Now the business part of the conference, literally. I was all ears because obviously my role at Mail & Guardian Online largely involves the business side these days as opposed to editorial (a ‘reformed’ journalist??).
Up were Alec Hogg from Moneyweb, a respected financial site in South Africa, Ramon Thomas and Emeka Okafor (A blogger and Entrepreneur). Hogg, who’s company writes about “what affects people’s pockets”, mentions that the biggest threat to journalism these days is corporate communications, citing a Harvard study.He also mentioned a freebee involving a local big bank Absa, taking a big group of influential South African journalists on a trip to Reunion Islands… why was this only reported on by Moneyweb asks Hogg? Media credibility is low, he says.
He also says they have decided to outsource their sales team, because content is their business not sales. I’d question this… I’d never outsource a key division (especially a revenue-generating division), because rarely is it done with the same passion and application as you, yourself. I’m not saying its not possible, but risky.
He says that the important traffic on a website is your homepage… not all the “nonsense” that comes via search engines. It’s not loyal traffic, he says. To some extent I agree… search engines mean that our homepages are often bypassed sending through traffic that isn’t necessarily loyal to your brand (and is inlikely to click on advertising).
Next Up Ramon Thomas, an internet consultant you may have heard on local TV and radio, from Netucation who told us about his experiences with his blogs and how amazingly easy it is to set up a blog, say via WordPress, without the need coding and programming. It was a pretty basic presentation on the ABCs of online marketing (have a forum, have a newsletter, have a blog, podcast blah blah) but never-the-less an interesting primer I suppose for some looking to start up.
The world of marketing has always been a confusing place for me…sometimes I think its only there to make concepts clear for stupid people.
Next up Emeka Okafor who blogs on the Timbuktu Chronicles… he took us through some of the business stories he tackled on his website (mostly not online media-related), but ironically not much on how he is monetising his own blog. I thought this talk was supposed to be about the “business of blogging” not “blogging business stories”. Maybe I misunderstood.
Or hang on, the first question from the audience queried just this… wasn’t this panel about how to monetise and make a business out of blogging?