“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.
The company, which not only awards and trains bloggers, it is also actively working to encourage the country to not ignore the power of blogging.
“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.