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Supercreator Select: “I enjoy treating my blog as something purely for fun”
In this week’s issue: A conversation with a Little Britt of Fun’s Brittany B., the difference between working at a magazine and writing my own newsletter and more.
☀️ Happy Sunday!
Welcome to Supercreator Select, a new Sunday newsletter for premium subscribers to The Supercreator filled with exclusive features to help you unplug from the relentless digital news cycle, discover inspiration to apply to your creative work and focus your attention on the stories that matter to you and your creativity.
For the past few months, I’ve been tinkering with the subscription to achieve two goals: Make my daily newsletter accessible to the creative class while delivering a meaningful subscriber experience that you can’t get anywhere else so your monthly or annual subscription to The Supercreator feels like a no-brainer.
I grew dissatisfied with the idea of optimizing my business around asking people to pay for news but maintain serious reservations about interrupting your reading experience with a stream of ads and sponsorships. I think I’ve finally arrived at a win-win for all: My daily newsletter will continue to publish Mon–Thu for free and this special edition will come on Sundays and offer an exclusive interview and my weekly Ask Michael column. Supercreator Select will also take you inside my weekly planning session where I go through my calendar, newslist and tipsheet to figure out what I should be paying attention to in the days ahead.
In this week’s issue: I share my full conversation with Brittany B. of A Little Britt of Fun, answer a reader-submitted question on the major difference between working at a magazine and writing your own newsletter and preview Instagram’s first-ever Creator Week plus a few other stories I’ll be covering in the upcoming days. I hope you enjoy the issue!
For this week’s Supercreator Interview, I checked in with Brittany B., founder of the lifestyle blog A Little Britt of Fun. During our chat, Brittany shared how she developed her popular “On Being” series, why she’s satisfied with working a corporate day job in an era where we’re pressured to monetize all aspects of ourselves and the next book on her impressive reading list. Below is our full conversation, edited for length and clarity.
The Supercreator: What’s the backstory on your lifestyle blog A Little Britt of Fun?
Brittany B.: I’ve had blogs since the Live Journal [and] Xanga days. It’s always been something I come back to. I decided to start A Little Britt of Fun when I moved to a new city and had some down time. It was sort of a lifestyle blog meets a things-to-do-around-the-city-blog. I did that for a couple of years and then decided to really move the blog into a space that aligned more with me and what I wanted to talk about. So I moved past the things to do aspect and really leaned into my On Being series, A Little Britt of Education posts, and just general opinion pieces here and there.
In your welcome note on your website, you write: “We get REAL but have have fun.” You also disclose that you'll cover topics that might make us uncomfortable even though we’ll be better after engaging with. How do you balance the realness we need with the levity we want?
Honestly, I think my blog and Instagram work as a nice balance for people because I don’t worry about what people want. I’ve created a space that speaks to me. We are all multifaceted people and because of this we have the capacity to focus on important topics and dig into things that make us uncomfortable while also focusing on utterly nonsensical and fun things. I found that when I stopped worrying about how folks would perceive what I was doing I was able to better create content that people enjoyed and that felt balanced. I think the content is naturally balanced because it’s authentic to who I am as a person.
As you mentioned, you produce a popular series called “On Being” that features conversations with people across a range of identities, professions and interests. How did you develop the series?
I started the series with “On Being a Woman” in March 2019. I had just been reading so many things about women and our experiences and I put a call out to some women I knew personally and some online to ask them if they’d be open to answering some questions about what it’s like navigating through life as a woman. At that moment I had no real intention of doing anything past that one series of blog posts but I found that I really loved the discussion that came from that. I loved thinking through questions and also seeing people’s responses. I also found that it really resonated with people online and I then realized it may be worth exploring other topics and making it a regular thing. The On Being series is the thing I am most proud of with anything I do across platforms. It was created on a whim and has morphed into something that really connects with people. I am so thankful for the people who participate in the series and to the folks who engage with them.
What have you learned from writing and producing the series?
I’d say my biggest takeaway is that many people never have the opportunity to really sit down and think about their lived experience and once you give them that opportunity, actual magic happens. The amount of people who tell me they’ve never been asked the questions I ask in my series is somewhat surprising to me but it happens with every single series and when you finally give them the opportunity to share their lived experiences and truth, it’s so powerful. I’d also say that people open themselves up more to education when it’s coming from another person. I get a lot of messages from readers of the series who realize the things they need to unpack about themselves and their biases because of what they read from the participants.
Can you share with The Supercreator the topic of the next “On Being” series? 👀
My next full series will be “On Being Single,” which will be out in early June. Then I’m ending June with a mini-series of “On Being Black & Queer.” It’s a miniseries because much of my group had to drop out for various reasons — it happens — so I have a smaller group to share. However, I’m still really proud of that group and can’t wait to share it. Then I’ll have “On Being Biracial/Multiracial” sometime in late July or early August.
Thanks for sharing! In addition to A Little Britt of Fun, you also work a corporate day job. How have you created harmony between the two so they’re both able to bring you fulfillment?
For me, my blog and Instagram are hobbies. I know many people monetize these things and I tried it for a moment in time but I found I enjoy doing my own thing and treating what I do on my blog as something purely for fun. My full-time job is my work and what I do in spaces online is simply something that brings me joy and that I find value in. This allows me to really have a nice harmony between my work and the things I do online.
Your book recommendations are always on point. What’s a title you’ve recently enjoyed and one you’re looking forward to diving into this summer?
My favorite book of the year so far is Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters. It’s fantastic but a bit heavy. If you’re looking for something a little lighter I just finished Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane and it was a really unique story. The book I’m most looking forward to in the next few months is Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney. I love her writing style and her other books and cannot wait for this.
Finally, what’s next for you and A Little Britt of Fun?
