Partner Spotlight: Heidi Daoud of Wishes and Reality

 

By Katie Cattell, Copywriter

Here at Ahalogy, it’s no secret that our influencers are at the core of everything we do. From their gorgeous imagery to their unique creative vision, we would be lost without our Ahalogy Partners—a network of over 5,500+ content creators across the Food & Drink, Health & Beauty, Lifestyle, and Parenting categories. Just as no two blogs look the same, each of our influencers have a different story to share. Check out the following Partner Spotlight interview to learn more about what it takes to become an Ahalogy Partner.

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Influencers, they’re just like you and me. And no one knows that better than Heidi Daoud of Wishes and Reality. Capturing readers’ attentions with her honest and authentic voice, Heidi uses Wishes and Reality to explore everything from lifestyle and fashion to family-friendly recipe ideas. Learn more about Heidi and her top influencer marketing tips by reading along with the latest Partner Spotlight Podcast.

 

So to start with, can you tell me a little bit about how you got started with Wishes and Reality?

I’ve been blogging for a little over 4 years, and I really started looking for a creative outlet—which I think is probably what you’ll get as an answer from a lot of bloggers. I was a stay-at-home mom and I had a background in fashion merchandising. That’s really how it started.

I was reading a lot of blogs and realizing that I could put together similar looks from with my fashion background but at a more affordable price point than I was seeing. I think that’s kind of become what you’re seeing a lot in fashion blogs now. It’s a lot less of that really high end and a lot more of that really achievable style. When you think about someone who is scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or reading blogs or on Pinterest, chances are they don’t have the income to be dropping $500 once a quarter on a Gucci bag.

From there it kind of morphed into more of a lifestyle space as I took on more food recipes. I do a lot of events around Chicago. So covering that kind of thing and incorporating more of a family element into it. That’s the road I’ve taken and it continues, obviously, to evolve as time goes on. 

bubba-water-bottle-what-to-do-in-chicago-in-the-summer-staycation-grey-tie-front-mini-dress-staying-hydrated-in-the-summer-in-chicago-3 An example of branded content from Wishes and Reality. See the full post here

 

On your blog, you write about a number of different topics including fashion, food and drink, home decor, your family, and lifestyle. How do you juggle all of those different interests while finding new sources of inspiration to write about?

I think that as time goes on, instead of looking outward for inspiration, I turn the focus more inward. What matters to me? What gets me excited? While I still enjoy reading other blogs and I follow a number of Instagram accounts, I’m kind of like—I hate to say it—an average girl. I’m a mom. I’m a wife. I’m juggling a budget. I have interests outside of my family. And I think just trying to put that forward in a relatable way about what gets me excited has really helped me grow my blog and grow my Instagram following because it is relatable.

Instagram stories and things like that have really helped readers and followers feel a little bit more like they’re able to relate to you, like they’re able to see behind the scenes into the reality. I know the accounts that I’m really drawn to and the stories that I like to watch or listen to are those of real people. You can tell that they’re not just bloggers; they have a real life. They have kids. They have husbands. They have another job. I think that just makes the reader or the follower feel more connected.

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An example of branded content from Wishes and Reality. See the full post here

 

So you mentioned that you’ve seen your blog change since you first started Wishes and Reality a number of years ago. How have you seen influencer marketing change in that time?

Well it’s gotten better in the sense that influencers are more respected as a legitimate channel for advertisers and brands to utilize. With that being said, I think one of the frustrations, I guess, is the lack of consistency in pricing and expectations. That still needs to get flushed out a little more. And I think it will as time goes on. The biggest change has been going from it really not being as mainstream for brands to utilize in their marketing to it becoming a major source of advertising for brands.

When I started, it seemed very focused on girls in their early twenties and now you see that expand to all ages, all shapes and sizes, you get all kinds of backgrounds and interests. I think it’s great. One of my fears as a blogger is am I going to age out? But really we’re all aging through it and things will evolve and change as you grow. If you can develop a strong following and reader base, they’ll stay with you.

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An example of branded content from Wishes and Reality. See the full post here

 

So talking a little more about those brand partnerships. can you tell me what it's like to work with a brand on a sponsored post? what are the challenges and benefits? 

I think mainly there are benefits. To step back to the last question a little bit, I think brands have seen the value of the micro-influencer—those with 20,000, maybe even 10,000 to 100,000 followers. I just think that there is so much more of a niche there that they can tap into rather than those that have millions of readers and followers. I just think that niche marketing has really grown. Brands are learning how to hone in on that for their own individual benefit.

In terms of working with brands from an influencer perspective, the more information we can get from a brand on what they want, the better. Who they’re looking to target, why they’re looking to target that group, etc.

One thing that I always have loved that Ahalogy does is the trends that you guys provide in your brief for a campaign. I think that’s really great because it helps as an influencer to know if that makes sense for my reader base, if they’re going to be interested in that, if it’s the right fit. It also gives me direction once I start working on the post.

Another thing that, as an influencer and a blogger, I appreciate is when brands also budget for boosting those things on Pinterest and on Instagram. I think the brands have greater access to a social media team that can really fine tune those boosts in a way that influencers don’t always know how to do.

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when you're choosing which brands to partner with or which products to promote to your readers, what are some of the different things that you consider? 

I want to make it as organic as possible so for me, food is something that has always interested me. Working on sponsored content, it kind of opened that door a little bit for me. Now I incorporate it a lot more into my blog. But I think the more authentic you can make it the better, obviously it has to translate to the reader and the follower otherwise they’re going to see right away that it’s just a paid post. I like it to be something that I’m genuinely excited about. Especially brands that I’ve used already in my day-to-day life. That’s always a great fit.

Do you remember anything anything about your first sponsored post that you did?

I think one of the first ones I did, it wasn’t paid it was for product and that was fashion related. I remember getting that first offer for product exchange. It’s such an exciting thing as an influencer. It’s really what you’re working towards. When it’s something that I’m already interested in—fashion or food or family stuff—that’s really easy for me to integrate organically. And that was a good lesson right off the bat that it matters if you’re excited about what you’re working on.

I think that authenticity leads to longer relationships and multiple posts. I think that’s another way that the reader builds trust as they see the same thing over and over again. They can tell that it wasn’t just a one-off post, this is part of a bigger—not campaign—but a bigger relationship.


The road to becoming an influencer isn’t easy, but the true reward is getting to make authentic connections with a dedicated reader base. We hope you enjoyed getting to know more about Heidi Daoud of Wishes and Reality. Be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to keep up to date on all of her latest content. Stay tuned for the next Partner Spotlight when we talk to a brand new voice in influencer marketing and learn what their perspective is on creating meaningful content for their site.