It’s not what you think. You’re not in for an egomaniacal rant
from the editor of ByBlacks.com. But you are in for some real talk about media in the Black Canadian community.
The reason we don’t consider anyone our competition is because we simply don’t compete. We don’t pretend to be doing anything revolutionary or even particularly unique. But we launched this business with the simple goal of contributing to a conversation that we think is not happening enough. And that is the conversation around positive, successful Black people. In mainstream media, we are either criminals or celebrities. But there’s a whole section of regular Black folk doing some noteworthy things with their lives, that rarely get a voice. That’s the voice we’re interested in. We know we’re not the first to do it, and so we’re not aiming to compete with any other media house who is doing the same thing. We’re not competing, we’re contributing.
The vision of byblacks.com - a magazine and business directory - is to be a resource for ALL things Black and awesome in Canada. With regards to the directory, any Black owned business can list their business for free. With regards to the magazine, if you have a business/charity/non profit/book/invention/event etc that we think is interesting and amazing, then we’re going to write about you. No matter if you are in the same business as us (we also run a marketing, publicity, media training, web design, social media business). Interestingly, we have tried to write feature articles on the founders of other Black media houses but the funny thing is, they don’t return our calls.
Even when I approach other business owners to profile them, I often find them hesitant because they think I’m trying to sell them something. This is what we have done to each other. Some of us have become so unaccustomed to mutual, unconditional support that we approach each other with an unhealthy dose of suspicion.
What keeps us motivated is the hundreds of like minded Black people we meet who see the value in this model. It’s a model that is now rare in Black community media. It’s a model where we do not charge for editorial coverage. We rely on membership and advertising for profit. I have heard varying explanations for why some of our community media are charging people their first born child to get media coverage. ( FYI a two page 'advertorial' in a Black community magazine can run you up to $7,000). But all of them are counter productive to the idea of building an honest, accountable community. How do your readers know that you are acting in their best interest… that is… looking for stories and people that will interest them, if you are simply exchanging cash for words? We believe in building an organic audience. We want you to come to byblacks.com simply because you like the content. Not because you paid for it and told your friends and family to go read it. We believe if we continue to produce great content, you'll continue coming back to the site. And the more of you that come to the site, the more attractive it is for advertisers. That's how we make money. Not by charging the very people we are producing content for.
We value our credibility too much at byblacks.com to ask you to “pay to play”. If half of the people profiled on our magazine had paid to be there, how could we call ourselves a magazine? We may as well just call ourselves an adverzine.
We have been up and running for a little over a year now, and our goal is to become a trusted source of information about the Black community, from business profiles, to news and entertainment. Our purpose is to tell stories that engage our audience, not to dress up advertising to make it look like editorial coverage.
I know in this digital age, it’s getting harder to tell the difference between the two, but you know what... we just don’t roll like that. Of course we are in business to make money, and our ad department aggressively seeks out paid advertising clients, but our editorial department aggressively seeks out interesting people and stories to write about. And never the two shall meet.
I don’t know about you, but my community, my social circle, is like a mirror. And I like what I see when I look in the mirror. I see a long list of incredible individuals and organizations that I can’t wait to write about. If I could write about all of them all at once, I would! Their businesses and passions get me so excited! I'm not interested in competing with anyone, I hope we all make it.