HerWord.com Features Filipino Bloggers

July 29, 2010
Creating a dynamic blog
Tips from Filipino bloggers
by Ana Santos

Maybe it’s fashionable, or maybe it’s because you can be your own little star. Or maybe, in a purely practical sense, it’s the effect of the global economic crisis. Whatever it is, everyone seems to be interested in turning blogging into an additional or alternative source of income.

Thinking of starting your own blog but you’re not sure if there’s enough room in cyberspace for you? Fret not. I talked to a mix of bloggers who are starting out and have established an online presence with a respectable following, not to mention a steady stream of income. See what advice they have to share about creating an on-line brand and a blogging voice that will stand out above the crowd.

Noelle de Guzman

A question Noelle is always asked is “What is a kikay runner?” In anticipation of this, Noelle has already posted the answer on her blog.

“Well, for me it means being a female recreational runner who, aside from being interested in all that sports science has to offer when it comes to helping me run faster, also likes looking good while doing so.”

When she first started racing and started falling in love with it, Noelle started a blog specific to running, thinking that this would keep her motivated to train towards running her first marathon in July.

While she has yet to make a significant amount of money from her blog, Noelle has gotten jobs sometimes hosting races. Her “sporty and speedy with style” presence is easy to spot so apart from running in a race, Noelle also works the track to score interviews with other runners.

“There are a lot of perks in terms of giveaways and other freebies,” says Noelle who is relishing the idea of doing what she loves and actually getting rewarded and  recognized, even if not paid, for it.

And you can make sure that part of her preparation is to make sure that she looks damn good running.

On building an on-line following:
“When you write intelligently and passionately about your topic, you can make yourself a trusted go-to source for it. I like when people tell me they learned something new from reading my blog posts, and will be back for more.

“I also try to date my posts as close as possible to the event they refer to so that people who were at that event and are maybe looking for information or stories about it can find what they’re looking for in my blog.”

On creating and sustaining rapport:
“I try to answer each comment posted, and maybe even ask a question about the commenter or add a comment of my own about what a reader has shared. It also goes both ways. When I visit the blogs I link to, I try to comment relevantly on their posts. Sometimes I may even write a post inspired by a topic I’ve read about.”

Hannah Villasis, TV Host of Tek Tok TV

“The Flair Candy blog is all about adventure,” gushes Hannah.

“I blog about anything that interests me—surfing, gadgets, sports, Formula 1, travelling, fashion and beauty, photography, and many others. I created my own personal brand when I started blogging and the ones who read my blog are often inspired at how I can juggle many things—a day job, attending events at night, travelling out of country on a budget, and how I push the limits when I go on my crazy adventures.”

Hannah’s 300 to 400 visitors a day can certainly relate to the carefree, vibrant way she lives her life.

“I think I give inspiration to my readers especially when they think things are impossible. I always make it happen and I blog about it.”

Recently, Flair Candy was awarded “Best Personal Blog” at the Philippine Blog Awards.

“A fellow blogger named Dhina Lieva (who was initially a stranger to me) nominated me for Best Personal Blog. I didn’t expect that someone who was not even a personal friend would nominate me. When I received an e-mail saying I won, I screamed!”

What started as a hobby now has become a source of income. Hannah earns from her blog through Nuffnang, Asia Pacific’s first blog advertising community and through direct advertising.

Advice to bloggers:
“Just keep on blogging. Make your blog a part of your personal brand.  Don’t be too serious and technical about blogging.  The more personal and real you are, the more your readers will love you.”

On building an on-line following:
“Interact with your readers.  Reply to their comments and personal email. Visit their blog and comment as well. Manage your social media networks well, as they are very important tools in creating and sustaining two way communication with your audience.”

Ken Tan

A group of young men started to question if the meaning of life could be found in the corporate rat race and realized that the answer was NO. The group firmly believed that they were not the only ones who felt this way and started an on line community of budding entrepreneurs.

That was the birth of EntrepBuff.com, a website that dishes out financial literacy information alongside pep talks through web videos.

“Our first attempt with web video content, Week By Week features the most passionate, innovative and locally-grown individuals in a five- to 10-minute talk about how it is to be a dreamer and a doer,” says Ken, EntrepBuff.com founder.

Though he admits that visits and hits to the site are still limited, Ken believes that EntrepBuff’s readers are more involved.

“Our audience is more educated and personally involved. Just take a look at a sample of a conversation that went on regarding a talk on passion,” says Ken.

On building an on-line following:
“If there is really something I’ve learned that is probably worth sharing with regards to building a following, it is about the importance of creating quality content. Content is king. And since I truly believe most of our stuff is quality, and we don’t always have new content (like for the past three months), we’re still getting a good amount of traffic.”

