February 4th, 2016 by Christen
Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of talking social media, branding and the business of making money online on ESSENCE Live. Joined by Crissle West of The Read, Whitney White of Naptural 85, we talked about the life of social media entrepreneurs, common misconceptions and how we built wealth online.
Making money online isn't child's play. Nowadays, there's serious corporate budgets behind social media campaigns, social media influencers as brand ambassadors and more readily available now more than ever before. Within my first year of blogging, I've made money as an ambassador of Samsung, worked with Verizon, Ford and Toyota. Check out some of my thoughts on monetizing influence with ESSENCE Live host Dana Blair (and a few bonus thoughts / and video) below.
"Are you making money online?"
Yes. While I'm not (yet) making millions, I make a very comfortable living because of my social media brand online. While I'm not making it rain anywhere, I've been taught that it's better to be humble and unassuming about how much you make (like Steve Jobs and Oprah) rather than boasting and (probably lying) about your net worth.
"What's the good/bad of monetizing social media?"
The good part about being your own boss is the freedom you have to do what you love, and you get paid while doing it. The downside that I didn't anticipate just how much of that freedom is sucked dry by obsessing over scheduled posts, speaking engagement details and other revenue producing components.
People often have the misconception that you have to be a huge social media superstar to make money online. That's simply not true. There are plenty of social media influencers with hundreds of thousands of fans and followers and they're trying to figure out how to make money, just like the blogger that just began branding online. The difference between the ones that succeed and the ones that fail is the perception. If you have a strategic goal of who you want to speak to, what you want to accomplish, when you want to make money and why brands should want to work with you - you've catapulted your brand far ahead beyond anyone else. Social media size doesn't always matter.
Check out the abbreviated version of last week's ESSENCE Live segment and let me know what you think below!
Are you interested in learning how to monetize your social influencer better? Sign up for Act Like A Blogger, Think Like A Brandnewsletter and get upcoming opportunities, webinars and eBooks to help you know and grow delivered directly to your inbox today!
August 7th, 2015 by Christen
Continuing Summer fun in style – Essence and Lincoln Motor Company teamed up to surprise three lucky winners a celebrity-inspired experience of a lifetime! Lincoln Motor Company has re-enginered what luxury looks and feels like with the 2016 Lincoln MKX. As a luxe crossover with a touch of chic technology appeal, driving the 2016 Lincoln MKX this summer in Atlanta, NYC and Washington DC was an experience that I’ll never forget! Check out the Journey Through The City Series in DC with Lincoln below.
Washington DC is one of my favorite cities to explore history, culture and art. It's known for amazing museums, breathtaking architecture and more around every corner just waiting to be captured in film. So of course it's the next stop on the Lincoln Journey The City adventure!
Check out some of our fun and discover our surprise celebrity guest while being chauffeured in the all new 2016 Lincoln MKX in Washington DC below.
How cool is it that renown celeb photographer Derek Blanks joined in on the fun? Chances are, you've seen many of his amazing work in the pages of Essence on Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta and more! Check out more of his amazing photography at dblanks.com. If you're ever in the DMV and looking for an amazing photographer - you don't want to miss the chance to work with Tania Stewart (find more of her work on composedimages.zenfolio.com)
Want to see more? Stay tuned to DivasandDorks.com to discover the celebrity fun in ATL soon. For more information on the Lincoln MKX visit Lincoln.com and get connected on social media with @LincolnMotorCo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagramtoday!
June 29th, 2015 by Christen
Brace yourself. ESSENCE FEST is coming! ESSENCE Festival is going digital...and I'm excited for the fourth year in a row to be apart of it all! Watch 'Live from the ESSENCE Festival' digital shows come to life as an all-access digital and social media experience for fans featuring 24 hours daily of streaming video, as well as real-time newsroom and social media reporting across ESSENCE platforms Essence.com, EssenceFestival.com and YouTube.
In addition, 'ESSENCE Live' powered by Samsung will stream a one-hour special each day from Center Stage on the floor of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center; featuring celebrity guest segments, musical performances, live audience games and interaction, and much more. Each night, select musical performances will be live streamed from Superdome stages.
It's only right that you get as close to the action as anyone else, right? That's why I've called in reinforcements and have teamed up with my girls to bring you the exclusive Digital Sorority ESSENCE Fest experience!
We'll be capturing all of the entertainment, style and substance of the Festival with wall-to-wall coverage all weekend long. Join myself (@DivasandDorks), and co-founders Kela Walker (@KelaWalker) and Ty Alexander (@GorgeousInGrey) as we get into all the ESSENCE Fest fun, host a bevy of event experiences and share amazing giveaways! Follow #DSEssenceFest for up-to-the-minute highlights and behind-the-scenes access to the artists, performers, speakers and influencers in attendance through videos, photo galleries and exclusive celebrity interviews all week long!
