Here’s the second part of my reflections about blogging. Read on!
I remember complaining about the lack of engagement in this blog around this same time last year. However, everything became clear to me now: there are a few solid reasons why marketing companies, public relations outfits, and advertising agencies stay away from this blog.
• I put a full disclosure or author’s note at the beginning / end of my product review entries
• I have full editorial control over what gets published here
• I can express my opinions here without conflict of interest, as there are no brands collaborating with me
• I outlined a complete Blog Policy for The Monching’s Guide to make things clear
Here’s the thing: I’ve worked as a marketing writer for two years, even collaborating with professionals from a high-profile advertising agency. Let me tell you this: it’s all about smoke and mirrors. Notice that most people in public relations tend to look good and show a presentable façade—suits and all. This young man right here once dreamed of working at an ad agency and being under the tutelage of a Don Draper figure. Sadly, I do not have the gift of gab or a presentable countenance. Heck, I couldn’t even sell mops to save my life!
It was only after resigning that I learned this important thing: quality work need not be served on a silver platter. When you have an inherently good product, it will stand up on its own merits. Crappy products would most likely require extensive marketing and public relations work; a turd is still a turd even with a diamond on top. Similar to a comment I left on a fellow Filipino blogger’s entry, people who visit your blog and like what you post organically are better than those who do so because you paid them to.
Another point that I would bring up, and something that was a root of my earlier rant, is that of desperation. One does a lot of impulsive things when desperate, including selling one’s soul to the Devil for a Faustian bargain. I am admittedly guilty of this but reality knocked some sense back into me. Marketman, one of my favorite food bloggers, has been writing for more than 10 years and has established a reputation in that span of time. He is also a vocal critic of the lack of disclosure in sponsored posts, and has occasionally ripped apart some advertising agencies. If this man could stand up against these types, I don’t see any reason why I should not. From my experience so far, the only ones desperate for blog linkbacks and promotions are the dismal SEO “blaggers” who saturate the market with substandard work and even more substandard attitudes.
On the flip side, I have recently received a few messages from marketing agencies asking for a possible business offer. One of them asked if they could have access to my site to post curated articles. Another asked if I was willing to work with them for a travel affiliate program. I ripped both of them a new one. I replied to the first e-mail that my blog is mine and I have full editorial control, given that their potential pool of topics is rather narrow. The second one received a reply about why my blog isn’t the run-of-the-mill travel blog they think it is, and travel blogs nowadays are a dime a dozen.
(Kudos to one company who simply asked for a link back to their official blog, though. I fulfilled that request.)
Well, that’s it for my reflections – and I hope you picked up some lessons. Personally, I find both the issues of selling out and using illegal means to achieve a following a by-product of chasing after fame too much. Fame blinds, yes – and with it comes pride. Never forget what happened to Icarus when he flew too close to the sun.
Let me end with this quote from the Summa Theologiae, written by the great Doctor of the Church St. Thomas Aquinas.
“Fame has no stability; in fact, it is easily ruined by false report. And if sometimes it endures, this is by accident.”
(Summa Theologiae II, Part 1: Question 2, Article 3. Reply to Objection 1.)
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The featured image for this post was created via the imgflip.com meme generator, under Fair Use rules.