This is how Bankelele started his session at the Digital Camp – by quoting the wise words of one Patrick Meier, “Your blog is your CV, Twitter is your Business Card”. Bankelele considers his blog and his tweeter feed his most reliable reference points for relevant information for the past, the present and the future.
Bankelele’s blogging journey started when someone encouraged him to start a blog, “I didn’t know what it was but I started it anyway”, he said. When he started out, his audience consisted mainly of Kenyans in diaspora who always wanted to know how to buy shares in order to make investments back home.
Comparing when he started off blogging to now, he pointed out that whereas information was hard to come by then, it is now found everywhere. There has been a clear transition from information scarcity to abundance.
Previously, every speck of information he stumbled upon was worth blogging about; be it a World Bank Report or a new Bank launch. He would even beg to attend events so that he could get information to blog about, sometimes with little luck.
Bankelele drew a parallel with the present where information is everywhere – there is in fact too much of it. There are invitations to every event and one is sometimes unable to attend them all, or any at all. This, he said, showed that investors have become part of the communications strategy and there is no longer a distinction between newspapers, TV reporters and bloggers. It also goes to show that blogging has grown in both leaps and bounds.
The only challenge right now is for one to get that press release that is circulated all round and to strive to tell the same story differently.
How can one make it as a Business Blogger? Bankelele reckons that you have to be an avid reader. See those newspapers, the Kenya Gazette, Annual Reports etc? Yes. Make those your friends. And though we are in the digital era where we’re reading our paper online, printed newspapers are very important as you will get in them information that doesn’t make it to the online edition.
Bankelele cautioned that even though you will get a lot of information through research, you do not have to use all the information. At the end of the day, one has to respect the wishes of their sources on how the story should run. Or if it should run at all. Always respect companies and the people who open up to you, and share the information they give you on their terms.
As a Business blogger you are required to remember that content is everywhere. Everything we do, every transaction, anything that involves money, is a potential story.
Bankelele called upon those interested in business blogging, saying that this is their time. “Corporates need people who take the time to research and explain their industry issues better e.g. the extractives sector.”
He went further to share tips on how one should carry themselves as a business blogger: Dress well, keep time and observe the rules. He also added that professionalism will make corporates respect you. Bloggers were also advised to take advantage of opportunities that will help further their careers like fellowships and scholarships e.g. Bloomberg Media Africa, Safaricom at Strathmore and many others.
He closed by cautioning bloggers to be careful while taking advantage of available opportunities to avoid risks such as libel.
Bankelele blogs at www.Bankelele.co.ke