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Blog Tips for EXTRA Credibility in Sponsored Manila Events

Sucked into the “blogging thing” and now attending blog events? Read on.

You’ve seen medicine bottles having labels such as “fast acting” and “long lasting.” Some even have “extra” for “extra strength.” Sure, you know deep down it’s just marketing boohoo but you still end up buying that bottle. You know what? Maybe the same can be said for blogging, especially when we attend events. In this post, I will elaborate more on blog events and engaging with PR agencies, independent publicists, and marketing managers as a blogger in Manila.

Here are some thoughts to guide you through attending events. There’s nothing wrong with doing so — in fact we’re probably the only country that engages bloggers as a relevant part of the “media” through face to face engagements.

Let’s do this!

The truth is, a lot of PR practitioners do not read your blog. Sad right? But it’s true! They only do when you email them the post you proudly wrote. The most obvious sign that they don’t read is when they tell you after an event “hey can you email me when your post is up?” As a blogger who’s probably new to PR engagements, you aim to please. As a glossy journo for tech, that is one of the biggest insults ever known to someone in the publishing industry (You’re attending events right? You’re getting press kits right? So yes you’re now part of the industry). It’s the publicist’s job to collate media values (including those posts in your blog) — not you. In fact they aren’t even supposed to pester you to ask if you’ve written about them.

Let’s go to the “extra” i was talking about in the first paragraph. You can’t buy credibility. In fact, credibility is all you’ve got as a blogger. So let’s assume that you are fairly credible – you write fairly well, you know some optimization tricks, you take decent photos … but wait — why does your blog template suck?. First impressions last, especially in this industry. Go for EXTRA credibility. Ask yourself this question — do you think that out of the hundreds of thousands of free templates, there is one that actually says “this is me.” I’m not saying that you should spend an arm and a leg for a new template (mine is from Gisele — check out her amazing portfolio). Differentiate yourself with a layout that truly identifies you as you. If you don’t know how to design, get help. We are a community after all. The last thing you want is a template that vaguely resembles someone else’. There is no excuse. You are after all, part of the “industry” now (I can’t stop highlighting this!). Oh maybe buy your own domain while you’re at it.

If you want to be known, be known for only one or two things, and make sure you do these well. To the SEO and blogging industry, having many blogs is absolutely normal. But when you start to engage marketers, you don’t say “hello, I write for twenty blogs.” They won’t see you as a brand. They’ll see you as a production house. You’ll know this when they give you a sheepish grin. Trust me, I’ve seen it before.

But what about those really good writers who’ve made names for themselves and don’t really have a professional looking blog? See, that’s the thing – they’ve already made a name for themselves. Or .. their popularity has exceeded the need for them to dress up. Again, I’m just talking about getting the “extra.”

You know if you’re going to take home something from all of this, it would be a call to action to let there be some sort of harmony with your online brand and yourself, since you are seen every week! You can’t separate it — even if you wanted to.

About the author

Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

32 Comments

  • Sounds basic but there must be many bloggers out there who have an overblown sense of identity–I’m not even talking about being a brand name but a simple cohesive personality that they are supposed to project, individuality, in other words. But what is that to PR if it doesn’t draw the buying crowd. Even this template of yours, tbqh, doesn’t mean much.

    My suggestion is this: think about how branding oneself online in our country is different from the US, Japan and Europe. You’ll note that online popularity and even a persistent presence in the Internet, blogosphere, what have you, accounts for very little. That cosplay girl (can’t even try to google her name) is a brand name for a very traditional media reason: she’s pretty.

    On a related topic, I find foreign PR firms very sensitive to the blogger’s ego. Our little cameo for Sprint Instinct involved a lot of interaction from their PR department and even involved contracts and a free lawyer. Probably has a lot to do with precedence as well. Filipino web professionals, unlike those in the US, just haven’t made their mark yet.

  • And just to add. I don’t quite agree that we have to comport ourselves to be more easily understood by PR. Philippine PR firms can be quite amateurish and even unprofessional. Most of what they do is simply inviting friends to events. If they do not understand what we have to offer, it’s their funeral. However, it’s another matter altogether if you want to cross over to their field.

