Pulani Mota is a self-confessed Foodie, who describes herself as a Cupcake Addict who’s always willing to travel anywhere for Food. She is also a South African Brand Influencer who’s worked on multiple campaigns. On her blog she explores the art of enjoying food and writes reviews about things that matter to her.

How has your blog contributed to your career?

The contribution that my blog has made to my career is quite massive, especially growing my personal brand, and because of the exposure, bigger brands are starting to take notice of my blog, they seem quite proud to associate themselves with everything I stand for.

Would you say your writing style is improving?

Every Single Day actually! I started out without any idea of what I was doing but driven by a passion to express myself. Back then, I certainly didn’t have a writing style, but the more I write, the more I define and distinguish my voice.

What would make you happier as a blogger?

I don’t think anything else would ever make me happier than brands and PR companies taking professional bloggers more seriously. They don’t seem to realize that writing about their “product/client” is actual work that they need to pay for.

What has been your own favorite blog post?

My favorite blog post was when I attempted to make iDombolo; those kinds of experiences are always my favorite because that’s when I get to teach myself something new and actually discover what I’m capable of.

Why did you start your blog? What were your expectations?

I think my biggest inspiration has always been my deep passion for travel and food, and when I was Thailand, I really felt like my experiences were worth sharing. But I only started taking it seriously in April 2016.

As a blogger have you had any joint ventures?

Funny enough, I had my first joint venture when I’d just started blogging. I wrote out to Craft Parkhurst, and they accepted my request without any reservations. I’m always grateful to people who believe in me.

How long on average does it take you to write a blog post from concept to publication?

Probably a whole entire month! I really work hard on creating the best pieces of content that I know my followers will enjoy. My biggest challenge is that my blog posts involve visiting places, experimenting with different foods and talking to people, so the outcome of that usually requires a lot of elements needed to create a final content piece.

How long did it take you to find your writing voice or establish your style of writing?

I don’t think I’ve found my writing voice just yet, but I’m constantly experimenting and learning every day!


Feature Written By: Sinawo Bukani

She is a Digital Marketing Recruit at Umuzi Photo Club. She recently resigned from her corporate job as an Asset Management Associate to invest in her SuperPowers in Literary Journalism,Lifestyle Blogging and Content Marketing.

AfroBloggers #FeatureThursdays – Anjolaoluwa Ozozoma Coker

Anjolaoluwa Ozozoma Coker is a Nigerian Blogger who now lives and studies in The United States. She’s been featured on many stages across America and was one of 31 selected students in the inaugural class to participate in the Nate Parker Summer Film Institute in 2016. Journey in the Reign began as a way to document her 20’s, but instead, it’s grown into how she expresses herself and connects with others through her art.

How have you established an audience and how do you maintain it?

Even though it’s still hard for me to actually accept that I have an audience, I’ve had to accept that there are people who really take my writing seriously.

I’ve observed that when you are transparent and honest with yourself and about your story, it becomes easier for people to gravitate towards your work. I’m also big on interaction, when someone reaches out to me, I try to let them know that their feedback is valued.

I’m the first to acknowledge that consistency in writing blog posts is one area I can improve on when it comes to maintaining my audience. Quality, rather than quantity is still my number 1 motto.

Any advice for new bloggers?

Although you might have some favourite bloggers that you follow, don’t try to imitate their voice. Feel free to observe their methods or designs, but do not be an exact copy of their craft. You should always have a unique way of telling your own story.

The one thing that I’ve learned from my brother, in the photography world is that branding is vital. If that means consulting with someone to make a unique website that fits your theme, then do it. I’m usually put off by bloggers who don’t see the need to invest in the look of their site nor their social media.

VerillyMerrily Mary penned an insightful blog post about why writers should stop referring to themselves as just ‘aspiring.’ Why aspire to be something that you already are? If you’re a writer, then write, and be free to call yourself such.

Do you have any dislikes about blogging?

