented his experiences on YouTube. Since then, he’s graduated university and continues to make the university experience a little less terrifying for those currently applying – and hopes to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of higher education for all.

Niran Vinod and Damola Timeyin – How To Build It: Grow Your Brand

⁣Available now

So many of us are trying to monetise our side hustles these days, and the usual 9-5 is no longer the norm for everyone. In come Niran Vinod and Damola Timeyin with How To Build It: Grow Your Brand, their debut book on why building your brand is a necessity – and how you can make it relevant in the digital age and give it longevity. 

Their useful guide, published by Stormzy’s #Merky Books, helps you through all the key areas you should know about as you build solid foundations for your brand to thrive and grow. The step-by-step book is packed full of creative tasks and personal insight from creative strategists Niran and Damola who have worked with some of the world’s most renowned brands, and will set you on the road from nowhere to everywhere.

Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles – Outraged: Why Everyone is Shouting and No One is Talking

Available now

BBC presenter and DJ Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles explores the ‘insatiable taste for outrage in today’s world’ and calls for a return to civility in her debut book Outraged: Why Everyone is Shouting and No One is Talking. 

Described as ‘the powerful new voice of her generation’, Dotty provides us with the essential guide to living through the age of outrage and looks at how in order to enact change and make a difference online, we need to learn to channel our responses. In a world where cancel culture is thriving, Dotty’s debut non-fiction book is timely, relevant and candid.

This Morning’s Influencer in Dubai  Interview

my reaction

By Hayley Harrison

Friday, 29th of January 2021

By definition, influencers have influence; and with influence comes responsibility. 

I’m sure by now most of us have seen the infamous This Morning influencer in Dubai interview. And I’m sure me and my colleagues aren’t the only ones left feeling sad and a little sickened by it. Needless to say, the camel ride didn’t deliver on the motivational content she was aiming for. 

Like many industries, influencer marketing has adapted and evolved over this time. From the moment the first lockdown was announced, we saw many examples of talent using their influence for good. They stepped up; promoting correct hand washing techniques, supporting charities, launching loneliness initiatives, encouraging us to shop small and driving the conversation about mental health forward. 

Content has developed to be more raw, more honest and more authentic. We’ve seen a new wave of talent coming to the fore; they’re positive, inclusive, thought provoking and progressive. It’s encouraging to see and exciting to be a part of it. 

It’s for this reason that it feels so disheartening to scroll through Instagram and see people branded as influencers, along with celebrities and reality TV stars taking advantage of a loophole that sees them flocking to sunnier climes to carry out work that they deem as essential. 

We’ve seen members of various reality TV shows head to Dubai and other holiday destinations during lockdown. Away from the tragic picture of the UK, they’ve been posting content on their social feeds, occasionally sponsored, and even in some examples ironically encouraging their audiences to be safe and promoting coronavirus testing companies at the same time! 

Following This Morning’s interview, we’ve seen the media ramp up the attention on these stars seemingly flouting their privilege, leading to Dubai being added to the UK’s Red List, stopping flights from the UAE to the UK from today. But even before the infamous interview, we were seeing the sentiment shift towards the negative for those who were on holiday and documenting it. Interestingly though, when you look at the comments on the individuals’ posts, it’s hard to spot a comment criticizing them. Either negative comments are being deleted or comments are being temporarily restricted. 

Finally, ex-Love Islander Olivia Attwood broke the silence and spoke out about the tone deaf approach; ‘Some things I’ve seen legit over the past 24 hours are people on their stories saying how “hard” it is,’ she told her followers via her Instagram Stories. ‘People are losing their family members daily. They can’t pay rent and their businesses they’ve worked their f*****g b******s off for are crumbling around them and you’re on the beach telling us “you don’t know how hard it is”.’