On creating and sustaining rapport:
“On conversing and creating rapport, I guess the old cliché applies—to be yourself and being honest. It’s a small and connected world and people know when you’re being pretentious, so don’t be. I think rationale people already understand that everybody makes mistakes, so kahit yung mga pagkakamali, dapat transparent.”

Kring Elenzano

“Funny is the new sexy” is the headline of Kring’s blog and sort of her bold personal statement.

Kring describes herself as never being the type to be pursued by a lot of boys in high school.  “I was always the funny girl, the one who had a lot of guy friends, but not a lot of romantic pursuits,” relates Kring who said this was the catalyst for challenging the whole definition of sexy.

“Why can’t funny be sexy,” she wondered. Kring started the sexyfunny blog and used humor and self-deprecation to endear herself to a reading public that just gobbled up her posts.

Kring, who now has hoards of Facebook fans and hundreds of blog followers, is often teased about having not just men but also women falling at her feet. Jovially she says, “I’m making up for all those years, I guess.”

Kring has pretty much made funny synonymous to sexy.

Advice to bloggers:
“Creating your own brand is very very important. And having a unique identity is necessary as well. You should stick to your image and your personality, because the market you will attract will most likely be interested in that. Once you change, you start to lose that following.”

On blogging and creating a blog personality:
“REPLY REPLY REPLY. And try to check out your readers’ own blogs as well.”

Nina Terol-Zialcita, Writer, Poetess, Political Communicator, co-founder Writer’s Block Philippines

On her way to attend a talk in the Podium, Nina suddenly found herself immobilized by a sharp pain in her back. She was immediately taken to the hospital where the doctor advised her to stop balancing her regular heavy bundle of books and laptop while teetering on her high heels.

Such are the perils of a high-powered woman who is constantly on the go and juggling not just her books but her many jobs, whilst still looking glamorous.

Nina is a political strategist/communicator working on new media campaigns of candidates. She simplifies her job description by saying, “What marketers do for marketing, I do for policies and policy makers.”

She is also passionate about changemaking or inspiring people to make their own contribution for the betterment of society in whatever way they can. “I’ve always had this notion that more than a strong citizenry is the foundation for a good society. Chanemaking is all about making a difference and touching other people’s lives through volunteering for a cause, donating, or personal involvement,” explains Nina, who stresses that you don’t have to be a big important person to make a difference.

On building an on-line following:
“To me, building a good network isn’t about the quantity of followers or readers, but about the quality of INFLUENCERS or GATEKEEPERS who refer to your blog or retweet and repost your entries. I’m not obsessed with the number of hits or readers that I get—it was never a priority in my nine years of blogging.

“Rather, I’m more interested in building a blog that will connect me to leaders, thinkers, and opinion leaders. For example, one of my blog entries in an old blog of mine, ‘Soul Work,’ was featured in Paulo Coelho’s blog. I thought it was a hoax when I first got a comment from ‘Paulo Coelho’ on my blog, but when he emailed me and gave me his private email address and soon reposted my entry on his blog, THEN I knew that I was on to something.”

On sustaining conversation:
“To sustain that conversation, you have to ‘listen’ to your readers and give back to them. Take note of comments, answer their questions using new blog entries, discuss topics that you think they’ll find interesting, share more of yourself, ask questions. Especially when writing a personal blog, your online dialogue with your readers should feel just like any other conversation. It should be sincere, truthful, and genuine. Nothing manufactured of overly planned, please. Just like many things, rapport is spontaneous. You can practice rapport-building skills, but you can’t fake it.”

Vince Golangco
Radio DJ – Mellow 94.7; Editor-in-Chief /Creative Director/ TV Show Host Tek Tok TV on the Global News Network (GNN)

If you don’t see Vince on TV hosting the tech and gadgets cable show Tek Tok TV, you’ll hear him every Saturday morning chatting up a storm on his radio show “G-Spot” for Mellow 94.7. If you still miss him, you’re bound to see Vince at various blogger events, documenting them, or hosting them.

Pretty good networking skills considering that Vince just moved back to the Philippines about two years ago from San Diego. He says that blogging and his writing skills opened a lot of doors for him. “Writing about someone is a great way to get to know them.” His friendly and easy-going manner also explain why he has been able to build a considerable following online in such a short time.

On building an on-line following:
“Interact, interact, interact! It’s all about talking to your audience. Make the first move and start a conversation with people through Twitter, Facebook or whatever social media you have. It’s a great way to introduce yourself and help people find out who you are.”

On creating and sustaining rapport with your audience:
“You need to appear friendly and approachable to most everyone. It will be more challenging to build relationships with people if you don’t seem accessible to them. Treat your viewers as friends, instead of fans.”

Ana Santos is a freelance journalist and the founder and editorial director of SexAndSensibilities.com, a website that pushes the envelope on the understanding of sexual reproductive health by making it sexy and sassy.

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