Name: Demetria Lucas aka Belle Woods
Blog: A Belle In Brooklyn
Plans for the Future: “The goal is a talk show, but my approach is to just do my best and put myself in a position to take advantage of opportunities as they come my way. I don’t really know what’s going to happen in the future, but I know it will be good. “
For Demetria Lucas, it all started with Myspace. Back in 2007, she used her Myspace blog as a way to share her dating adventures and thoughts on romance. Friends of friends and strangers started sending her friend requests just to read her blog. As the blog’s popularity grew, Lucas successfully pitched the idea of a relationship column to Honey Magazine. She was editing romance novels at the time (though she knew her heart was in magazine editing) and freelancing for various urban magazines.
Just four months into publishing her online column with Honey, an Essence Magazine staffer and avid reader of her blog contacted her to let her know that the magazine was looking for a new relationships editor. Lucas got the job and she continued blogging on her personal time. She usually writes the blog posts on her Blackberry (or Belleberry as she calls it) on the train on her way to work. The blog grew, raking in thousands of hits per day and attracting an international readership.
Lucas’ face appears in Essence every month alongside her relationships column and also in the About Me section of her blog. “People will stop me on the street or at parties and say ‘you’re that Essence girl’ or ‘you’re Belle,'” she said. “I spoke at a panel at Princeton recently and one of the student reporters said she thought my real name was Belle Woods.”
She receives about three invitations a week to speak at various universities and organizations. Lucas won’t divulge her average number of hits per month, but she did say that the number of comments on any given post is a mere single digit percentage of the number of views for that post. With posts frequently garnering well over 100 comments and an average of three to four new posts per week, A Belle In Brooklyn potentially pulls in at least hundreds of thousands of visits per month. Lucas says she has considered putting advertisements on the site but has to figure out a classy way to do it.
As an editor at a popular magazine and the writer of a popular blog (she’s very happy with both positions), determining which perks come from the magazine and which ones come from the blog is almost impossible. “I get access to people because of my job at Essence and in those conversations, something might pop in my head that inspires me to blog about it and, in turn, a conversation is sparked.” The reverse happens as well. Some of Lucas’ blog posts now appear on the Essence.com and sometimes a reader’s comment will move Lucas to suggest a particular idea for the magazine column. One thing that is definitely a result of the blog is an offer from a major publishing house to publish a collection of A Belle In Brooklyn stories. Lucas is still mulling the offer, but hopes to have the book on shelves in 2011.