The Root Is Live From Blogging While Brown

Updated: Relationship bloggers dished about revealing personal details and maintaining boundaries. 

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From left: Grayson, Smith and Talbert at the Love Is a Battlefield panel

Panel Recap: Love Is a Battlefield: Navigating From the Trenches
Friday, June 1, 7:40 p.m. EDT

Relationship blogging has become quite the niche in the black blogosphere. Yes, it is a quick and entertaining way to build an audience and gain followers, but wanting to be a relationship-blogging star comes with a clear challenge: maintaining boundaries and privacy.

"I don't recommend talking about in-depth stuff in your relationships. If you find yourself interested in blogging on dating and relationships, write about the things you learned and less about the nitty-gritty on how you learned them," said blogger and panelist Kaneisha Grayson, author of the forthcoming book, Be Your Own Boyfriend: Decide to Be Happy, Unleash Your Sext and Change Your Life.

Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas says that maintaining boundaries is also a numbers game. "You need page views and visitors, so there might be a personal issue that I want to talk about, but it might not be an issue people will want to read about."

The panel dished on a host of other issues, from whether relationship bloggers should ever reveal their relationship status to whether one can be a married relationship blogger. Panelists also spoke out against claiming to be a dating expert. "I'm actually an anti-expert," said panelist Michelle Y. Talbert of Black Love Rules. "I'm not perfect, but I can perfectly advise you on what not to do."

Panel Recap: Blogpreneur 4.0: From Blog to Big Business … The Next Steps
Friday, June 1, 3:10 p.m. EDT

For bloggers who have succeeded in creating and building a popular brand, the next step is to look for ways to make money from their product. Strategies for monetization are at the center of this year's conference, said BWB founder Gina McCauley, who joked at an earlier panel that she was "tired of broke bloggers."

Panelists for the "Blogpreneur" session include Frederick Mwangaguhunga, founder/CEO of MediaTakeout.com; David A. Wilson, Creator/Executive Editor of theGrio.com and Jennifer A. Williams, Chief Strategist/CEO of J Sharpe Agency Public Relations. Panelists mused on the things that will help bloggers make money, including originality and traffic. But the panel unanimously agreed that publicity is key.

"Having a publicist is one of the best decisions you can make. People don't appreciate how important it is. There is no dollar better spent," said Mwangaguhunga.

Williams, who is also a publicist, agreed, and said that good publicity is an effective way to open doors to bigger opportunities. "By creating credibility with the press, you can leverage it into a book deal, a TV deal and just get recognized by a wider audience."

The panelists also stressed the importance of having legal representation as a blogger.  "Manage your risks. If you have legal representation, make sure you're cluing them in, looping them in to all the things you're doing," Wilson said.

Friday, June 1, 2:00 p.m. EDT
Nearly 200 bloggers of color are gathered in Philadelphia Friday morning for the fifth annual Blogging While Brown Conference.

Held at the Chemistry Heritage Museum in the Old City section of Philadelphia, the two-day conference is going beyond the keyboard to touch on a variety of issues, including brand management, social media and taking a blog offline and into local communities.

The conference's first panel, "From Blog to Book," featured The Root's contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas and focused on how bloggers can leverage their online platforms to transition into book publishing. "The thing about writing a book is that [at some point] you actually have to write the book," said Lucas, whose book, A Belle in Brooklyn, is an extension of her wildly popular blog of the same name.

Other panels to be held today include "Blogpreneur 4.0: From Blog to Big Business ... The Next Steps" and a panel on relationship blogging called "Love Is a Battlefield: Navigating From the Trenches." Tomorrow The Root's assistant editor, Akoto Ofori-Atta, will sit on a panel entitled "Building & Managing an Online Community" at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

Don't forget to join the Blogging While Brown conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #BWB2012. Check out the conference's full agenda here, and stay tuned for quick recaps of some of today's panels.

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