CHRIS LEWIS Influencer Spotlight
Chris Lewis describes himself as one dad working to regain his kingdom one day at a time. Chris works to help dads focus on being better fathers, sharing thoughts on products that relate to kids, men, families and more.
Chris started writing his blog, Dad of Divas, full-time in September 2007 prior to his second daughters’ birth. Since then, the blog has exponentially grown and he has continued to find his groove through both reading and networking with other bloggers as well as writing on a myriad of varying topics. Outside of home, Chris is a Student Affairs Professional who has been working in the field of College Administration now for 20+ years with extensive experience in pre-college planning, admission, advising, and other areas. Chris has reviewed many products, ranging from electronics and apps to games.
As a successful blogger, family man and student affairs professional, how do you structure your work day?
For me I try to take a look at every day and see what I can do and what I can accomplish. Because I have a lot of things I try to balance. So not only am I – do I do my blog and my podcasts and my professional work in college administration, and digital influencing. there’s a lot to balance, especially with kids. So one of the things that I try to do – I have lists. I’ve got task lists that I can use. I mean I try a lot of different – I’ve tried a lot of things throughout the year the years. It doesn’t always work but it always makes me feel good when I can see that I’ve checked things off along the way. So I think that for me I try to look at across the board. I’ve got my professional world, I’ve got my personal world and I can look and see okay what can I do to be able to balance and to get things accomplished in each bucket everyday and throughout the week. And have those short term and long term goals.
At what point did you discover influencer marketing as a viable revenue stream?
You know I’ve been blogging now for about twelve years. So i’ve seen things change quiet a bit in my time in influencing. And probably when I first start my blog it was more so a[n] opportunity for me to talk about fatherhood. But then with the time that I was putting in that plus my professional job I found that I wanted to influence ins some different ways and I want to be able to work with brands. But back twelve years ago it wasn’t the right time at least for dads because some of the moms were starting to move in that direction, but dads weren’t/ At that time you were kinda a pariah, I’m going to say, if you work with brands because it wasn’t being true to what dad blogging was about at that time. Things have changed and now dads, mom, other influencers are working with brands all the time. And for me I think the firth thing that I ever reviewed was not even something – was something that I just bought. But then after the fact I had contacted – let me go back back and say it was Energizer lithium batteries. And I just reached out to them and said “hey I love your lithium batteries. I’ve got kids and these things last so much longer…” And I just wrote something.
I wrote about it and sent it to them on social media and low and behold they sent me a free coupon. I’m like “hey a free coupon, cool!”, but then it went from there. I’ve always been a big reader, my kids have too. I’ve worked with – I started to review books and again that was product based. And then as I became more and more engaged with different brands I had an opportunity to start making a little bit more money. Which then helped to pay for the costs of blogging, podcasting, influencing in different ways. Because for many of us that are doing this on the side it has become – it really becomes a second job. It becomes not just the passion project but it becomes a passion project and a business, and that’s what Dad of Divas became. It became an LLC probably about five or six years ago. And then I think a lot of influencers end up doing that because of the fact that there are opportunities. Now if I was doing it full time would there be more opportunities. Maybe. You know there probably would but I’m happy where I’m at because I do still work full. And by working full time and trying to do this too I still have to have time for the kids and my family and be able to take time there too.
Can you tell us a little bit about the Dad 2.0 summit?
Yes, yes. The Dad 2.0 summit is an amazing conference. I have attended it all but one year and it’s coming up again next February. It always happens in February in different locations. This year it’s going to be down in San Antonio. I love that conference just because of the fact that it’s a great opportunity to be able to not only engage with dad influencers and not only dad, like stay at home dads. It’s not just dads anymore. You have people that are working to engage fathers in different ways. There are women that are coming to learn more about how dad influencers are influencing.
They want to talk to the brands that are there. I mean it’s a great opportunity to not only increase your own professionalism and being able to better understand what you can do to be a better influencer and a professional in the industry. But also it’s an opportunity to engage and network and to meet people – that even talking to online. I have to say that I went to the very first – it wasn’t Dad 2.0 at the time. But there was another conference prior to this that tries to bring dads together. It was much smaller and it was down in Atlanta, probably back in the mid 2000’s. And it was a great experience but it was very very very tiny. And Dad 2.0 was able to bring it to a new level because every year they bring together, it’s somewhere between four hundred and five hundred, people and it’s still intimate in size. I mean you’re not talking ten thousand people coming to one location. But it is the top influencers. People that are not only blogging in the industry but also that are working to change laws on the national scope, people that are really passionate about being fathers or parents and it always reinvigorates me to go to not only, as I said before, learn about the craft but also to learn about being a better dad.
In your blog you have a section titled Dads in the limelight, are these dads people you personally know or how did you connect with them?
So that series has been going on now for over eight years and it has been a consistent series. I’ve got over eight hundred fifty dads that I’ve interviewed over the years. For me it was never meant to be something that was going to continue for this long. But what I came to find was that I wanted to learn more from other dads, I wanted to find out what made them tick, and I want to find our what made fathers to be able to be the best dads they can be. And this series has really opened my eyes to allow for me to be able to learn from them, but it’s open others to be able to learn from these dads too and that’s why I continuously am trying to keep it going. Because I think there are so many amazing things that dads do to be amazing fathers. And if you look at any research that’s out there it’ll tell you how important fatherhood is when it comes to engaging with kids and to helping kids be productive citizens and to – I mean just to help kids grow into the people that they are becoming.
