Last year, I made an announcement that changes were in the works for Black Girl in Maine Media. Namely, that after offering my writing free of charge since 2008, I was planning on putting the bulk of my work behind a paywall on Patreon.
It is the direction that most writers and bloggers have taken, given that it’s virtually impossible to create a consistent revenue stream for your writing without a dedicated group of patrons. It also cuts down on dealing with trolls and, overall, it reduces the amount of work required to write online, barring writing for publications that actually can afford to pay more than a few cents per word.
My intention was to change the direction of the site to focus on promoting my anti-racism training, speaking, and consulting practice. There were a number of factors at play in making this decision, starting with the fact that my time is not infinite—in fact, it can be very finite these days.
Also, the changing social media landscape has made it challenging to consistently make sure my work is accessible, without the ability to dedicate gobs of time I don’t have to play the algorithm game. Long gone are the days where you create a post on a platform and everyone sees it. These days, posting and getting engagement requires skill. I know, because I ended up bringing a SEO/digital marketing specialist on board to assist me last fall. That work involved using SEO work on the back end of the site so that folks are more likely to end up on my site if they are searching—as well as learning when the optimal times are to use social media.
I essentially learned there is a science to this. I also learned that even with the challenges of the last few years, this site has an incredible level of organic engagement. Enough so that it gave me pause in considering a change of direction.
I ended up pushing back the launch date for the site changes long enough to get clarity on my goals. I realized that the looming prospect of turning 50 and my fears around even making it into my fifth decade were coloring a lot of things for me and well,
I needed to slow down and just be still. A few weeks ago, I realized that while I still very much need to shift my site focus to my practice, I also still wanted to keep the blog and keep it free to readers. If you are reading this on the site, you will notice that while things look familiar, they have changed. The blog portion of the site is no longer as prominent—you have to scroll down on the home page a little, but it is there.
I just couldn’t bring myself to put the bulk of my writing behind a paywall. In a world swimming in disinformation, especially around race, I think it is imperative that factual information be freely available. I occupy a rather unique space in the anti-racism ecosystem, as I am not just a Black writer and speaker but I am also the executive director of one of the oldest anti-racism organizations in the United States. My insights are not formed solely on lived experience, but also on my work and extensive access to the larger anti-racism ecosystem in the country.
While the blog is still open to all without cost, we do still run on reader support—please consider either a one time tip or a monthly commitment via Patreon if you don’t already avail yourself of these options. Patrons do get perks that are not available to everyone, including weekly videos in whiche I share insights on racial justice and current events, as well as reduced-cost access to my public groups such as Beloved Community.
You may have also noticed that there have been some recent guest postings from both Average White Guy and Samuel James. What can I say? I missed my writing crew, and while I cannot financially commit to bringing back the other writers on a regular basis—barring a serious cash infusion—I definitely will have some more guest writing in the weeks and months ahead.
My work and my values are an integral part of who I am, and while I needed to make some changes for my well-being, I also realized I couldn’t stray far from my core values, especially in these racially tumultuous times that we are living in.
So if BGIM continues to have value to you, I ask for your continued support at a level that is meaningful to you.
I also have another ask, a bit different than anything I have ever asked before. The upside of having one’s own platform is that you can step outside the box as needed.
If you follow me on Instagram or even Facebook, you may have noticed that I occasionally mention small businesses, typically women-owned or Black-owned ones that I support. I like the people in my circle, whether professionally or personally, to succeed. And when I really like something, I am all about passing that along.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I have been working with a digital marketing/SEO consultant on my work. What I didn’t mention is that the consultant is actually my partner. Partner in crime, man, squeeze, right hand—you get the point. He’s the human in my life and has been for a while, well before we started working together.
He is a groovy human, and an entrepreneur who relocated back to Maine early in the pandemic. He has decided to plant some roots for the time, back in his home state, and has been making some business shifts to be more responsive to the business climate here in Maine. He also has just started a new business venture: Peak Growth. Peak Growth is a website design business for the small business owner who wants a great site and SEO work without having to go broke or endure constant late nights figuring it all out.
I will say that in all my years of running this site, I never thought much about SEO until a few years ago when it became clear that I should have. I also was hesitant to hire anyone because of the nature of my work. The last thing I needed was to inadvertently hire someone who would love to screw with my site. The universe decided to not only drop a decent fella in my world, but one whose values align with mine who actually did the very work that I had been needing done for a long time.
I have been absolutely pleased with the work that he has done for me, including his ideas that have been incorporated into the site update. I am seeing far more visitors to the site and social media pages. I am also starting to get more inquiries about my consulting work, which was the goal.
I say all this to say that if you are a small business in need of a website, a refresh on your existing site, or an assist with your digital marketing needs, because you are tired of Facebook hiding your posts, give my guy a holla. While my readership extends far beyond Maine, the fact is, Maine is a small state, where personal connections matter. Knowing someone can make all the difference and with a readership the size of mine, I figured I would mention my guy’s work, since while I am always thrilled with him personally, I am certainly getting an additional thrill from his professional expertise.
If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Or consider bringing me to your organization or group.
Comments will close on this post in 60-90 days; earlier if there are spam attacks or other nonsense.