The Nigerian concept of 'blogging' is slightly different from what the world regards as 'blogging.' In Nigeria, a blogger is basically anybody who aggregates pop culture news, trends and content to be consumed by an audience, for commercial purposes, either through a website or a social media page or both.

Over the past year, known Nigerian celebrities like Music Executive and Entrepreneur, Ubi Franklin; Performing Artiste and Veterinary Doctor, Dr. Sid; Music Producer and Label Exec, Samklef; and Reality TV Star, Ike Onyema of BBNaija have been involved in blogging.

Franklin is the founder of record label, MMMG that was home to two of Africa's biggest acts; Iyanya and Tekno. Samklef is a hitmaker who produced a chunk of his own album, Superstar for Wizkid and Everybody Loves Ice Prince for Ice Prince. Dr. Sid is an acclaimed music superstar and Ike is a celebrity reality star.

But these days, Samklef runs the currently suspended/hacked Instagrammer on Instagram as well as a website. IK runs Ike Exclusive Blog and his Instagram page, Ubi Franklin runs a blog and his Instagram page while Dr. Sid also does the same.

Their respective entrance into the space is also perfectly-timed. Nigerian entertainment and media is projected to grow from $5.55 billion in 2019 to $10.8 billion in 2023. This projection is backed by consultancy firm, PWC.

Samklef. (TheNation)
Samklef. (TheNation)

Dr. Sid says that he doesn’t necessarily see himself as a content creator and Samklef adds, “Well, I wouldn't see myself as a blogger though, I just post content for fun - just as 50 cent, Eminem, Justin Bieber and so forth post content on their pages.”

How did we get here?

In 2020, the world was badly hit by the coronavirus and its infamous effects, lives were lost and economies were badly hit. In entertainment, revenues were slashed and cash flows were disrupted because avenues of money-making became inexistent.

Bored creatives then had to find new ways to turn their passion and huge followers into opportunities in an economy with growing - yet underwhelming - streaming revenue prospects.

Enter, blogging

At first, Samklef started doing giveaways to help his fans through the lockdown. But he soon realized that he could create content, promote brands and make additional revenue.

He says, “For me, [blogging] started in 2020 - during the covid 19 lockdown. Everyone was bored at home, so I had to post stuff to catch fun and to connect with my fans, and help them scale through the harsh lockdown.”

Ike’s journey also started during the pandemic. He says that, “I saw the need for positive and informative news here in Nigeria, especially. People needed to laugh more and feel good about their achievements. I also realized that blogs are where people look for all kinds of news these days and it's a service that has become essential and popular and profitable.”

After Nigerians saw the rise of bloggers like Joro Olumofin, Linda Ikeji and more recently, Tunde Ednut to high degrees of financial success, popularity, virality and influence, Nigeria has seen more attempts at that career path. If Ikeji is a role model, Tunde Ednut is a worthy blueprint.

But these days, blogging has left the shores of regular web pages for social media. Content platforms have created a base on Instagram, due to how it accommodates all forms of content and media files. On that front, Instablog9ja has become a successful, albeit problematic model.

It's also a no-brainer because Instagram is the second-most used social media platform in Nigeria with around 15%. It has high absorption, retention and stickiness. Nigeria is also a country with fast-growing internet penetration. Statistica reports that 58.1% of Nigerians on Instagram are men.

Ike Onyema of BBNaija. (Instagram/Iam_Ikeonyema)
Ike Onyema of BBNaija. (Instagram/Iam_Ikeonyema)

For Ike, his journey into blogging is a little different. He says that, “I launched my blog in July 2020 after gathering a trusted team [that] I could trust with my page and blog. I started blogging about news that I could relate to and big brother events. The engagement was crazy and many others soon joined me in the blogging game.”

Running the business

The business of blogging is usually broken down into; curation and reporting, original content creation and journalistic scoops - to a lesser extent. Due to the use of Instagram, these forms of content can be either or all of written, pictorial or motion visuals. That’s an excessive amount of work for one person.

Pulse Nigeria could not reach Ubi Franklin and got too little from Dr. Sid, but it’s clear that Ike and Samklef have had to hire writers to handle the work.

Reactions from people

During the lockdown, Franklin was involved in a lot of online lectures and e-events. He also had an interview series which got really popular. On his part, Dr. Sid was working with Accelerate TV. Ike was in a relationship with Mercy Eke while Samklef sometimes found himself on the wrong end of wrath from Twitter NG.

When people found out that Franklin, Ike and Samklef had started blogging, the reactions were not positive. Some were even highly condescending, but Samklef never stopped. In September 2020, he even advised Erica Nledewin of BBNaija lockdown, much to the chagrin of her stans.

Ike also got similar reactions.

He tells Pulse Nigeria that, “[Reactions] have not been the best. The fans wanted the status quo of pretty Instagram pictures with nice captions a few times a week, they were not ready for the new many notifications and what they considered the cluttering of my page.

“They regarded blogging as a downgrade as it was not a usual route for a former big brother housemate. However, new people who preferred the blogging started to join and engagement increased and the page began to grow in leaps and bounds.”

