Black Blogger Month: Black Snob, Providing Power for the People

With the BlackSnob.com, writer Danielle Belton educates and entertains readers with her political commentary and honest perspective

Danielle Belton the Black Snob

Banielle Belton, the Black Snob (D. Finney Photography)

 

Blog: BlackSnob.com
Niche: Political/Social Commentary
Founder: Danielle Belton
Twitter: @BlackSnob

Hailing from the suburbs of North County in St. Louis, Missouri, Danielle Belton is the creative voice behind the politically-charged and highly opinionated blog, BlackSnob.com. Since launching in the fall of 2007, the site has built an avid fan base, craving the 33-year-old scribe’s thought-provoking content. With approximately 200,000 page views per month, Black Snob has been recognized for her work by Nightline, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The New York Times, Time Magazine and Essence, to name a few.

Currently residing in Washington, DC, Belton—a professional writer by trade whose work has appeared in The Root, The Huffington Post and NPR—continues her mission of covering “politics, pop culture, and pretentiousness” in a way that sparks conversation and thought, while maintaining a snarky edge. BlackEnterprise.com recognizes Belton’s work in the blogosphere as part of its first annual Black Blogger Month and she explains the makings of a Black Snob. —Amber McKynzie

I started blogging because…

Well, I already had a blog before. I started a blog when I was with [The Bakersfield Californian] newspaper in California. I was their first blogger back in 2004. It was an entertainment blog and I kept it up for a couple years and after I left Bakersfield I missed writing my column so I decided to restart my column online.

The Black Snob stands out because…

It’s a great mix of nerdiness and humor, and it doesn’t make assumptions about people. The big problem a lot of sites make is that they deal in stereotypes and mine is all about cracking stereotypes open and having fun with it; not having to be dictated by those stereotypes.

The biggest mistake I’ve ever made in business was…

That I’m not actually good in business. [Laughs] I mean, I’m a writer and an editor and I have great ideas, but I’m not a businessperson… I’ve always been an artist.

What I learned from that was…

To ask questions. I think I would’ve made more money a lot faster and been more successful if I’d asked questions sooner.

Danielle Belton's the Black Snob logoI realized blogging was a business when…

A story of mines kind of got picked up by the Associated Press. [They] assigned it to somebody and I was like, “Hey, that’s my idea. I came up with it first. They could’ve at least interviewed me or something.” That’s when it dawned on me that this was no longer just this kind of fun site where I’m writing into a void and the only people that read it are like my sister and my cat. I was like, “Oh, my god, people really do read this. Like, people in the industry read this and I need to make sure I’m in control of my work, because this is now not just Danielle being lazy and having fun time. This is Danielle’s career. People need to know I was the first person to come up with this idea, not the AP.” That’s when the business mindset kicked in for me where it was like, I need to get in control of this, ’cause I want my credit.” And if someone likes the idea that I have I want them to interview me about it. I don’t want them to find a story for somebody but he never talks to me. I’d rather have them ask me to write the story ’cause I am in fact a journalist and can write.

Uncle Sam got involved in my blog after…

I became an independent contractor, because I was getting advertising contracts and I needed to pay taxes on all that stuff… That was the first time I stopped using my sister or filing taxes on my own and I actually went to somebody and said help me. I had too many forms [Laughs].

Networking has helped me to…

Really advance my career. Growing up I always knew I had a lot of talent as a writer, but I was in small towns, I was in the Midwest. I wasn’t in spaces people could really see my work, but I always knew that if I had the right kind of platform that things would go well for me. It was really just a matter of knowing people… That was really confirmed when I started the blog and started to really get out there networking… I was able to get a lot of work, but I was only able to get that work until I was able to put myself into a larger platform. Being online kind of eliminated that middleman; meeting people who were editors at magazines and different sites and bloggers, talking to journalists. I mean, the thing is I just had to get out there and network.

The best piece of business advice I ever got was…

I remember after I did Nightline the two ABC producers that I met were the ones that told me to go to the East Coast. They were like you can get on so many more things, you can get more freelance work, and you can be on TV a lot more if you just move. As long as you’re in the Midwest you’re invisible to people. It doesn’t matter how good of a writer you are. At some point if you believe in your craft you have to take that risk and move to the East Coast and really push it, and so networking was huge for me. It was the difference between me sometimes being interviewed by the local stations and me being on [major shows]. I mean that was the difference. Besides moving to the East Coast and making sure you get full credit for your work by branding yourself, really I think the best advice I got was to buy my domain name.

In business you can never be afraid to…

Take risks. I [see] too many people get so caught up [that] they get to one little tiny place of security and don’t want to lose that. They become so obsessed with not wanting to lose ground they forget how much can be gained when you take that risk. A lot of people are afraid of rejection, but the reality is “no” won’t kill you.

If I weren’t blogging I’d be…

Probably trying to get a job as a newspaper reporter in L.A. and then trying to work my way into the entertainment industry writing screenplays. I was [going to] take a risk one way or the other, it just happens that journalism was the thing that took off for me.

Be sure to check out the rest of the digital thought leaders as they’re revealed each day by logging on to BlackEnterprise.com/BlackBloggerMonth.

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