On Saturday, March 29 I attended the Natural Hair & Health Expo at the BJCC in Birmingham. Ironically, however, I didn’t attend this event to learn more about how to care for my curls. I went hoping to learn how to be a better blogger. And I was not disappointed.
While at the expo I had the opportunity to interview Demetria Lucas, who was part of a celebrity panel discussion on relationships and hair. Lucas is the woman behind the relationship blog A Belle in Brooklyn, a blog that eventually landed Lucas’ first book A Belle in Brooklyn was published in 2011. Her second book, Don’t Waste Your Pretty, will be released this year. Lucas is also one of the stars of the new Bravo reality TV show “Blood, Sweat, and Heels.” If there’s someone we should be taking blogging advice from it’s certainly Demetria Lucas.
When Lucas started her blog in 2006 very few people were writing on the web so this certainly gave her an advantage.
“A lot of people weren’t blogging so I was a lone voice,” Lucas said. But her success was not simply due to timing. Talent and transparency were factors too.
“I also had a background in journalism and English so that certainly helped as well,” Lucas said. “And I was very honest. I didn’t try to do a different persona for my blog. I didn’t try to make myself look great all the time. I was very transparent about a lot of my experiences in dating and coming of age in New York and it was relatable to a lot of people.”
While growing her blog Lucas was also working at Essence magazine. Yet, she still found time to write for herself.
“Essence was a very demanding job,” Lucas said, adding that she often worked 12 hour days. “But I was commuting to work everyday on the subway. I wrote my blog posts on my Blackberry on the way to work. In fact, I wrote most of my blog and most of my book on my BlackBerry.”
So if you feel like you don’t have time to blog — make the time. Blogging can be a great way for aspiring authors to build a platform, which is crucial for writers seeking publication. But Lucas does not suggest you blog simply because you want a book deal.
“Do it because you love it,” Lucas said. “Write about what you know. What are you passionate about? What are you interested in? What could you do over and over and talk about on and on and on until you just get lost in it? Write about that.”
At the Expo I also had a chance to chat with Jessica Lewis of the popular natural hair video blog MahoganyCurls. She started her video blog in 2009 simply because she wanted to document her natural hair journey. But thanks to word of mouth and being featured on the popular natural hair blog CurlyNikki.com, the MahoganyCurls YouTube channel became wildly popular. Today it boasts more than 200,000 subscribers.
Her tips for good video blog posts were simple but solid:
Be clear. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a camera but your image should be really clear because you’re showing people what you’re doing,” Lewis said.
Be concise. “Get your point across,” she said. “I’ve had times when I ramble but be able to get to the point.”
Be consistent. And part of being consistent is being honest with your viewers. “I’ll let them know if I didn’t care a product and I’ll explain why but try not to bash the product,” she said.
Lewis also believes that being kind is essential too. “Just be friendly,” she said. “That’s very important. Have a nice personality and smile. Encourage people.”