We know you don’t live under a rock, so you’ve heard about the magic called Lemonade, Beyoncé’s newly released album. In short, the visual album is everything. In one hour and six minutes, Beyoncé “goes there” as far as explaining the experiences of most Black women’s past and present. It is smart, it is kind, it is important.
From our standpoint — entrepreneurial and marketing professionals — Lemonade is equally fantastic. Granted, many of don’t have a millions-plus strong cult following yet, but if that’s your goal, take a minute to understand the lessons we learned from the singer’s sixth studio album.
1. Meet Your People Where They Are
Beyoncé knows that her core audience is constantly tied to their smart devices. So instead of producing an album the old school way, she released it through she and her husband’s music streaming service, TIDAL. You’re on the Internet anyway, so why not consume her latest work in that way? Smart.
2. Promise Exclusivity
Regardless of the inferences about the Carter’s marriage throughout Lemonade, this one thing remains true: they are true business people. And true business people make smart business decisions. Releasing Bey’s highly anticipated album exclusively through their own music streaming company was ingenious. In fact, TIDAL is now back on top of the app charts. Sorry Apple and Spotify, you lose (for now).
Just last year, TIDAL was said to be Jay-Z’s 100th problem for a myriad of reasons. Mashable then concluded them to be problems with/in technology, poor management and disregard for “the little guy”. Surely, millionaire artists are far removed from the lifestyles of new, struggling artists in this era of free pirated music. Contrarily, the artist-owned company might have made a slight comeback by offering Bey enthusiasts a 30-day free trial subscription to TIDAL to absorb Lemonade’s sweetness.
Either way, releasing something so exclusively is a boss move. Lesson: Create fantastic content that your audience needs and sell it without the middle man. Be like The Carter’s.
3. Pull Their Heartstrings
Droves of Black women across the Internet deem Lemonade as #BlackGirlMagic personified! Not only because it’s creator is one of many, but because she tapped into who they’ve (Black women) always been and how many of them handle certain issues today. It is creative and artistic expression for sure, but the layered messages are strong and should be discussed often in said droves and circles. Women battling issues of self-esteem, forgiveness, apathy, needing and offering acceptance, pure anger and rage and securing real sisterhood will feel this visual album for all that it’s worth and more.
Bey’s camp knows her audience, where to find them, what they’re going through and creates relevant content specifically for them.
4. Go Big or Go Home
What’s an album without a conjoined movie? That other artist’s CD; not Beyoncé’s! In going big, Mrs. Carter created her own lane that we now know as the visual album. The songs sound good, but when accompanied by Warsan Shire’s brilliant poetry, images of African and Southern rituals, calculated choreography and breathtaking concepts starring superstar favorites like Serena Williams, Zendaya Coleman and Amandla Stenberg, magic happens. This is the epitome of going and staying Big!
Dear members of #TeamNoSleep, do yourself a favor and take a break…now!
Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Huffington Post, TED Talked about the importance of sleep and how being deficient in it will become the demise of your sanity and business. Filmed in 2010, this advice is delicate and so timely. Take a look:
Six years later, the business woman’s message about sleep is still prevalent. Published on April 5, 2016, her newest book The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time tackles the benefits of good, consistent sleep, diet, exercise and overall health. (Read the book’s Amazon reviews here.)
We know how excited and maniacal you are about living your dreams! However, in the words of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, “Sometimes we need to sleep in to lean in!” Take a break and get some rest!
In case you missed it, Blogalicious has partnered with BlogHer on their upcoming summer conference #BlogHer16: Experts Among Us. #BlogHer16: Experts Among Us, the world’s largest conference for women content creators, will hit the red carpet in downtown Los Angeles, August 4-6th. Take a break from your blog and join us for an amazing lineup of educational programming, networking, and high-profile keynote speakers including Mayim Bialik and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
With their Blogger/Social Media Influencer’s full conference pass, attendees receive:
Admission to all conference programming, meals, breaks, sponsor areas, parties and expo floor on Friday and Saturday. Blogger/Social Media Influencer rate is intended for content creators who can neither tax deduct not expense their trip. This is a subsidized rate.