I’ve got a long list of more On Being series planned and aside from that who knows. I think one of the better things about my content on my blog and Instagram is that it’s not planned. If I feel compelled to discuss or write about something, I do. There’s not a lot of outlining or planning that goes into it.
Coming next week: In conversation with Ryan Sides, a queer digital and social creative strategist.
This week's question: What's the major difference between working at a magazine and writing your own newsletter?
The number-one difference is The Supercreator's business model. When I worked in magazines, advertisers paid most of my salary. And advertisers want their products and campaigns in front of as many readers as possible. So my colleagues and I focused our attention on driving clicks and revenue with product slideshows, celebrity-style posts and outfit ideas instead of investing in stories that were less clicky but still worth telling. I'm proud of the work we did though and have a deeper understanding of what makes consumers tick thanks to the experience.
My business is supported via subscriptions, which has been an editorial game-changer. Ads aren't "bad"; in fact, I'm grateful for all the businesses that trusted our content enough to pay to run their stuff in and alongside it. And ads are super lucrative for media companies that publish easily shareable content. But they also drive incentives that diverge from the journalism I want to create. Subscriptions, on the other hand, enable me to serve my most valuable readers and enjoy the kind of editorial independence I could only imagine as a corporate media operator. There are tradeoffs but they're worth it. The takeaway here is that each person has to decide for themselves what their non-negotiables and willingness to compromise are.
There are a few other differences between magazines and newsletters.
For one, the format of a print publication and digital properties are dissimilar from a newsletter that's optimized to be enjoyed from your inbox. I've got to account for those variances when I'm planning, writing and editing The Supercreator. The frequency is different too: Print magazines spend weeks — sometimes months — planning and producing features. And even when I worked as a digital editor, I still had at least a week to report, write and build most of my stories. At The Supercreator, I’m on deadline four days a week. It feels like a luxury to have more than a day to turn around a story these days.
The subject matter is different too. When I worked in magazines, my focus was squarely on shopping and style: What stylish women should be buying and what they should be wearing. I still love fashion and consider my magazine gigs as the dreamiest of dream jobs. But I’ve found reporting on the intersection of power and the creator economy to be satisfying in a different way.
I also miss the resources that were at my disposal when I worked for a national publication. When our publisher Condé Nast relocated from offices in Times Square to the then-new World Trade Center, they spun my magazine off and put us up in offices that didn’t have a photo studio. So I expensed an Uber to and from the photo studio at WTC every day — a nice break from crowded trains and pissy subway stations. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss all the swag that brands sent me or the “free table” where editors put the shit they received but didn’t want. Between the two, I always had gifts for friends and family on their birthdays and during holidays.
And while I love the freedom of running a solo business, what I miss the most is the collaboration magazines require. I’m an introvert who requires a deep level of trust to fully express myself in teams or groups. And my colleagues rejected every myth you’ve heard about tyrannical fashion editors with their generosity, humor and creativity.
Despite these differences, working in magazines enabled me to learn how to come up with fresh story ideas on topics you know your competitors will also be covering, write with a sharp voice and point and view, secure interviews and access with busy or unaccessible people, and correspond with publicists whose goals often diverged from mine. These are skills I use in my business every day and wouldn’t be where I am without them.
Have a question about American politics, the creator economy or how to make, brand, market and sell with confidence and clarity? Reply to this email or leave a comment below and it may be featured in an upcoming post.
Coming next week: How did you find your mentors? And how do you maintain a connection with them?
Here’s a preview of what’s on my radar this week:
Instagram Creator Week kicks off on Tuesday and wraps up this Thursday. It’s the first event of its kind from Facebook, which owns Instagram, and will feature a week of virtual professional development programs for aspiring and emerging creators across Instagram and Facebook. The news cycle will dictate how much I cover Creator Week in the Supercreator Daily, but at minimum, I’m sure I’ll have a few updates to share on the most interesting developments.
President Joe Biden will be continuing talks with Senate Republicans on a bipartisan compromise on his infrastructure plan. Biden rejected the GOP’s latest offer but agreed to meet with them again this week at The White House. And Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia won’t support a bill unless at least 10 Republicans back it too. Meanwhile, Democrats are running out of patience and summer recess is on the horizon so it’ll be interesting how these factors play into the negotiations.
On Monday at 1 p.m. EST, Apple will host a virtual keynote at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Rumor has it we’ll see some significant updates to iOS, iPadOS, macOS and Apple’s other operating systems. We could also see new MacBook Pros. 💻
Today is National Cancer Survivors Day. I’m taking a moment to express deep gratitude for my Dad, who beat a cancer scare in 2014. Love you, Pops!
It’s also National Higher Education Day, which aims to promote and educate people about the opportunities higher education offers. This would also be an excellent time for President Biden to forgive student debt.
Tue Jun 8 is National Best Friends Day. Fun fact: The day was created in 1935 by the US Congress to pay tribute to close friends and has been celebrated ever since. It’s also World Oceans Day. Did you know that our oceans produce most of the planet’s oxygen?
If you have any tips on the people, companies, products and trends shaping how we work and live in the creator economy? I’d love to hear from you. DM me on Twitter or reply to this email. If you require additional anonymity, I have set up encrypted tiplines for extra security. Just get in touch and we’ll go from there.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this week’s Supercreator Select. Leave a comment below or reply to this email and let me know what you thought of this week’s issue. If you know someone in your life or on your team who would find The Supercreator useful, purchase a gift or group subscription on their behalf. You can also buy me a coffee to extend your support of this one-person media business.
And remember: In addition to Supercreator Select, your subscription to The Supercreator includes 24/7 access to the full archive and access to my private calendar to book 20-minute check-ins during my weekly office hours. Thank you for supporting my work. See you in tomorrow’s Supercreator Daily. —Michael ✨