Blogging While Brown 2009: Making Money, Making Friends and Making Movies

8 years ago

Blogger Angel Laws started her blog Concrete Loop with five dollars in her pocket. That was just about four years ago.  Now Angel says she gets 700,000 unique visitors a day and makes about $250,000 a year through ads on her blog. 

Her advice for bloggers during last weekend's Blogging While Brown conference in Chicago:

  • Own all the variations of you web address.  Protect your brand with trademarks.
  • She suggests using more than one ad agency.  She uses six.
  • Learn about your readership.  Use polls to get feedback.

After the conference was over I spoke to Angel one on one.  First I asked about how big success changed her as a blogger:


What were the hardest and easiest things when starting her blog:

Her advice to bloggers just starting out:

Another very productive, not to mention entertaining panel was on branding by Hajj E. Flemings, author of "The Brand YU."  During his presentation, Hajj circulated through the audience Oprah-style and fired questions about slides of a variety of products.
When a photo of a Tiffany box appeared, Hajj asked the attendees the first thing that came to their minds.
"Love!" Shouted one woman.
"Expensive love!" Shouted another.
After explaining that just the appearance of the Tiffany blue box, without any knowledge of what might be inside created an instant association, Hajj proclaimed, "Branding turned sneakers into Nikes."
When using social media he told attendees they should use the same avatar and screen name across mutliple platforms.  For example, his photo on his website, his book, his business card, and his social networking sites, all have him in the same suit, in the same pose and wearing the same expression. 
He then went on to emphasize the importance of connections, "Somebody else besides your mother needs to know you're doing great things."   And he added, "Don't be the smartest person in your group."  The implication being that you must find associates from whom you can learn. 
Other branding advice:
During the panel, attendee Adria Richards tweeted:
"Hajj's presentation was like a fresh pressed shirt - sharp, stylish and focused on making you look good!"
I interviewed Hajj at the end of the conference and you can check out those videos here.
Naoko McCracken of Automattic was at BWB to talk about the wonderful world of WordPress.  Though I'm a Typepad girl, Naoko had me thinking about some of those WordPress plug-ins and how I might put them to good use if I switched.  The main thing attendees wanted from her though was to know when a WordPress app would appear for BlackBerries.  I estimated BlackBerry attendees outnumbered iPhone attendees by 2 to 1.
Finally, the great thing about BWB was chatting with so many internet savvy people who were as enthusiastic as I was about blogging and the future of social media.
During lunch I parked myself at a table on a beautiful outside patio in the University Center building.  When I came back from the buffet line, I discovered I'd been joined by several other attendees.  All male.
I was in heaven.
But seriously, there was no hanky panky, just great conversation about what we were learning, people of color and the internet, and how we sometimes get phone calls from older members of our families asking for help to gets them "that email."
Cheryl Contee of Jack and Jill Politics had us chuckling as she told us stories about setting up her relatives who only had dial-up internet service.
Nyasha Buchongo was very excited about the potential power for social change of the internet.  She also impressed me with her extensive knowledge of the amount of money in the federal stimulus bill which will go toward expanding broadband service and other technological advances.
Finally the conference gave me a chance to try out my Flip video camera with which I produced most of the interview clips you see here and on my channel on YouTube.  When the Flip battery died, I switched over to my Canon SD750 and that did the job just as nicely.
Tomorrow I'll post my final interview from the 2009 Blogging While Brown.  It's with conference organizer, and publisher of What About Our Daughters and Michelle Obama Watch, Gina McCauley. She's a fascinating woman so you won't want to miss it.

Some of my lunch companions and other fabulous bloggers I met at BWB (if I've left anyone out, please don't hesitate to let me know):

Lola Adesioye, Deputy Editor of The Grio

Nyasha Buchongo, Research & Internet Messaging Manager, Alliance for Digital Equality

Mason Jamal, Jamal Street Journal

Martin Lindsey, Marty Blogs

Sylvia Hubbard, Love A Black Woman, Motown Writers, and Sylvia Hubbard

Frederic Mitchell, Bright Plum


Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television and Online Video and she had a great time in Chi-town.  Her personal entertainment blog is Megan's Minute, Quirky Commentary Around The Clock.

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