Sales end August 6, 2016. For $399, bloggers will learn excessive “how-tos” from experts like Erika Nicole Kendall, Ashley Parrish and Kandee Johnson to name a few.
Who should attend #BlogHer16: Experts Among Us? #BlogHer16 is open to anyone and everyone who considers themselves part of the social media and online content creator space. #BlogHer16 is particularly focused on highlighting the skills and talents of women who are rising their voices and creating content online. All genders, ages, ethnicities, interests and levels of blogging experience are encouraged to attend! We promise there’s something for everyone. (And in case you’re curious, about 10-15% of attendees are men.)
Learn more about BlogHer, the Experts Among Us conference and speakers at BlogHer.com.
Education & shade, a catchy headline indeed, but right where we are in pop culture and blogging communities. Take a peek at what caught our eye this week, what we learned from it and how it can benefit your brand, too. #WeeklyRoundUp
The Shade Surrounding The Shade Room Is Real!
Facebook announced earlier this week that they shut down popular gossip site The Shade Room’s fan page! Content creators and fan page owners have been talking about this nonstop and for good reason. The Shade Room accumulated 4.4 million followers on Facebook in a short amount of time by sharing juicy celebrity gossip and news.
According to Facebook, TSR was warned multiple times about infringing others’ intellectual property rights. In other words, Facebook and several other content creators, asked the site to stop using content like videos, screen shots and photos, that do not belong to them for creative use and financial gain. Additionally, the brand has been known for stripping watermarks and logos from videos that aren’t theirs and replacing it with their own logo.
CNN Money reports that “The company has recently cracked down on copyright infringement in response to complaints about unauthorized content sharing on the social network. In August, Facebook introduced technology enabling video creators to identify matches of their videos posted on Facebook pages.”
Facebook rules that even with such a strict policy they are still on the side of content creators everywhere. Angie Nwandu, founder of The Shade Room, thinks the contrary.
“We have been targeted on [Facebook] and have been receiving numerous reports over things that don’t violate the terms,” Nwandu told Nieman Lab. “The amount of reports have been excessive.”
Despite our mixed feelings over this debacle, it is a wake up call and reminder that we all must:
follow rules provided to us
ask for permission before using content that we did not create (giving credit isn’t enough anymore)
pay attention to what’s happening in cyberspace
redirect traffic to your self-hosted website (that you own and can control)
build an email list that supports your brand
Share your thoughts!
Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Summit
Education. Entrepreneurs. Networking. Miami.
That’s all you need to know about Black Enterprise’s upcoming Entrepreneur Summit. Dr. Jamal Bryant, Quintin Primo III, John Hope Bryant, Janice Bryant Howryod, Lisa Price, Miko Branch, Egypt Sherrod, Lamar Tyler and many more will be teaching entrepreneurs how to achieve the next level of success within their empires.
The Summit takes place at Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Miami, Florida on May 4-7. Other than learning and networking on the beach, additional perks include entering the 2016 Elevator Pitch competition for a chance to win $10,000 and nominating (or being nominated) for this year’s Small Business Awards.
Aspiring invitees can register here. Will you be doing business by the beach?
Entrepreneur Spotlight Vicki Sylvain
In case you missed it, we caught up with 2015 Perfect Pitch III winner Vicki Sylvain to discuss life after her win. The entrepreneur took home $5,000 and financial advisement from Wells Fargo at #BYOE15 Blogalicious Weekend last year. Her company, The Shoe-B, provides stiletto-wearing women the luxury of carrying their shoes in a specially made purse when their feet begin hurting.
Vicki shares pertinent advice for entrepreneurs and aspiring pitch entrants:
Preparation is everything. You have to be ready when opportunities arise. If I hadn’t been working on my business plan, I would not have had all the information needed to present and address the judges’ questions. The confidence comes with knowing your business. Do the necessary research. Know what you want for your business and your why. I was pleased in seeing that one of your requirements was submitting a case study. This encouraged me to reflect on my accomplishments and set them to paper. Pride, confidence, belief, and self-awareness goes a long way.
