Whenever I check in on Jennifer Weatherhead’s Instagram feed, she is always jetting off somewhere super cool. In addition to her love of travel, Jen is runs all of the social media at Hello! Canada and Hello! USA. Jen has so much incredible knowledge about working in digital (she spent 8+ years at Elle Canada), I knew instantly that I wanted to feature her for this column. Meet Jen everybody!
How did you decide on a career as a writer and editor?
I remember being in elementary school and writing these ridiculously long, obscure stories during writing period and it has always stuck with me. So there was never any question what direction I was headed in while in school. I did focus on broadcast and TV when I went to journalism school and did that for a brief time before switching back to writing at the insistence of an old university professor who said I should. His words still stick with me to this day!
Tell us more about your role as the Social Media Manager of Hello! Canada and Hello! US
My job at Hello! Canada and Hello! US is SO much fun. I pinch myself sometimes when thinking about how much I love it and how lucky I am to work for another international brand. Hello! US just launched a digital-only version of the brand in December, so I am helping them build their social media presence from the ground up. Starting from fresh on any project is fulfilling and an amazing way to learn more about digital – and it gives you an opportunity to find a voice and brand identity.
And for Hello! Canada I handle all of their social media accounts, curating the most beautiful aspects of the brand (from both print and web), hopefully inspiring our followers and keeping them up to date on all things celebrity and royal. And looking at pictures of Prince George or researching the hottest male bachelors in Canada isn’t a bad way to spend the day 😉
For 8+ years you were the Senior Web Editor at Elle Canada. What makes a great blog post?
The world of the web changed so much while I was at Elle Canada. It’s what I love most about working in digital! But one thing that’s always remained the same for a good blog post (or good content on the web in general), in my opinion, is having a unique voice to set you apart from all the internet clutter. Short is always better.
When training someone new on blogging or web content, I always start with keeping it easy to read. Think point-form, easy-to-digest paragraphs and beautiful images, and make sure the reader always has something to take away. It sounds so simple but it works – and that’s what will keep them coming back. And those loyal fans and followers are your bread and butter in the online world.
For those looking to grow their own blog traffic, what advice would you give?
Up your social media game – it’s a great way to attract new, loyal fans and market yourself. Get involved in Twitter chats, stay on top of what’s trending and do what you do best. Don’t just retweet and expect a following – engage with people, ask questions, chime in on conversations. Find a social platform that really showcases and expresses your blog and content.
Right now, I love Pinterest and Instagram. Pinterest is such a fast-growing community and, in many cases that I have seen, a top traffic driver back to sites in terms of social referrals. It’s a tough, fast-paced world in digital and it’s ever changing, especially today, so marketing yourself really counts.
You are also the Co-Founder + Editor of Travel & Style Magazine! What motivated you to start your own publication?
Travel & Style Magazine is my true passion! It’s amazing to work on something that is truly your own, from start to finish. It started when my friend Stephanie Gray and I realized there wasn’t a stylish, smart travel website for women.
We wanted to go beyond the girlfriend getaway idea and have content for women who love all things beautiful when it comes to travel – from boutique hotels to the latest fashion or food trends. Luxury that is still attainable. There was a giant hole in the market for that content, especially in Canada. Hopefully we are filling that void at least a little bit and inspiring people to explore the world. It’s been a joy to work on. We just launched our second digital issue in March, so check it out!
What was the most important non-negotiable thing for you when designing your lifestyle and work life?
I have to love what I do. The minute I don’t, it shows on my face! Working in digital and on social media means that sometimes your weekends and evenings can get consumed by your work life. But I always make sure to have some downtime each week to just read, veg out, or tuck into a great brunch with friends. And I also have to have time to get to the gym!
What do you do to de-stress?
Although travelling is part of my job, it’s also my biggest de-stresser. I love getting on a plane, sinking into the seat and just chilling out until I get to my destination. Seeing somewhere new is when I feel the most energized, and when I feel energized, I feel less stressed! A good massage or facial never hurts either.
What’s your typical day like?
I’m up early looking for new content that surfaced overnight (such as royal news from Europe and the UK since Hello! is primarily a European based brand), I squeeze in about an hour or so of work when I first get up, then hit the gym for an hour or two (with my phone in hand, just in case anything crazy happens!).
Then I spend my day creating social media content, brainstorming new ways to engage with our fans, looking through stats, spending an obscene amount of time on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and engaging/interacting with fans. We love doing contests with our fans – they’re so opinionated about royals and celebrity culture, which provides endless content and ideas!
In the late afternoons and evenings, I’m on Travel & Style time, sorting through travel pictures, writing, assigning and editing, and coming up with new, fun content ideas for the site and digital magazine.
What did you study in college and is there anything you would have done differently?
I somehow managed to get two degrees out of university (now that I look back on it, I have NO idea how I did all that work!). I have a Journalism degree from the University of King’s College and a History degree from Dalhousie University, both in Halifax, NS. For Journalism I focused on broadcast and TV, but didn’t really enjoy it in the “real world” at first, and like I mentioned above I went back to writing and online. But now I am using those broadcast skills more and more with digital content and web videos, so I can’t say I’d change anything. It’s all led me to where I am today and I’m pretty happy with that.
Best piece of life advice to share?
I have two! One is probably kind of typical and it’s to travel. Put yourself in situations where you’re outside your comfort zone, see things you’ve never seen before, push yourself to do things that scare you. I’ve honestly learned more about myself while travelling than I have at any other point in my life. They can be pivotal, life-changing moments. It’s a freeing experience to see the world and mind opening to learn about other cultures – it really puts things into perspective. And it makes you appreciate home so much more (I always have a new appreciation for Toronto when I get back home, no matter how cold it is in the winter).
The second bit of advice that I swear by is to always be kind. Being kind, but fair (you don’t want people walking all over you!), and being supportive goes a long way in life and in work. There are people who have been kind to me throughout my career that I would do anything for should they ever need it. Same goes for my personal life. I’m a firm believer in women building each other up, not tearing each other down, which can be tricky in the fashion/beauty/celebrity world, but I really do think it’s the best way to go!
Loved this? Read our other This Beautiful Life interviews!