Blogger, personal trainer and model, Zanna Van Dijk is fast making a name for herself in the fitness industry. With a huge social media following and a new activewear brand on the horizon, we find out how Zanna has gone from blogger to business.
How did you become a fitness/food blogger and can you talk us through some of the things you have since gone on to do?
I started my fitness Instagram account (@zannavandijk) about three years ago when I was at university; none of my friends were interested in health and wellness. I found the online fitness community and decided to get involved. I started out with a private account – just a place to share my own journey. I soon decided to make it public and it naturally and organically grew. By the two-year point, I had around 30,000 followers and I decided that I wanted to expand it to a blog to give me space to share my more in-depth thoughts. I had a blog built… and the rest is history! In terms of things I have gone on to do, I find it hard to explain them without sounding like a ponce. Highlights have been being on the cover of The Sunday Times ‘Style’ magazine, travelling the world with brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Nike, created the #girlgains movement, being on Sky News and writing for a host of magazines.
You have a large social media following – 79.7k on Instagram, almost 10k on YouTube with video views in the double digit thousands, over 8k on Twitter. How do you think you have amassed such a large following and what kinds of pressure does it bring with it, if any?
The growth of my following has been slow and organic. I think that it has grown due to my content being consistent and hopefully helpful to people – I try to connect with those who follow me, keep it real and share knowledge and tips that they can apply to their own lives. I personally don’t feel any pressure as a result of the numbers. The only real pressure is to keep producing content, but it’s easy as fitness is my passion!
I think that my social media following has grown due to my content being consistent and hopefully helpful to people – I try to connect with those who follow me, keep it real and share knowledge and tips that they can apply to their own lives.
From working with brands such as Nike, Nutribullet and Adidas, to being featured in Women’s Health as a top fitness blogger and in Women’s Fitness as a “one to watch in 2016”, your CV is extensive, varied and full of fabulous accolades. How do your brand collaborations come about and what top tips can you give for really making the most of them to help boost your profile – but also to give the brand what they’re looking for too?
Brand collaborations come around 99% of the time through the brand approaching me, usually via e-mail. We will discuss what they want to achieve, how I can help them, and how we can work together in a way that is mutually beneficial. I don’t actually do as many brand collaborations as you may think; I must turn down about 9 out of 10 email proposals I get. This is simply because the brand isn’t something related to my content or me, and isn’t something that I genuinely like and use. I don’t look at brand collaborations as a way to boost my profile, but more as a way to work with a brand that I respect. If it is a brand that I really like and want to continue working with, I will go above and beyond their expectations in terms of content creation so that hopefully they want to continue collaborating into the future.
You’re launching your own Activewear collection in early 2016 with Sports Philosophy. How did this come about, how did you go about designing the collection, and what have the biggest challenges been so far?
I have worked with Sports Philosophy since before they even launched. I met them when they were prototyping their first ever collection, and ended up modelling for their initial campaign. I connected with the brand and the owners, and they offered to work together on a capsule collection – an opportunity I never thought I would have. I jumped at the chance, and I am so glad I did. I designed the pieces back in August 2015 and flew to Portugal in October/November last year to go through the sampling process. The final pieces are just coming together now and we should be releasing them within the next two months. We are currently securing stockists and planning the launch. In terms of designing the collection, I am a personal trainer so I wear activewear every single day and I know what is comfortable. I wanted to make pieces that were practical, stylish and comfortable! The biggest challenge has been the sampling process itself, as it was hectic to say the least!
What would you say are your top tips for success as a blogger?
Consistency – get into a regular schedule.
Quality – make sure your content is good quality e.g. high-res images, no spelling mistakes, etc.
Be Social – talk to other bloggers, go to events, make friends, and collaborate.
Think – what are people gaining from your content? Would you want to read it? Is it entertaining? Or educating? People need a reason to come back for more, so give them one!