Studies have shown that countless hopefuls blindly enter the world of entrepreneurship expecting immediate success and rewards. Somewhere along the way – possibly while working in reprehensible work environments – they’ve coveted entrepreneurship as the holy grail of endless opportunities, impressive deals and comfortable lifestyles. While these markers do exist in abundance, the average entrepreneur pre-sweet spot is often faced with years (some, decades) of uncertainty, biting off more than they can chew, and having limited financial resources. This is entrepreneurship folks: honest-to-God blood, sweat and tears!
Technology and social media are constantly leveling the playing field for aspiring and new entrepreneurs. Information is literally at our fingertips, and thankfully, so are multiple willing and knowledgeable companies and organizations that’ve created programs and events specific to offering structural and financial guidance. We’ve seen it: the right mentors can create those favorable opportunities once dreamed about. But the question is how do you get them?
The answer is simple: the perfect pitch.
In our weekly blog series, Blog Tips, we share dozens of tips on building better blogs, enriching your communities and getting to “your tribe” – supporters, potential customers and future mentors. A few weeks ago, we touched on pitching – the ins and outs, how to take the plunge when you’re afraid, and we included a sample pitch letter for those in need. When it comes to securing your next deal or adding key people to your growing tribe, perfecting your pitch is critical. Knowing this, and wanting to support fellow entrepreneurs in funding their brands, is why we’ve partnered with Wells Fargo for the past three years to bring you The Perfect Pitch contest during conference weekend.
Before opening submissions to this year’s contest, we decided to track down Vicki Sylvain, our 2015 Perfect Pitch contest winner. Last year, Vicki confidently presented her business idea to a panel of small business expert judges in front of nearly one hundred people. Knowing her product inside out, The Shoe-B, Vicki won $5,000 to contribute to her company’s success along with consulting sessions, an exclusive radio interview and a financial review with Wells Fargo.
Vicki sat down with us and discussed the progress she’s made, the Perfect Pitch experience and how she won.
AW: People have multiple reasons for “going for it”. Did you apply for the Perfect Pitch III contest just to win the prize or did you do it to build your confidence? Was it a combination or a totally different reason?
VS: I would have to say that it was a little bit of both. I was so used to working on a shoestring budget, that I knew I would need an infusion of funds to help take The Shoe-B to another level. I was most excited about the mentoring that would accompany the monetary prize. Having the money means nothing if you don’t have the proper guidance or a plan.
Being in front the camera was nerve-racking for me. I literally had 200 takes before feeling confident enough to submit my pitch to the Blogalicious team. I believe that I have a winning product, however, I needed to learn how to effectively share the information to have others believe in it as well.
Vicki Sylvain, Owner of The Shoe-B
AW: Fear is REAL! Were you scared when you were chosen as 1 of 3 contenders for the contest?
VS: My twitter account was usually very quiet. Suddenly, my notifications just kept buzzing. I was shocked to see I had so many interactions, but I still didn’t get it. Then, I saw my picture and the tweet about being selected to present. I was very excited. After a short while, I realized that I would have to pitch in front of a room full of people. That realization burst my bubble of excitement really quick!
AW: How much preparation went into your presentation? Did anyone help you do this?
VS: Thankfully I had just submitted my business plan for the Brooklyn Public Library’s PowerUp Kreyol Business Plan Competition. So I had a good grasp of my business. Local business organizations provided support and assistance with creating the plan. I did some research on how to create a pitch deck (PowerPoint) for the presentation. I created it based on my plan, and my counselor at Business Outreach Center – Women Business Center gave me the opportunity to practice the pitch aloud and provided helpful feedback.
I started following Alfred Edmonds, Jr. on Periscope and YouTube and paid close attention to his tips on pitching. They were very helpful, as they focused on the do’s and don’ts in pitching to investors.
