Last week I had lunch with Dennis (Founder of my managing company, TIN), William and Chee Seng. Basically we met up so that we can catch up and for me to sign their contract.
Of course, over meal we had conversations revolving around the topics of the recent controversial post which garnered up to 3.6k readership (Thanks so much people!) and several other topics relating to social media.
Dennis then asked me a question "What do you think of the blogging scene?"
And that brings me to blogging this post . My answer to him in summary was that "There is no longer black or white areas. It is all blurred and grey now."
Maybe this post will once again, get a lot of hates or tons of negative comments. But we all do agree that we have the right to agree to disagree. So, like what some always like to mention in their nasty comments "This is my opinion", and I am giving it back to you, "This is my opinion".
Opinions are never meant to be right or wrong but open for discussion. I welcome all sorts of discussions with regards to this post as well :)
There are many types of new bloggers (I give it to you guys and address everyone as blogger then, so don't complain) nowadays. In fact there are so many of them to the extent that I am no longer familiar with any of them. Hell, I am glad that I still have my "batch mates" with me. Phew.
I was telling Dennis that, when my friends and I started blogging around 5-6 years ago, we all started as a journal, which I think a lot of us do so in secondary school. We were only exposed to events when we realised that there are companies or agents such as NuffNang and OMY. We weren't invited to events, we RSVP-ed for them back then. The difference between invitation and RSVP is that, invitation is when the organiser directly approach us to attend an event and RSVP means we sign up for it. For example those free conference talks and we RSVP so as to secure a seat for it.
Going to events for the first few times, we didn't expect much from it. In fact, we didn't even know what to expect! But the greatest return for attending many events was that we manage to get ourselves exposed to many other PR companies, which means that we get to attend more events. It was more of a platform for us to meet new friends and engaging with them back then. Of course, not forgetting the fact that some events are so great that we can meet celebrity bloggers that we always adored!
That was what blogging was for us back then. However, other bloggers and myself do realise that there is definitely tons and tons of misconception about blogging amongst the newer generation of people who wants to start getting into the blogging scene.
The first prominent one is that: They equate blogger as being able to get tons of freebies!
Well…I got to be fair and say that this is true to a certain extent. Do take note that I am mentioning about the newer generation of bloggers or those who are trying to make something out of their blogs.
Many of them actually wants to start blogging because they have this mindset that they can get lots and lots of free stuffs and sponsors or even invitation to food testing, which also shout out to them FREE! I may not be the best candidate to point out what is wrong or right, but this is not the right mindset to start with if you want to start a blog.
You have to understand that, getting sponsors is no easy feat. I mean, you have to see all the effort that we've placed in and all the behind-the-scene work that took place. For many of the friends that I've made through blogging, a lot of us started with joining blogging competitions and tons of exposing ourselves to different companies' engagements. I can tell you that the amount of time that I spent in front of my computer editing photos and then drafting out a blogpost back then was so so much, to the extent that I kind of neglected my studies. My weekends were filled with tons of events, one after another. Sounds so desperate right? Haha. I think I am man!
But my point is, yes you all see the glamorous sides of those celebrity bloggers like XiaXue etc. Sponsors flowing in to them like a running tap. Or maybe mediocre people like us who owns a blog, who also managed to get sponsors too. I felt the sense of achievement when I got 2 good years of sponsors from HTC itself, getting free phones whenever they release a new one, and also getting Beats Headphone and many more! We didn't start off blogging thinking that we will get all of these. Till today, all these seems very surreal to me. And of course, I do not deny that when the sponsors start flowing in, it does motivates me to blog even more!
The only "freebies" that are up for grab, are the friendships and connections which you can forge and make during the events that you attend. Everything else after that, is through shear hard work. It is just like a stepping stone.
You want to earn your sponsors and "free" stuffs? Then you gotta Work It Bitch, like what Britney will say! But NEVER start blogging just because you want to get free products. Because a person who blogs with pure passion and those who just wants fame (like me previously), you will realise that the quality of the post you produced, is not on par to those who really blog for interest.
Then, I did mention previously, a lot of people wants to blog because they want "Fame" too!
That was what I wanted back then! I adore bloggers like TypicalBen and Yutakis because they are the few male bloggers in Singapore who made it real big! As such, I was working towards that direction, but I lost myself and was so immerse in getting there that I realised that I find blogging taking a toll on me. There was this point of time when I felt so tired that I just totally didn't blog as much and disappeared for a good 1 year plus. A lot of you should have realised that.
My advise, from experience, will be to take things naturally and let it flow on its own course.
Sometimes you will realise that when you don't focus so much on something, the result might actually be much greater than when you do. There is a Chinese saying "可遇不可求" which means that some things are not meant to be forced.
Some people just make it big overnight! I am nowhere near Stardom or Fame. I am not saying that we can't pursue after it, because for certain group of people, effort does contribute a big portion. However, from time to time, the star quality that others have comes from within. It is as though its in born. So, take things naturally because at times when we are focused too much on wanting fame and glory, we lose ourselves even more.
