When I started writing this article, I thought I’d end up with just 800 words or so. By the time I got to this introduction (I usually pause to jump to here and there), I was already half-way. After so many hours of tapping my laptop keyboard, percolating my Godiva Hazelnut coffee grind, and watching reruns of Castle, Finding Forrester, The Last Ship and Madam Secretary, I finally called it quits – at 6,835 words. Geez! 6,300 more words and I could have published a 50-page manuscript. Imagine that!
The scope of my thesis here is in the realm of what I do as a Blogger, and what most of my colleagues in the Philippine Bloggers Network do, too. Many of them, like myself, cover corporate events, from product or service launches to promoting a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative. My limitation is I don’t write about the entertainment world – film, movie and television press conferences, launch events, socials and parties, and the like. However, I love theater and musicals; so, these are part of my scope. Though I do not cover the fashion, cosmetics, toiletries, fragrances and the like, these categories are still run by top-notch organizations in the business of profit making. So, yes, they are still inside my scope, including my own thoughts, ideas, and work and personal experiences.
I am corporate guy with thirty-two years of experience, twenty-five in a managerial and C-level capacity, who decided to go freelancing for a very personal reason called “peace of mind.” Along the way, I found blogging on my own and later, entered the world of real bloggers. I am not a top blogger. I consider and describe myself as a hobby blogger, and also an experimental blogger, experiences of both which I use in my freelancing work and personal advocacies. This is my disclaimer.
Before you continue reading, please understand that everything I wrote here is not a figment of my imagination. It is based on my own experience and those relayed to me by other people – public relations agency officers, corporate and brand executives, and bloggers alike. My answers and conclusions are of my opinion and. Hey! I’m not old; I’m just mature-looking.
THE BLOGGER PROBLEM
So, let me proceed with a question that has long been a subject of controversy for me: Should bloggers be part of the Fourth Estate?
Let me try to answer that in one supposition and a series of questions, being a Blogger myself.
A Blogger is like a media reporter-journalist.
Is the blogger like a radio or television reporter, or print media journalist? Yes, of course. The digital channel is the fourth media channel to be reckoned with – first was print, then came radio, and to complete the “tri-media” definition, television. So, if public relations agencies, brands and companies use the word “media,” understand there are four channels of media today, not just three.
When the Blogger is invited to media events – company launches, product or service launches, press conferences, media roundtable conferences, and the like, the Blogger is like a media reporter-journalist. Like most media events, there are introductions, speeches, presentations, Q&A sessions and photo ops. The Blogger participates in all these.
Do all media people expect to be paid for covering the event?
No, because being paid to feature or write everything about the event in the most positive way, outside your legal compensation, constitutes a bribe. Though the word “payola” still exists today, it resides in some dark alley where none speak of its name even if it is something that still subsists. Legally, any form of payment means not only public disclosure but reciprocating it with proper internal revenue receipts. I am not going to go deeper into this subject matter. In truth, tri-media people and the Blogger expect to cover an event for the simple and sole reason of getting to report a story relevant to their media channel.
Why does the tri-media world cover events? If you look into the daily routine of tri-media reporters and journalists, many of them have daily quotas of news coverages, including feature or business news items that include corporate-related launches and presentations. Therefore, if the Blogger is like a media reporter-journalist, shouldn’t the former also follow daily quotas? Of course!
Why should a Blogger cover a corporate event?
The answer lies in the Blogger’s digital media channel – the blog. Is the subject matter related to the blog? Does it have anything to do with the overall theme of the blog? Will covering this media event add value to the blog?
If a Blogger is like a media reporter or journalist, then it is a must that the former cover media events like press conferences, product launches, company announcements, and the like. That is what creates content for the blog, that is what the readers of the blog look forward to and want, and that is what creates opportunities for both the blog and the Blogger.
But a Blogger can also be akin to a book author. However, books are tens if not hundreds of pages long with thousands of words in it. A single blog post cannot contain 27,000 words (that is how many words a hundred-page hardbound book with a standard dimension of 6-inches by 9-inches contain.) So, a Blogger is not a book author unless he or she is posting short opinions and essays about a book, a book review of sorts.
