The African Blogger Awards

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Set up to acknowledge and create an appreciation for the ever increasing talent pool of African bloggers and content writers, the African Blogger Awards, only in its second year, announced the winners to the 2015 awards on May 5th

The African Blogger Awards is the first program to measure the online and social influence and reach of African bloggers using data analysis techniques. The idea behind its inception is to acknowledge and support the growing number of aspiring bloggers on the continent, helping to broaden the industry and increase creative appreciation.

In recent years, the impact and outreach of social media and blogging has spiralled with millions of blog posts being written on an everyday basis. According to statistics, the total number of Tumblr blog accounts has now reached over 227 million which is up from 195 million in the previous year.

Looking back at May 2011, the total number of Tumblr blogs was reported at just 17.5 million, which, although a substantial number, highlights that in four short years, there has been an increase of well over two million start up blogs – and that’s just on Tumblr, not to mention the numerous other platforms including WordPress and Blogger.

Recent statistics prove that a new blog is set up every half second somewhere in the world and today it is estimated that there are over 152,000,000 blogs on the internet. It is clear then, that blogging is big business and a profitable one too. Once you are successful in running your blog, keeping it up to date and begin to attract a substantial reader base, companies and brands wishing to use it for advertising purposes will increase too.

Co-founder of the African Blogger Awards, Mike Sharman, said recently: “The inaugural African Blogger Awards in 2014 set the benchmark for the discovery of truly exceptional African content creators and their unique storytelling approaches. We are looking forward to seeing the progress made by entrants participating in this year’s event for the second time, while discovering new talent across the continent.

“We are ecstatic about the potential publishers that we will be exposed to, during this year’s competition.”

With the 2015 awards held earlier this year, Co-founder, Murray Legg, explained the statistics they were expecting: “With over 520 entries from 26 countries in 2014, we’re anticipating close to 800 entries from independent publishers communicating to more than 60-million Africans across the continent and beyond.”

The main reasons for this increase in applications is thought to be largely due to the advertising and marketing placed on blogger websites, encouraging others to enter too. This increase only highlights further the true scale at which social media and technology has grown in the last few years and the power and influence it brings with it.

Different from so many other blogger awards held on a global basis, the African Blogger Awards focuses on three key factors: the reach, the resonance and the relevance. The reach of a blog measures the size of an influencer’s audience and the following it has through social media channels while the resonance is a measure of how widely the content an influencer shares reaches outside their own community. The relevance measures the response from the influencer’s community from social media which includes comments, ‘likes’ and retweets.

Categories for the African Blogger Awards include a variety of subjects including fashion and beauty, education, sports, politics and events. Entrants into the awards can do so on a no-cost basis and are required to register either, or a combination of, their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, blog and YouTube channel on a specifically designed platform – Webfluential.com – which helps to quantify the three key areas mentioned above of each of the blogger users. This platform helps to ensure that the necessary analytics are then linked to the individual platforms to efficiently measure the reach, resonance and relevance of each user.

Legg noted a growth in the entrants to the 2015 awards – almost 100% increase from 2014 – with many strong and competitive entries north of South Africa, including Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana and Kenya.

Speaking before the awards ceremony, Legg explained: “We’ve already seen close on 1000 entries streaming in since we announced this year’s awards in early February, and we’d like to see even more signing up before we close entries. The additional week gives those who’d still like to enter an extra bit of time to do so.”

The winners for the 2015 awards were announced at the beginning of last month and saw The African HipHop Blog from Zimbabwe winning Best blog about Africa,Best YouTube channel in Africa went to Theodora Lee from South Africa, Best Instagrammer in Africa to Gareth Pon from South Africa and Superficial Girls from South Africa won the Fashion and Beauty category.

The winners from each category receive a commemorative trophy and a web banner announcing their achievement in recognition for exceptional content producing.

Winners from the 2014 awards have already been seen reaping the rewards, receiving both credibility and recognition and many have gone on to become global content brand ambassadors and turning what perhaps started out as an outlet for creativity, into a full time and successful profession. Blogging now has incredible potential, with popular and start-up brands seeing the value in blogging as an extremely effective marketing platform.

With the next African Blogger Awards already set to be held in February 2016 and the number of successful blogs continually on the rise, it is expected that the potential number of entries is set to soar.

“Growth in both users on social channels and readers of blogs increases in number vastly each year and allows more people to participate in the conversation, stimulating richness of thought and depth of insight into current affairs and niche interests.

“We expect content producers to continue growing the fan bases and content over the coming years,” Legg explains.

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