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May 23, 2014

While casting influencer campaigns, it’s the casting director’s goal to identify individuals that will represent the brand so authentically that readers aren’t rolling their eyes at the obvious product placement. At D’Marie, we’ve built several algorithms to help us sift through the analytics of our publisher network and create a mutually beneficial pairing between blogger and brand. Total nerd level stuff, but digital strategy is an important part of online commerce, and bloggers who understand this will blow their competition out of the water.


Case in point, Cait Weingartner of Pretty and Fun has built a platform that brands drool over. Her lifestyle blog emphasizes fashion, food and home décor in exquisite photographs that make us, her followers, drift off into daydreams and jealousy. Cait does have the advantage of being an actual digital strategist for an advertising company in the Chicago area. She has taken the knowledge from her day job and directly applied it to conversations with brands about her blog. “I can take my knowledge of both brands and audience from being a publisher and understand what advertisers want to create with collaborations. It’s nice to push back on both sides of the coin," says Cait.


Pretty and Fun went live about three years ago. Cait is an admitted obsessive blog reader. “All of my favorite magazines were folding, so I turned to online. I read about 300 blog posts a day with my Feedly. I launched a blog with no real plan or goals, and no hopes for a large audience outside of my mom and friends.  It was an opportunity to tap into what interests me outside of my 9-5. Well, 8-10.” Cait has built an incredibly engaged audience and relies on hearing from them to help her decide what content she produces and which partnerships to enter into with brands. “I think I strive for people to never feel that the blog changes or the voice changes. Authenticity is the number one goal. I love the power of doing a reader survey where you can get feedback. Bloggers are way too sensitive to feedback. It’s worth getting feedback from readers to continue to grow."


However, the feedback for bloggers isn’t always positive or constructive. A little while back Cait had an eye-opening experience. “I noticed that my number one source of referral traffic was from a site called Get Off My Internet. So, I clicked over and there was a very long string of comments about the shit these people on the Internet know about my life. As a blogger, you put all of this info out and when someone collects it all and plays it back to you it’s rough. Most of the complaints were all about how boring I was, and while that stung initially, it encouraged me to share more imperfect aspects of my life.  It was a good kick to open up and set myself apart a bit.” Since then Cait has invested time and resources into Pretty and Fun by hiring a photographer and bringing on an intern. Because of the time she took to stop and analyze the state of her blog, Cait was able to quickly rebrand to the site her readers enjoy today.


Cait’s style is “preppy meets bohemian classic”. She is drawn to shapes and silhouettes and influenced by fellow bloggers who are nailing it with brands. “I love a good shift dress in a crazy pattern, while also sticking to the staples like the J Crew’s of the world. I will never claim to be a fashion blogger, but I am still figuring out what works best for me. I am not one to jump on trends. I am not going to go out and have a whole other wardrobe just for the blog," adds Cait. 


"I am inspired by Danielle Moss (co-founder and editor of The Every Girl). They have done an incredible job growing the team and bringing other people into the vision of the company. They are kicking ass. I also like Kendie (Kendie Everyday) and Liz Schneider (Sequins and Stripes). I like that they make layering and color combining fun.  They look gorgeous in every single photo. Blair Eadie (Atlantic-Pacific) kills it. She intentionally doesn’t add anything other than the sources of the pieces to keep her life separate from the blog world. It’s admirable that she’s stuck to it. Especially as the lifestyle market is blowing up.”


Check out Pretty and Fun’s website and follow Cait on Facebook, Twitter and of Course D’Marie!


Are you a blogger interested in joining the D’Marie publisher network? Apply here!

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