Can a Blogger be like a feature writer? Yes, even if there are no media events necessary to attend to. There are many blogs out there that churn out “How To” and “Top 10” articles, and some people call them blogs. In fact, this blog site you’re reading from is one of them. For my purpose in writing this article, let us stick to bloggers who attend media events to create content and following for their blogs.
Is it the fault of the Blogger that disappointments (from media events) sometimes reach the public domain of social media?
Yes, and no. Yes, bloggers should not rant if they did not receive something they expected when they attended the event. Ranting in public constitutes bad conduct, low esteem and ethics, and questionable morals. And no, it is not the fault of the Blogger because items of value being given out to media representatives during events have been an ongoing norm conducted by agencies and companies (“They started it.”)
But here is my observation: I rarely see a member of the tri-media world use a public domain such as Facebook to rant a disappoint about a media event. Why is that? It is because their corporate organization (their employer) and industry associations are also keeping a watchful eye on what they do, write or say outside the media channel. However, bloggers have no watchdogs. They have no associations nor organizations to keep tabs of what they do, write or say outside of blogging sphere. Hence, there is nobody to prevent or reprimand them for doing something foolish. It is all up to the Blogger to keep professionalism intact and reputation undamaged by way of self-discipline and maturity.
Are tri-media people preferred over bloggers?
This one is a long answer. So, have patience with me as I try to explain myself here.
Yes, but it is not a preferential decision by the PR agencies and their corporate clients. It has to do with numbers and quality.
First, how many television networks do you think there are which needs to cover corporate events? Probably a dozen, even less. How about radio networks? I’m guessing about a dozen in Metro Manila. Print media? Add another dozen major ones and half-a-dozen minor ones. My math here totals 42 tri-media representatives (ideally) all attending a single media event. However, by observation, I usually see just 10 or 15 percent of them present. I’ll explain why later in a paragraph labeled “Numbers.”
The second has something to do with quality. Tri-media companies have been around for over a century. They have well established policies, guidelines, processes, organization, templates, ethics, objectives and so on. They have groups and associations that allow collaboration, cooperation, watchdog services, legal and economic assistance, and (again) so on. Dealing with tri-media outfits is a no-brainer because they have structure and form. All these stem from organization, scope, job descriptions, hiring requirements, financial procedures, operating processes, internal and external audits, and (again) so on. The quality of work originates because all these exist.
On the other hand, blogging only started with the birth of the internet. The “web log” was first a diary more than a news and information web site. Through the years, it started to evolve because more online tools came in to play to help the web loggers (ergo, “bloggers”) perform better. In fact, it was only in the mid ‘90s that we all saw the birth of the internet in the Philippines. I was able to subscribe to the second ISP in the country in 1995; that was epic.net. I created my own web page in 1998, full of opinions and storytelling, but blogging? I probably started around 2006 or so. The first time I received my first gift certificate was late 2013, but that’s another story.
Today, anyone can be a Blogger – no educational or skills requirement, no organizational familiarity, no scope of work, no financial procedures, no standards in operations, and definitely no one to audit them. By the end of the first decade of the new Millennia, the number of bloggers started to skyrocket to where it is today – hundreds of very active ones and many thousands more trying to be one of the hundreds.
If tri-media have categories (segregation by subject matter) within their organization, the Blogger is sparse and scattered. One blogger can be focused on travel, another on technology gadgets, there’s one for food, another for fashion, and so on. Then one day, the term “Lifestyle Blogger” was invented. Suddenly, the Lifestyle Blogger gets invited to press conferences and events regardless of category or subject matter. For me, the term actually meant “I can write about anything under the sun and it will fit into my blog.” Call the Lifestyle Blogger a “Jack of All Trades” category of bloggers.
If tri-media has several people focused on specialized tasks, the Blogger is a one-man or one-woman organization – no manager or supervisor to lead them, no human resources group to train and develop them, no GM or CEO to rally them, no sales team to find income for them, no marketing unit to promote them, and no finance department to account for their expenses. All these groups, teams and departments is “The Blogger.” Such a tall order to ask of the Blogger that he or she has to be the brightest, smartest, most skilled and most mature person in the entire media field. Call him Superman or Wonder Woman. That is what is expected – super powers.
And so I go back to the question of this section: Are tri-media people preferred over bloggers? The answer is still a yes.
