- Blog: ABelleInBrooklyn.com
- Niche: Relationships/Womenâ€™s Issues
- Founder: Demetria L. Lucas
- Twitter: @ABelleInBK
- Formspring: ABelleInBK
Unlike most bloggers who fell into the field of writing, Demetria L. Lucas has been a professional journalist for the better part of her career. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, the English major, who earned her Masterâ€™s Degree in Journalism from New York University, started off penning entertainment stories for national magazines but eventually found her voice in the world of relationships in 2007. As the creator of the award-winning blog A Belle in Brooklyn, Lucas, 31, has carved out a lane for herself as the â€śgo-to girlâ€ť on relationship advice and issues geared towards women. A licensed life coach, sheâ€™s shared her perspective on CNN (Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell), VH1 (Letâ€™s Talk About Pep) and BET (Being Terry Kennedy) and been a guest speaker at Princeton University, Harvard College, Spelman College, and the Congressional Black Caucus, to name a few.
Continuing to expand her brand beyond the blog platform, Lucas also hosts several annual eventsâ€”including Brunch with Belle, Cocktails with Belle and the Belle Affairâ€”that are centered around networking and female empowerment. Her latest brand extension is in the world of book publishing with A Belle in Brooklyn: Your Go-To Girl For Advice on Living Your Best Single Life (Atria), which hits stands this June. As BlackEnterprise.com kicks off its first annual Black Blogger Month, Demetria L. Lucas shares the secrets of her success.
I started blogging becauseâ€¦
I was looking for a place in the media where my friends and I were represented and I wasnâ€™t finding itâ€¦ I really liked Sex & the City and it had a big impact on me; I felt like so many of the issues that those four women were going through were things that I could relate to but it really bothered me that there were no Black women featured. It was like only White women have these lives and then you start talking about Black women and dating and it becomes something daunting and tragic instead of fun and adventurous and lightâ€¦ I was waiting around for another show, or a book, or a blogâ€¦ something to give voice to what I was feeling and it wasnâ€™t happening so I just started blogging and people started reading, and I kept on writing.
I realized blogging was a business whenâ€¦
I moved my blog [over from a BlogSpot domain] to my own site and maybe four months in I got an email about an interview, and I was like, â€śOh, you want to interview me because I have a blog? That’s weird.â€ť I realized what I was talking about was more than writing and I was becoming like an outlet for people. It was more about being a writer and providing a safe spaceâ€¦ I realized that people depend on me for something and I wasnâ€™t quite sure what that was and as I started to do more interviews out of nowhere I started to get calls and one of the first places I made an appearance was Princeton. They sent me an email through my blog, like, â€śHey weâ€™re doing something about female leaders; would you like to come speak to the Black female population?â€ť Then, people started paying me to show up places and host stuff. I totally wasnâ€™t expecting it, but I definitely went with it.
Building a brand is important becauseâ€¦
It tells people what theyâ€™re going to get before you even open your mouth, before they even click on the page. Like anytime you see the A Belle in Brooklyn logo, whether you see it on Twitter or Formspring or Facebook or you hear one of the events, Brunch with Belle, Cocktails with Belleâ€¦ you know that youâ€™re going to be getting something thatâ€™s empowering for women, youâ€™re going to get something thatâ€™s well written, youâ€™re going to get something thatâ€™s classy and uplifting, and youâ€™re going to get something that someone actually took the time to put some thought behind. A brand is how you represent yourself, it means everything.
People trust the A Belle in Brooklyn brand becauseâ€¦
I write about my life, not as much as I used to, but when I do I put it out there flaws and allâ€¦ I really put it out there and people trust me because itâ€™s relatable, itâ€™s not holier than thou, itâ€™s not disgusting made-for-TV drama. Itâ€™s not salacious where itâ€™s sex, sex, sex. I think people relate to it because they know itâ€™s a real woman writing real feelings. And I think my realness is relatable to their lives.
In business, you should never be afraid toâ€¦
Say what you want. A lot of times, especially women, we tend to be afraid to ask for what we want. One of the things Iâ€™ve been able to do with the blog is to do a bunch of events. Belvedere has sponsored multiple events, Essence has come in and sponsored events, but the idea of that just sounded crazy for some folks, like, â€śYouâ€™re just going to ask them to sponsor your event?â€ť Well, yeah. Some of those things have been entirely easy but just honestly just saying, This is my demo and this is what I want to do, Iâ€™ve lined everything up and here it is on a platter I just need XYZ from you to make it hot and then it happens. But asking for what you want, thatâ€™s like a really huge thing.
I measure my success byâ€¦
I tell you, getting a book deal off my blog was a huge markerâ€”itâ€™s not the only measure of success but, professionally, that was a huge thing. Iâ€™ve wanted to be a writer my whole life. I wanted to be an author as well but that seems so farfetched to writers sometimes and so when I was able to make that happen that was everything. Like, I canâ€™t wait to hold it in my hands and be like, â€śOh, my gosh, I wrote this.â€ť Itâ€™s great to see things on screen, itâ€™s great to see them in magazines but thatâ€™s a collaborative effort that everyone puts together. On the screen itâ€™s not something tangible that you can see, like, you donâ€™t feel the words, you donâ€™t feel the screen but to have a book and to see my name on the spine thatâ€™s kind of a big deal.
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.
Videographer: Melissa Johnson; Video shot on location at The Inn at Irving Place & Lady Mendel’s, New York City