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Outshine Talent’s 360-Degree Approach To Helping Creators Boost Earnings While Staying True To Themselves

Barbara Jones, a trailblazer in the creator economy, has been making waves since pivoting from music marketing to establishing one of the first influencer marketing agencies. As the founder and CEO of Outshine Talent, Jones has carved a unique path by discovering and nurturing diverse talent and helping creators like Charli & Dixie D’Amelio build successful careers.

“I started out my career in the music business right out of college, and I was in marketing, working for record companies for a really long time, major labels,” Barbara says. “I’ve always loved working with creative people. I’ve kind of always been a behind-the-scenes type of person.”

Outshine Talent’s 360-Degree Approach To Helping Creators Boost Earnings While Staying True To Themselves

In 2007, Barbara pivoted from her role as head of marketing for Columbia Records in New York to start one of the earliest influencer marketing agencies. As a young mom, she recognized the potential of mom blogging. She launched a blog network, influencer marketing agency, and women’s blogging and social media conferences in the U.S. and Canada.

“Every time there was a new platform that was taking off as an agency, I’d have to figure out how to work with that platform, how to work what works for brands or agencies and who’s influential on those platforms,” Barbara explains. “So I kind of like, you know, feel like an OG when it comes to influencer marketing.”

Barbara’s expertise in the field led her to discover the D’Amelio sisters in 2019, who became the biggest teenage stars on TikTok at the time. This marked another turning point in her career, as she shifted from agency life to founding Outshine Talent that year, initially with the D’Amelio family as her sole client. Fast forward to the present, the agency has its blueprint for success.

“Our mission is to discover talent and help them develop careers,” Barbara states. “We have a very diverse roster of creative individuals, and we feel like we can help them pursue their dreams and help them develop their personal brands and businesses.”

Outshine Talent differentiates itself from other talent management companies through its 360-degree approach and focus on strategy, growth, development, and entrepreneurship. Each manager at the company works with a small roster of talent, allowing for personalized attention and service. “[We’re] more like strategy and growth and development and entrepreneurship,” Barbara emphasizes, setting Outshine Talent apart from management companies with a sales-oriented mentality.

Outshine Talent’s Approach to Industry Shifts

Barbara helps her clients navigate obstacles, such as algorithm changes to new platform policies, through strong relationships with social platforms and a focus on authenticity and consistency.

“We have really great relationships with all of the social platforms and have regular meetings with them,” the industry vet explains. “We’re constantly trying to not only understand where they’re going and how they’re prioritized but making sure we’re communicating that to our talent.”

Outshine Talent conducts regular audits of their clients’ social media presence to identify areas for improvement and ensure they are adapting to the latest trends and platform requirements. However, Barbara emphasizes that creators should not become overly fixated on algorithms or performance metrics.

“We try to explain to them that [they] are never going to figure out the algorithm,” she says. “So just continue to do what you’re doing and don’t worry so much about the performance, but just keep the consistency.”

Barbara cites the example of TikTok’s For You page, which has a 90-day window for content to appear. This means a post created today might not show up in users’ feeds for up to three months. “We’re constantly trying to stop them from overthinking their stats, overthinking the performance, and realizing that authenticity and consistency will win,” Barbara adds.

Boosting Earnings While Maintaining Creative Integrity

Barbara prioritizes helping creators maximize their earnings while maintaining creative integrity. One key strategy she employs is diversifying revenue streams, ensuring that her clients are not solely reliant on brand deals.

“We don’t want to rely only on brand deals because you can’t forecast against those,” Barbara explains. “Those should be the cherry on top. Those should be the things that come and go in waves. And based on, whatever the industry decides is the shiny new penny today.”

Instead, the entrepreneur encourages her clients to explore various income sources, such as platform rewards for participation, email marketing, subscriptions, and affiliate campaigns. She believes that by building a diverse portfolio of revenue streams, creators can generate passive income and have a more stable financial foundation.

Outshine Talent’s 360-Degree Approach To Helping Creators Boost Earnings While Staying True To Themselves

“In a perfect world, if they could create the content they want to create and earn from passive revenue, that would be the perfect world scenario not to have to do a brand deal,” Barbara says. “But the combination of all those things is really important because you can’t put your eggs in one basket.”

Outshine Talent also helps creators establish a multi-platform presence, taking advantage of the current “short-form video war” by distributing content across platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube Shorts. Barbara notes that each platform has a unique audience, and by expanding its reach, creators can increase their opportunities for growth and collaboration.

“If you’re already doing the work on making the content, you’re just holding yourself back. If you’re not putting it everywhere, it could be well-received,” she states. “By having growth across multiple platforms, you’re diversifying, and you’re also increasing your opportunities to be tapped for different things.”

To further optimize their clients’ strategies, Outshine Talent leverages data to understand audience behavior and inform brand partnerships. The agency works with an ad tech partner to gather insights on demographics, purchasing habits, and brand affinities, allowing them to make data-driven decisions and smarter pitches to brands.

“We’re caring less about growth and more about relationship with the audience,” Barbara says, stressing the importance of building genuine connections with followers rather than solely focusing on follower count.

Barbara’s Take on Creator-Audience Relationships 

Barbara has witnessed significant changes in the creator economy over the years, particularly in how audiences engage with creators across different platforms. She notes that while short-form content on platforms like TikTok is entertaining, it may not foster the same loyal following as long-form content on YouTube.

“I feel like YouTube creators have a different relationship with their audience,” the influencer marketing expert observes. “Whereas short form, it is very much scroll, and whatever you get fed, you’ll consume. But you’re not like going to somebody’s page typically.”

According to Barbara, this shift in audience behavior has implications for creators and their ability to build lasting connections with their fans. She anticipates the emergence of new platforms and opportunities for creators to leverage their existing audiences and create their own intellectual property.

“I feel like a lot of creators don’t realize what they have and should be creating their own IP, figuring out how they can broadcast, and how they can work with the following,” Barbara says. “They must create opportunities and realize they are a broadcast channel.”

Outshine Talent’s 360-Degree Approach To Helping Creators Boost Earnings While Staying True To Themselves

Building a Genuine Community Is Key

For creators looking to turn their passions into successful careers, Barbara offers valuable advice: it’s never too late to get started, and creators should prioritize authenticity and building genuine relationships with their audience.

“I think that right now we’re in a time where authenticity, simplicity, earnestness is working so well. So don’t feel like you have to have all the bells and whistles to get started,” Barbara shares.

She also highlights the importance of cultivating a strong community, regardless of size. “It’s not about how many followers you have, your habits, or your relationship with your followers and subscribers. You can have a lot of success with a small group.”

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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