Numbers: There are too few tri-media entities who will want to cover a corporate media event that agencies and PR departments will go beyond the norm to make sure they attend the event. Since there are too many bloggers out there, a selection process ensues. The usual result is that bloggers sometimes go overboard to make sure they get invited, especially when consumer devices and big brands are involved.
Quality: The perception of the titans of media are still the tri-media outfits. Agencies and companies know that the expectation in espousing their corporate event is finite. The dailies have their standard timetable of printing the story; the television and radio networks will air it the following day or within the week; and the magazines will have it out by next issue. But the Blogger? Who knows? It depends on their mood. Why do I say this? I’m not being harsh against the Blogger; I am (still) one of them. However, talk to the agencies and companies dealing with bloggers and many will sing that kind of tune or answer, privately. There are, of course, bloggers who post it right away, and agencies and companies know they can rely on those bloggers who do this consistently. However, many others put it under the pile of “to do” lists. Still, there are those who won’t even bother to write it until a blinding glimpse of the obvious strikes them with a shouting reply, “OMG! I forgot to post it!”
So, that’s “too few tri-media reps versus too many bloggers” and “a finite, existing schedule versus no definite timetable at all.” Who do you think is favored all the time? The Blogger can never compete with tri-media because the latter is an entity of many people with available expenditures and set systems and structure that trumps the Blogger a thousand times. So, what can the Blogger do?
THE BLOGGER SOLUTION
What is the solution that will drive the Blogger to rise beyond the norm and become a reputable, respected and known media person? Mimic and learn from tri-media. I’m not talking about an individual journalist or reporter. I’m talking about the tri-media organization as a whole. Mimic and learn from the entity. With this, I have six solutions to offer.
THE CORPORATE WAY
Tri-media outfits are still run the corporate way. Regardless of how you look at them, every entity is a legal corporation with systems and structure. There is no democracy in the corporate way because the organization is very hierarchical and the reporting structure looks more autocratic or feudal than anything else. Processes and policies are the norms, and people who have worked in these kinds of organizations for years bring corporate habits to their next corporate job. For most, freelancing only happens upon retirement.
But some bloggers have never been or have had just a few years in a corporate setting. Which means the Blogger needs training and education to properly deal with the corporate nuances of a real one-man/one-woman media organization. Corporate process (the how), policy and standard (the what), and ethics (the why) is the world where agencies, companies and tri-media firms live in. The Blogger has to live in the same world and embrace (at least) some of the ways these entities do things for and with each other.
Still, in today’s digital age, shouldn’t the Blogger be the Millennia’s new type of media person? Of course! That would totally be awesome! Unfortunately, the Blogger is (still) dependent on agencies and companies. These enterprises continue to do things the corporate way. Being too different from their norms either confuses or shocks their institutions. The Blogger has no choice but to join the fray or meet them half-way.
Which brings me to another corporate acronym that even the smallest tri-media outfit has – vision, mission and values (or VMV).
As a one-man or one-woman show, what is a Blogger’s VMV? Chances are, some have never even thought about it. Without VMV, the agency, company or tri-media outfit will have no purpose, and will just wither and die as fast as it was built. Likewise, without VMV, the Blogger will act like a headless chicken – directionless; no purpose. The Blogger needs to understand it is important to identify VMV in what he or she does – blogging – even before he or she starts thinking of their product – the blog.
Company VMVs have long existed and continue to do so because it truly is the pinnacle or the starting point of everything they do in a corporate environment. Much the same, the Blogger needs to understand that in order to succeed, there has got to be a vision for his or her blog. The blog is the company, the product and service, all meshed up into one unit.
As a Blogger, your vision has to be realistic. It has to be quantifiable, too. For example, if I write “To be the best technology blog in the Philippines (in 12 months),” I have to make sure not only can my blog be ranked as number one (that is exactly what best means), I have to reach it in a specific duration and continue to rank number one until I decide to change my vision statement. Besides forecasting a timetable to reach the number one spot, I also have to shell out money to do so; money for hiring other writers, bloggers, photographers and graphic artists, with everyone traveling, including yourself, to press conferences, product launches, demos, socials, expositions and exhibits, etc. If you think you can own and manage the best technology blog in the country by yourself, you are not being realistic.
