Posts Tagged ‘idc conference’

Blogger-Journalist Relationships Done Right

April 23, 2008

After what happened last week, I was quite pleasantly surprised to get a very considerate sms from a reporter this morning, saying he was concerned about disrupting me and asking for a good time for him to contact me.

A few things done right:

  • He knew who I was, definitely had read my blog and referenced things I said in context both on my blog, Twitter and at the IDC Conference.
  • He had clear questions and obviously had done research on the topic.
  • He did not seem to just want to hear a quotable soundbyte, but just asked questions and answered. (Note: It doesn’t matter to me if he got off the phone thinking I utterly wasted his 5 minutes and didn’t give him a good soundbye, the point is that doesn’t come across to me)
  • He offered to send me a draft of what his phrasing of what I said would be via email

Again, it’s not that I’m some big shot in the space, it’s just the other party being nice and well…. a human. Not just someone digging for information or a soundbyte.

Unlike the previous two reporters, if this particular journalist asks me in future to recommend him a blogger in a different niche, say food or technology, I will definitely be more than happy to do so because I know he will treat that person with courtesy and respect that I think anyone should get.

Here’s hoping more journalists learn from these experiences.

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Who The Other IDC Panelists Are (They’re All Much More Popular Than I Am)

April 21, 2008

I got home thinking about the final post on the IDC Conference and saw this:

138 views from Kenny Sia, a Malaysian blogger who was at the IDC Conference as well. I didn’t get to interact with Kenny that much, but I know he’s pretty popular both in Malaysia and Singapore.

Meenakshi aka The Compulsive Confessor was who I spent the most time with (probably cos we’re the closest in age), and I must give her credit for what she writes particularly taking on the age/societal/cultural gap in India. The team researching India for our Social Media in Asia Wiki highlighted some of these issues, and it was great hearing it first hand. She has a book deal. Do I need to prove her popularity?

Finally there’s Victor from Hong Kong aka Hong Kong Phooey. He blogs mainly about tech (check out the recent entries on the ultra-portable PCs). Also, 400,000 hits in 18 months. Amazing.

In the short time I had to interact with these bloggers, I think they’re all incredibly smart and definitely understand how web2.0 and social media work within their niches. Clearly we share different audiences, but that’s the beauty of it isn’t it? That four different people can be blogging about four very different passions, and yet be invisibly united by social media.

Advertising/Sponsorship And The Blogosphere – Issues To Consider?

April 20, 2008

Coming back to thoughts from the IDC Conference, one topic of debate was whether advertising on blogs is okay and whether it sends the right kind of message. Let’s look at it both from the corporation and from the blogger’s point of view.

The Blogger Point Of View.

I personally think third party advertising (ie Nuffnang, Google Adwords/Adsense) is okay. You’re not directly endorsing whatever they’re advertising, just making use of your internet “real estate”. And just like the real world, if you have prime real estate (ie high blog traffic of the right demographics), then why not make some money out of it? After all you’ve worked hard to build that brand and/or community and adding value, no reason why you shouldn’t reap some reward.

What I do have issue with if going straight for advertising. Starting out blogs with the intention of selling space or drawing attention to your 125×125 boxes that you’re willing to sell at $15/week or whatever. It makes me question the validity of the blog and if I should worry about whether you’re telling me A is better than B because A is in one of the 125×125 boxes.

I’m going to condense this with the issue of trust. I haven’t had companies approach me with incentives in return to review stuff. One thing I did opt in for was Joseph Jaffe’s Use New Marketing To Prove New Marketing campaign, where I receive a copy of Join The Conversation and post a review in return. (It’s coming soon). I think that’s fine for three reasons:

1) It’s directly in my niche

2) Jaffe doesn’t ask for a positive review, just an honest review.

3) It’s clear that I got the book for free and I’m reviewing it in return, as opposed to when I plug books that I paid money for.

I think as long as people know that there was a sponsorship involved, they’re fine with it. The big issue is when they’re misled. Then the backlash really comes. For example if I took Jaffe’s book and said it’s God’s gift to marketers/PR agencies/advertisers/the whole world, but didn’t tell them I got $0.10 for every book sale that comes from me, that will hurt me when it comes out. And believe me, it will come out. (That said, I am not making money from Jaffe’s book in any way)

And as a blogger I’d treat any similar “freebie” the same way. I’d be happy to take your product and give it a spin, but the fact that I had that privilege, is not going to colour my review or thoughts either way.

The Corporation’s Point Of View

Many businesses don’t look to bloggers to get their word out yet, because they’re worried about control. What if I give the blogger A and he says A sucks. Well, it comes with the territory. If you don’t give the blogger that product, someone else is going to pay money for it and blog that it sucks anyway. The fault is the product, not the message.

