i spent last weekend boomeranging my way through IG stories, expanding my circle of brummie creatives and clicking and clapping for black british content creators until my hands hurt. Saturday 19th May marked the very first Black British Bloggers Mixer outside of London, and it brought together so many of us in the midlands. Having followed the platform for the longest while, i really appreciated the opportunity to enjoy the community beyond virtual spaces
…and ofcourse it came all the way through and ofcourse i’m going to share it with you.
i’ve been to impact hub several times but this Saturday the weather is buff for no reason and the sun is pouring in through the windows and we’re all just glowing during and inbetween networking breaks. My kind of space. The room is set up with a station dedicated to afroglory’s Flat Lay workshop and another table for her afroglorydesigns. In the far corner of the room is the Instagram wall (the greatest idea). There is also a snack table that we huddle around whilst doing BBB Mixer bingo (i think i found a fitness blogger, a youtuber, a beauty blogger and a fashion blogger but not the rest, meanwhile i ticked noone’s bingo boxes as travel blogger who writes reviews and shares poetry sometimes. lool).
Following every talk or panel was scheduled networking time which meant circles were forming and extending with added chairs and conversations were going beyond the black bloggosphere and into deeper discussions. A few of the conversations i had included self-preservation during university, lack of prioritisation of mental health in the black household and workplace politics.
in the run up to the event, Shahira from afroglory and Dominique from Melanin Mind & Soul ran the live video for the BBB blogger and Brand Mixer and shared all of the secrets for the event ad also about themselves. Dominique (as colourful inwardly and outwardly as you need her to be) documented the day and shared it here. in general, her blog is a space for uplifting and having open dialogue about and for black women.
Founder Mariam (with the dope twist out) opens the event explaining that she started the platform because of the huge demand for black british content creators. In all honesty, hearing this at the start of the event helped me realise how valued our voices and works are in this blogging game. Mariam went through the experiences she had encountered as a black british content creator and spoke through her development into the influencer that she is now. tried not to fangirl, then stopped trying.
First speaker: Natasha | @tashpantz
Natasha was the first speaker of the day and actually the first person I speak to at the event who isn’t someone i already knew. In our first conversation she tells me that she hasn’t properly spoken at an event like this, but she comes across as confident and sure of herself (and very well dressed) so i trust she’ll be great. And she was. She explains that through consistency she managed to gain 20K followers on her blog and 10K on Instagram. And just as i ask myself how with facial expressions she maps out exactly how she achieved that, through time management and resourceful content curation. Natasha lets us in on her routine, down to how she writes her content during commute time, how she sacrifices certain gym sessions, how she delegates time during lunchtimes. Hearing big girl bloggers who have ultimately made it to a place that i would like to be, lay it out bare is not something i have ever had access to. Mariam mentioned something that her mother said to her: ‘as a Black British Generation, we don’t have an old boys club so it is difficult for us to have access to those places and to have this knowledge. And so it’s important that we make it ourselves’. i’d confidently say that events like these where transparency is normal help us create this networks and opportunities for ourselves and any after us.
What Natasha taught us:
- Don’t worry about resources, you can create amazing content on limited resources
- Give + return – understand what you can give brands and what you can ask back in return. Learn how to pitch.
- Do not teach yourself to be anybody else. People will not believe you.
Second Speakers: Who Got The Juice?
Next up we had the Who Got The Juice? Gang who brought all of the energy and all of the team goals. Aliyah, Sara and Rakeem make up the WGTJ gang and they share their experiences as Black British podcasters with us. It’s interesting to hear the experiences across digital platforms. the conversation – like the podcast – sheds some light on the questions we didn’t even realise we had: how do you go about effective marketing? how do you make certain that your space properly represents who it has said it will represent? where are the boundaries between censorship and limiting self? between cussing and bigging up eachother they answered all of these and helped give tus all a wider understanding of where we could take our platforms (they do that a lot. you should go listen and support after you’ve read this blog post x)
What ‘Who Got The Juice?’ taught us:
- Sponsorship – don’t be afraid to approach companies, businesses or influencers for potential sponsorship even if your outreach isn’t large! You never know what you can create if you align self with right kind of sponsorship.
- No more clout – just.
- Team goals – get comfortable making each other accountable, learn how to work smart and action tasks, learn how the team works and whose interest lie where.
Third Panel: Brand meets Blogger
The final panel of the day included Natasha, Kadian (from my fave Bourn Beautiful Naturals ) and Mariam where brand and blogger meet in one space. It was an exchange of expertise and resources. The conversation ranged from approaching brands to understanding different ways of being paid as a content creator. It was an open honest panel where the realities of brand and blogger relationships were made clear for those of us wanting to make that transition. i feel like you can get lost online trying to figure out exactly whose advice you can trust about blogging success – there was none of that here.
Mariam, Kadian and Natasha taught us:
- Understand your power as a blogger. It is now people’s job to search out bloggers. To search out you.
- Understand how to protect yourself under certain laws as a blogger (GDPR?). Just generally, treat this as a business, treat it professionally and get aware.
- Understand that your blog is your business, don’t let anyone tell you how to run it. Feel comfortable with your platform. With your rates. With your content.
- Understand how to brand, your twitter should speak to your facebook which should look like your Instagram which should reflect right back to the blog.
And so it ended. Honestly this was the one event that I attended where there was no type of person. We were all creators. That was our type. Whether we be travel bloggers or blogging for personal reasons or podcasters or fitness youtubers or just documenting the glow up. what bonded us in that space was us creating whilst black. That was our business and common ground. Later in the afternoon I was asked how the event was and i said that ‘it was good space’. And i meant that it was a space where we could speak openly about the realities of being a black content creator, the nuances, the particulars, the legalities, the tokenisms and the opportunities. i definitely left feeling more confident in my abilities to do this and i definitely have a few new blogging buddies to hold me accountable.
There are no longer any excuses to not part take in the #BBBloggers joy. The next events this summer include:
The BBB Clinic: Photography Masterclass with Jo Williams – here.
The BBB Clinic: Let’s Build you Media Kit – here.
The BBB Blogger and Brand Mixer – London – here.
also. i met so many beautiful and motivating bloggers and brands during this mixer and i can’t wait to share them ALL with you. look out for my next post: ‘Brum Bloggers from the BBB Mixer ‘ – you are welcome.
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thanks for reading what i write,