Friday, September 19, 2008

The Value of Blog Marketing

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being invited to speak about blogging to the International PR Association (Philippines). The attendees were the head honchos of long-time PR agencies and they basically wanted to understand what blogging is all about.

Blogging seems to be the craze in the country lately and more and more companies are taking a dip into it. IMMAP has also come up with an online course on blog marketing and we're just finishing it up a bit and it should be available in the coming month. Janette has also introduced her own course through her book "Blogging from Home".

If I was still a marketing manager I would definitely look into blog marketing, moreso because the products I used to handle were online and mobile services. And I would ask the question, "What value does it have for my brand?"

Some say that the internet is a totally different landscape. It's another world that emerged when it became a commodity. And studies have shown that people go online to search and check email. The key word there is SEARCH.

And now you must ask, "If I do an online search for my brand/product what do I see?"

Now you better check to see what's available online about your brand. To check, go here.

. . . (waiting for you to check)

So now that you've seen what content is showing up on search results about your brand then now you know more or less the value of marketing through blogs. Blogs provide content and do help in getting in the message your want to convey to readers. Content is essentially, I believe, the value of blog marketing and that includes brand awareness, testimonials/trial, the layman explanation of your service and feedback.

Don't forget, search and content go hand in hand.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Google Lauches "Google Insights for Search"

Ever wondered how your products fare online? Search and content works hand in hand. Why not do a search on your products/services by using keywords that would probably direct people to your brand. Did your company's website come out in the first page of the search results? Did you find other websites/blogs talking about your product?

Google innovates further by providing a new tool for its advertisers, "Google Insights for Search". It's a tool that allows advertisers to compare keywords based on its search volume.

Let's say I'm a travel agency selling trips to different beaches in the Philippines. Here are the keywords I used to compare:


And got this result:

Which tells me that Boracay is a term that is twice as much searched as Palawan and Bohol.

The tool also tells me which countries are interested in it (Philippines, Hongkong and Singapore). The map at the side also gives me an idea about where the volume of searches come from by region and it clearly indicates that most of the searches come from the Philippines. (You can also filter by country, year and regions)

Aside from the keywords I provided, the tool also provides both top searches and rising searches that are related to my keywords. Making it easy for me to know what keywords I should use to create a Google Adwords campaign.

Methinks "Google Insights for Search" is good for the following:

1. Provides great input for keywords to use when creating Google Adwords campaigns
2. Helps in giving me an idea which of my products are more searchable (and perhaps sellable) than others
3. Let's me know what regions/countries are interested in my product (great for exporters!)
4. If I was just starting out a business I could actually also use this tool for marketing insights (target marketing!)

Information at its best.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Corporate Blogging

I caught up with the organizer of the Corporate Blogging seminar held at the Asian Institute of Management. In this video Regnard Raquedan talks about the reason why he came up with this project, what corporate blogging is all about, who it is relevant for and what it brings for business.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Some Insights about Blog Marketing

I have been involved in the largest parties and events so far in the Philippine blogosphere and these include the following:

Philippine Blog Awards (Year 1, I was a host), 150+ attendees
iBlog3 and iBlog4 (as a speaker), over 300+ attendees
Taste Asia 1 and 2, over 200+ and over 450+ attendees respectively Party for Bloggers, over 100+ attendees
Buhay Coke Party for Bloggers, over 300+ attendees
Ponds Event for Bloggers, over 100+ attendees

I've attended and participated in all these events as a blogger, but there is much insight that could be generated from these activities as a marketer. I've been asked countless of times by ad agencies, PR agencies, brand and product managers etc. to share my thoughts about blog marketing and I realized a lot of things as I was doing the IMMAP courses for search engine marketing and blog marketing.

What is blog marketing for?

If you want to try out new media marketing there are two important things: (1) content and (2) search. Consumers go online and do a search to find more information about a company's products/services. This is inherent in the buying process and with prices skyrocketing then people will surely try to find more information and reviews about a product. That's where blog marketing comes in.


When a company tries its hand in blog marketing it should have a sound strategy for it. They could do it on their own by creating their own blog or they could just probably hold events and invite bloggers. One thing that's sincerely lacking though is the follow-up strategy after holding these events. I have yet to see a company who at the very least compiles write-ups about the events they've held and only a few bother to leave thank you's for those who attended.

So before you spend your budget on a blog marketing spree here are some things that you should think about:

1. Holding huge parties/events for bloggers is great, but is your product something that everyone uses (i.e. Coke) or is it best to just invite a specific niche of bloggers?

2. Bloggers also experience what you call "blogger fatigue". Sometimes its best to reach out to a specific niche since the bloggers will be more interested to make a post.

