by Saruni Maina
Dear Techies, we are under siege but it’s not their fault. Clients want audiences and that’s what they got. Before this piece turns into a poem, let’s first start by outlining that I am in no way attacking fashion bloggers but this is a call to action to my fellow techies.
A few years ago (actually, months, years is a stretch), we were the go-to tech guys. Well established brands loved to be associated with us, from the likes of Samsung, Huawei to TECNO and Infinix, that’s actually what made our blogs prosper.
Yes, these brands still want to work with a few of us but we’re not their priority anymore. Well-established blogs like Android Kenya, Techweez, Tech-ish, TechArena, TechTrends and even the recently launched Gadgets Africa are all in trouble.
Fashion Bloggers to Smartphone Reviewers
A good example is the ever-growing number of celebrities you see flock smartphone launches now, not because they are interested in the product but because they are paid to be there and “influence” the said gadget to the masses. Unfortunately for the celebrities, they are also under siege from a group of people known as fashion bloggers.
They are the talk of the town now, they actually have real audiences willing to put in money where they are told to. It’s not like we don’t have influence but theirs is unmatched, at least to the eyes of the client. So why are these fashion bloggers attracting tech companies?
It’s all about the content. The fact that, for example, Maxine Wabosha, would attract Huawei to work with her as an influencer for their Y7 Prime (2019) smartphone is not only because she has a good following on Instagram and YouTube but because, unlike us, she will not geek-out and focus on the specifications mumble jumble but instead show her followers what exactly it is like to live with the device with specific focus on the device’s selling point – which is more often than not, the camera and battery life.
“So why are these fashion bloggers attracting tech companies? It’s all about the content”
Don’t get me wrong, specifications are important but how important are they to the masses? What we miss on is aligning these specifications to actual day-to-day usage, showing the audience why they need a certain device in their life.
A perfect example is a tweet by one of Joy Kendi’s fans who responded to a number of photos that the fashion icon had taken on the Samsung Galaxy Note9:
Hahaha. Joy Kendi made me want to buy the Note 9 and all she did was show me how she takes pictures with the damn phone. Believe me when I tell you that 80% of people don’t give a damn about processors and alladat nonsense.
— Kerubo (@slyrie) February 3, 2019
The truth is simple, our content has become boring. We’re always talking about the same things from one device to another, putting them through the same tests, which is good and has worked until now but stepping forward, something’s got to give.
Our subscriber numbers will not grow to match those of fashion bloggers if we don’t change our methods. We need to look past the processor speed, Android version and Megapixel.
Even those we can say have made it in our line of work are changing tact – there’s better videography, less spec-talk and more connection with the audience. Don’t give up yet, there’s still hope for us. The fact that clients still expect these same fashion bloggers to talk “professionally” about topics they probably have zero interest in is a good sign that there’s still space for us and the knowledge that we carry in our big heads.
Saruni Maina is a tech blogger with years on experience writing, creating video content and tweeting about his gadgets. He is also the founding editor of Gadgets Africa, Kenya’s newest Tech Blog.