AW: Did your presentation embody everything you wanted it to?
VS: I was proud of the outcome of the presentation. I was confident that I did adequate research and preparation. I saved it onto my phone and kept reviewing it on my 4 hour bus ride from Brooklyn, NY to the conference in Baltimore, MD. I felt well acquainted with the material.
AW: Wow! Did you encounter any OMG moments leading up to your moment on stage? Tell me about your process!
VS: Did I? Girl! When I got to Baltimore, I realized I forgot my wallet. No identification, no debit/credit cards and NO MONEY! I was unable to catch a cab to the hotel, so I walked 2.5 miles to Blogalicious!
When I arrived, I gathered myself, changed [clothes] and continued reviewing my presentation. I meet an awesome woman, Jessica Clark, who helped calm my nerves. Then I sold a Shoe-B while in the lobby (via credit card, but a sale nonetheless), which was definitely a confidence booster. That experience confirmed that women really need The Shoe-B and that they see its value.
When I got inside the conference room and saw the layout, I realized that I would not be able to see the presentation. That was an “Oh No!” moment [for me]. Thank goodness, with all the practice, I memorized the presentation. This made me feel a lot more at ease. Because I was going based on what I memorized, I wasn’t locked to the screen.
After winning, although I had to walk back to the bus station, I had more of a pep in my step. I was elated!
AW: Vicki, you’re an inspiration! Who was the first person you called after learning you were in the Top 3? Who was the first person you called after you won?
VS: When I learned I was part of the Top 3, I called Sazara Johnson, my friend and a member of the team. She is the one that told me about the competition. When I won I sent a group text to my team members and called my mentor. Being that they were following on Twitter, they were already sending me messages and posting on Facebook and Instagram.
AW: You’re blessed to have a supportive tribe! What lasting advice do you have for this year’s pitchers?
VS: Preparation is everything. You have to be ready when opportunities arise. If I hadn’t been working on my business plan, I would not have had all the information needed to present and address the judges’ questions. The confidence comes with knowing your business. Do the necessary research. Know what you want for your business and your why. I was pleased in seeing that one of your requirements was submitting a case study. This encouraged me to reflect on my accomplishments and set them to paper. Pride, confidence, belief, and self-awareness goes a long way.
Photo credit: Daisies and Mixtapes
AW: Tell us, what’s next for you and The Shoe-B?
VS: I am actually preparing to pitch in the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition in May at the Entrepreneur’s summit. We are working on product placement in boutiques and also in product enhancement. The cross body version is in the works.
More about Vicki Sylvain and The Shoe-B
Vicki Sylvain was born and raised in Westbury, NY to parents of Haitian descent. With an ever-innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, she coined the motto, “Where there is no opportunity, create one. Where there is a need, fill it.” Sylvain created The Shoe-B to give women a fashionable and discreet option to carry their heels and flats. In its clutch form, The Shoe-B can fit a woman’s flats and later expand to fit her heels.
The creation of The Shoe-B came to mind not only to address the dilemma stiletto-wearing women face daily, but to help further the work Quiescere (key-s-air) Resource Center (QRC), a 501 (c) 3 designated nonprofit organization founded by Sylvain to fuel her passion to provide educational support to families in the US and abroad, does in the community. A percentage of the sale of each Shoe-B goes towards the Survival Kit Drive for Haiti and other QRC initiatives. With the success of The Shoe-B, Sylvain hopes to move production to Haiti and bring viable job opportunities to the “Pearl of the Caribbean.”
What is The Shoe-B?
The Shoe-B is “a stylish clutch and a shoebag. In its clutch form you can carry your personal items and a pair of flats. When you’re ready to change out of your heels, The Shoe-B transforms and expands to fit up to a size 13″ stiletto shoe. It is available in canvas, denims, faux leather and leather.”