3. Must be our shy-Pinoy culture but a lot of bloggers are still wary to join contests. If you want to do a contest it's not enough to have an announcement through blogs, you have to follow-up, follow-up and follow-up and target key people who can help in spreading the word.

4. If you're going to hold an event for bloggers, it's important to make them experience your product/service. Holding a mall-type show just doesn't work. And get hosts who know what they are talking about.

5. Have someone in your company who understands how the community works or maybe at least somebody who is willing to learn.

And don't forget to plan on what you're going to do about that database you've gathered after the event. That's another post altogether, well maybe soon.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Blogging as a Marketing Tool

More and more companies in the Philippines have been paying attention to bloggers. I'd say there are probably at least 3 events every week where bloggers are invited. It could be in the form of an activity with a handful of bloggers to really huge parties attended by hundreds of bloggers. Bloggers have also been receiving samples through mail and requests for reviews.

It's important for companies to be found online especially when people do searches about their products or services. Content is key here. Aside from a company's website, internet users also seek other types of information, especially reviews and testimonials which they find largely through blogs or review sites.

That's the reason why companies have been reaching out to bloggers and inviting them to their events. It's online word-of-mouth at work.

The past few weeks several big brands have been actively pursuing bloggers and these include the following:

1. Coca-cola recently held a "Buhay Coke ng Bloggers" party at the Taste Asia (Mall of Asia) and have announced a video blog contest.

2. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf sponsored a workshop on writing, making videos and photography last week and have extended the deadline of their contest.

3. Ponds (Unilever) is holding a party for bloggers on July 4, 2008, Friday at the Taste Asia (beside SM Hypermarket) at the Mall of Asia and will also be launching a contest of their own.

The Universal McCann study did say after all that 65.8% of active internet users in the Philippines read blogs.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Art of Hiding from Salespersons

This post is not meant to demean hardworking salespersons. I do admire them since I know that to be an effective salesperson you gotta have the following: (1) talent; (2) love for your product; and (3) a lot of tiyaga.

I did go through a sales job too, in another lifetime and I hated it. I just couldn't handle the rejection and I didn't like doing follow-up. My colleagues kept telling me (also said in workshops) that you shouldn't take things personally. Oh well, I realized then that I would never become a great salesperson and I'd rather do something else. So since then I shifted my career. Now that's another story.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Most of us have experienced getting spammed by marketers. Spammed not only in our email, but also through phone calls, SMS and direct mail. It's a basic formula used by marketers since at the average they do get 2-3% assured sales from it (that's why we get a lot of trash in our mailbox, offline and online).

I've mastered the art of being deadma about these things. I rarely get spam mail because I use Gmail. I get a lot of SMS especially from those promoting loans and a lot of the mail delivered by the postman goes to the trash can, including flyers stuffed in my bills. I've also mastered the art of saying no to telemarketers who call and ask if they can do a pitch over the phone (I just always say that I'm on my way out). Funny, but there are those who are really persistent and I handle them by giving them my email address so that whatever it is they're trying to sell to me gets caught in the spam filter. LOL.

We're bombarded with loads of information everyday, so I guess it's important to cultivate one's skill in filtering all these info. I also meet a lot of people every single day and I also have to weed out what's important and what's not. I guess at the end of the day the game is still about "need". If you target me and I don't need what you're selling, no matter how much you bug me you won't get any response from me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Blog Marketing

The Universal McCann study on "Social Media Usage" claims that about 65.8% of active internet users in the Philippines read blogs. That's more than the circulation than any of the major broadsheets and magazines. With that in mind a lot of PR practitioners, marketers and advertising agencies have been taking notice (finally!) of the platform.

I've been asked time and time again by former colleagues, college classmates and friends what blogging is all about. They've been asking me because they found my blog somewhere and thought that using new media for their companies is something that they should look into.

Below are some slides that I put together for a workshop I did about blog marketing.

Feel free to ask questions.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Social Media Usage in the Philippines, a Review of the Universal McCann Study

I got excited over the study made by Universal McCann for social media usage (check out the study) and I chewed on the 80-paged report yesterday. What can I say? Stats make my heart do flip-flops. I miss my research mentor.

Tumble-weed crossing...

The study showed quite a number of big numbers and after review of the study I thought it should be noted that the study is a good indicator of what's happening in the market, but should not be taken to represent the whole market. Take note that they had 17,000 respondents from 29 countries, that's less than a thousand per country. I'm not keen on unearthing my notes on how to compute how much population less than a thousand can represent. Anyway, as my guru said, "READ WITH CAUTION".

I thought as well that the 15.4% internet penetration rate is grossly understated. AC Nielsen said that we're expected to have 24 million in our country this year and that's almost 27%, almost double of the penetration rate stated in the study.

