What is your ultimate goal in life?
That’s a good question. To be honest my ultimate goal was very simple. I just wanted to touch someone in some sort of way. When I was younger, I didn’t exactly want to be famous but I knew I wanted to be “someone” and I wanted to have a voice. I used to fantasize about me at podiums touching the lives of women across the world. Sorta like Oprah. I also want to go down in the history books as the first african american woman to do something. What exactly, I don’t know…
Can one actually become successful from blogging or is it just more to that?
I’m trying to figure out if you mean Successful as in a blog with a huge following, or successful as in generating enough revenue off of your blog to make it a career…or both. Perez Hilton is a prime example of someone that is successful from blogging and to be completely honest, I modeled my brand after his in the beginning stages. I researched blogs for 6 months before I even started mine. I didn’t want to have just a blog, I wanted a BRAND. People don’t know this but Perez sold his site about 3 years ago however he is still the BRAND and face of the site. I doubt if he even writes for the site anymore. It’s ran by a full staff…mine is still run by only 1 person. His brand makes money from ad sales, merchandising (t-shirt, apparel), hosting events, appearances, tv deals, radio deals, label deals, and i can go on and on…
In the beginning I was criticized alot for putting my face on the site etc, but it made sense because I am my Brand. I am Necole Bitchie. Everything that I do from my Website header images, to the “That’s My Bitchie Audio drop”, to “Bitchie Chicks”, “Look Bitchie” etc etc has everything to do with the branding of my site. (i could write a whole blog on branding, one of the most important components to having a successful site). The biggest thing I’ve learned that if you do something and it gets people talking (whether good or bad), it’s normally a success. (Prime example: TI’s AKOO ad. Some people were oblivious to the fact that he had a clothing line but now when they hear AKOO they will think of TI because of the controversy surrounding the ad).
Anyway, back to your question; it depends on what you create your blog for. I say if you want your blog to be your business, treat it like a business. For example, I treated mine as if it was a radio station.
For a radio station to survive it has to have listeners because listeners attract advertisers and those are the ones paying the bills. Your blog readers are like radio station listeners, it’s your job to get them to tune in and generate loyalty among your “listeners” aka “readers” so they can keep logging on. Also, for most media businesses to survive they have to have advertisers. Once you have enough readers and page hits, advertisers will come knocking down your door. Within three months of my blog launch, I was approached by a major ad agency and they began selling my site to major advertisers. I am currently represented by three ad agencies and I also sell advertising myself by sending proposals to specific companies that are looking to target my demographic.
So to the question, Is there more to it… Yes it is more to it than just sitting at a computer and blogging but with a few extra steps, initiative, good marketing and branding and a plan, you are well on your way…
How do you deal with friends and users? You know you have your friends and then you have those who try to befriend you just to be in your circle to experience the things that you do. I have dealt with this before and I always like to see how others handle these people.
Definitely choose your friends wisely. Make sure the people you choose to hang out with have similar goals and it’s not a situation where you are setting yourself up to be used and taking advantage of. One of my biggest concerns with befriending people was that someone would share my personal info or slander me online once we fell out and something similar ended up happening to me so I’m very weary about befriending people who don’t have as much to loose as I do. I would never ever do something like that to someone after we fall out.
Make sure at least one of your friends is someone you look up to. That person will be your motivator. How can you ever grow if everyone you know is looking up to you?
My circle is comprised of people who are in the entertainment industry (we know most of the same people). The fact that we already ran in the same circles and knew most of the same people was a huge plus because it eliminated the feeling of “is this person trying to use me to connect with the people i know or get on”.
How do you get past the self doubt? I’m starting out in my living room, broke as hell and laid off, and as many positive quotes and books I read (The Secret, Think and Grow Rich, I even bought a subliminal cd), I still think to myself ‘who gives a crap what I have to say?’ My ultimate goal is to write a book but I’m starting with a blog where I post whatever I come across that provokes me to respond. I guess I’m just wondering how did you move past your doubts (if you had any) and act on what you wanted?
The books really do help but also make sure that circle of strength is there. A good support system makes all the difference. If you read the Secret, then the law of attraction really helps. The more positive things we think about, the more we are not focused on the negative and our situation and we will eventually think those things into existence. It’s embarrassing to say but when I started out, I always fantasized about where I would be in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years. I fantasized about success all the time and I believe I was able to think it into existence. Another thing, when I really started updating the site consistent and got a plan into action, my aunt threw a monkey wrench in those plans. She told me I could no longer stay with her…just as I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. So i had to pack all my stuff and move..that’s how I ended up in Atlanta. But I didn’t let that break or discourage me. Smooth seas don’t make skillful sailors. Once you get going on your road to success, don’t let minor bumps discourage you.
What has been the most challenging thing for u to overcome while being a business woman?
Right now, I know that if I don’t hire a team that I will burn out. That might be the demise of my business because realistically, to grow there is no way I can do it by myself. However, I have trust issues. I started this by myself and built it from scratch so I don’t want all that I worked so hard for taking away from me because of mistakenly hiring the wrong people. I remember my first few months of blogging, the interns of another successful blogger use to email me every week slandering the blogger and sharing their “internship manual” and just all sorts of stuff. That’s where my trust issues started.
Now the most challenging thing I’ve been through as a blogger is being blogged about, especially in a negative light. However, since I am a blogger I have to roll with the punches because I blog about people every day. It’s crazy reading things about yourself that’s not even remotely close to being true but it is what it is. The other week I read two articles about me over at a hip hop magazine site the other week and I had no idea what motivated the writer to even go there. Anyway, the biggest lesson I’ve learned out of all this is :
“Avoid knocking the competition…it usually serves to publicize them rather than you”.
I probably could contribute my current site traffic and popularity from those things..i guess if i look at it that way.
My question is how did you market your blog when you first got started
I can’t remember to be honest. I know my priority was the content when I first started. Just really staying true to myself and defining my audience. If you don’t define your audience then How can you market your blog. You have no idea who you are marketing to. I have a whole sheet written out with what my target demographic looks like on down to gender, race, age, what magazines they read, what stores they shop at, how many times a month they get their hair and nails done, etc etc etc. So i visualize this person every time i write a blog as if I’m talking to them.
About three months into it, we began doing a few things that sparked up some buzz to help brand the site, like a “No Bitchassness video”, I did a few radio segments for Hot 1079, V103 and Power 92 in richmond that helped me market my blog. I went on the female success factor tour but I think one of the things that I did that I was most proud of is I created a support system of about 10 blogs and I assigned them days of the week that we would link each other in a linkage post. and so each day we’d have atleast 2 blogs linking back to one of our stories. I need to start doing that again.
Exclusive content will help as well. Like I remember doing an impromptu interview with Chilli that ended up being linked on a bunch of sites. Starting out I would definitely reach out to publicists and see if you can get some exclusive interviews with artists. (if you run a celebrity site). If they say yes, and end up saying something buzz worthy in the interview, make sure you email the excerpts to as many sites as possible so they can cover it and link your site back.
I would say when starting out definitely draw up a plan. Write down your goals and then figure out how you are going to accomplish those goals. trust me, it really works
Will be back to answer more questions later..