Here’s how it works
Vicki will be at Blogalicious Weekend in Atlanta in November. Keep up with her and The Shoe-B in the meantime on social media, via email or at www.theshoeb.com. Her Spring and Summer collection needs to be on your shopping list!
Ariel C. Williams is the Digital Content Manager at Blogalicious. She is the editor-in-chief of Slay Culture and owner of Danzy Bird & Co., a fun agency that creates digital media and services for creative women of color.
Time flies when you’re having fun and that’s just what we’ve been doing while planning (the epic) Blogalicious Weekend 2016. We’ve shared a myriad of details with you thus far, but today we thought it’d be nice to remind you of what’s happening and how it relates to you. Get into our Blogalicious reminders!
Blogalicious Reminder #1: Tickets
Have you purchased your conference ticket? Coming in at the low price of $199, our Early Bird Special ends May 2, 2016. This ticket type is for Influencers, such as bloggers, vloggers, social media personalities and brand builders. Included is admission to all official conference social events on November 4-5, 2016, workshops, keynote sessions, meals and our legendary swag bag.
Register for your Blogalicious conference ticket here. After May 2, tickets will be raised to the regular fee of $299.
Blogalicious Reminder #2: Hotel
We’re staying in Buckhead’s finest hotel, The Grand Hyatt Atlanta!
Our iconic Buckhead Atlanta hotel is within walking distance to fashionable shopping, dining and entertainment at Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza malls, as well as the vibrant Buckhead Atlanta retail, dining and nightlife district.
Grand Hyatt Atlanta, with convenient access to I-75 and I-85, offers easy access to Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport by taxi or via Atlanta’s MARTA public transit system (Buckhead Station). We are also just a short taxi or MARTA ride to Atlanta’s popular destinations, including Midtown, High Museum of Art, LEGOLAND, and Chastain Park Amphitheatre. And the Georgia World Congress Center, Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, and College Football Hall of Fame are minutes away.
Our guests are being offered a special discounted rate of $169/night + applicable taxes and fees for single and double rooms. Have you reserved your room? Do it here!
Blogalicious Reminder #3: Newsletter
It goes down in the Blogalicious newsletter! There, we share even more gems, resources, and exclusive brand and conference related information just for you. Now is the perfect time to signup if you haven’t already. Get the latest delivered in your inbox every month by joining here. (You might receive a freebie, too.)
Spring is in full effect and so should be your plans for improving your blog. Before springing forward into action, take some time to review your first quarter. Many bloggers survey their readers to firmly grasp what’s working and what’s not. If you’ve issued a survey, did you receive surprising results? Notice any areas of improvement? Or do you need to issue a survey to begin with?
Now is a great time to reflect, review and replan your blog goals for Second Quarter 2016. Aside from surveying your readers, a tool that we believe helps to navigate your next move, there are a handful of different ways to read into what the first quarter showed you.
4 ways to review your first quarter
1. Review your most popular blog post. How organic is this popularity? You might’ve shared it a few dozen times or it could’ve taken off on it’s own. No matter the reason, study that content and the responses it generated and duplicate that success. Clearly your folks liked it so give them more of what they want!
2. Review your most popular social media post. This post may or may not have been related to your most popular blog post. Still, go through your photos and make a note of which ones garnered the most attention. Gauge why your followers (and theirs) enjoyed it and put that magic to the test again.
3. Review which posts gave you crickets! It’s important to know what content is hot and what content is not! You could have poorly shared that content or your audience just isn’t feeling it.
4. Record your timing. Have you published amazing content that you felt should have had a buzz but didn’t? Sometimes your content is fabulous…its just published at the wrong time. Compare that publishing time to a post that did really well. If your issue lies there, timely recirculate it with a fresh graphics and titles.
Square up for second quarter by adjusting your current plan to include those areas of improvement. Both you and your audience will appreciate your progress and look forward to more to come! Share with us: What are your plans?