Another thing about being desperate is that, the newer generation of bloggers are so desperate to flaunt that they have "sponsors" or "advertorials", to the extent that they are willing to accept any pea amounts in return for tons of advertising.
For example, Company D is looking at Blogger A and Blogger B, and contemplating who to hire to endorse their products and to advertise about it. Blogger A is a less well-known blogger, just started blogging not long and has a readership of less than 100 per day. Whereas on the other hand, Blogger B, is a relatively well-known blogger, with readership over 1000 every single day.
However, Company D, decided to hire Blogger A instead because Blogger A charges only $50 for a blog post, instagram ad and tweet ad. But, Blogger B, is charging around $500 for it. This actually clouds up the decision making process for companies. Because they no longer look at the efficiency of advertising by hiring Blogger A! Why is this so? Because there are just too many new/desperate bloggers out there who don't know the rates. All they want is to get the sponsor and telling others that they are endorsing their products.
But then again, we can't really blame them because the decision making likes in the hands of the client at the end of the day. However, they must realise that what they are targeting at for returns, might not be fulfilled because the amount of audience that they can reach out to, is not that broad. So, do you think it is because of the newer bloggers' actions that made it harder for the more pioneer bloggers to remain in the industry? Or is it because, companies nowadays are just not willing to pay a higher amount, despite the fact that a wider amount of audience could be reached out too?
Do state your view on this!
Content plays an even greater part in making your blog seems worthy of our time to read!
I told Dennis "In recent years, I've browsed through many blogs, belonging to people whom I've known through events. But it took me less than a minute, and my cursor is already at the "Red Cross" at the corner of the webpage.
Why is this so? The content is so boring!
There are actually many levels of "boring-ness". The most common type are those blogs with tons of advertorials, one after another. Events after events. It is as though I am watching commercials, just that it is in the blog form. People do not want to read a blog where it is just advertorials one after another. Sometimes, we want to have some good read!
Some good examples will be like blog post on the places you've travelled to recently, or even touch on some recent controversial topics, or whatever that is trending at the point of time! Having blog posts with you stating out your own opinions, actually opens up the platform for people to voice out their point of view too. This makes your blog interesting as people have the chance to debate with you!
One great example will be our very own local Blogger Queen, XiaXue! How do all of us get to know her? Because of all the posts that she did in the past! I remembered clearly that she would voice out her opinions without caring what others think of her. That made her stood out from the rest. However, I will need to point out to a lot of younger bloggers out there that, this doesn't give us the green light to do the same as her. Because, that is XiaXue. The reason she stood out from the rest was because back then, nobody dared to do the same as her. She was DIFFERENT. But, if you were to do the exact same as her now, people will judge you because you're just trying hard. So, don't try.
Start branching out and expose your blog to more stuffs. It certainly beats reading a blog that just touch on all the products that you were sponsored with. Never exclude advertorials, but don't overdo it. Striking a balance is the essence to catering to a wider scope of targeted audience as well as striking a variation in your blog posts.
Last but not least, I guess we all need to learn how to package and advertise ourselves to potential clients in the industry.
On first impression, most of the clients will be looking at our blogs. I am not implying that we all have to spend money on getting a web designer to do up you blog. Because there are times where contents matters more, and one good example will be our own Budget Barbie, BongQiuQiu. She started off with very simple blogspot's free template. Look where she stands now!
But if you can afford to, then I would say that investment in a good blog layout and design will be helpful. Also, how you portray yourself, your image, to the community plays a part too. If you are those who are very hardworking and places a lot of effort in your posts, there is a very high possibility that you'll be recognised by many clients. Because the main purpose of clients is to promote their products or events, as such, they would need a suitable candidate to endorse their brand. That is when image plays a part and of course, the effort which you place in your work.
In short, make everything interesting as much as possible! Including yourself! Make yourself different from others so that you can stand out even more :)
Like any industry, every has an equal amount of chances and opportunities. It is up for us to grab. Take the showbiz as an example, we always feel that the more experiences artistes will always be "up there" and irreplaceable. Yes, they might not be irreplaceable in the hearts of many, but do take note that, one day they will quit the industry, or even demise from this world. Who is left to take over them? The newer generations of artistes.
That is why we are seeing the younger generation working very hard in the industry as though things might seem very tough for them. But one day, just one day in the future, the stage will be theirs and they will/might be standing where the current "Ah Ge" and "Ah Jie" are at, being at the top of the whole industry,
Likewise for blogging, nobody said that you WILL NEVER make it. But, nobody mentioned that things will be easy for you too. We all learn from one another and try to make ourselves better than who we were yesterday. Jia you to everyone out there who are trying hard to blog and making a name out for yourself!
Let's all work together and make it a more pleasant experience for every single one of us!:)