What were some of the highlights of the conference?
Video is hot right now. There was a session teaching [attendees] how to leverage video.Â We also had an entire schedule for creating online courses. Online courses are a $50 billion business. The panels moved beyond ‘How do I connect with brands?’ and ‘How do I write sponsored posts?’ to getting people to think about ‘How do I build a business?’
So was the actual blogging part put on the backburner?
I still think blogging is important. We have had so many black folks in the news in the last year, and it is really important that we tell our own stories. Even now, with what we have just experienced in Charleston, South Carolina, with a gunman killing nine people at a black church—bloggers were flying into Austin just as this major Civil Rights and hate crime is erupting. It is definitely going to be something that people are going to be thinking about.
It underscores the fact that now, more than ever, we need to control our own narratives. Because mainstream media is going to move on from this in 72 hours. It is going to be black bloggers who keep these people alive through their family members and ask critical questions about what happened. We have definitely seen the power of social media to build movements and tell stories that aren’t being told, and tell our stories in different ways.
As for the million-dollar question, what will Lamar and Ronnie Tyler creators of BlackandMarriedwithKids.com have to offer in their keynote address titled ‘The Million Dollar Blog Formula?’
Well, last year was about six figures. Now it’s about seven figures. The Tylers were panelists last year, but this year they hit their first seven figure year. Their keynote focused on the mistakes they made and how they could have gotten to seven figures faster. BWB has grown with them. The Tylers are the quintessential example of how you can take a blogging platform and build it into an empire. And they are always so generous with their information, time, and knowledge, which is why I asked them to come back and why we presented them with the Blogger of the Year award.
How do you determine if this year was a success?
My biggest goal leaving out of this conference is implementation. We are going to start online training to help people execute the stuff that they learned. And also we are working to produce monthly webinars and conduct retreats in small groups. I will measure our success by the progress that our attendees make over the next 12 months doing the work, launching new products, building new platforms, expanding their audiences, and executing best practices in social media.