Supervising a team of only four, Cameroon national Céline Victoria Fotso built an online entertainment platform that currently generates over 1.5 million page views every month. Je Wanda Magazine, which is based in Yaoundé, Cameroon, caters to a demand for Africa-centred content about entertainment and trends. Céline shares her learnings from a journey she embarked on in November 2010, all on her own.
“A rising generation of young African adults is craving for content that steers away from traditional news media”, says Céline. “In Cameroon, for example, news outlets publish about economics, politics, and soccer – topics not necessarily of interest to a 23-year-old African metropolitan.” The online Je Wanda Magazine targets this ‘Afropolitan,’ and publishes news content about music, fashion, arts, business, cinema, lifestyle, buzz, and other topics that are cared about by its community of followers.
Since she set out in 2010, Céline learned that an entrepreneur should be able to let go of her original plan. In 2009, Céline started a Facebook page to share photos, videos and music, and wanted to sell street wear. As she went, the idea arose to start a website, an online platform.
“I love writing, and realised a website would allow me to add depth to my content and ultimately monetise my work. But not for a split second did I imagine Je Wanda Magazine would become the success it is today. This tells me an open mind and flexible attitude towards one’s own entrepreneurship are crucial ingredients for progress and success.” Je Wanda Magazine collects revenue from selling advertorial space on its website. This includes banners, native advertising, tailor-made content and skins that portray advertisers’ brands.
Céline’s journey began in 2010. For a couple of years she managed her website’s daily operations by herself, while occasionally relying on other contributors. However, when she hit 1 million monthly page views, she realised she crossed an important milestone. The need for a team arose. Since the summer of 2015, Je Wanda Magazine occupies an office in Yaoundé and is growing its team of employees and interns. “Only because of my team could the website push from 1 million to 1.5 million monthly page views in a very short amount of time. Today we host around 200,000 unique visitors every month, have 200,000 Facebook fans, 50,000 followers on Twitter, and 20,000 Instagram followers.”
Point of departure
For Céline, focus is an important ingredient. “If you pursue the big crowd, you will end up with no one. An online entertainment platform like Je Wanda Magazine needs an editorial focus. If focus lacks readers don’t know what they are coming for and in the end you lose everyone.” The former is perfectly embodied in the platform’s name ‘Je Wanda’, a Cameroonian expression frequently used by teenagers and young adults. ‘Je Wanda’ blends English and French to express wonder and surprise.
What does the future hold for Je Wanda Magazine, we finally ask Céline. “To me, Je Wanda Magazine is a point of departure. In the future it will be part of Club Wandastique, an umbrella platform I launched in June 2015 for the various brands I own as well as want to set up in the future. Je Wanda Magazine created a very strong brand identity and gives us the opportunity to carry out market research. By means of Je Wanda Magazine, I am constantly in touch with my potential clients. This helps me understand what they are looking for. Which is vital information for the products and services I want to create in the future!