Connect with Shawna
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Shawna Lee Scott is an influencer and affiliate marketer from Cleveland, Ohio. She specializes in content creation for industries such as beauty, food/beverage, and lodging. Learning early on as a teen that digital marketing was a huge space with no limits, her long-term path has led to teaching others the tricks of the influencing world. Believing that anyone can benefit from learning how to influence, she hopes to inspire others and motivate them to create their own personal brands. You can find Shawna on Instagram and also on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest, to name a few.
In a recent tweet, you revealed that you made your first website in 2002. Can you tell us a little bit about your background, including how you got into marketing and modeling?
When I was a little girl, we got our first computer when I was about five or so, and I just loved to play on the computer. It’s really all I wanted to do. And I started playing with the paint programs, clip art, just doing little stuff like typing and placing clip art. So that led me to 2002, I was about 15 years old and I begged my mom to buy me a web domain for my birthday and I would just create graphics. At that time I was 15, I loved rainbows and girly things, and I learned so much HTML, which is all automatic now, but I spent a lot of time learning that in high school. And I wouldn’t really hang out with friends, I would just want to web design and learn my skills.
A domain for your birthday, wow! Do you remember what it was?
It was like astarbright dot net. It was a very silly, girly name. Definitely my SEO wasn’t on point at that time. So I started modeling in high school. I started taking acting auditions and went to competitions and I found my way into the modeling world.
But as now I’m older now, I don’t really want to model as much for other companies. I love modeling for myself and having my own personal brand. So for about the past 10 years or so, I’ve been just focusing on growing my name and who I am and portraying that on the internet.
What have been some of your favorite brand collaborations to-date as an influencer or affiliate marketer?
A couple of my favorite brands are Floral Beverage. They have THC infused sparkling water. Their flavors are amazing and I love to make little mimosas out of them, put some fruits in them with juice and they’re delicious. They’re a great company and I highly recommend reaching out to them if you are an influencer for food and beverage or home and garden things. And I also love working with Amazon. I am an Amazon lover for their affiliate program and their influencer program. And it’s probably my number one site that I use on the daily.
On the flip side, we really like it when brands do their due diligence and look into the influencer before pitching, but sometimes that might not occur. What’s the most ridiculous pitch you’ve ever received from a brand?
Oh my goodness. I receive a lot of random home items, different type of unique shelves or tables and things that I just wouldn’t see fitting my home, which I call the dollhouse. It’s really cute. I have it decorated the way I want it.
I moved in a year ago, so that’s been my main focus. And there’s just a lot of pieces that I don’t think fit in with my personal style. But I hope to see more companies really look at an influencer’s page and their own personal style and maybe how to incorporate their products, or at least the ones they’re pitching to an influencer, to the specific influencer for their page.
That’s been one of our goals is to put the influencer’s profile page front and center, very easy to navigate and very easy to get an idea of who this influencer is and whether it’s a good fit. So that’s a goal that we have.
That is one reason why I love in Intellifluence because I could set my pictures that I want them to see on my profile. So if I feel like I want to put beverages on there maybe to get more food companies or clothing companies. I could put my modeling pictures on there. And I try to keep my pictures on my profile that actually have my brand deals and that have made me revenue so that they can see the work that I do that’s actually bringing in traffic.
Can you describe your approach to content creation?
I try to be as structured as possible and I try to also upgrade my equipment when I can. Equipment can be expensive, so I try to upgrade every couple years, at least camera wise and lights wise. My approach really, I try to do what I love, like what is my passion? Which because I’m more focused on my personal brand, my hobbies have really evolved. So the topic of my content kind of evolves along with me. While I started out with online brands was actually a crochet brand, so I would sell yarn, crochet needles, and a lot of crafting items. And while I don’t crochet anymore, I wish I had the time, my hobbies have definitely evolved.
I was doing dating coaching for a while, which is also a great niche for affiliate marketing and influencing. What else have I done? I loved plants for a while. I was teaching people how to take care of their succulents. A lot of people kill them. Most of the time, if anyone’s wondering, that’s because you probably overwatered them. That was a lot of fun. And Amazon was a big part of that one because I could have my shop on my website and that was really helpful.
Now I feel like since I moved into my dollhouse about a year ago, now it’s more home, garden and a lot more personal branding like fashion and actually what I buy every day and what I use every day. So what I do is I just create a structured program. I have a list, like I want to take five pictures of this product, I want to do one reel and then I make sure that I try to stick to my list as much as possible. I try to outline what I’m going to say or what I’m going to write before I make my content that way I know exactly what I’m going to do. And it really takes away my nerves of is anybody going to like this? Because I already know what I’m doing and I already know what it’s going to be like and I already see what it’s going to end up like in my head.
For a second, you brought me back to when I killed my bonsai tree. I probably overwatered it, but how do you kill a bonsai tree?
Actually, I do not have luck with those either. I wish I had advice. I think mine have always died and I’ve always wanted to cry when mine have gone, because I would take care of it for a while and it would do great. And then all of a sudden, it just wouldn’t be so great anymore.
Exactly. So when we redecorated, it was a trip to Marshall’s for fake succulents this time around. We’re having better luck anyways. So yeah. What are some goals that you have for the second half of this year? I can’t believe we’re already at that point, but what’s in the pipeline for you?
I really, really want to grow my email subscribers. My newsletter, I feel like I could do a much better job with, and I want to grow that in the second quarter and by the end of the year. I have a number in my head of how many subscribers I would like to have by the end of the year. Because I would really like to reach my subscribers by email and hope that they open it, they read it, and they click my links. That’s definitely my biggest goal along with just growing my following and building my skills altogether, my photography, my videography, getting more comfortable making reels and TikToks, which I’m still a little nervous about. So I have a lot of skills that I’m working on right now.
I’m with you. TikTok makes me a little nervous. Might just be my age.
I think I’m right there with you.
What advice do you have for perspective influencers and affiliate marketers and those are just interested in digital marketing in general?
I think you should definitely find somebody that you look up to and then figure out your niche. And you can look up to somebody in any industry and then just look up to them, see how hard they work. Consistency is very important. I think it’s something I’m definitely working on as well. And look up to somebody and use that person as inspiration. And a lot of people in marketing, affiliate marketing and influencing, they didn’t always have their following. They started off with zero as well. So I really truly believe that anybody could get into it, anybody can do influencing. And I believe that you only have to be yourself, work on personal branding and figure out what it is that you want to sell. Where is your passion at and what are you excited about?
I love to be excited about things and our job as affiliate marketers and influencers is to bring people to the buying stage or the traffic stage. So when we window shop, sometimes our brain doesn’t understand that we’re not actually shopping and then a lot of people, they click away. They don’t feel like taking the next step. And when you’re showing a product, you have to show them what does it feel like? It’s the same way that you would go to a store and hold a sweater and know what it feels like in your hand and how heavy it is. We as influencers need to show people through the screen how something feels and how it feels to use this product.
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.