Constantly being at war with telling the truth, yet fighting to accept it myself. The moment I decide to relive an experience by writing about it, I always have to remind myself that many might find comfort in knowing someone else has overcome.

Do you have a target audience in mind?

I didn’t start my blog with a target audience in mind, however over time but I’ve come to realize that a lot of young adults read my blog posts.

Have you written for any other websites?

I write for My Black Matters, it was a post about the divide between Africans in America and African-Americans.

Can you describe your online reputation?

If you saw my SnapChat, you’d think I am a baby lover with an obsession with Naija music. If you saw my Twitter and Facebook, you’d then see an activist and christian with a passion for poetry and filmmaking. If you saw my Instagram, you’d see a proud Nigerian who will defend jollof rice with a passion, and will pull out ankara dresses for the occasion. If you saw my YouTube channel, you’d see the progression of my spoken word poetry over the years.

What does your blog offers its followers?

I am Nigerian, which affects every aspect of my life, from my upbringing to the foods I consider tasty and my music choices. This spills into my writing as well. My transparency helps people see the need for connection and human interaction. I also do not hide from talking about Jesus on my blog, because I would not be able to speak with such honesty if it were not for the peace I’ve experienced as a follower of Christ.


Feature Written By: Sinawo Bukani

She is a Digital Marketing Recruit at Umuzi Photo Club. She recently resigned from her corporate job as an Asset Management Associate to invest in her SuperPowers in Literary Journalism, Lifestyle Blogging and Content Marketing.

 

Ugandan Blogger Amanya adamantly proclaims that his secret for blog success is writing about the one thing that everybody relates to … love! He regards himself as an endlessly flowing natural who has a unique way of writing. He shares his blogging journey and the discipline that has helped him become a better writer even though he is self taught

What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?

Presentation:

Writing just like any other art form should be presented with utmost attention to detail. From the graphics, to the content; the punctuation, to the flow.

Consistency:

You have no right to go AWOL on your readers! As any dedicated reader will tell you, it’s disheartening when a blogger just disappears. Consistency keeps a reader hooked and connected to the blogger.

Engagement:

The Comments section should be the gist for all blog engagement. A blogger should engage the readers, air out everything that seems to not have been comprehended the way it was intended, and make a connection with the readers.

Do you have a strategy for creating visibility for your blog?

My strategy is to offer Consistency, Quality and Engagement.

I’ve managed to perfect engagement, trying intently to understand each and every reader, knowing more about them by keeping in touch.

I also pay the most critical attention to every blog post before I publish, I make it a point not to compromise on quality. I believe this has helped me connect and maintain new readers, world over.

What has been the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?

Apart from the frequent lulls in writing, I can’t think of many.

Perhaps this, 2016 has been that kind of year when the national mood has been low in Uganda. And most Ugandan writers just aren’t writing anymore. This keeps my morale down.

How do you hope to improve yourself in the next year?

Consistency. A piece a day would really satisfy me.

And a chronicle of Amanya is in the pipeline. There’s a lot to share. I tend to think I’m a bit wise sometimes and give great advice.

I would also like to improve on my presence on Medium, Wattpad and Tumblr.

What has been your biggest blogging frustration and what have you learnt from it?

I over censor myself. I’ve chosen not to write about politics, feminism and erotica even though I have a whole lot to share. And I feel I’m not being true to myself, to my readers and the blog.

What has been your biggest blog achievement?

Thus far it’s the number of followers really, the +250 people who think my blog is worth their time. Above that, the friends I’ve made off blogging. As far as Nigeria, India and Canada. I’ve also gotten a best friend, it’s that deep.


Feature Written By: Sinawo Bukani

She is a Digital Marketing Recruit at Umuzi Photo Club. She recently resigned from her corporate job as an Asset Management Associate to invest in her SuperPowers in Literary Journalism, Lifestyle Blogging and Content Marketing.

