Episode 24: Building Up BLAC Magazine – A Behind-The-Scenes Look with Publisher Billy Strawter Jr.

Hey, did you catch this story among 2020’s many surprises…?

Years after Ebony and Jet – the OG of America’s black magazines – abandoned their print editions, and while Ebony was finishing its slide into bankruptcy, young Billy Strawter Jr bought Detroit’s Black Life, Arts & Culture (BLAC) Magazine.

While other magazines were giving up and bowing out, Billy Strawter (literally) bought in with his global vision for local publications that highlight the achievements, lifestyles, and creativity of their city’s black residents.

I’ve loved BLAC Magazine for years because there’s nothing like black people seeing themselves in magazines, especially ones with high style.

If you’ve been wondering what the future of magazines looks like, then listen in for a behind-the-scenes look at: how to pitch to BLAC Magazine and the types of stories they’re looking for, 3 ways they’ve leveled up their print edition plus what they’re doing online, the difference between advertising and advertorials, why you really need a branded email address, how a black-owned magazine handles BLM, what ‘digital-first’ means and what it looks like … and more!

“You’re going to run into a lot of brick walls, and sometimes you’re just going to have to punch through that wall to make a window.” – Billy Strawter Jr.

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Highlights From This Episode:

  • That time when BLAC Magazine became black-owned
  • How this black-owned magazine handled Black Lives Matter (BLM)
  • Jet, Ebony, and the challenge of taking a print publication online
  • What a digital-first approach looks like
  • Billy’s big-picture vision for BLAC Magazine #thinklocalactglobal
  • 2 ways to pitch your story to BLAC Magazine (hint: don’t pitch to Billy 😉)
  • 3 things to include in your pitch – and be brief, okay?
  • The 3 types of stories they’re interested in
  • Why BLAC Magazine has long-form stories instead of everyday news
  • A small and special something to add to your pitch
  • True story! Why you really, really need a branded email address
  • How to pitch for the magazine’s Detroit Expat series
  • 3 ways they leveled up their print edition
  • Advertising vs advertorial (Pam has done 5-star work with this!)
  • Billy’s take on being an entrepreneur


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