Digital Sorority will be on the ground and on the air via Instagram, Twitter, Periscope and Snapchat bringing you all the fun from the festival to the concerts and beyond!
Are you heading to New Orleans? Join in the fun by following @DigitalSorority and get social using #DSEssenceFest today!
May 13th, 2015 by Christen
I'm beyond thrilled to partner with ESSENCE Magazine and Lincoln Motor Company to take the Journey Through The City contest nationwide! Are you an aspiring fashion stylist or designer and ready to take your fashion-inspiration to the next level? Do you have a passion for photography and love sharing your your vision through your lens? Are you a music and entertainment fanatic and want to share your gift of expression with the world?
Share your story and describe your personal journey for a chance to win a surprise dream day through New York City, Washington DC and Atlanta! Discover how you can enter for the chance of a lifetime experience below!
I'm so excited to be partnering with ESSENCE Magazine and Lincoln Motor Company for the exclusive opportunity of a lifetime! If you love fashion, photography or music and entertainment, ESSENCE Magazine and Lincoln wants to make your dreams come true with an experience unlike any other. We want to give you a chance to share your story and win big and entering is as easy as 1-2-3.
o Tell ESSENCE how your city inspires you and your style!
o You could win a dream experience in NYC's hottest fashion scene and meet a celebrity stylist!
o ESSENCE and Lincoln invite you to share your story for a chance to win a surprise dream day, chauffeured in the all-new 2016 Lincoln MKX and introducing you to one-of-a-kind experiences in New York’s fashion industry.
Lincoln's Shawn Thompson, Essence Magazine's Michelle Ebanks, Vanessa K. Bush and Emeli Sande.
The ESSENCE Black Women in Music event took place last night in Los Angeles, California honoring the U.K. native and featured an exclusive performance from Sandé with special guests. The ultra-glam, star-studded event, presented by the Lincoln Motor Company, kicks off the week leading up to the 56th Annual Grammy Awards and is designed to shine a light on African American women in the music industry.
Emeli Sande performs her hit 'Next To Me' at ESSENCE Black Women In Music Event.
“Emeli Sandé brings fresh, groundbreaking style as a performer and songwriter, which makes her a perfect match with the new perspective the Lincoln Motor Company is bringing to the luxury segment,” said Shawn Thompson, Lincoln manager, multicultural marketing. “Lincoln is pleased to be the presenting sponsor of the 2014 ESSENCE Black Women in Music event because it celebrates strong and creative women.”
Emeli Sande’s debut album, Our Version of Events, became the top-selling album in the U.K. for the second year in a row and to date has sold 238,000 units in the USA, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
In a statement released about the honor, Essence editor-in-chief Vanessa K. Bush shared, “Emeli Sandé’s soaring confidence as a songwriter and fearless self-expression as a singer is in the tradition of many iconic female trailblazers such as Nina Simone.”
Last week, ESSENCE Magazine hosted it's first ever UPFRONT preview in New York City. The full day included a "Power of Confidence: Reflections on Black Beauty Now" panel featuring actress Gabrielle Union, fashion activist Bethann Hardison, legendary supermodel Iman, Patrice Yursik of Afrobella.com and moderated by ESSENCE Editor-at-Large Mikki Taylor.
Essence.com Fashion Editor Celia Smith and Style Superstar June Ambrose announced the first ever Essence Street Style Awards, honoring the everyday trendsetters in style. In addition to talking beauty, power and what it's like to be a black in Hollywood, actress Viola Davis and Danai Gurira, star of "The Walking Dead" stopped by and talked about taking risks, being consistent and more.
Viola Davis with ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. Bush
During the UPFRONT, the ESSENCE revealed dates for its anticipated red carpet events, college tours and 20th Anniversary Essence Festival. One of the major features of the 20th anniversary of Essence Fest is "The Vault" which will look back on previous years of the festivals with photo galleries, video clips, reader submitter photos,celebrity memories and more in a special anniversary section on Essencefestival.com. It will also include original talent and line-up posters, concert photos, and interviews. The Vault will also be a feature on the revamped Essence Fest app.
Marsha Ambrosius at Essence Magazine Upfront
Essence Magazine Upfront guests were treated to an Essence festival (super lounge inspired) performance by Grammy-nominated Marsha Ambrosius and were even gifted with their choice of beautifully personalized swag (like mine below).
I'm totally looking forward to seeing what Essence does next and experiencing an exciting 2014 of events to come.
Photos via Michael Rowe/ESSENCE/Diego Corredor/Picture Group
October 2nd, 2013 by Christen
Gladiator fever is in high and just when you couldn't get enough of Kerry Washington on the red carpet and movies, Essence Magazine has the golden girl in full glory on it's November issue. In celebration of Kerry's return to ABC this Thursday night for Season 3 of "Scandal" she talks about her role as Olivia Pope and why she has more impact on America then we think.