Babongile and Pumzile Zulu make up the South African Duo Literary Bloggers behind 1001 Bookish Things. Even though they both insist that their blog of four months is still too young to have any dirty secrets dished up for us, they were still able to share the most important part of themselves, their beautiful energies and inspiring passion for what they do and why they do it.

Who are your top 5 favourite bloggers of all time?

BZ: My number one favourite blogger (is actually a vlogger!) is Prince Ea. I fell in love with him about two years ago when I came across his video titled “Can We Auto-Correct Humanity.”

Number two on my list is Paige Nick J I started following her column in the Sunday Times (A Million Miles From Normal) while I was still studying and it’s been really awesome following her blog of the same name, and, of course, reading her books too!

I’m really tucking into the likes of Tope Owolabi (Ecletic Tope), Chiedozie Dike and Siyanda Mohutsiwa (Siyanda Writes).

Have you met anyone interesting/famous on your blogging journey?

BZ: We’ve met a whole bunch in the ‘interweb’ sense! Mostly South African authors such as Paige Nick, Louis Wiid, Pamela PowerMandy Collins, Joanne Macgregor. We’ve also recently been in touch with a Ghanaian author who lives in Sweden, receiving that email from one of the far flung corners of the world was pretty awesome.

And personally I’ve met an author called Zanele Dlamini who has written a book called Plumeria, being involved in her recent Durban book launch on Heritage Day was such a special experience!

What has been the biggest difference for you since you started blogging?

PZ: I have always been a reader, so the difference for me now is sharing my reads and opinions on them (something I didn’t think was important for a long time). As a woman, it is important for me to share ideas with others, especially with those who are like-minded and this blog has enabled me to e-meet some amazing women out there, who continuously share their thoughts on our social media platforms. I have also learnt to appreciate that there is a lot of responsibility that goes into reading a book and writing a review on it.

BZ: Time! I didn’t realise this quite so deeply before jumping into blogging, but there’s obviously a certain level of proficiency that you have to maintain as a blogger because your readers will come to expect content at certain times. My responsibility as the blogger who’s built that expectation is to make sure that I get through the books and post up the reviews as often as possible to keep them interested. Our main goal of the blog is to keep the bookish conversation going so slacking is never an option.

Three things you want to say to your loyal readers?

PZ: Thank you for going on this journey with us and for not being afraid or lazy to contribute to our growth. I love that you take the time to comment, like our posts and share your thoughts on the books we write about, as well as recommending some books you’ve had the pleasure of reading.

BZ: Thank you is definitely number one. For all the retweets, the comments, the email subscriptions to the blog, the likes, the Instagram follows, the words of encouragement – ALL OF IT! We thought we’d be this little blog in the corner just trudging along doing our thing, but the response has been amazing and encouraging.

The second thing we’d like to say is actually a reminder … WE’RE ON YOUTUBE BABY! We’re still spring chickens in the YouTube game but we’re really having fun with it!

If you knew the world would come to an end in a year, what would you do with your remaining time on earth?

PZ: I’ve been blessed with a beautiful daughter, who’s as feisty as her aunts and is very outspoken. So my time would probably be spent fostering a love of books, ticking off bucket list items together, maybe start a You tube cooking show (I love cooking but may not be the best cook around) and just do crazy things with my sisters and parents, including a lot of travelling (as much as we can squeeze into a year).

BZ: You mean besides getting through my To Be Read pile of books?? I’d travel to some of my bucket list destinations, namely Guatemala, Amsterdam and Nigeria. I’d also do one new thing a day – in an effort to really challenge my preconceived notions about certain things, etc. And finally on my last day, I’d pig out on pecan nuts. I’m kinda nuts about pecan nuts.

Name a series you are addicted to right now?

PZ: My latest addiction was the Hlomu series (I hope Dudu will write a lot more). Currently, nothing, just reading standalone books.

BZ: Book series – I’m addicted to the Recoil trilogy by local author Joanne Macgregor!! I’m currently reading the nail-biting second book called Refuse. If you want to know more about Book 1, there’s a review on the blog and there’s also an email interview that we did with the author so that’s a treat!