  • hi again BrianB,

    regarding this:

    “On a related topic, I find foreign PR firms very sensitive to the blogger’s ego. Our little cameo for Sprint Instinct involved a lot of interaction from their PR department and even involved contracts and a free lawyer. Probably has a lot to do with precedence as well. Filipino web professionals, unlike those in the US, just haven’t made their mark yet.”

    not always true. the main difference between local and US based PR firms is geography. a lot of items converge in Manila that is why we’re more below the line oriented, which is essentially cheaper. i read a lot of complaints with foreign press / bloggers on PR agencies who just don’t get it.

    my post is meant for bloggers who are already attending events. it is the fact of the matter thing.

    i appreciate your input — beneath it all, PR agencies must answer the question of what their goals are. if they’re riding the formula of having bloggers in events the same way media works, then MAYBE they are successful to the extent that they can report back to their client that yes, I got bloggers in. it’s the new “thing.”

    but online campaings have different metrics for success – SERPS for instance is one.

    at the end of the day, most PR agencies in the PH have approached me with this question — how do you measure value for blogs? the fact that they ask this means that maybe, just maybe, they invite for the sheer blogger fad. there are exceptions, especially in tech and highly sought after keywords (entertainment) but some events just don’t make sense.

    the problem PR might encounter is that they don’t see blogging as a comprehensive campaign. there’s more to it than blogs. it is just one way to reach out. any good comprehensive campaign will have technology + good old strategies that have worked for years.

    thanks!

  • How do YOU measure value for blogs?

    As a medium they see you as little better than word of mouth. Go beyond the jargon, what you have is a market that doesn’t even know the difference of a popular blog (traffic) and a blogger who is popular (knows a lot of people). We haven’t even come to that point wherein PR people think about how blogger credibility is outweighed by the characteristic of the medium itself. Imagine MLQ3 promoting a product, even a book. Sharon Cuneta eating at McDonald’s is in a totally different plane compared to Jayvee buying a Nokia phone.

    Before blogs, what do these PR people will probably still invite you. I remember I get RSVPd to this or that launching simply because I’m a friend of a friend.

  • hi again BrianB,

    bloggin in the PH is what we refer to as a “cottage industry” because we still have yet to find a tried and tested way to measure real value beyond advertising. i agree – it is a little bit better than word of mouth because at least we can quantify it. but i do believe there should be an industry standard or a biz model, and this is what’s been puzzling many marketers.

  • “I remember I get RSVPd to this or that launching simply because I’m a friend of a friend.”

    Just to clarify. When they used to invite “hangers-on” we probably felt the way present-day bloggers do in these events, like you really have nothing to offer in return of the free food and booze.

    They just cannot tell the difference between one blog which has a million readers a month and another which has two hundred. Even all these blog rankings by traffic, by vote do not help much. And bloggers are not much help since they do not want to offend their blogger friends by creating an hierarchy based on traffic or audience (what PR people really need) or other PR-relevant criteria. I dare you to present such a fair ranking to your friends in PR. I’m sure once they have it, they’ll have a good idea what blogs can do.

  • Bonus tips: clean your code, make sure your servers are robust and well-configured, make sure your datacenter connectivity is solid for your target geographic market, and use a CDN. When attracting busy readers, a few hundred milliseconds can make all the difference.

    Extra bonus tip: implement the latest CMS features and plugins as appropriate to your audience. Conversations on my blog got even better when I implemented WordPress 2.7 comment threading. Content got even stickier when I implemented thumbnails and tabs in the sidebar.

    I’d give out more tips, but then I’d have to charge. 😉

  • I agree with Markku 100 %

    “Let’s just say there’s more to blogging than just blog events. I guess that’s a good reminder for everyone.”

    There are way too many blog events cropping up that I don’t find it worth attending anymore.

    Kaya, plurkfiesta na!