“They are allowing an educated, intelligent, powerful, complicated, human, flawed, multidimensional Black woman into their homes. They’re not walking past her on the street, they’re not trying to avoid engaging her, they’re not ignoring her and pretending she’s somebody else’s family and somebody else’s problem…” - Kerry Washington
Shonda Rhimes, the brilliant creator behind it all, says Washington "is truly dedicated to making Olivia a real person. She adds layers and depth and a soul to Olivia." No doubt that's what keeps Washington's 8.5 million die-hard fans, or Gladiators, coming back for more every Thursday at 10pm. But we wanted to know how similar Kerry Washington and Olivia Pope really are.
In the Essence Magazine feature "Olivia Vs. Kerry," writer Denene Millner asks the 36-year-old what divides the artist from the muse. Washington says, "Olivia has three [fashion] modes: Work Olivia, Black-Tie Gala Olivia and At Home Olivia... My fashion is more eclectic: There's Going to Work Kerry, which is gym clothes and Nike kicks. That's the Bronx girl. There's also Red Carpet Kerry and Out to Dinner With Friends Kerry."
On what a Girls' Night Out for Olivia would be, Washington says "it would involve a lot of wine." For her, "I drink maybe twice a year. I would be with my three best friends from high school or my girlfriends from the show."
ESSENCE’s November issue hits newsstands on October 10th.
July 29th, 2013 by Christen
Looking for ways to enjoy your Summer In The City? No matter where you live in the world, there's always unique experiences you can find almost anywhere. There's no better place in the world like New York City in the summertime, and I want to explore everything the city has to offer. So I thought, why not bring along my girls to do things that we've never done before for Essence Magazine's "Girlfriend Adventures" series. We've tackled the rock wall in Brooklyn, learned some salsa moves AND stepped up our game in the kitchen - so our next stop? High flying adventures at Trapeze School New York!
girlfriend adventuresWhat is Trapeze School New York? Trapeze School New York (TSNY) is dedicated to making flying trapeze available to anyone who seeks inspiration, challenge, fitness or just a couple hours of unique fun. Located atop Pier 40 at Chelsea Piers, TSNY offers flying trapeze classes for all levels (first-timers and beginners welcome) as well as intensive multi-session workshops for more advanced flyers. girlfriend adventures
Remember that Sex And The City Episode? (SATC Season 6 Episode 82 to be exact...) - let's face it, if you're a woman and a writer in New York, chances are you've experienced at least one Carrie moment in your life... and this was my moment...
Check out the entire experience via Essence Girlfriends series below...
July 22nd, 2013 by Christen
Looking for ways to enjoy your Summer In The City? No matter where you live in the world, there's always unique experiences you can find almost anywhere. There's no better place in the world like New York City in the summertime, and I want to explore everything the city has to offer. So I thought, why not bring along my girls to do things that we've never done before for Essence Magazine's "Girlfriend Adventures" series. We've tackled the rock wall in Brooklyn, and learned some salsa moves, so our next stop? Spicing it up in the kitchen at Cook&Go.
What is Cook&Go? Cook&Go Culinary Studio allows participants, who are not professional chefs, to learn culinary skills in a fun, relaxed environment. Original menus test the limits of culinary aesthetics, while at the same time respecting traditions. There is a spirit of fun making dishes that are accessible to all skill levels. You don’t have to be a professional chef, you just need to have a passion for learning, sharing (and eating!). Cook & Go uses high quality, fresh products and a passion for teaching to help you to create healthy, well balanced meals.
I had such an amazing time and each dish we prepared exceeded my expectation of deliciousness! This foodie's dream came true inside of that kitchen, so much so a food blog could be in the works soon... maybe DivasandForks.com? (HA!)
Check out the entire experience via Essence Girlfriends series below...
Looking for ways to enjoy your Summer In The City? No matter where you live in the world, there's always unique experiences you can find almost anywhere. There's no better place in the world like New York City in the summertime, and I want to explore everything the city has to offer. So I thought, why not bring along my girls to do things that we've never done before for Essence Magazine's "Girlfriend Adventures" series. We've already gone salsa dancing, so our next stop? Indoor rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders.
What is Brooklyn Boulders? Brooklyn Boulders is New York City’s only fully dedicated rock climbing gym and one of the East Coasts’ largest. With 22,000 square feet of climbing surface and a dedicated and skilled setting staff, Brooklyn Boulders offer both a premium training ground for advanced climbers and a variety of climbs for the total beginner. So whether you’re a seasoned 5.13 climber or just found yourself interested in trying something new, come to BKB and find what you’re looking for. (Located at 575 Degraw St. in Brooklyn - visit BrooklynBoulders.com for more info.)
Check out what happens when we take on the rock wall for the first time at Brooklyn Boulders in Brooklyn, NY.