Is there a letter you’ve ever written but you know you’ll never send?

BZ: In my final year of university, my classmates and I went off to a writer’s retreat in Bedford and on the last day we had to write a letter to someone about our experience on the retreat. I wrote a letter to my niece who’d recently passed away and it was a great way to kind of talk to her again. I knew that would be one of those letters I’d unfortunately never get to send. But I believe she’s read and re-read the contents of that letter over the years.


Feature Written By: Sinawo Bukani

She is a Digital Marketing Recruit at Umuzi Photo Club. She recently resigned from her corporate job as an Asset Management Associate to invest in her SuperPowers in Literary Journalism, Lifestyle Blogging and Content Marketing.

 

 

 

 

When you read Ivana Akotowaa Ofori’s Blog you would never guess that she is only 18. Her writing prompts you to practise a rewarding kind of freedom that can hold you captive on her blog for hours. A beautiful confinement of frank and brutally honest published posts that seem determined to encourage its followers, to introspect and loudly break free against any unfair restrictions that seek to imprison their true thoughts, questions and self-expression. AfroBloggers spoke to the Ghanaian Writer to find out more about the distinctive opinions that have inspired many to also contribute a brave and passionate voice to the blogging space.

Do you set any blog goals? What are they?

I don’t set a lot of clearly defined blog goals. I write freely and don’t really have that much of a schedule. I suppose the only clear goal I have is, in terms of statistics, to always do better with my blog views than I performed the previous year.

How do you find or source new content for your blog?

This isn’t hard for me, since my mind is quite hyperactive and I chronicle the thought processes of my mind a lot. I think of myself as a collector of stories, from the people around me and even those of my own life. As for the poetry I write, that probably comes more naturally to me than anything else – because cryptic words express cryptic thoughts, and it’s magical to contain so many emotions in so few words/lines.

What is your least favourite blog post? Name yours and specify why?

My least favourite blog post right now is probably Dark Heart & Mind #3. The whole Dark Heart & Mind series was written when I was not in the most favourable frame of mind and environment. But often, for me, it’s not enough to leave my rants unread in my notebook. I publish them even if nobody but myself will benefit from having written them. I dislike that post because it reminds me of the pain and hatred I felt. I might delete it (and the rest of that series) from my blog eventually. They’ve served their cathartic purpose.

Would you say you are passionate about inspiring your audience?

In a very specific way about very specific things. Mainly ‘lexivism’ – the word I created to mean activism/advocacy for pursuing word-related activities and ambitions. I love encouraging people to write, to pursue their literary ambitions, improve their poetry, performance et cetera. But aside from specific instances, I don’t aim deliberately to be ‘inspirational’; I aim to be so much of myself that I give other people permission to do the same unconsciously. In my opinion, authenticity itself is inspirational.

Would you say you contribute a unique voice?

Yes…

To this day, I don’t think I follow anyone who writes quite like I do. I am an interesting combination of tortured-artist, cryptic-poet, angry-ranter, and hyper-emotional being. It always fascinates me when I observe my blogging trends from the outside.

What are you willing to do to make your blog successful?

Honestly, To Write Well! That is my only strategy. I don’t publicize in a pushy way. I don’t tag people in my posts (unless they specifically asked to be tagged) when I share/publish. I don’t drop my links in people’s inboxes, IMs or DMs. I rely on the hope that if what I’ve written is good, and it’s accessible on my profiles, it will receive its due attention. I don’t think it does as yet, but the loyalty of the readers I do have is extremely gratifying. I suppose because I am so frank with my thoughts, which are sometimes very mean and sarcastic, I’d probably stand a chance of incriminating myself than pleasing an audience.

Can you tell us a bit about your ideal reader?