It’s so important for fathers to be engaged and everyone of these dads that I’ve interviewed does it in just a little bit different way. When you become a parent, whether you’re a mom or a dad, I think this series can open your eyes to how to be a good parent, not just be a good father. It’s geared toward fatherhood but it’s really how to be a good parent because none of us get a manual. We have to figure this out for ourselves and if we haven’t had good role models for fatherhood in our own history then what ends up happening is we have to kinda just jump in with both feet and try and figure it out for ourselves. And if you don’t have a good group of men around you to support you and you’re willing to actually talk to them as a father to another father and say “hey I think I just really screwed it up” and having someone around you say “no you haven’t. I’ve done that too” and they’ll just bounce right back. But to have – to be be able to read that, to be able to see that, and to be able to hear that I think is really important.
You started writing your blog full time in September 2007 prior to the birth of your second daughter. A lot of parents say having two kids is harder than just having one, how would you say your advice has changed on your blog from starting it as a father to one child to being a father of two?
I think that it is more challenging when you have more than one and I think as you even get further on, and I can only talk about with having two kids. But I know dads that have eight or non kids and in my mind I’m like woah how the heck does that happen. How the heck do you manage that not how does it happen, I know how it happens. But how do you manage it. And a lot of times what’s really interesting is when I talk to them they’ll say “well when you get beyond”, a lot of times I hear beyond three but sometimes its three or four, they say “you get the kids involved in helping in more and more ways.” So when you get to a large family that really amps it up too.
Now like I said I don’t have that experience but that’s what people have told me, what other dads have told. I think for me I think you have to – for me with two kids, two daughters, you have to understand who they are as people and you have to understand what makes them tick because each one is going to require different types of engagement and you have to give each child different amounts of time, different amounts of engagement to help them to be able to flourish. And that’s not always easy because you have to figure that out as they get older. Because one child is going to demand one thing the other child is going to demand another thing. And that’s when like I said you get into eight or nine you get into larger amounts it becomes even harder because your time gets pulled in many different directions. So for me I think I have it lucky, I only have two. And I think if you have one it’s probably even better because you can focus all your attention on that one child. However, you still do have to have that one on one time with your partner or your spouse to be able to maintain that relationship as well. So while you put so much time and effort into your kids you can’t also forget about the relationship that you have with that significant other as well.
What are some products that work well for Dads? They can be ones you have reviewed or just use regularly.
You know I think that – I use all different kids of products. I want to say that there are some brands that I really respect because of how they portray dads. Dove Men plus Care has done an amazing job of really portraying dads in different ways and trying to change what the media – how the media looks at how fatherhood is. There’s been a big change over for most brands or for many brands from the bumbling dad to the engaged dad, which I think is a good move in the right direction. You know you still have some brands that portray dads as that bumbling dad and sometimes even in tv series you see that too. I think that you’re always going to have some of that, poking fun. But I think – but the thing is that you don’t see that with motherhood. You don’t see that with moms. And so dads are not the bumbling dads. I mean they’re maybe – I mean there’s times where I’m a bumbling dad but that doesn’t mean twenty-four seven I’m a bumbling dad.
Dove Men plus Care has definitely been one that I’ve really enjoyed engaging with in many ways because of how they treat dads but also in how they portray dads. I think that there’s been a lot of other brands that have been great to work with. I’ve worked with Best Buy, you know I like how they work with influencers in general. I’m not going to say just dads because they work with all influencers. But as a dad I love technology and I love being able to engage with Best Buy in many different ways. Learning about a lot of new technology and being able to take advantage of that too. But outside that, I mean I definitely, I guess in the brand relationships that I have I like to have long term relationships with brands, be able to see that they know who I am, and the way that I write. And sometimes it’s always a little bit touchy when you get those emails in that say “hello Mr. Blank” and you’re like okay you don’t know anything about me. This is a cold call and you really don’t know me. So you know but I love it when I say “hey Chris” and somebody that has worked– I’ve worked with in the past or it’s someone that says “hey I’ve checked out your blog here’s some of the articles I really liked. I’m contacting you because of..this” and they’ve done their research. You know it’s just like if I want to go to them or try to pitch a brand and be able to say “hey this is why I’m pitching you. This, this, this, and this is what I really like about your brand” they know that I’ve done my research. And I would hope that most – I mean the brands that come to me have done their research too and they know who I am, the way that I write, and see that it’s a good fit. So I guess that’s what I would say there.
Where do you see influencer marketing in five years? How do you think brands will be interacting with someone like you?
You know it’s interesting because I was just talking to someone about this the other day and he and I differed a little bit because he sees influencer marketing changing in many different ways. And how in the past it was you know you do a blog and you get – you do a blog article and you share it on a couple social channels and you get paid something. And he’s saying “I’m seeing a lot of things changing” and we were having a really interesting conversation about that because I think there – right now anyways the push is more so on looking at short form video and trying to look at more of the story behind It. It’s not just a product review, it’s more of a story and how do you really engage the audience that you’re writing for and in telling the story of how that product has impacted you or impacted your family and how it can impact them. I think that that’s going to only continue.
The push on live type of things and trying to make things more interactive I think is definitely important. I think from what I keep seeing of brands I think that that’s going to continue to keep happening, but you never know. That many years down the road it’s hard to say because things are changing all the time to be able to say ‘hey is Facebook even still here in ten years. Or Instagram or Twitter or Snapchat or whatever it might be. I mean you could have something brand new in two years that just explodes and becomes the new Facebook. So it’s hard to say where we’re going to be in ten years. That’s a hard question because everything is so influx and I think it’s keeps churning. And then you have something change over on this social media platform and that impacts this other platform and so every quarter I think you see something different. If not everyday.
Note: Intellifluence Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for clarity and time.
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 voice behind many of the Intellifluence tutorial videos (for better or worse).