Brennon Hightower is the creator of the Just Brennon Blog; a fun lifestyle blog created to inspire people to be happy and live their best lives possible. Brennon created her blog in 2014 as a way to share stories and travel adventures with her readers. An Intellifluence Trusted Blogger, Brennon has been featured in USFamilyguide.com and Roadside America. Check out justbrennonblog.com and follow Brennon on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, to name a few.
What led you to create the Just Brennon Blog?
Well first thank you for having me. And I have to say before I even touch that question, is that I’m excited to be here. Because when I first started Intellifluence, I would log on and I would see all the influencer highlights and I would see the videos and I’m like, “How did they do that? How did they get there?” And I’m here today. So I’m really excited. So thank you.
It’s our pleasure!
So as far as getting started with the blog, I actually started on Blogger around in 2012. I was also a writer for Examiner, doing affordable makeup out of Indianapolis. And I liked what I was doing. And so I did it for a while, kind of got my style of writing down and then decided that I would start my own blog and make it public. And so at that time it was in 2014. I decided, life was changing, we were experiencing new things in life and I wanted to share what we were going through. We were traveling, we were taking adventures. I had started a new job and I was just like, “There’s people out there that must be going through what I’m going through. So I’m just going to share. Maybe people can relate.”
And so what ended up happening, it was just a hobby blog, I was working full time, and I would just write when I could. If the boys and I went to LEGOLAND, I would share pictures and share what we did. But at the time, like I said, it was a hobby blog. So I may put up a lot of pictures and not a lot of texts or I may put just a little bit of what we did. It wasn’t very informative. And then in 2016, I decided to take a break because I learned that, people were doing big things with their blogs. They were getting partnerships, they were earning money. They were doing really great things. And I was like, “Wow, I want to be a part of that. But how?”
So I took some time off and researched everything that I could about blogging. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I researched a lot. So I went from knowing hardly anything to SEO, key words, alt tags, anchor texts, sizing of photos, hosting, all these different things. And so I said, “Okay, I’ve learned some of the basics. Now, what can I narrow things down to?” And so I sat and I said, “What is it that I’m passionate about? And what can I share with other people?” And so I decided on travel. So in 2017, we decided as a family goal that we would travel to as many states as possible. And so I’m still working full time. And so what I did was I took a calendar and I mapped out the United States. I mapped out my personal time off, my vacation time, weekends, all that good stuff. And we made it to 17 states that year.
It was amazing. It was one of my life highlights. I did it with two little boys. And the great thing about it, and what was different from blogging in the beginning was that I learned all this. So I was able to write posts that added value to other people. So instead of bragging about where we went, I was able to share, “Okay, we went to Seven Magic Mountains. There’s no transportation out there that’s public, but you can get a lift, or you can get Uber. It’s going to cost you, so use my code. Or it’s best to go at sunrise. It’s not that many people there. Take someone with you who can take pictures.”
So it started to be more informative because I didn’t want to just tell what we did. I wanted someone to be looking up like, “Okay, I want to go to Seven Magic Mountains. I want to look up some information. What do I need to know? What kind of tips?” So whenever I’m writing a post, I make sure to put in information, that’s going to be valuable to the reader and also give them some tips, things to know, if they choose to go this route.
That’s amazing. So what have been some of your favorite brand collaborations to date? If you can think of a memorable one or two that sticks out?
So I’m going to say two. Pink Jeep Tours, out of Las Vegas. So we flew out there and did that. They treated us amazingly. It was a great experience for us. And then, recently, when the pandemic hit we couldn’t travel. And so I had to adjust, adapt, think outside the box.
And so I was offered a collaboration with Femme Luxe. I’m wearing one of their shirts now. And so we’ve been working together for over a year and I’ve gotten the opportunity to review.
I’m going to say at least a hundred pieces of clothing, at least. So that’s memorable, it’s ongoing, and I really appreciate that partnership.
Since starting your blog in 2014, when you think back, what are a couple of things that you just had no idea… It sounds like you spent a lot of time researching SEO. What’s something you could tell an aspiring blogger, who’s just maybe looking to dip their feet in? What are some things to look out for that you didn’t even think of in the beginning?
One, you have to be confident in yourself and know what you want, because when you’re first starting out people aren’t going to be rushing to you. When you have to create those pitch letters, you have to make the ask. You have to go to the people or the companies or the brands. And so you have to be confident within yourself, believe in yourself and go for it. That would be my number one thing.
What are some of your favorite topics to write about?
Traveling, of course. Things have slowed down a bit, of course, because of the pandemic. But it’s been amazing because in November I got the opportunity to write for News Break. And so what ended up happening is that I’m writing for News Break over there and I’m keeping it strictly focused on travel. So what I’ve been able to do is to take the past places we’ve been. Elaborate more on it and kind of look back and think what didn’t I put in that post that I can put in there now, that’s going to add value now. So travel is definitely my number one. With the pandemic, I’ve gotten more into clothes, and household goods, and things like that. I enjoy that because we’re around the house mostly, but definitely the travel.
That’s wonderful. And it’s really interesting how you talk about repurposing the content. That’s great for different mediums, maximizing the experience there. And then, what are some of your goals for your blog over the next few years? How would you like to grow? Or where would you like to see [your blog]?
Yeah, like I said, the travel is a big part. In 2017, I said, we made it to 17 states. Since then we’ve probably added on maybe 3 more. So what I would really like to do is to get to all 50 states and be able to document all 50 states on the blog. So that would be the ultimate goal there. Eventually I want to get into podcasts and YouTube videos. So in the past I did have a YouTube channel. I have one, but it’s private now. I ended up closing it because it just is from a long time ago. And I just don’t feel that it speaks to who I am today. And so I’d rather kind of start that fresh and get that going and have a direction for where we want to go with it. And the same with podcasts. So I’ve been a guest on other people’s podcasts, but I don’t have my own. So the hope would be in a couple of years to establish that as well.
Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.
Andrew is the Head of Client Services for Intellifluence and has a background in communications. He is committed to helping brands get the most out of their campaigns and is the co-host of the Influencer Spotlight series.