My ideal reader is someone who would read what I’ve written and either say, “I’ve been thinking just that!” or “I never thought of that this way!” I enjoy readers who relate, or who have emotional or intellectual responses. And the type of readers who would share the link with someone who wouldn’t usually read me, naturally, because they believe it’s worth sharing.

What are the implications of being as honest as you are about yourself on your blog?

The internet is a free place. Anyone from anywhere could find my blog and read what I’ve written. I don’t usually realize how much I have revealed about myself until a reader shows me. But, as surprising as these incidents might be, I don’t think they’re necessarily bad. There’s the risk of being type casted – with people wrongfully thinking that if I reacted a certain way to something, I will react the same way to something else. For the most part, I think the implications of my self-honesty are good; because I feel like a lot of people aren’t as honest about themselves and that maybe by creating the kind of content that I do, it will encourage others to do the same.

Please download the Akotowaa’s published novella here.

Feature Written By: Sinawo Bukani

She is a Digital Marketing Recruit at Umuzi Photo Club. She recently resigned from her corporate job as an Asset Management Associate to invest in her SuperPowers in Literary Journalism, Lifestyle Blogging and Content Marketing.

Ghanaian Naana Joa Braso has been writing for 8 years now, mostly poems and short stories inspired by Greek mythology and fan fiction. She is a strong believer that people only follow your blog when they relate and believe in what you write about. Other than wanting to be remembered as a blogger that actually got to make money from her passion; she’d also really love to be known as someone who helped promote African brands taking them to their greatest marketing potential.

Who are your biggest influencers?

Well, many people have influenced my work over the years. It has been a fulfilling journey that’s led me to meeting people who’ve impacted my writing in different ways.

I started out as a poet who shared her work only on Facebook until I met Raj Suraj, who introduced me to the People of Equal Thoughts and Spirits (P.O.E.T.S.). Raj who is a mastermind at both poetry and spoken word assisted me in writing some beautiful work.

For a couple of months now, Nayirrah Waheed is having a great influence on my work. At first, poetry seemed like an art that should have lots of depths. But after reading Nayirrah’s book ‘SALT,’ I realised that poetry is about staying true to who you are with each stroke of the pen.

But my biggest influence has been my former position as a Secretary for a shipping company, where I had to write lots of formal letters. I have also worked with a couple of NGOs where I assisted by writing winning sponsorship letters. With these kind of responsibilities, you have no other choice than to learn how to write well.

As a blogger, I believe I’ve been my own greatest influence. I’ve discovered things for myself through research; trial and error.

What surprising lessons about blogging have you learned along the way?

Other than the fact that people are secretly watching what you do, I will say the surprising lessons would be the following;

  • Be it a professional or personal blog, a blog shows the world what you are made up of. You can somehow tell who someone is just by analysing what they write about or what interests them.
  • A blog adds to your credibility. How consistent you are with blogging can also show your level of commitment.
  • Staying true to yourself and your purpose can go a long way to gaining the audience you desire.

What’s next for your blog?

I’ve been managing three blogs now, coming up with content and promoting it.

With regards to my business and lifestyle blog www.njbraso.blogspot.com where I promote brands, events, people and start-up companies; offer career and blogging tips; I am looking at getting a domain since this is now my actual job. I also started a shop on the blog to sell traditional items from all over the world. This way, I will not only promote brands, I will also assist in selling their products as well as mine.

The next thing for my travel blog www.wanderlustfulsights.wordpress.com is my trip to Togo. I recently resigned from my position as a secretary so I have more time on my hand to indulge in my passion. It has always been a dream to volunteer with an NGO outside my country and so for the next month, I’ll be volunteering with an NGO in Togo while touring the country. This way, I get to share my travel experience while fulfilling my dream.

My personal blog www.njbraso.wordpress.com is where I share poetry, my thoughts on issues and personal experiences. This blog has been ignored for a while but all that is about to change with my Ice Queen Chronicles project.

Walk us through the step by step process it’s taken you to get here?

