Black Blogger Month: The Fab Empire, The Voice of Reason for Young Influencers

Entertainment producer for a TV news network by day, curator of cool happenings by night, Joi-Marie McKenzie talks about her fabulous empire

The Fab Empire stands out because…

It covers nightlife in Baltimore, Boston, Washington, D.C. and New York. We focus our coverage in only the cities we serve — although we get pitches daily for other cities — and we center on what young professionals like to do. Our readers are men and women about town; they want to know what happened on the social scene and what they missed and they also want to know where to go.

People trust my brand because…

We’re authentic. We are the readers we serve. People trust The Fab Empire to tell them what’s best in quality nightlife and entertainment because they see us out partying alongside them. We’re not just telling them to go to XYZ club, while we’re sitting at home eating potato chips behind the computer. We really see ourselves as a resource for young professionals and we strive to improve the quality of nightlife and events in the cities we serve.

The biggest mistake I ever made in business was…

Doing things for free. A lot of people will devalue your worth, your influence and your voice …if you let them. Early on to gain access or acclaim, I did things for free when in reality other blogs, sites and companies were getting a check. Know your worth.

In business you should never be afraid to…

Fail. Early on I realized the blessings failures can bring. If I would have let my failed blog, Fab University, stop my dreams to start my own successful blog, I would have never met amazing people, or been asked to speak on panels, consult with companies or start columns for the Afro American Newspaper and contribute to NBC Washington, NBC New York and Clutch Magazine. There was a blessing in that failure. Pushing through failure was the best lesson that blogging has taught me.

The best piece of business advice I ever got was…

Charge! Early on in blogging, I did a lot for public relations professionals and promoters that others were charging for. They were basically utilizing our influence and reach for free. Once I looked around and noticed the checks being passed, I stopped doing favors and freebies — even to my cousins. It’s a business.

My advice for anyone who wants to follow in my footsteps is…

Rule #1: Surround yourself with smart people to help your dream come into fruition. After I realized I had a solid idea with The Fab Empire, I began to set quarterly goals for my staff and I, whether it be helping one of our interns land a reporting gig at a mainstream media organization or increasing our followers on Twitter.

Rule #2: Have a plan. Lastly, there were many opportunities that came because we opened ourselves up to be more than just a site. I always say The Fab Empire is a movement led by young professionals to improve the quality of nightlife and events in the cities we serve. Because of this, we were able to become Blue Flame Trend Watchers, a Sean “Diddy” Combs program that utilized high profile industry insiders to curate online digital content, and influential voices in our cities.

Rule #3: Have a plan, but be able to scrap it.

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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