What if we tell you that only one content creation rule can make you an awesome blogger/social media influencer? Newbies in the field who flood our DMs asking blogging 101 questions, this post is especially for you. This tip comes from Shehzeen Rehman, the Desi Wonder Woman’s school of blogging and social media.
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Just like many of us, Shehzeen also started her career in the corporate world until a revelation came through. Her love for writing and all things creative opened the doors to blogging. Then, she set up her own internet real estate. Shehzeen’s blog garners thousands of views every month, and her Insta game is in a league of its own.
The Desi Wonder Woman’s content has been featured in top publications around the world like Apartment Therapy. She also received the Best Blogger Award at the Middle East Masala Awards 2018. She is the first blogger in Pakistan to start an environmental campaign and her jewelry line sold out in the first week!
Grab a cuppa and hear what Shehzeen has to tell you about her journey as a social media influencer,
Tell us a little about your blog. When did you start, what were the thoughts when you started a blog?
Hi! I write a lifestyle blog where I talk about anything that’s got to do with the kind of lifestyle I enjoy – home decor, clothing, food. I’m not very flashy as a person and generally enjoy simpler more affordable things in life, so my blog is pretty much about things like home décor that doesn’t require burning your bank account, affordable, simple clothing, and easy food. And I like to add in a bit of social commentary with all of that because there is no lifestyle without good conversation.
I started this about six years ago and it was honestly just a very organic evolution. I’ve been writing since I was 10 years old (?) and something that I’ve always turned to, and as I started writing The Desi Wonder Woman blog very randomly one day, I realized it could turn into a full-time job for me so I made the switch.
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How did it feel making your own blog as full time work?
It wasn’t something I had planned on doing but I saw that I enjoyed it a lot and it made sense for me. It was naturally very exciting to create your own voice in a space that didn’t have any lifestyle blogging at that time. And to be able to establish an entire work life, my own office, my own timings, be my own manager, it was a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun. Career-wise, I have never been happier.
How do you stay motivated and focused, especially when life/things require more attention?
I think there is a system to life, no matter what you do. There is a system to the universe, the transition from day to night and back to day, and when you follow that natural rhythm, it’s what helps you thrive. There is a difference between over-discipline and discipline, and I think success lies in not boxing yourself into a routine but naturally flowing into it. I’ve always liked a simple structure to my life and my work is part of it. That’s my first motivation.
My second motivation that goes hand in hand with the first one is income. General things in life will exist no matter what but I knew I had to earn to be able to support my family back home (as I was doing before making the switch from corporate) and so for me, this was a job I had to do properly. I also enjoy earning for myself; I’ve been working full-time since I was 21. Of course, not having a manager and no reporting times can get you to flake and be lazy, but I established a work routine for myself early on and I stuck to it.
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Three ground rules you always follow when creating content?
“It should be something I like.” Multiply that by three. That’s the only rule I follow.
Did you teach yourself some skills to ace blogging, like video editing, photo editing, etc?
Everything I do for the blog is stuff I’ve learned myself over time. I have spent hours reading up about the technical bits, simple photography, basic color treatment, etc. And it has been a gradual progression over the last six years. For anything you do, you have to learn the basics of your job and then gradually increase your skill level with the years; there’s no other way about it. You don’t need anyone to handhold you, everything you need to know is on the internet. You just need the time and focus.
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Have you faced trolls? How do you handle troublemakers on the web?
Fortunately, I haven’t really faced any terrible trolling. I get the mean comment about two to three times a year. The rest of my following is incredibly tolerant, kind and compassionate. And I think the more judgmental people have slowly dropped off over the years.
I get the most ridiculously touching messages that I don’t really share but they give me insight into what kind of people are following me, and I feel very lucky to have them. Most importantly, so many of my followers genuinely appreciate my brand collaborations and cheer me on, I feel like that is incredible support that I get for each and every sponsored project I do, and it blows my mind how amazing my following is to me.
I’m sure people must troll me where I can’t see them but that’s not my concern so I’m not bothered about it. And for the occasional mean comment I get, I just ignore. Like in my real life, I don’t like to engage with someone who is not being nice to me.
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Want to share an event/anecdote that reconstructed your faith in blogging?
There have been many, many, MANY instances, where you understand that what you do with your platform can be as important as you make it to be. You can truly impact lives positively, just like they can impact your back. Over time, I’ve become very guarded about the stories that people share with me in confidence and I don’t like to talk about them anonymously as well, so no anecdotes to share but every single day there are SO many messages that tell me what you do with your blog and what differences you can make, it entirely rest in your hands.
Your favorite campaign to date?
Undoubtedly, it has to be my limited edition jewelry collection with India Trend.
I designed an exclusive 12 piece jewelry collection with the brand, launched worldwide and it sold out within one week! It was super exciting to do this as a Pakistani because brand collections happen globally for sure, but this was the first time on our side.
I got to design each piece with my own story behind them, change details in mockups as I liked, tested them out, named them, with a full shoot for the collection – basically worked closely with the brand on this from start to end. A very proud moment for me as an influencer.
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Do you see yourself writing a book or hosting sessions on blogging in the future?
It’s my dream to write a book someday but I’m also a procrastinator. So, we don’t know where this will go.
What’s the future of Digital Influencers and Content Creators in Pakistan?
Bright. Everyone is consuming content on their phones. There is enough traffic that traditional formats of advertising are now competing with it. I personally can’t even execute all the campaigns I receive so you can imagine the amount of work that exists.
We completely agree with Shehzeen when she vouches for the fair treatment of social media influencers by brands and agencies.
“In Pakistan, there needs to be focus on treating content creators well and paying them fairly – there is still not enough respect for them from the marketing/PR side. Content creators need to be seen as partners.”
Shehzeen shifted from being a 9-5er to a full-time blogger. You can see how difficult it is to grow a digital identity. So if you are an aspiring blogger or halfway through, don’t let anyone underestimate your work. For the decision-makers, you must invest in bloggers who are master of their niches. This will bring true colors to your campaigns.