Black Blogger Month, Necole Bitchie, Brand Queen

Gossip blogger Necole Bitchie transformed her blog into a profitable business and powerful brand

Necole Bitchie of NecoleBitchie.com

Necole is plugged in to the web at all times

Blogging was supposed to be a waste of time. Out of work and with no roof over her head to call her own, Necole “Bitchie” Kane called her aunt’s couch home—both her parents and grandmother had passed—and fiddled around on the Internet as a way to keep sane. Figuring her niece was just “playing around on the computer” instead of looking for a job, auntie kicked her out of her house in Maryland and Necole Bitchie, Kane’s online persona, began to blossom.

With only $500 to her name, the enterprising go-getter made the move to Atlanta to network and wound up becoming the face and voice of NecoleBitchie.com, a popular gossip/entertainment blog that rivals many mainstream brands in terms of influence in the online space. Since launching in 2007, the site now draws upwards of 1.2 million unique visitors per month and stands as the hub of the Necole Bitchie brand, which has grown to include a web channel (Bitchie TV), lifestyle site (Bitchie Life), T-shirt line (Born Bitchie) and another online property on the horizon (IAmNecole.com). For her mastery of the digital space and branding power, Necole Bitchie joins BlackEnterprise.com’s esteemed list of online thought leaders as part of our first annual Black Blogger Month.

I started blogging because…

I wanted to create my own opportunities… [Initially] I had wanted to work in the music industry and doors kept slamming in my face. Every time I would send out resumes or get interviewed I would never get hired and it came to a point in 2007 where I said I’d never send out another resume and I haven’t.

I realized blogging was a business when…

I was doing research and I wandered on to Perez Hilton’s site. I wasn’t even into blogs like that and I just happened to land on his site and I saw the ad space and I clicked on it. At the time it was like $10,000 for a sidebar ad for like a week and I was like, “What part of the game is this?” I Googled him and I saw how he started his site like in the living room or something and how it grew and I studied his story and I felt like it was something I could possibly get into, so it started from there. Just seeing somebody was actually selling ad space for a week for $10,000. That just got my mind going like, “How could I flip this? How could I make this into a business?”

My biggest influences are…

Will Smith. I read all of Will’s old interviews and watch all of his interviews that he’s done on television and I think one of the things that really got me is that he said, “I will not be overworked. If I get on a treadmill with you and we’re running, two things will happen. I’m either going to outrun you or I’m going to die.” I think that you have to have that mentality to make it because it’s about not just getting comfortable. Once you reach a certain level you always have to think about getting to the next level. That’s also why Oprah is someone else that influenced me because she beat out everybody. So she was like, “What am I going to do? I’m going to go to the next step and that’s own my own network.” Those type of people inspire me to keep going.

The best piece of business advice I ever got was…

NecoleBitchie.com logo

B is for brand

To know your target audience. Like, every time a new blogger comes to me and asks that’s one of the first things I say. You have to sit down and define your target audience. Like me I would look at a piece of paper and I would have my picture on it and I would say, “She’s a 24 year old female, African American, she goes to the nail shop twice a week, she reads Vibe magazine, she likes this movie…” I would have her whole profile down because once you know your target then you know what appeals to them like I was doing celebrity gossip at first, but then I thought my target audience was me, well I like nails and different kinds of designs, so I started posting some stuff on nails and the [audience] went crazy…. If you don’t have a target then you’ll try to appeal to everyone and that’s when you’ll get lost and it’ll be very hard for you to brand yourself and your site when you don’t have a specific person in mind that you’re appealing to.

The biggest mistakes I ever made in business have…

All been financial. Not planning. Not setting budgets. Just spending money, like if you told me, “I think you need this,” and it sounds okay I used to not even look to see if we have a budget for that. I really wasn’t money managing. You know, money would come, money would go. It’s not until you sit down and all of the numbers are pulled together and someone tells you you spent three-fourths of your money on expenses and that could’ve been cut in half that you’re like, okay, I need to get it together. So definitely the biggest mistake is not setting budgets and not money managing.

What I learned from that was…

That going through every year, even every month, you should definitely make a budget. I only want to spend this much on graphics. I want to spend this much on supplies or marketing or whatever. It’s just very hard to have a successful business and not have a good business structure and cash flow; knowing what money is coming in and going out, especially when it’s time to look into investors or other partnerships and then they want to know how have you been spending your money in the past.

I measure my success by…

How many people I inspire and motivate everyday. When I first started working with my publicist Christina one of my main things was even if I did interviews and get in magazines I don’t want to get into them just to say, “Hey, look what I did with my blog.” I really wanted the person reading to know the back story and the struggle and the obstacles I had to overcome to even get here in three years, so every time someone comes on Twitter and says, “Girl, I just read your story and you inspire and motivate me,” that’s how I measure my success, not by how much money I make or how many people read the site.

None of my success would be possible if not for…

My aunt. By kicking me out of her house she took the crutch from underneath of me that I wouldn’t get comfortable, so without her I wouldn’t be here.

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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  • DeSire

    This is very inspiring, and very good information. I’m new to blogging, but love it and from feedback others do too :) Thanks for sharing this and the insight!

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