If vision statements are “to be” or the what, mission statements are “to do” or the how. Taking the high-reaching example above “To be the best technology blog in the Philippines,” I would craft my mission statement to be something like this:
“To deliver articles that are factual, immediately found, very definitive and easily referenced.”
There is one product statement and four action phrases inside my mission statement. I have to make sure these are backed up with plans, forecasts, money, labor and time.
My blog’s products are the articles that I write. Regardless if I have some video or infographics posted, my main and major product offering is still a written article. This means I should not be swayed by friends to do something else, like video blogs (or vlogs). I must stick to my key product – written articles.
Some bloggers will contest, “What about the awesome photographs I take and post?” Fine. You can make your mission statement, “To deliver articles with great photographs that are…” but make very darn sure each and every article you write and post comes with “great photographs,” and if you research the word “great,” you better not be surprised. No article in your blog should come with so-so photographs. Every time, it has to be great. Now, back to my thesis…
“Factual” means every word I write and post should be backed up by research. I have observed some bloggers hurriedly write their story or article without even doing research. Goodness! We are all lucky to have Google as our best friend today. Long before the internet, many of us had to use the telephone and go to libraries to back up our reports, essays or stories.
Continuing, others, on the other hand, just copy-paste a press release. Did you know that in my seven or so years of blogging, 7 out of 10 press releases have errors? The latest I received was about an erroneous hyperlink or web address. When you click the web address, it’s a 404 web page. By habit, I always check and research press releases given to me. What if the press release said the company is the top, not one of the top? Is the company really number one or not? Are you sure?
“Immediately found” means that my articles should be easy to find and easy to access. How will I make this happen? Top of mind and without any research, here is my list:
First, uptime of my blog should be 99.999 percent, just like any cloud-based app out there.
Second, my blog name and hyperlink should be easily remembered.
Third, my posts should always be ranked in the first page of a Google search for at least five basic keyword phrases; now, I need to find a darn, good way to make that happen. SEO, anyone?
Fourth, I should have at least 50 engagements for each article I post, meaning each one should have a lot of engagements, which leads to a lot of traffic.
Fifth, I should be posting at least five articles per day.
So, go figure the others that will make your blog immediately found.
“Very definitive” means going beyond the norm. It is very authoritative, very conclusive for the reader, the ultimate reference site for a device, and almost a perfect piece of prose. If everyone is writing about detailed product specifications, my blog needs to go beyond that. For example, I will open the device casing and start reporting what I find inside – yes, inside the dang device! Or maybe, I will expand each specification and write my definitive remarks, whether I agree or not, whether it should have used this or that, and so on. Should I go out of my way and have a personal nosebleed-interview with both the designer and the engineer who developed, created and crafted the device? It’s a strong statement that you’ve got to guarantee your readers.
“Easily referenced” is going to support “immediately found.” For example, there should be a 2-click sharing mechanism for readers. There should be no asking for e-mail addresses, no splash advertising box asking readers to like my Facebook Page every time they go somewhere inside my blog, and no loud music that’s blasting my neighbor’s mood to anger. Nothing is supposed to confuse or block my reader from wanting to read and share my article (pop-ups, anyone?) I want people to keep using my articles are a reference to whatever it is they like to share, their moods, their agreements and their need for a very definitive information.
All these mean that planning my blog should entail action plans (plural) per action phrase of my mission statement, all focused on my product offering – my blog – so that I reach my vision statement in a timeline that I have set. Have you even done just 10 percent of all these?
And then come the values. If the vision statement is my “to be” and the mission statement is my “to do”, then your values refer to your “to feel” that personifies both “to be” and “to do.” You are the CEO, GM, editor-in-chief, writer, journalist, reporter, researcher, copywriter, proofreader, photographer, graphics artist, sales rep, marketing rep, and publisher. What are the values dear to you that you want your blog to personify to your readers? You can come up with a lot of nice-sounding words from the dictionary but remember, you have to walk the talk. If you’re an introvert but you decided that one of your core values will be a “people person,’ expect conflict soon. As I keep harping when I’m often invited to speak about social media, “Your offline world and your online world have already intersected. So, if you are, in real life (that’s your offline world), shy yet you sound so outgoing in your online world, real friends and new offline acquaintances are going to get confused, disappointed, pissed off or freak out! So, be consistent. Be yourself in both worlds.”
