When Danielle Bayard Jackson started a side business as a women’s coach five years ago, she didn’t know that her content around friendship would lead her down the path of big-name brand deals and a 6-figure yearly income.
Drawing on her skills as a high-school teacher and PR agency founder, Bayard Jackson built an audience on TikTok and Instagram. Many of her students would come to her between classes for advice about friendship and through these conversations, she became good at giving feedback that wasn’t reductive or dismissive. Similarly, she learned to break down complex topics to be more digestible. Bayard Jackson channeled these lessons when she decided to become a friendship coach and launched her social media channels, where she has since been able to amass over 200,000 followers.
That audience allowed Bayard Jackson to leverage and monetize her social media platforms to land brand deals and become a full-time content creator. Here’s how she made it all happen.
Look for gaps in content
When Bayard Jackson started as a friendship coach, there wasn’t a lot of content out there for modern women who wanted better platonic friendships.
“I noticed a lot of the content was for children or for people who didn’t have social skills to make friends,” Bayard Jackson told Passionfruit. “But there’s a whole group of women who are charismatic and extroverted but still need help creating satisfying friendships,” she said.
She saw an opening in the market and leveraged her platforms to serve the demographic of women looking to develop stronger friendships.
Use social media to add value and spark conversation
In order to grow these platforms, Bayard Jackson was strategic about the content she was putting out. Rather than simply talking about how she’s a good friend to others, she created content with transferable value.
“I really listen to what people share with me and find ways to respond to that with my content,” she said.
But what helped her grow her following was commenting on topics the audience was already discussing. Soon she had 15,000 followers on Instagram and over 200,000 on TikTok.
“Stay on top of what’s happening in your field,” said Bayard Jackson. “When it comes to women’s friendship, I’m seeing what are the latest headlines, what are the latest studies that came out? What’s the most recent thing that’s got people talking in the world of pop culture and inserting myself into that conversation?”
Bayard Jackson then creates content that either adds something new to that conversation or provides an insight people haven’t thought of.
For example, Bayard Jackson said that a lot of videos about friendship problems center on other people as the source of the problem, but she often focuses on what we can do to take ownership of our own friendships.
She created this video about friendship behaviors that she felt needed to end for healthy friendships to happen.
“The video not only performed well, but offered researched and alternative perspectives,” she said.
Make your platform a community
Perhaps the most significant spike in growth Bayard Jackson saw on her social channels was when she started making her platforms feel like a community.
“I want my audience to feel like this isn’t just my social media platform, it’s ours,” said Bayard Jackson.
She does this by using the poll feature and then often uses data from the responses to figure out the next post to create.
“My audience determines in real time what we chat about,” said Bayard Jackson.
Building an audience will make brands will notice you
By strategically building her audience and creating content that kept old and new followers engaged, Bayard Jackson started to see that brands would reach out to her for partnerships and deals.
She said that online dating and friendship app Bumble reached out to her because their tagline—’Make the First Move’— aligns with much of her content, which centers around the power of initiating friendships and conversations with new people.
“I’m the spokesperson for Bumble BFF app, and they reached out to me because they’ve been watching my videos and believe the content is in line with their mission, values, and messaging,” said Bayard Jackson.
“Bumble felt that we stood for the same message and felt that since our content overlapped, it would be easy for them to imagine me as a spokesperson,” she said.
Make sure partnerships are a perfect fit for your audience
It can be tempting to accept partnerships with anyone who enters your inbox and is willing to pay good money. However, Bayard Jackson said that when you agree to work with a brand, your audience should respond with excitement.
“They should almost feel like wow, why didn’t this partnership happen sooner?” she said. “That’s why brands want to work with creators who have a niche.”
According to Bayard Jackson, brands are looking for somebody who other people trust. It can be a good idea not to have too many other brand deals that conflict with one another.
“A lot of brands are looking for a creator who can make the brand look good and not just because their pictures are pretty, but because they have something to say on their own,” Bayard Jackson told Passionfruit.
Monetize your content in multiple ways
In addition to brand deals, Bayard Jackson has leveraged her credibility and social platforms to make money in a variety of different ways, from one-on-one coaching with clients, speaking engagements (for places like Etsy, TikTok, NBA), a six-figure book deal, and advertising space on her podcast.
Bayard Jackson explained that having multiple ways to monetize as a creator is key so that you don’t confuse your audience and make them think you’re all about making money.
In the year ahead, she hopes to continue to use her platforms to create community and add value to people’s lives. While she does have brands she hopes to partner with this year, she said focusing on continuing to create good content is a priority, above anything else.
“Brands want to get in on what you’ve already built, but if you haven’t built anything meaningful and you just have numbers, it could compromise your values and be harder to get partnerships,” she said.