  • Discovered my passion.
  • Decided to share it.
  • Interacted with those with similar interests.
  • Wrote meaningful and relatable articles.
  • Shared my work with people I met.
  • Participated in competitions.
  • Stayed true to myself and purpose always.
  • Allowed myself to grow.
  • Opened myself up to change.

What has been the biggest challenge of having your own blog?

Consistency. I tend to get so drowned in so many projects all at the same time that I can sometimes neglect my blogs to chase after something else. So this way, if my current project has nothing to do with my blog, I kind of forget to update my blog. So now I have set up reminders and dates for each blog so I can keep up with them.

Feature Written By: Sinawo Bukani

She is a Digital Marketing Recruit at Umuzi Photo Club. She recently resigned from her corporate job as an Asset Management Associate to invest in her SuperPowers in Literary Journalism, Lifestyle Blogging and Content Marketing.

Stefanus Mutileni is the author behind ‘Blue Short Pants’ (Tales from the Memory Lane), a blog that never fails to have us choking from wild bouts of laughter, literally chuckling out loud while reading his published posts. An exceptional talent that seems to come involuntarily and too easy for the Namibian Blogger. He isn’t only set apart because of his humor but even by the unique drawings on his blog, which effectively assist in driving his comical writing, while keeping us equally amused.

Do you believe your blog has made any difference to its readers?

I’ve had quite a number of responses, comments and conversations about my blog, where readers expressed interest in the posts. I try to talk about almost any kind of experience, good or bad, in a humorous manner. I believe readers are happier and more positive after reading the blog.

What is the one thing you take with you everywhere?

My phone! I think the whole situation is actually at crisis mode right now, a super bad addiction. Would be nice to grow a little extra arm and hand just to hold the phone and still have the other two for other chores. Or someone just needs to pray for a brother!

What was the last book gift you gave/received?

I received “The decision of a lifetime” by Marilyn Meberg. It is a book about finding love with Jesus Christ.

Your blog is very reflective, what memories or life experiences would say contribute the most to your posts?

My own.

On a serious note, it’s the memories which involves my family and I, meaning there’s a part everyone plays in them. We often just sit around, talking about how life use to be, the younger siblings also ask a lot of questions and it’s in those moments when memories flood back and trickle down into my fingertips, pouring out onto my blog.

What was the last comment you received from your blog?

It was actually a laughing emoji.

Have you had to hold yourself back from fully describing something negative that happened just so to not offend possible readers?

I just don’t write about it. If I figure that it’s something that’s likely to offend people then I’d rather not blog about it at all. Readers will always interpret things their own way but I am deliberate in maintaining a certain blog image, it should always be humorous. There are posts like “Shopping with the Girls” that could be misinterpreted if the humour behind it is not understood. That’s why I don’t really blog about stuff like politics, current national affairs or criticism towards celebrities or a particular individual.

As a blogger what would you like to learn more about?

How to co-write a piece. My thoughts hardly really lapse with someone else’s because I blog about my experiences, but I would like to learn how to put together a piece with someone else. I guess the same way two people will write a movie script? Yeah that.

Do you have any new TV shows that you refuse to watch?

Any TV show that replays the Chelsea team losing a match! On a serious note though, nah. I haven’t come across any shows lately, where my views are different or I feel disgusted. Maybe just worth a mention, the Myth Busters really did piss me off with an approach they used on disapproving a certain theory on mass, they didn’t make sense at all but that was on national TV.

Is there any other African country you would like to visit? Why?

Yes, Egypt. It is the African pinnacle of history and ancient artefacts, I live for such places.

What was the most recent thing you learned?

I learned that friendships and love don’t happen once off, they happen every single day. You’ve got to constantly feel right about it.

Feature Written By: Sinawo Bukani

She is a Digital Marketing Recruit at Umuzi Photo Club. She recently resigned from her corporate job as an Asset Management Associate to invest in her SuperPowers in Literary Journalism, Lifestyle Blogging and Content Marketing.