For example, I once helped a magazine company come up with their VMV. Since we were having difficulty defining the missions statement, I decided to swoop down and have them tell me what they think their core values were. (Everyone from Managing Director down to Supervisor were present during our planning sessions). There were a lot of core values that were thrown at me, words like beauty, honesty, clean living, truthfulness, high standards, decorum, good, sincere, successful, highly effective, and so on. I came back to help continue defining the mission statement every time a core value was suggested, until we came up with a simple yet very powerful mission statement:
“To create what is true, good and beautiful great business.”
Your personal core values in life can be used to put a personality in your blog. The subject matter of the magazine I made as an example above was and still is “fashion.” Therefore, “beauty” was a key component of their personality because it was the product they espoused. No employee comes into the office in house clothes, un-ironed shirts and blouses, and the like. The word “good” meant the magazine always turned down articles and photographs that connotes nudity, hate, or antitheses to something positive, no matter how artistic it was or how much money they were willing to pay. “True” described everything is factual and backed up by research – no opinions or hypotheses. And “great business” is obvious – the magazine is a business by itself whose main objective is to generate profit.
Here’s another example. I once consulted for a print media company which publishes a newspaper-tabloid or newsmagazine twice a month and is circulated in 12 cities outside the Philippines. Obviously, their target market are migrant Filipinos living in these 12 cities, many of which are already citizens of their respective countries.
At first, the demand for the newsmagazine wasn’t great. So, I helped them personify the newsmagazine by asking, “Who do you want the reader of your newsmagazine to be?” Answers like “migrant Filipinos” and “first generation Filipinos” were thrown.
“No, be specific,” I said. “There’s got to be a name, a gender, an age, family members, an exact address, kind of work they do, where the kids study, how old they are, what are the routines in the household, and so on.”
To cut the story short, we finally came up with the target reader:
“Maria is 32 years old and is married to Juan, who is two years her senior. They migrated to Canada five years ago and have continued to live in a 70 square meter apartment in Lindsay Rd., Richmond, BC. They have two kids, Isabel at 9 and Oscar at 7, who both study at the nearby school just some 50 meters away from their apartment. Maria works dayshift at the airport as a store and merchandise clerk while Juan works in a chocolate factory on a night shift. This shifting makes it easy for them to bring their kids to school, pick them up and be with them at home. Maria loves reading about the entertainment world, and loves to follow what’s happening to the local celebrity scene back home (Philippines). Juan, on the other hand, continues to follow Filipino basketball. So, they both subscribe to TFC (The Filipino Channel) even if it costs them an extra $40+ per month.”
The personification is actually longer than that – about three pages – but we can’t have that here. Hence, I summarized it as written above. So, if you go through this kind of activity, what does doing this mean for your blog?
You will exactly know your target reader.
Each and every article will be written in a language that your reader likes and understands.
You will not (anymore) write about something that your reader does not like or isn’t interested in.
Your clients – agencies and companies – will clearly understand who your readers are and will likely touch base with you for projects, not just event invitations.
Need I continue more?
BUSINESS PLANNING AND FORECASTING
One of the skills you learn in your corporate life is planning and forecasting. For those who were employed all their lives and never learned these two, I can’t say much other than you need to find a way to learn it – again.
Consider your blog to be a business. Whether you will make money out of it or not is beside the point because if you don’t consider it to be a business, then it becomes just a hobby; which means, only when you have extra time will you devote effort into it, and never will it be “the best technology blog” in the country.
Even if your blog already exists, it is never too late to create a business plan for it. Consider it a “make over”. There are a lot of tools available in the internet and you just have to find the right ones that allows you to easily understand how to create a business plan for your blog because this is not the venue for me to explain how to do that.
Let’s take the most basic question every blogger has in their minds: How many articles should I write and post in a week or a month’s time? To answer this, let me post another question: Have you ever heard the term “time and motion study?” Wikipedia defines it as:
“A time and motion study (or time-motion study) is a business efficiency technique combining the Time Study work of Frederick Winslow Taylor with the Motion Study work of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. After its first introduction, time study developed in the direction of establishing standard times, while motion study evolved into a technique for improving work methods. The two techniques became integrated and refined into a widely accepted method applicable to the improvement and upgrading of work systems.”
If I were the solo Blogger and I will rely solely on blogging about the events I attend, this is how I would apply time and motion study into how I will achieve my realistic blogging targets for each month.