I think the most important thing is not to come across as a company who wants the same thing every company wants (even if you do). Because bloggers will know. A great case study which happened in the US, but could well happen anywhere, is the GM sponsorship of a Manic Mommies event, as covered in CC Chapman’s Managing The Gray. It’s a lengthy case study and you should listen to the podcast to get the full story, but essentially they didn’t say “Here’s $30k, do what you want but plaster our logo everywhere”.

No, they listened to what the Manic Mommies needed and focused on finding the common space where they can add value and build relationships, which really is what this whole space is about.

Ultimately, this space is new and is ever-changing. But trust, transparency and reputation will always be important. The method of doing your advertising online, who you approach and the results may vary, but you have to do it right. Not just “right” in terms of achieving the right metrics and ROI, but right in the proper way that values people and relationships, which will pay for it self many times over in the longterm.

Quick Thoughts On The IDC Panel Discussion, And I Want Yours Too.

April 19, 2008

Haven’t had time to really get online after the IDC Conference, because of a night out with my two closest friends Rubin and Reuben with some grown up talk (jobs and marriage). But I really wanted to squeeze out a real quick post on today’s IDC Panel discussion and give you a sense of what I’ll be talking about over the next couple of days.

First, a big thank you to @litford, @byzantin3 and @ridz84 for watching the live webcast and sending me nice messages on Twitter. I’m sorry I didn’t reply because I switched off Twitter on my phone for the day. Didn’t want to be distracted while on stage. Again, thank you for taking 45 minutes off your busy lives to hear what I had to say!

Second, an even bigger thank you to Geek Goddess Estee for coming down in person to support me there and for passing me a book on New Media. Can’t wait to read it!

I’m going to mention @litford twice because he has a recap of the topics and questions and answers on his blog as well as posting the live feed. If you missed it, check out the discussion over there.

Next, I have 5 points that I’m going to blog about in detail over the next few days, but I want to throw them out here first.

1) Advertising and blogging.

Again, Brian has talked about this in his thoughts from the panel. I was listening to a podcast on the way home and coincidentally it serves as a great case study for how to do advertising/sponsorship in the blogosphere. It’s a North American example, but I think it applies pretty well.

2) On Gen Y not reading the newspapers.

MediaSlut as always has started a very good conversation about how this may be worrying. I was told from Debbie that @ridz84 agreed on the live chat with me that most of us don’t read the papers, and before I respond to MediaSlut, I’d like to take a straw poll just to give an indication if I am guilty of a gross generalisation, or if there’s some truth to it.

3) Trust.

I think this came up as a common underlying thread between all the panelists. How important is trust between you and a blogger? Does it even matter? Or is it just another one of the many, many fragmented voices online and there’s no differentiation?

4) Relationships.

I had the great fortune of meeting two brilliant people from HP who I could share my huge enthusiasm for Snapfish with as well as talk about the HP Mini-Note a little bit. Very smart people who definitely realise the value of engaging in this space and meeting them in person convinced me that they’re not just doing it because someone at corporate or their PR company said to do so. From talking to them I could tell that they truly believed it was a worthwhile endeavor and that’s the reason why they are doing it.

At the same time I had a couple of crappy experiences today too which I’m not sure I want to talk about in detail, but at the very least I will mention vaguely.

5) Corporate Interest.

I am genuinely, genuinely curious about whether companies are interested in social media/new media/web2.0/whatever as an option right now, (which is already too late). Or if they think this is going to be another fad that will pass through in a year. The reason why I ask this is because I think one big issue, corporate blogging, was brought up today, but it didn’t seem to generate much discussion after the panel. The other thing which is a smaller issue, was that we ended the panel on a note about microblogging, specifically Twitter. I’m sure companies in the audience could benefit from such a quick-action response mechanism, but again I’m not sure that was a conversation that was going on after the panel.

I just want to say I don’t mention #5 because I think they should be talking to me about these issues. I don’t claim to be the best person for them to talk to because after all, I’m still a student observing all of this from the comfort of the university. But is this conversation happening at all?

All in all, today was really great for me. I would’ve liked to have heard some questions from the floor and hear some of the real questions and concerns that companies have when thinking about engaging in this new space that is changing so rapidly, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time. Was probably good that they timed us though because I think we could’ve gone on till tomorrow with no problem at all.

Well those are my quick thoughts on today’s discussion. If you have any please feel free to chime at the comments below, or if you like, drop me an email at uniquefrequency[AT]gmail[DOT]com.