With Samklef, things have gotten increasingly great. He says that, “It has been positive , it has been great. I have also had massive support from friends, colleagues, brands and fans.”

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Tunde Ednut, Instablog9ja and Linda Ikeji have proven to be successful endeavours, albeit to varying degrees. While the revenue pool from media endeavours keeps shrinking and as more media outfits have resorted to crowdsourcing, there is still some money to go around.

The major source of revenue generation remains advertisement. The network effect/flywheel as well as the real-time content circulation of social media means that a lot of companies have now resorted to influencer marketing over media companies - even those with online entities. This is also because people relate more to personalities than regular board ads on websites.

More so, 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities and 40% of millennials believe their favorite creators understand them better than their friends. In this Gen Z/Millennial world, media companies need innovative thinking.

What smart online media companies now do is integrated marketing that allows them to offer a range of services. The result of that means; these media companies can offer more controlled, efficient and sustainable marketing efforts and ad campaigns. An influencer might offer power for one-off gigs, but sustained gigs could be a problem for most of them.

But in the case of the Nigerian celebrity bloggers, they are a hybrid of influencer marketing and online website marketing. In effect, there will always be money for them because companies always have a need for ads and campaigns.

Statistica report on the Nigerian industry between 2018 and 2020. (Statistica)
Statistica report on the Nigerian industry between 2018 and 2020. (Statistica)

Statistica reports that in 2020, ad spending on Nigerian online media platforms in hit around $99 million. In contrast, radio is reported to have only commanded under $47 million. Statistica also projects that internet ad revenue in Nigerian online media will grow from $73 million in 2018 to $133 million in 2023.

Samklef says that, “It has been very profitable - 2020 was my best year so far. Big thanks to God and support from friends, colleagues, brands and my fans. We have challenges, but challenges for me are just another step to greatness and victory.

Ike adds another perspective, “It has been very profitable, but for me it’s more about the engagement and healthy conversion I see on my page. We are trying to expand every week and start blogging on international events for my fans in diaspora. Engagement is the currency, if it can be sustained.”

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Problems with Instagram

As noted earlier, Instagram is the best place for content because it’s a platform for diverse content. However, sustenance of a page has been a problem for bloggers. In December 2020, Tunde Ednut was permanently suspended from the platform after being shadowbanned for so long.

He got another account and reached one million followers within hours, only to be shut down again. Linda Ikeji has also had her history with the platform. Currently, Ubi Franklin is shadowbanned and so is Samklef.

Samklef says, “As profitable as it has been, it has also been challenging. Currently I'm on a shadowban on Instagram because haters keep reporting my page for no reasons at all. Unlike Twitter that conducts investigations, Instagram doesn't do that, so haters create a lot of accounts to report my page.”

That might not necessarily be the case though

Why does Instagram shadowban accounts?

In a conversation with Anike Fawole, a Digital Strategist and Head of Social Media at Pulse Nigeria, it was gathered that a shadowban can be due to a handful of reasons.

She continues that, “If you violate community guidelines or terms and conditions that relate to copyright infringement, you will be shadowbanned. A lot of times, these things happen because we don’t read terms and conditions before we click ‘agree.’

“When you have a lot of followers, you get monitored more and your infringements are taken seriously because of potential consequences. Music videos that are downloaded from YouTube can’t be going into pages like that and so can’t explicit content. Facebook also takes fake news very seriously - that’s why they have a fact-check program now

“Another thing that could get you suspended is if you have a lot of bot-looking/fake followers. If you also unfollow an excessive amount of people at one, you might have a target on your back. Usually, you get warned before a shadowban or a ban happens.”

At this time, we don’t know why these accounts have been shadowbanned and neither do the account owners. One thing is for sure, Instagram could help clarify why certain accounts are being banned or shadowbanned.

Journalistic scoops

While Ikeji was known for journalistic scoops earlier in her career, her heat soon slowed down as she became a veteran. One aspect of cogent blogging is journalistic scoops, and when you are a celebrity yourself, you might have a conundrum with telling on your peers.

Samkleft says, “It's funny though [laughs], but as funny as it might be, it’s not every of their stories I'm still gonna write or post. What I like to do is create a different version of myself.

“As you've known, there's samklef the musician, there's samklef the Producer, there's samklef ‘son of a soldier,’ there are so many Samklefs you've known and many that you are still gonna know. But I created my own version of SamKLEF for this, and he’s a different persona entirely.”

Ike adds that while some people have been offended by particular posts, it comes with the territory.


Samklef. (TheNation)
Samklef. (TheNation)

In the media, scaling at the right time is important and both Samklef and Ike have their eyes on the price, albeit in different ways.

Ike says, “The aim is to present their stories with a positive outlook, as one with empathy of having been where they are. I try to be as objective as possible and not sensationalise stories for engagement baits, at their detriment, but to bring them truthfully in a mature and dignified manner.

“The goal is to keep followers positive and hopeful. And to grow into an internationally recognized blog. [We have] a lot more coming soon; from blogging to fashion and even season two of the show.”

Samklef doesn’t really set goals, instead he prefers to leave things in the hands of God.