It takes me three hours to completely write a blog. Why? Because this was the mathematical calculation that I presented during the recent SEO for Bloggers seminar hosted by my group, the Philippine Bloggers Network, entitled “Creative Writing for SEO.” I had 29 slides then; so, I think it’s best you just take my word for it. If you can’t, contact me and I’ll tell you why it’s three hours.
Posting a blog meant being online and posting it in a CMS system on the web like WordPress.
Sharing it involves the use of social media and social bookmarking sites – I have to let the digital world know of my new article and hope most everyone will share it to their digital world.
My target is to attend two events per day with the hours I am supposed to stay in an event and my travel times to and from each event, and my residence.
So, I did my time and motion study, or estimates, using the four bulleted points above, and guess how many blogs I alone can completely finish, post and share in a month’s time?
Ten (10) blog articles in a month. That’s it!
Which means (again) that your blog will never be “…the best technology blog” if you are the only employee of your blog. Heck! You are already working 6.5 hours a day – excluding all the kinds of breaks you can ever have – Mondays ‘til Fridays, and you can only generate 10 blog posts in a month? Surprise!
This is just one of the basic tools I use to create operational and financial forecasts to defend and support my case for a real business plan. Once you start adding staff to your endeavor, you will begin to spend money beyond your personal cost of living, and revenue and income becomes a need. Thus, a demand that you put your game into place and develop a business plan for your blog is inevitable. Do it now!
Ah, that word. So very specific yet so fondly vague to many. It is a word by no means something to pass along, smiling yet smirking; and I do not mean one that is paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks or have a formal salutation like “Dr.” or “Atty.” Professionalism in all your chosen careers, like blogging, is developed in school, at home and in the corporate world.
I found nine words that define professionalism:
Professionalism in a Blogger connotes all these, and maybe more.
When you write your blog, you must bring all these qualities that you aspire into your writing, and maybe more.
When you attend an event, (again) you must bring all these qualities that you aspire into your aura, appearance, outlook, body movement and the like, and maybe more.
When you communicate with someone or a group (especially during the Q&A portion of a press conference), you must bring all these qualities that you aspire into your speech, diction, expression, articulation, opinion, point of view, conviction, and so on – and maybe more.
Tall order, right? Well, it’s never too late to start – today.
Can’t write well in the English language? Sorry for you but the primary language of your target reader speaks and reads first in English. So, what do you do? You learn how to write better in English, for goodness sake. Learning means studying but not necessarily attending school. When the subject of blogging is asked of me, and writing appears in the conversation, I only have one suggestion (to start with): Buy a Book! In fact, buy this very thin book entitled “Elements of Style” by Strunk and White. It’s the bible of writers, trust me. You can start with that.
How about what you look like and feel like? What should your total aura as a blogger be? To answer that, think about these:
The agency that invited you is a corporation;
The brand that wants you there is a corporation;
The people who thanked you for going the extra mile to be there works for a corporation;
Even many of the guests invited or asked to speak all work for a corporation.
So why on God’s green earth did you decide to come in a T-shirt, jeans and Keds?
Let’s go to communication, and here I am going to shoot off some really weird but real-life questions that happens all the time:
Why do you still talk like you are speaking to your high school buddies, or your drinking pals down the corner street?
Why do you keep asking questions that were already discussed or presented even before the open forum began?
Why do you even ask questions that have nothing to do with the subject matter at hand?
Can’t you say a complete sentence in English (e.g. your question) without inserting so many slang words and colloquial phrases into it all the time?
You know you are attending the launch of the new product of XYZ Company. Heck! Read something about XYZ Company before traveling to the event. If you can’t, Google it using your smartphone while you are in your Uber ride or Metro Rail Transit.
If your memory is such a fuzz because of all the… err… weird stuff you did in high school, then always bring a small paper notebook and a pen so that you can take notes while someone is speaking. This eliminates you from making a fool of yourself because your questions have already been answered when one of the speakers was presenting, or it is totally out of context from what is being presented.
Asking a question may look to be grandstanding but if it sounds sincere and intellectually thought of, the speakers and presenters will be grateful for your question. This has happened to me a few times: after the open forum had ended, one or more of the speakers will look for me, approach me, thank me and amend his answer more. Isn’t that heartwarming?
