Hispanicize: Latin California Dreamin’

Hispanic Heritage Month ran from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Events celebrating our rich Hispanic culture, our complex history and our power as a community were held all over the country. One of the largest -when it comes to trendsetters- was hosted in Los Angeles: Hispanicize, an annual conference that gathers the nation’s most influential Latinx professionals in the digital media space.

On its ninth annual conference, Hispanicize came to Los Angeles to celebrate Hispanics in the media and unite Latino personalities, newsmakers, journalists, marketers, content creators in the digital space for three days of discussion, mentoring and networking.

So what did we learn? Well, quite a bit. It’s no surprise that the key to a successful and lasting digital presence is to NEVER.STOP.LEARNING. That’s why I made a point of attending some great panels to soak up the knowledge and experience of my peers.

One of the most informative sessions (in my opinion, of course) was geared towards the travel industry and influencers in that niche. However, there was a little slice of knowledge for everyone.

The speakers for the panel, which was billed as “Influencing Your Next Trip: Travel Content Best Practices” were all heavy hitting women (cue my excitement):

  • Lauren Palmer: United Airlines/ Social Media & Digital Engagement Manager

  • Lizza Monet Morales: Actor, TV host, best-selling author and content creator in both English and Spanish.

  • Pili Montilla: An Emmy award-winning TV host and producer as well as a content creator and tastemaker who has made a name for herself as the “go to” host in the bilingual entertainment world

  • Camila Seta: Director of Public Relations for the Israel Government Ministry of Tourism. She has a history of working with entertainment VIPs, global influencers, and A-list celebrities in both the mainstream and Latin space across the television, music, and film industries.

Quite the impressive roster huh? And what they had to say was impressive and very insightful. Here are some of my biggest takeaways from the discussion; useful tips for any content creator regardless of your audience.

Brands DO Pay Attention to Hashtags

So are you wasting your time hashtagging brands? NOT.AT.ALL. According to Laura, brands do pay attention. More closely than you might imagine. And she should know, United Airlines is one of the biggest airlines in the world.

Size Does Not Matter (Ahem!)

That’s right. According to Laura, your following size isn’t as big of a deal as some people think. United, she said, looks for genuineness, originality, people who pitch ideas, creative minds.

They’re not alone. More often than not, brands are willing to have a more interactive brainstorming process with you, if your pitches and contributions align with what they are looking for.

Be Yourself. I Think You’re Pretty Amazing

This was a point that was close to Pili’s heart. She struggled for years apparently with the notion of changing her personal brand to fit a ‘fluffier, pinker’ aesthetic, knowing that it really wasn’t her style at all. Why wasn’t her brand growing? A question that, for a moment, made her consider changing her style. Fortunately, she said, she stuck to her guns, produced the content she loved and stayed true to herself. Years later, her Instagram account has over 40k followers and is still booming.

On the client side of the spectrum, Camila agreed. She isn’t impressed with pretty and fluffy, she only cares about the content an influencer produces. Language, angle and unique personal style are all far more important, she said.

Start Stretching. The Importance of Being Flexible and MultiFaceted

One pain point for brands/clients, Camila explained, was dealing with influencers who simply aren’t flexible or possess multiple skills. She has, for example, turned down working with some potentially good ones simply because they couldn’t operate without a production crew. This is why it is so critical to diversify yourself and learn a wide variety of skills. That’s the added value that brands are looking for and something that can prove invaluable in growing your own brand.

Ready to Mingle?

One thing that all four ladies agreed upon was the importance of networking. Attending events (like Hispanicize) and networking with others is critical. Moreover, if you do possess those skills, offer them to the brands. “No I don’t want you to edit the pictures for free”, SAID NO ONE EVER. 

The key here is to always come from a place of service.