Mom of four and top lifestyle blogger Stacy with Fancy Shanty is a California-based influencer who shares modern-day advice and adventures on her blog — from homeschooling lessons to travel tips and caring for special needs children. We love the real-life approach she offers in all her content, and that’s why she’s our Spotlight Blogger for November! Take a look at some of her thoughts on social media and the influencer marketing industry as we round out 2017.

What do you feel has been the #1 trend in influencer marketing in 2017?
I feel influencer marketing is moving toward more authentic storytelling and is less about the numbers game. I think brands are realizing that numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and there can be more value placed on small niche influencers who have a closer connection with their audiences. Another trend I see is more value being placed on long-term collaborations and ambassadorships, instead of a one-off campaigns.

What content do you feel your readers find most valuable?
Definitely our educational content. Whether the topic is homeschooling, food allergies, or photography, our readers know the information they are receiving has been tried and approved, and there is no fluff in the mix.

Tell us why you blog.
I blog for many reasons. The first reason is because I absolutely love it. Living in the Los Angeles area, our family is invited to participate in some pretty unique and exciting experiences, from red carpet events to film press trips, Disneyland Resorts park events, travel opportunities and more. I couldn’t ask for anything more than to give my family the most amazing life ever. Second is the extra income. The extra income we receive from my blog helps us live our lives to the fullest, and enjoy life’s little luxuries we may not otherwise be able to afford. And I can’t forget all the amazing fellow bloggers I’ve met over the years. The friendships and the memories we’ve made together are irreplaceable.

What is your favorite space to engage with your readers?
My favorite platform is definitely Instagram. I love photography, and Instagram is my happy place that I can’t live without. And, though I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook (their new algorithm just kills me), I love how easy it is connect with our readers there.

What’s the #1 question you’re asked by your readers, and what’s your answer?
The number one question I’m asked is how to start blogging. Though many readers think I have a really cool job, which I do, many don’t realize blogging is running a business and how many hours are required when you are an entrepreneur.

What’s the #1 question you’re asked by your brands, and what’s your answer?
The number one question I am asked by brands is for licensing rights to my photographs. In an image-hungry world, I try to put as much effort as possible into my business and personal photography.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a blog?
To guest blog first, and I don’t mean one or two posts a month for a large magazine or site. See if you can find a site that allows you to post weekly or more to see how blogging fits into your schedule. This will give you an idea about the time required to blog before you invest any money in a new business. Next, sit down and do your research on the costs of starting a blog. You will need to think about the costs associated with launching a site. If possible, ask advice from friends and family who blog. If not, ask on Facebook. Many bloggers are happy to help a fellow blogger looking to start a site.

What are your thoughts on working with a brand on multiple occasions (vs. one-off programs)?
I have always believed long-term relationships benefit the brand more than one-off campaigns, but the brand needs to ensure their influencers truly love and value their product. For our site, we always choose campaigns based on our lifestyle, and if it is a product that can benefit large families like ours.

What are your thoughts on Snapchat?
Snapchat is never a platform I use for work. Sure, the filters are fun and our family has made some memorable snaps I will cherish forever, but I never saw the value of a brand investing in a promotion that disappears in 24 hours.

What trend or platform is on its way out?
I think highly stylized photos are on the way out. Though these photos are absolutely gorgeous, they don’t portray real life for many families. I think we are edging towards a new trend of more unrefined, simple, everyday photography to promote brands.

Favorite program you’ve done with The Motherhood?
My favorite campaign was the prAna 2017 spring campaign. I adore the clothing I received and loved finding a new brand for me.

What’s your greatest challenge when working with brands?
A lack of direction.

What are brands doing right when working with bloggers?
I adore brands who value bloggers’ time and effort.

What should brands start doing (better) when working with bloggers?
Brands need to see the value in bloggers and the influence they have on and offline.

Follow Stacy on her favorite social media platform: Instagram!

Stacy with Fancy Shanty

More about The Motherhood’s Spotlight Blogger Series

Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top influencers. It’s not about numbers, but rather, the quality, authentic content they’re delivering consistently. It’s about reliability, professionalism and partnership. We discuss our nominations for the month and ultimately decide on just one blogger to feature. Take a look at our other featured influencers here.