Hi, fellow thoughtful Cocoa Diaries Readers,
It’s always great to catch up with you and share news and exciting updates.
How is Cocoa Diaries Doing?
Cocoa Diaries is doing very well. We are consistently increasing in readership, as demonstrated in Graph 1 below. Substack has been beneficial in promoting our work. As I informed you in earlier updates, Cocoa Diaries was featured on Substack's “What to read” as one of the newsletters to read and follow. You can find the article here. This feature has helped grow our paid and free subscriptions. We have also been accepted into the “Substack grow” initiative to network with fellow writers and share our knowledge and expertise on our strategies to make our newsletters more impactful.
Since we started publishing in February 2022, we have had an average open rate of 60% after 25 hours of posting an article. It’s exciting because our opening rate is almost twice the global average estimate of 30.35%. This demonstrates that Cocoa Diaries readers are quality and focused readers who cherish the depth of research we do and the knowledge we are putting across and are very committed to reading our articles. Because our work is research-intensive and development-focused, we focused on quality posting rather than just being a regular poster. So there may be times we may not be posting as much, and that will be because we will be researching and validating our data to ensure we give you high-quality information.
What Content do we have for you in July and August?
For the past four months, we have interviewed various industry stakeholders to dig deeper into their business operations within the cocoa sector. We have also interviewed others to discuss some of their public rhetoric on innovations introduced and the shout of their renewed commitment to reviving their standing in the cocoa industry.
We have interviewed the management of KOA-Impact Ghana & Switzerland to explore their business operations and the radical transparency system they have developed. Nigeria has also taken the news space in the last five months with their commitment to outperform Ghana and the Ivory Coast in cocoa production. So I interviewed the President of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigerian to understand where this motivation is coming from all of a sudden, the external stakeholders behind this, their awareness of any consequences of this big step and how they intend to operate to not make the same mistakes Ghana and Ivory have made and continue to make. We have also been interviewing Fairtrade through an email information request to ask more questions, request data for analysis, etc. We are also booking other interviews, especially with European Ambassadors to Cocoa producing countries, to explore the policy side of the issues within the sector. I hope to also secure interviews with chocolate manufacturers and cocoa processing companies.
Cocoa Diaries' new initiative to enhance engagement with readers
We are looking to trail Substack’s “New thread feature” as another means of engaging with you, the readers. This thread feature on Substack is like a tweet to which you can respond with your point of view. This idea came as a suggestion from a reader who felt that there should be a space for readers to have their take on various topics. All the conversation stays here on Cocoa Diaries’ Substack. We believe your feedback is beneficial to us, especially your diverse perspective, which can disagree with our point of view or may agree from a different perspective. We can all learn and challenge our thoughts in such conversation. So, we would encourage you to participate and contribute to the thread when we start.
We will also be introducing very soon “Cocoa Clinics”. Cocoa Clinics will be a monthly virtual face-to-face engagement with readers and people interested in the sector to discuss the latest news and development within the industry and specific topics you suggest. This will be a pay-to-attend subscription event. We hope to bring resource persons to the clinic where needed. Our vision is to create an informal space to help readers and people with interest in the sector to ask me questions, network and exchange knowledge with each other on how to tackle some of the issues within the industry that they are championing. So we will trial this Cocoa Clinic very soon to see if stakeholders will be interested.
Why you should become a paid subscriber
I do appreciate everyone’s effort in subscribing to Cocoa Diaries. I want to encourage our free subscribers to become paid subscribers. This is because the cocoa sector is very closed, where any voice against the norm is punished with unemployment. This has happened to me, and being a cocoa farmer’s son wasn’t good enough to help me gain a job in the sector. Becoming a paid subscriber will resource me to keep up with the work. I want o go to Ghana and other cocoa-growing areas to conduct more interviews with different stakeholders, but without the funding, I wouldn’t be able to do this. The mainstream media denies you and the world's people the needed information and quality news that challenges people in power and helps make the necessary change. Independent writers like us help the world by presenting the other points of view that don’t make it to the mainstream media. So kindly become a paid subscriber by visiting https://cocoadiaries.substack.com/subscribe.
How can you help the Cocoa Diaries to Grow?
Your subscription to Cocoa, Diaries is the biggest step that has helped us grow to this stage. Another way to help Cocoa Diaries grow is to recommend us to your family and friends to subscribe to us. Secondly, you can share our articles on social media to spread the word. You can tag me in your post if you want to via my social media below:
You can also recommend us to speak at conferences or administer workshops on topics in the sector. We highly recommend these conferences and workshops to pay for our participation because the only product we offer is our knowledge as opposed to Chocolate that can be sold to generate revenue. Whereas conferences are great platforms that have the potential to increase our subscription numbers, rose, a paid subscription is uncertain. Hence paying us to speak at conferences or facilitate workshops or discussions is one step in helping us keep up with this work. We also offer one-to-one paid consultations where you can book to speak with me on any topic via any virtual platform. If you want me to meet with you in person, you will have to fund my travel and other expenses that come with it and assure me of my safety. If you have any ideas on how we can grow or want to contact me, you can do so by email via firstname.lastname@example.org.