Regardless of whether her new ventures or business ideas become successful or not, Linda Ikeji is already a legend. It is quite possible that the former model is Africa’s most popular blogger and the fact that she has been able to remain relevant (and successful), despite the many controversies that constantly surround her, is testament to the juggernaut that is this woman.
But when you say someone or something is important, they have to be able to do more than stay relevant and make some money. Let me explain:
The kind of cultural impact that Linda Ikeji has had is damn near unmatched. Post-Linda all kinds of people started to open and actively operate blogs (not only in Nigeria too). Every day, thousands of people flock to the comments section of her blog and even more people visit her blog daily. Anything Linda says is gospel.
She doesn’t need fancy writing chops or even a great deal of ethical awareness – the people keep coming, even to the point where she effectively determined what the industry rate for a sponsored post is today (Yes, advertisers use the Linda Ikeji standard when they inquire about ad rates on websites and blogs).
Socially, countless Nigerian women have gone after their dreams because Linda did it and many others eat what Linda eats, wear (or attempt to wear) clothes because Linda wore them, and take up opinions because Linda shares same. Linda Ikeji, through her blog, businesses or other interests, is a huge cultural movement in itself.
First Proof of Concept That You Can Make Money Off Digital Media in Nigeria
The Linda Ikeji Blog (LIB) is basically the first ever proof of concept that you can make money off digital media in Nigeria – if there was any before her, they’ve either faded away or failed as a business, at the very least. Before the countless blogs, influencers, Instagram comedians, and YouTube stars, LIB was the first to prove that you could make money off consumer Internet media in Nigeria.
Some may argue that she also sowed the seed of unimaginative click-bait headlines in the Nigerian digital media space but she also helped define metrics like engagement, uniques and other metrics through which the Nigerian digital media industry grades itself today.
We Don’t Have To Make Her Mistakes
Linda Ikeji didn’t know what she was doing when she started blogging. There was no Nigerian blueprint on becoming a [successful] blogger so she made (and is still making) a lot of mistakes which the rest of the industry or an aspiring blogger in Katsina today can avoid. Even in terms of her business ventures, Linda has made the mistakes so others who will come after her will not have to.
A great example of this is Linda Ikeji Social, the social network she launched back in 2016. The Facebook-esque platform was the talk of the Nigerian Internet village square when it launched with the promise of paying users for generating content, among other stuff. Unfortunately, that model was doomed to fail from the get go and today, the platform is way less prominent.
LIB Is Basically An Incubator
“As long as she is interested in it, Linda is not afraid to try anything,” said Fu’ad Lawal, Content Strategist at Big Cabal Media, during a conversation about this article. “She [and her ventures] are Nigeria’s biggest mass market product.”
From Linda Ikeji Blog, Linda Ikeji Social, Linda Ikeji Music, Linda Ikeji Radio, the newly launched Linda Ikeji TV and a ‘rumoured’ terrestrial TV station in the works, Linda Ikeji’s fortune and status did not come from playing it safe. In very incubator-like fashion (and with LIB as a sort of launch pad), Linda Ikeji has spun out a social platform, a music website, an online radio station and launched an online streaming service.
Granted it would make more sense to invest all of that dough into people/products other than Linda Ikeji, but its not hard to see the Linda Ikeji empire as a product factory not unlike incubators across the continent.
Linda Ikeji is an integral part of the Internet-age Nigeria and her contributions, albeit indirect, have been instrumental in shaping what we’ve come to know as new media (as a format or as a business) in Nigeria today. Fu’ad summed it up perfectly: “Linda’s success in whatever she succeeds at is evidence of what is possible for everyone else.”
Caveat: In writing this story I came to realize just how little information there was on the Internet about Linda Ikeji’s business(es) – some of the posits and details shared in this piece are a result of industry knowledge and reliable sources. Linda barely shares any info about her business(es) with the public (for example, many veterans I spoke to could only guess LIB’s monthly traffic numbers at best).