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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH TOP EVENT BLOGGER, HELEN OZOR




Pretty, intelligent and affable are the right words to describe Helen Ozor, one of the rising bloggers in Nigeria. She let us into her word and shares with us the secrets to her meteoric rise in the world of Online Publicity business. 

Can you share with us what makes you go into Blogging? 
It all started during my final year in school. Before then, my aim after university was to go into event management because I loved the job and I had been into ushering/modeling jobs for about 4years. All through the four years I barely spent a week in school without coming down to Lagos for castings or jobs. At the time I was about graduating, I thought it would be wise for me to concentrate on school activities so I don’t have an extra year. It was during this time a friend called to find out what I had been up to. I told him I had stopped ushering jobs to concentrate on school so he advised I start a blog to keep myself busy. But, I never took it seriously until months later when a lecturer invited his friend who has a website to class to explain what online advertising meant. While the man was explaining, he advised that as students we could start a blog to promote our businesses or publish our thoughts. So I got back home and started by research on how to start a blog etc. I guess I was the only student who heeded that advice. Basically, I’ll say I started the blog to keep myself busy rather than getting myself involved in unnecessary conversations and distractions from friends.

Why did you specialize in reporting events? 
I already had a flair for events. Imagine a young girl leaving secondary school at the age of 17 and that same year, I had already started ushering jobs. I got admission into the university and still continued with the job.  My dream back then was to be an event manager but as time went on, I found out there are so many event managers in Nigeria and the competition between them is really, really high. I also realised that the blogging world is very saturated with almost everyone blogging the same news, same gossip. Also, I found out that for you to have access to event stories, you would probably have to buy a copy of Ovation magazine for N1500. So I thought, why don’t I create a platform where people can have access to these stories at no cost. All they need is a smart phone and data. Our pictures and stories from these events are on the blog few hours after coverage. You don’t need to spend so much buying a magazine or going to the vendor stand. From the comfort of your home all you need is just a click away. Aside that, I wanted to be different, I wanted to be in my own space.  At the moment, I’m the only blogger known to specialize on event blogging. It is a risk I’m willing to take and make the best out of it against all odds.


Is your blog limited to stories and pieces around events only?
80% of the stories are around events. 

What are the challenges you faced when starting up? 
The first challenge I faced was finance, I needed money to buy a laptop. I needed money to buy data. I had exhausted the money I saved from ushering jobs I did to buy my first laptop. I also used some of the money on data. Because I had stopped ushering jobs I didn’t have cash anymore. At some point I started using part of the upkeep money sent from home on data. It was really tough for me then. Another challenge I faced was getting to start and knowing the technicalities of managing a blog. The story is different today because a few people organise trainings and seminars on blogging. When I started there was nothing like that. Whenever I had issues with the blog I always had to be under pressure to resolve the problem. Once your readers can’t have access to your blog they move to other blogs. After all, what is a blog without content and loyal readers? Also, getting people to read the blog was another challenge at that time… I was still in school and whenever I told any of my classmate that I now I have a blog it sounded like, what is this girl talking about. I also met a very popular Nollywood actress, I introduced myself to her and said I run a blog and the next thing she said was, “Pleass what is a blog’ Lol!”  I said to myself, how can this lady not know what a blog is. These were just the few challenges I faced then. Luckily for me, I had people like Tosin Ajibade and Seun Oloketuyi to put me through some things and to ease the stress.

So what's the experience like so far? 
Hmmmm! It’s been fantastic. I get to meet a lot of people; I get to attend a lot of events. I get to take a lot of risk and then I find myself in some very dangerous situations. Imagine coming back from an event at 11:30pm and you have a flat tyre while descending from Agbongbon bridge or imagine coming back from an event and your car breaks down at about 2am. There’s the good, the bad and the ugly side of the business but God has always been very, very faithful.

Is Blogging in Nigeria profitable? 
Yes it is. Only when you see the blog as a business, only when you take the business seriously and you make people understand that you put in a lot of time, effort and money into it. Blogging is profitable when you offer a service to people and you make people understand that they have to pay for that service. The moment you can set the record straight then people start taking you seriously. But if you blog for fun, then am sorry but you may not be able to make good money from your blog.

Are you into other business or you blog full time? 
I’m into blogging full time.

Tell us your educational and family background? 
I was born into a family of six girls and a boy, I’m from Delta state. I started my primary education at Ikeja Local Government Primary School and then proceeded to Ikeja High School for my secondary education. After my secondary education, I got admission into Olabisi Onabanjo University. I graduated in 2011 and I’ve been blogging since then. This year, I got certified as a Digital Business Manager from Google.

Can you share with us your memorable campus experiences? 
Lol! Yes. I remember my very first year in school during our second semester exam, I and my friends had submitted our exam sheets. While walking towards the gate, some cult guys stormed the campus. Everybody, I mean, the gate man, lecturers in the halls and the ones in the school offices took to their heels. Some students went home with their exam sheets. Some misplaced their school fees receipt. The whole campus became a war zone. Students were scaling the fence. It was really shocking because that was my very first time of experiencing such. The next day, we heard that the lecturer who invigilated in my hall that day was beheaded. Apparently, he was their target.

What inspires you? 
I’m mostly inspired by things I see at events,  I get inspired from the challenges I face. The lesson learnt can be perfect to help someone else. I find lots of inspiration through visuals and social media websites like Pinterest and Instagram.

Who are your role model? 
A have a few role models. I have Ayo Rotimi, Ayo is a Social Media Strategist. I look up to Ayeni D’great of BHM; Femi Awoyemi of  Proshare. All these people have been able to run all their online businesses successfully.

Can you tell us what style means to you?
Style to me means doing things in my own way. Ways that I’m totally comfortable with it.  

Are you into labels? If yes, who is your favourite designer? 
I was a lover of LV but these days, I’m just cool with anything that looks good.

What's your favourite fashion item? 
I love dresses. They are my favourite at the moment

Your signature perfume? 
I don’t really have any. I’m a very simple person. If the fragrance is nice then am good with it.

Your advice to young ones that might want to take up Blogging as a career? 
Don’t start a blog because you want to make money from it. Be sure you have genuine passion for blogging. Ask yourself questions and provide sincere answers. Ask yourself if you’ll be able to cope with the challenges of starting a blog. Find your own voice, find out what works for you and stick to it. Be unique, be creative. At the initial stage of your blog, work on getting traffic to the blog; work on building your brand. Be confident, be persistent. Involve God in everything you do regarding the blog.


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