Its hard to grasp how quickly this year is moving. Last week, we shared a few First Quarter wins. (In case you missed it, read it here.) This week, we’re sharing the kind of content to help you ease into the Spring season, like self-care, family love, and an event to check out if you’re in Chicago. Take a moment to delve into our #WeeklyRoundUp!
#FamilyIsWhy — AHA Bloggers Speak Out on Why Family is Important
Our #FamilyIsWhy bloggers have committed to ensuring that their families live healthy and happy lives. This month, they released supporting blog posts that have us ready to enjoy more fruits and veggies in the sun. For your convenience, we’ve rounded up their great weekend content for you.
Bonus surprise: Jeannette and Elayna will record their own “real mom vignette” on Instagram and tell their followers their reason for living healthy, and how they make it happen for their families. Check it out!
Has your family recently converted to healthy living? Tell us about your experience!
The Black Women’s Expo + Event
Chicagoans, join The Black Women’s Expo for their Main Stage Entertainment event that’s happening now until this Sunday. Created for your entertainment, this event will showcase talented dancers, poets, comedians, and new fashion. You might even meet some of your favorite recording artists like Kelly Price and Hezekiah Walker.
Meet BWE at McCormick Place in Chicago this weekend! For more information on scheduling and tickets (which are as low as $20), visit The Black Women’s Expo.
Besides creating authentic brands and content, one of the common trends and topics we’ve seen among our community is the importance of self-care. Tara Pringle Jefferson is making it her life’s work to help women make self-care a priority with her new box subscription business, The Bloom Beautifully Box, also dubbed as #theselfcarebox. In her most recent newsletter, she talks about how difficult this year has been for her so far. Her blog, The Young Mommy Life, also leads the forge to unapologetic self-care that we all tend to neglect for the sake of our families, loved ones and careers.
At the dawn of this Spring weekend, we want to encourage you to beautifully bloom into some Me Time. Make yourself a priority this weekend. Take that necessary break or hair appointment or spa treatment or corner slice of just-because-cake. Just as the meme from Sunshine & Pearls says, “It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.”
Are you a blogger? Do you run a business that could benefit from the validation of bloggers? Do you enjoy being up to speed on what’s happening in the blogging community? How about benefiting from and offering support, guidance and encouragement on a regular basis?
If you answered yes to any one of those questions, you need to join a blogging community!
Facebook is the epicenter of growing and engaging blogging communities. They’re insightful and filled with bloggers and influencers of various backgrounds. On any given day, we’ve seen conversations range from ‘how to edit videos using an iPhone or Windows Movie Maker’ to ‘leveraging your brand and social media for complimentary trips and products’ to ‘understanding and creating “loop holes” to Instagram’s new algorithm’. Indeed, blogging communities have information (and inspiration) that you, as a blogger and entrepreneur, can use personally and/or professionally.
Aside from our private group, here’s a quick + favorite list of Facebook blogging communities or groups for multicultural bloggers and influencers.
9 Empowering Blogging Communities to Join on Facebook
BLM Bloggers Like Me
Rock YOUR Brand Society
Brown Blog Love
That Pitch Life
Brand Hustle Cashflow w/ Jai Stone
The Smart Passive Income Community
Traffic Sales & Profit w/ Lamar Tyler
Single Mom Bloggers
The Glitter Gang
The outpouring of knowledge and skill sets bouncing off the walls in these groups are phenomenal. Led by individuals who believe in true comradery and profiting from the amazing lives we’ve created (or intend to create) online, these blogging communities might be just what you need to take your brand and education to the next level.
Join 1-2 today and introduce yourself. (If you’re a ghost member, speak up and say hello!) Find a few bloggers in your niche and some who aren’t to create a well rounded nucleus of friends and allies. As often as you seek advice and information, make sure that you consistently provide it as well. Learn as much as you can and make a good name for yourself, because in our awesome, unsettling, inspiring, uncooperative, I-love-my-job lives, having blogger allies will often be your saving grace.
Are you a member of any blogging communities? Which groups are your favorite and why? What are 3 important lessons you’ve learned from your favorite blogging community?