Watch Kennedy Kachwanya as he explains to Margarte Njugunah of Capital TV the three ways to make money as a blogger, especially in Kenya; then read through the report reproduced below.
This piece is by Margaret Njugunah of Capital TV
Nairobi — When Kennedy Kachwanya and his 42 peers founded the Bloggers Association of Kenya in early 2010, the government got weary.
“At the time, no one knew what blogging was about. We were assumed to be trouble makers who were using the written word,” Kennedy Kachwanya, CEO of Bloggers Media Limited says.
Armed with Sh50,000, Kachwanya instead registered the company as Blogger Media Limited, which then parented Bloggers Association of Kenya which is a community of Kenyan bloggers.
Today, the company has gained fame online and offline due to its biggest product yet: Bloggers Awards of Kenya or simply BAKE Awards, which recognizes and awards the best blogs in the country.
“Our reason for choosing to establish Bloggers Awards of Kenya was simple. There were so many negative stories about Africa and Kenya in specific by foreigners. The only people who were writing positive stories were Kenyans. However, no one was appreciating their work. Hence our decision to establish the award,” says Kachwanya who is also the Chairman of Bloggers Association of Kenya.
An established blogger, Kachwanya knows firsthand the kind opportunities that are available in the Kenyan’s online market.
“The Internet offers limitless opportunities for Kenyans especially the youth. If you can find your niche and give them value, then there is money to be made,” he says.
But before a blogger makes money, they have to pass the blogging litmus test.
According to Kachwanya, a blogger must first and foremost have compelling content. “Content is king. It is the first thing that makes people come back to your blog.”
The second thing that Kachwanya recommends is having the numbers, especially if one is hoping to monetize the blog. He recommends bloggers to ensure that their site is easy to comment on, share and even navigate. These, he says, are able to attract readers and fans in general.
Kachwanya also talks about consistency, saying that even with great quality and a large social media fan base, it is easy to be irrelevant and forgotten if one is not consistent. “By consistency, I do not necessary mean posting a new blog post every thirty minutes. If you are able to do that, well and fine, however, let your readers know when you post and make it consistent,” he says.
Of the 15,000 blogs in Kenya, at least 2,000 are active. However, not all of them are making money.
To make money from blogging in Kenya, Kachwanya says that it is not only possible, but also profitable.
“A blogger can make money through subscriptions whereby people pay to receive and read blog posts. To achieve this, a blogger needs to have compelling content that is also consistent and timely,” he explains.
One way of making money online includes having a large readership base as advertisers will pay a blogger to reach this audience. Another way is selling content, whereby a blogger is paid to write content about a brand on their blog.
“Anyone who is avoiding the power of blogging needs to stop doing so right away. There are blogs in the country that are determining how a media house will operate. Look at Ghafla for instance; it is setting the pace on how media houses conduct their business. Every media house now has a gossip column just to leverage with the entertainment site,” he says.
“Blogging is not easy. When readers see a beautiful site that has high quality content, some may think it is glamorous and easy, but it takes a lot of work. That is why we award the best.”
The annual event, which is now in its fifth year, has had positive impact to many bloggers. With the awards, bloggers now have a chance to get their work recognized.
Take the instance of Sharon Mundia, the popular fashion blogger of thisisess.com website.
According to her, getting nominated thrice and winning the award once changed how she blogs completely.
“The first time I got nominated meant so much to me. I felt like finally someone had noticed what I do and loved it,” she says.
Winning the award, for the Best Fashion Blog 2014, was a highlight for her career. This she says opened new doors for her as it made approaching clients to work with much easier. “It instilled confidence in my clients as they were able to know that people had a lot of faith in what I do,” she explains.
The case is the same with Chase Bank which has been nominated twice for The Best Corporate Blog for two times. Even though they have not won any, the nomination means that there are people who are noticing what they do and appreciating it.
“Getting our blog, Chase Stories, nominated for BAKE Awards means a lot to Chase bank. It means that our mandate, which is to inspire people to achieve what matters most to them, is being achieved through the blog,” Chase Bank’s Senior Manager, Digital and Marketing Communication , Naazneen Parkar says.
Even as Bloggers Media Limited continues to influence the work of bloggers in the country, the company has faced its fair share of challenges.
A big challenge that is present in Kenya’s blogging circles is lack of knowledge about the constitution. According to Kachwanya, many bloggers are yet to read the constitution. “You get many bloggers riding on freedom of speech which is stipulated in the constitution. But there are also other laws in the constitution that may lead one into trouble with the law such as hate speech. You cannot insult the president and expect to get away with it in the name of freedom of speech,” he concluded.
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