Oh, goodness! Have you been in a scenario that you were handed a business card and could not return the professional courtesy back? It is so embarrassing whenever I see that happening. So, why do other bloggers let it happen repeatedly?
Remember the “aura as a blogger” question I wrote above? Let me now repeat myself in a similar fashion:
Agency reps have business cards;
Corporate reps have business cards;
Even guests have business cards.
So, why on God’s green earth do you not have even a single business card with you?
Let’s do the math here. How much is 100 pieces or one box of a good-enough bunch of business cards? ₱300 or $6. How about 100 pieces of a thick stock version with back-to-back printing? ₱500 or $10 for at least two or three boxes. From the 300 pieces I’ve given away, how much money do you think returned back to me directly or indirectly? More than tens of thousands. So, why will I squint spending ₱300 or $6 – or ₱3/$0.06 per piece of business card – when I can multiply it by a hundred times over?
How much is the return on investment of your business cards? Thousands! Why? You will never know that you struck a positive note on the person you just handed your business card to, and two months later he wants to work with you – and pay you! It could be as little as one out a hundred people who received your business card will be the one person who will give you a few thousands worth of business. It may happen next week or next month. For example, one person who got my business card called me a year later – she really did hold on to my card that long! And still remembered me and what I did!
Tip: Please, open a Powerpoint Presentation file now (I’m sure you know how to use it), use a blank slide presentation theme and a blank layout, and resize your slide to 10.5 inches wide by 6 inches long. The actual size of a business card is 3½ inches by 2 inches but sizing it up three times means when you compress it down in size and increase pixel size or dots-per-inch, you will be able to retain the intended high quality. If you’re not creative, then just fiddle on text because many times, simple is better than having too much graphical images on your card. Ask your graphics friend to resize it to 3½ inches by 2 inches, and pixel quality to 300 dpi. Most printers want a TIFF file version.
COLLABORATE, COORDINATE AND COOPERATE
For now, there are only informal groups that relate to bloggers, most of which live in the virtual worlds of social media. There are a few which exists as legal entities or formal collectives. Some are active; others aren’t. The point is, join one or join a few and learn from the good ones.
Please don’t consider a Facebook Group that does nothing but share new blog posts, thinking that everyone in that group will click the Blogger’s new article and read its entirety. I’ve talked to some bloggers and asked them if they (really) read all the articles other bloggers share in the group. “Heck, no! Clicking the link to their blog will represent an additional page view to their statistics.” LOL! See what I mean?
I was lucky to be invited to join a loose group of bloggers that kept meeting each other, hanging out with each other, liked the company of each other, shared stories and tips of blogging with each other, helped proofread or check the new blog posts of each other, represented each other when on couldn’t make it to an event, and so on. This loose group eventually named itself as the Philippine Bloggers Network. We set up shop at a virtual office in chic Bonifacio Global City. We elected our first president and group of officers. We set out to define our vision, mission and values. We stumbled along the way – plenty of times, mind you. We succeeded in some initiatives, and failed in others. Yet, we still exist ‘til this very day. We soon hope to start helping professionalize the Blogger, our mission. We’ve done it in spurts; now, it’s time to do in a Tsunami, so to speak.
Find a similar group in your locality. If it doesn’t exist, lead the way to build one. Collaborate, coordinate and cooperate – it goes a long way.
At 6,835 words, this has got to be one of the longest blog article I have ever written, if not the longest. It has taken me not three hours but spurts of many hours in a week or so. Hurrah! I’m finally summarizing it.
I started out with the question, “Should bloggers be part of the Fourth Estate?” and continued on by asking five more questions by relating the Blogger to tri-media outfits, and the people working for the latter. With these suppositions and questions, and my answers to each, I hoped to make you (the Blogger) realize that there is a problem. But for every problem, there is always a solution or a set of solutions out there. Hence, I provided six solutions to solve “The Blogger Problem.”
You just have to realize and accept The Blogger Problem and follow my suggested Blogger Solutions, and you’re on your way to becoming the top blogger in your segment or niche – no doubt about it. Some already did. Why not you?
See? Just your plain, ordinary 6,835-word article. No problem, right?
Photo is a Creative Commons licensed from Wikimedia.org. | Table by @raffypekson