“Hey guys! Welcome back to my channel.”
This familiar welcome is how Youtuber and business administration senior, Emma Monden, greets her viewers at the beginning of each video.
Monden started her Youtube channel in 2013 and has amassed over 830,000 subscribers on her channel, 45.3 thousand on her Instagram and nearly 100 million total views across all videos over nearly a decade. She has established a fanbase which she calls her “EmmaNems.”
“I just decided to start my channel and that was my creative outlet,” she said. “I never expected it to take off or anything. I just kept making videos and I slowly started to gain a following.”
After nearly a decade, she has gained many life experiences but also has learned to grow along with the platform.
“It’s definitely evolved over time. Like any social media platform, it goes through phases as far as trends go and what’s popular,” Monden said. She said that evolving her content has been the biggest struggle with staying relevant and maintaining “trendy” content. She has seen the ever changing styles grow – from beauty to production skit videos and now vlogs of your life.
Analytics play a leading role in creating content that is very time consuming.
“I feel like a lot of people think influencing is so easy and anyone can do it, but there’s a lot of business stuff that goes into it that people don’t see,” Monden said. “Analytics is one of those things you can spend literally hours researching and trying to decide what’s going to perform the best.”
She attributes burnout to one of the challenging aspects of having a popular Youtube channel.
Because of this, Monden took a break back in 2021 for a couple of months. Through her time at Cal Poly, she said that she has taken a few small breaks here and there, but this one allowed her to reset and reflect.
She said that once she got to college it was “obviously a new atmosphere.”
“I’m meeting new people; I really wanted to be present,” Monden said. “When you film vlogs, you’re not present with the people you’re with, so it was kind of hard for me to figure out how to balance both.”
Monden is a business administration major with a concentration in marketing. When deciding her area of study, she felt business gave her the most flexibility to kind of decide what to do, as she said it provides endless possibilities.
“I feel like since I already kind of started on the entrepreneurial track, it made the most sense. I technically was running my own business so I definitely wanted to learn more about that,” Monden said, “but I thought there was more for me to learn [in marketing] because I’ve been on the influencer side of it, but not the brand side.”
She said her classes have really been beneficial to her influencer career.
“I really started to learn a lot about brands and the brand side of it – how they choose people to market their products and all the different facets of marketing from a brand perspective, as opposed to the influencer perspective,” said Monden. “I feel like that’s really given me a lot of intel.”
In the past, Monden has received partnerships with household name brands such as HelloFresh, Amazon, Universal Orlando Resort, VS PINK, Cheerios and online fashion brand Princess Polly. The experience she has gained from her classes and as a YouTuber has provided Monden with “both the influencer knowledge and the brand knowledge,” so she feels prepared going into the workforce.
Monden said there were the “lightbulb moments” in lectures where she was able to see the class material in a different light than her peers.
“We were learning about the brand side of marketing and I could kind of connect the dots because, as an influencer, I see what the brands were trying to do or how they seek out people to market their products, so I feel like I was really able to kind of weave them together,” Monden said.
Looking forward to after graduation, Monden anticipates what is in store for her.
“With COVID, there’s been a lot more flexibility as far as the modality of jobs, so I definitely see myself doing part time social media, part time, maybe consulting, remotely… I kind of just want something with a lot of flexibility where I can do my own thing,” Monden said.
As the soon-to-be graduate prepares for her future, she leaves behind advice for current students and incoming freshmen: she says to enjoy every moment because it is gone within the “blink of an eye.”
“Be present; enjoy every moment; take new opportunities to meet people; take risks; say yes to as many things as you can; get involved. You definitely want to look back and think, ‘Oh! I made the most of my time here,’ and not, ‘I wish I would have done more,’” Monden said.