“Jayvee Fernandez? Who are you?” The girl at the registration table didn’t see my name on the list. I double checked — I knew I had confirmed with the PR agency a couple of days ago. But this was getting embarrassing as I was holding up the line. I must say that It is awkward to be writing for a technology magazine — with decent circulation — and be cock-blocked this way.
“I wish Adel and Howard were here,” as two of my senior colleagues from the magazine I wrote for could have just waltzed in even without a press ID. I envied that position. Not the editorial position they had on the mast head, but the position of authority they held because of the fearlessness of what they wrote. And the credibility.
That was in 2006.
Today is different. Four years later I, as much as possible, shun events. I shun the PR play (but maybe not the buffet). Four years later, I’ve learned the art of saying NO, so that you become more coveted. Four years later, I am relevant. Not as someone from the media or as a blogger. “I” am relevant.
Go and make a name for yourself. Don’t waste time in events. Don’t wait for news to come to you. Go and be awesome. Detract from the trail of the script they give you in press conferences. Let your personality shine. If you want them to respect blogs, then give them a reason to.
Don’t go to the PR guy. Go direct to client.
Respect the PR guy. He can help you in the future when things get sticky.
But first, write something awesome. Not in praise of the machinations of the PR industry, but in praise of free speech. Write it well.
Do it again.
Push yourself to say more than the obvious.
Don’t take photos. Cull emotions. Don’t drown it with text.
Be indignant about the status quo. Change it.
Change your template also.
Be more informed than them.
Be friendly. Be more than friendly. Be controversial.
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.