  • @noemi

    hi! i think i know where you’re coming from regarding events. however, let’s look at it another way: several of those who have been attending events since 2006 (or earlier) will notice a huge difference in the number of events today. nowadays we have one every week. is this necessarily a bad thing? no it isn’t.

    the fact of the matter is, this is quite the normal in mainstream media to have many event invites. do we have to attend all? no. so why should we criticize?

    who are we to judge, when back in the day (’06- early ’08) we were all so excited to attend these events. it was new for us back in the day, and it is new for those who are just starting.

    the difference between blog events and media events isn’t in the event itself — it’s the fact that bloggers do it more for fun, while the media do it to fill pages. now that’s something to think about.

  • You are right in the first two paragraphs, Jayvee that’s why I don’t find it worth attending some events anymore. About the last paragraph, that is not quite accurate because you were not in some of those events I attended.

  • It should be noted that the increase in the number of events is an indication of the PR, marketing and business firms use of online media – blogs et al. As I see it there is no major difference between events from 06 to today.

    In fact its the PR and Marketing’s job to make it interesting for media – both tv, print and online. I have been to a number of events both for bloggers and print only. As far as I can see the tone and nature has not changed. They range from the most simple to the most zaniest. But there has not been a remarkable change. Its the same.

    There are more bloggers getting into it. And it seems not all are in it for the story. The event becomes the end rather than the means.

    Sadly its a mirror of what happens in other media as well. What is it making a career out of events. Well its none of my business if individuals choose to do this. But for me it dulls the medium.

  • I’ve worked with a number of PR agencies and it’s true that some really don’t read or track blogs, not because they don’t want to. Blogging is a fairly new medium and there aren’t any rules set yet. I always get asked about blogging metrics and it’s pretty hard to come up with a standard especially since the medium keeps evolving. And I understand why it may seem out of this world for PR practitioners who aren’t really online people. They wouldn’t even really know how to choose whom to invite to these events. I think it’s our job also to help them understand how things go.

    I also agree with Juned that it’s pretty amazing how traditional marketers are embracing this new medium. I’ve been in the online advertising industry for 8 years now and what’s happening now would’ve been unheard of 8 years ago. It’s pretty much what my mentor said, “Mass marketing will definitely move to direct marketing.”

    As for bloggers, to each his own. We have our own objectives for blogging. I’d love to attend as many events as possible since I get to meet a lot of new people, but I just can’t keep up (and my muse dies out on me if I have stuff lined up) and I have other priorities. Your credibility shines through your content.

  • Everyone has the freedom to attend as many as they want. What I said is my personal stand not a criticism per se and of which I don’t impose on others.

  • I have always been hoping that someone can sell blogs effectively to marketing and PR departments so we’d get better advertising rates. Businesses would rather waste their money on billboards and magazine ads rather than on ad partnerships with websites with direct-selling potentials.

    It doesn’t make sense right now. Why spend millions of something like a TV ad? You have no control over consumer response and changing your approach on a TV ad will cost millions and months of time delay. In a website, this can happen in a matter of days with limited expense.

  • I mean, for those bloggers with business in mind, shouldn’t we rather focus on effective advertising models rather than getting a free meal every chance we get? Think of the potential when advertisers master the landing page. Most of them get the CTRs but their landing pages suck. These pages have very low appeal to the average blog audience, who are just too savvy for generic sales pitches.

  • “We’re probably the only country that engages bloggers as a relevant part of the “media” through face to face engagements.” – oo nga no? Sa ibang bansa, wala ata.. 😀 hehe

    “The truth is, a lot of PR practitioners do not read your blog.” – Agree! And yung iba di na nag boblog, kaya nag sasayang lang ng pera yung nag invite 😀 Kaya ok lang din para sa iba na hindi nila basahin. 😀

    “In fact they aren’t even supposed to pester you to ask if you’ve written about them.” – I strongly agree 😀

  • haha, we share the same sentiments. it sucks when people don’t really read your post but says it cool..etc only to get few backlinks..hehe

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