WeeTracker (WT) launched in 2018 with a big vision to plug the information gap in Africa’s tech and venture capital ecosystem.
Quite proudly, within a span of 4 years (including 1 year of a devastating pandemic), we created four brands and phased out two. Our experiments with readership habits of Africa-related content have been quite keen and observant.
The Challenges we faced
Since the launch of WT, we have received tons of requests from persons and institutions seeking to publish varied pieces as authors and contributors on our platform, and we did take on as many as we could. This, in turn, also kept one question lingering in our thoughts: How could we provide limitless opportunities to more writers and journalists and unlock earnings for all?
The harsh reality of media and publishing in these times is that it’s often at the mercy of advertisers, which means the endless race for pageviews and unique users. The quest for pageviews has often led publishers to create click-baity, sub-par content and adopt dodgy coverage in some scenarios involving patrons, leading to readers’ dissatisfaction. At times, a few platforms end up becoming mouthpieces for big brands or agendas.
This problem is universal, perhaps a bit more pronounced in Africa. And there’s a reason: The digital publishing companies now have to compete with the ad behemoths, Meta brands (Facebook and Instagram) and Google for marketing dollars.
The digital marketing boom that took off about a decade ago had many publishers raking in significant sums for content creation from advertising. In those days, blogging was a decent money maker and a viable career. When the wave of digital advertising hit Africa, Facebook and Instagram were already gobbling the largest chunk of any brand’s marketing spend (digital).
In the shadow of all these developments, digital media platforms that were creating content in the form of news articles, opinion pieces, and insight writeups took a hit. Pageviews/sessions/DAU/MAU became deciding factors for marketing campaigns. ‘Marketing ROI’ gradually became the most used jargon in internal meetings. But, the real value behind all this jargon remains ambiguous. And eventually, blogging became unviable.
The Solution we have
There’s hope, though. Within the attention-fatigued audience, there truly lies an opportunity for original content creators – and here, we mean writers, journalists, economists, thought leaders and researchers in Africa. We’ve burnt enough midnight oil to establish that there is an audience that genuinely cares for the content they consume. We’ve experienced it first-hand with WT Premium.
For the last 24 months, our readers have fully supported and paid for WT Premium. Readers not from just Africa but across the globe. A close look shows that readers interested in the African tech ecosystem and not just funding updates have picked up a subscription with us.
Having completed 2 years as an original content creator and drawing impressive adoption, the lingering question looks answered. And now is a time better than any to get back to all the writers, journalists and authors and open this opportunity to them – our mega vision to launch WT Lighthouse.
WT Lighthouse (currently in beta) is a platform where anyone who can produce high-quality content for readers can list themselves as authors (at the moment, via a simple online application).
WT Lighthouse will enable you (the author) to publish articles, podcasts, research notes and development guides. Your content will be paywalled, and any reader can choose to be your subscriber. You would be able to earn via subscription for the content you generated for a small commission.
This may or may not be a full-time option for content creators. Authors would be able to generate content at their pace and let users make a periodic payment or pay on a per-content basis. WT Lighthouse handles all the heavy lifting of getting the content out there, so authors can focus on just creating at their convenience.
We want to begin with the core theme of WT – Original | Knowledge | Curious
How can you become a part of the Solution?
If you are a writer/author/journalist/researcher and produce content about the following topics in the African context, please submit your profile here:
-Venture Capital Investments
-Private Equity & Financial Markets
-Digital Solutions & Startups
-Investigative Journalism (excluding political/ entertainment /sports content)
-Digital Products & Technology
-4th Industrial Revolution
-Traditional businesses – startups, SMEs
-People of Interest (digital ecosystem)
WT Premium will continue publishing stories for its members as usual. It would, in time, become an author on WT Lighthouse serving existing members. Readers can choose more variety of content and get to know multiple perspectives. Subject matter experts publishing their opinion and views on certain topics would contribute to filling the information gap (just as we had started).
To apply, please use this link.