At 2.00 PM today October 3rd 2015, about 150 people, among them company executives, journalists, "Camerbloggers hang out" members and other Cameroonian blogger stars convened at the magnificent Star Land Hotel, Bonapriso for the historic Bloggers Forum Douala. It was a fantastic bilingual event organized by Elodie Crescence and sponsored by Nexttel, Nescafe, Les Brasseries du Cameroun and hosted by Star Land Hotel. The Master of Ceremonies was Carole Leuwe, who introduced us to the panelists; Frank William Batchou, Jean Pierre Boep, Hugues Leandre Kamga, Brice Albin, Rene Jackson Nkowa, William Takor, Cynth Ibohn, Elie Kogoup, Edouard Tamba and Valery Njiaba. They presented in both English and French, various issues about blogging beginning from the elementary, what is a blog? To which answers popped from various thought angles, with some describing it as an online channel. The Q and A session even digressed to a "Journalist vs Blogger" debate, to which there was so much talk to clarify the difference (and some "pulling the mic off the mouths of over stretching speakers". Oops!). The presenters also talked of bloggers being influencers, with one citing the case of Senegalese bloggers helping to stop Abdoulaye Wade in his bid to seek for an unconstitutional third term in office. The panelists talked about content blogging and marketing, micro blogging, photo/video blogging on Instagram, product recommendation etc.
What many people were interested in, is how blogging can be used to generate income. Enstine Muki (whose blog enstinemuki.com is a reference money making blog in Cameroon), paved the way with this topic and said there is no clear cut formula to earn money from blogging but through various methods. It begins by deciding on and occupying a specialized niche eg, Fashion, Food, Tech, Tourism, Clothing etc and build an audience with excellent regular posts. He delivered a short insightful money making presentation mentioning affiliate marketing, affiliate networks, product networks etc. He also said he was going to teach his income earning skills in an upcoming bloggers workshop (date is still to be fixed). And that bloggers could create multiple blogs and even sell a profitable blog if an offer from a company is lucrative. Clifford Ako of www.wasamundi.com and Chop Knuckle started by classifying bloggers into four groups; Hobbyist blogger, part time blogger, professional blogger and corporate blogger. An aspiring blogger had to decide which type of blog he/she wants to create and work on it consistently to build a wide audience. The audience can be used as a bargaining tool. He also mentioned using webinars, podcasts and newsletters.
So, the future of blogging? Carole asked. Everybody leaned in the direction of the words, “growing” “bright” “explore unchartered territories” in their responses. Some envisioned a more connected young generation, therefore wider audiences, more business savy bloggers, more professionalism, more blogging conferences, mentorship of young bloggers, many more companies coming into the Cameroonian blogosphere hence making them cash in as their corporate bloggers and their social media managers. Bloggers are going to be rich! Yes, richer than Pa kadji! More shi-shi, more kabacha, more budget! Okay, I’m kidding. Lol. But I see bloggers living off their blogs exclusively one day, designing their own products and marketing from their homes on their laptops. Becoming "dot com" employees. The tech event ended on a highly chit chatty note amidst bottles of sweet drinks and cups of coffee by Nescafe and lots of pics. I went home after learning loads from the panelists. And oh yes, a brilliant specialized blogging idea hit me while Enstine was doing the big talk. Eureka!