Meanwhile, back in the UK, Dr Alex, a former Love Island season 4 contestant has been working tirelessly in the A&E department at a South London hospital. He’s been documenting his experience of working on the frontline during the pandemic on his social media and using his platform to encourage his followers to adhere to government guidelines in order to protect the NHS. But if you ever wanted an example of a person using their influence for good, you only have to look at Marcus Rashford. 

In a world where we’re spending more time than ever on social media, cases of mental health on a steep incline and the air thick with cancel culture, perhaps it’s time for us all involved in this industry to take responsibility and shift our focus to celebrate the personalities like Dr Alex or Marcus Rashford who should be held up as examples of people with influence using it for good?

How will we consume content differently after the coronavirus crisis

and will influencers be affected?

By Esra Gurkan

Wednesday, 13th of May 2020

Nobody can predict what will happen when we are all out of lockdown. Content creators have had to change their approach in order to stay relevant and sensitive to the ongoing situation. They still need to make an income, and are having to be smart about the ways in which they do, in fear of looking like they are making money out of a tragedy, but what will the landscape look like for creators when all of this is over?

I thought I’d share some of the trends I’ve spotted on my feed and my predictions for how content will change in the future. 

Cooking content

People are spending more time in the kitchen. Research shows two fifths are enjoying cooking more now, with 89% vowing to continue making food from scratch once the restrictions are lifted. This means we can probably expect to see less restaurant-perfect food covering our Instagram feeds, and more home-cooked dishes – perhaps even made using home-grown vegetables. Vegan chef Brett Cobley has been a champion of this trend, launching his #creativecupboardchallenge where followers share three ingredients they have that they don’t know how to use and he invents a recipe.

Homes over holidays

Travel content creators will undoubtedly have suffered during COVID-19. They’re no longer able to collaborate with a brand or luxury hotel in a far-flung destination at a moments’ notice. With less money spent on long-haul holidays, there will be more cash to spend on homes. After all, we’ve realised the importance of having a nice living space. Interior influencers could help people redesign their homes to be more in-keeping with a post-coronavirus world. Instead of everything being open-plan, we might well go back to wanting rooms and spaces to be separate. Having been confined to our homes, we want to make sure we’re utilising any indoor – and outdoor – space we have.

Less disposable income

In the last fortnight, nearly a quarter of British employees have been furloughed. There are also going to be redundancies and a rise in unemployment. There’s no denying that money will be tight for many. 

Meanwhile, the effort to stay at home has led to a surge in social media usage. Influencer agency Obviously has seen a whopping 22% increase in Instagram campaign impressions, meaning we are far more likely to see and interact with ads, which is good for content creators and brands that rely on audience engagement. That being said, there will be more eyes on ads, but to gain cut through, those ads will need to be even more relevant to a savvy audience with a highly selective approach to how they spend their money. Equally, influencers will need to be as considerate about how they approach advertising going forward, ensuring they’re adding value to their audience through highly selective partnerships and purpose driven content, as opposed to straightforward product promotion. 

TV-quality production

Before the pandemic, TV advertising spends were dropping and advertisers were having to look elsewhere to connect with millennials and Gen-Z audiences. This, combined with the lockdown measures, means that they now also have limited access to crew and production facilities. It feels as if content created by talent themselves provides the perfect solution. An example of this is award-winning spoken word poet and basketball player Asma Elbadawi’s TV-quality video content which was created for just £250. Granted that didn’t include fees for anyone involved, but the video showed that talent-generated content can be turned around quickly, is low-cost and the standard doesn’t have to be compromised. We were already seeing a rise in social media talent moving into mainstream media, but could the current circumstances catapult this trend forward? I believe so. 

What does this all mean?

The aftermath of the pandemic will continue for a long time, maybe even for years. Nobody can predict what will happen, but influencers will need to adapt to the ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable. It feels to me that we can expect less aspiration and more of a focus on family and friends, staying fit and healthy and going back to basics. 

Some content creators will struggle with this, while new ones will arise with a new form of content we didn’t know we needed before.