The report claims to represent the online social media activities of active users. Active users being the "key leaders" and "drivers of adoption". They are what Mr. Ed Mapa coined as the "prosumers" in last year's National Marketing Conference. Active users/prosumers are the early adopters and those who do things on their own accord. They are the ones who are followed as examples by the "wait and see" crowd and for marketers they are important because they help get the word out, thus influencing consumers down the line to purchase/use products/services.

The study claims that the Philippines has 3.7 million active users. I did a bit of mathematics to align it with the supposed 24 million internet users and the number should be 6.48 million.

I have been asked by marketers time and time again about the demographics of the online market. I have continuously refused to succumb to explaining it the traditional way. Fact is you can never really tell if the eyeballs visiting a site is from a young child or a grandpa. What you can extract however is the profile of that person visiting that site. Fifteen and fifty year olds can both enjoy the same online game eh? Yup.

Anyway, the study Univesal McCann made is quite a good indicator of what's happening in the online market. Ahhh, the bloggers would be so happy.

Reading Blogs. 65.8% of active users read blogs, to current number of users it translates to 4.2 million. Five of the most read categories/topics are: personal, family/friends, music, news/current affairs, film/TV. IMHO it's true, I have a smattering of niche blogs, but my most read blog is my personal blog (I guess people find reading this blog boring LOL).

Writing Blogs. Only 4.8% of active users blog! That's roughly only about 311,000 in the 24 million internet users. I wonder though if the stats for the categories was correct since the page was exactly the same with the "reading blogs" page. Typo? Top 3 contents posted include: photos, video, and recommended website.

Social Networking. Everyone knows that it was the Philippines who put Friendster on the map (now with 10.7 million users in the country). The study said that 83.1% of active users have a profile in a social networking site. Let's not even bother to smudge in the numbers. Users normally upload photos and videos and install apps.

Sharing Content. Active users share the following content: photos 86.4% and videos 60.5%

Consuming Content. 98.6% of active users watch videos and 45.2% use RSS.

These are very exciting numbers and the Philippines is in the forefront compared to other countries. The indicators for growth is also rising by leaps and bounds. I've been seeing a number of local promotions targeting online users, but it's not picking up. Why? Because the marketers are still doing things the traditional way.

Ad spend to promote these endeavors are going to tv, print and radio, I have yet to see ads being placed on search engines and social networking sites. I think what they sadly forgot to take into account is the fact that the profile of internet users are very much different from those who watch tv or read newspapers. I'm a big internet user and I get my entertainment online through Youtube and I read news online as well. I don't watch TV often (especially now it's busted). The name of the game in marketing online is being able to profile your target market well and reaching out to them when they pursue their interests online when they read, watch and upload content.

Want to try out RSS? Subscribe to this blog via email.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Podcasting and Vlogging the Filipino Way

Last Saturday at the iBlog4 I was teamed up with popular Pinoy vlogger, Coy Caballes, to speak about podcasting and vlogging. Instead of doing it the regular-ala-preso-way Coy and I decided to do a short video about our iBlog4 assignment. We did not use any high-tech equipment to produce this video and hopefully we managed to inspire others to try out podcasting and video blogging.

Here's the bit about podcasting -

And on video blogging -

Read more about iBlog4 at An Apple a Day.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Understanding Google Analytics

Google Analytics I'd say is the best tool there is to track data on your website or blog. A few months ago I wrote a short overview about it, but I've gotten quite a number of requests on how to understand the data provided by Google Analytics.

Looking at stats in Google Analytics is pretty much a walk in a park, however it may seem like a daunting task when you have to submit a report. Aside from piling up information, of course you have to make sure that the stakeholder reading your report should understand it. I had problems in my past job making my report understandable to non-techies. I just got blank face when I mentioned the terms page views, referral sites, user sessions etc. It's also best to have a report that's both qualitative and quantitative. Remember top executives and managers have short attention span and they normally don't go beyond the first page of any report.

When you open Google Analytics you'll get to see a myriad of information. Quite easy to understand, here's an outline you can use when you need to come up with an offline report.

*Always define the period of your report.

Site Usage: Site usage provides an overview to the overall traffic of your website. Key among the stats provided in this section are the Page Views and the visitor's Average Time on Site (also known as user session) because this indicates whether the site visitor is looking through your content aside from your home page. The longer your visitors stay in your site, the better.

Page Views
Pages per Visit
Bounce Rate
Ave. Time on Site
% of New Visits
*it would also be great if you could include graph of your traffic

Visitors Overview: It is also important to know how many visitors your site is getting. Always remind your stakeholder that the reach of one's website is incomparable to traditional media. Bear in mind that those visiting your site are people who need your product/info (your target market). Any marketer would tell you that it's more expensive to acquire new users versus maintaining loyal customers. Content is key to keep your users coming back (it's called site stickiness). The map overlay basically shows you where your visitors are coming from.

Absolute Unique Visitors
New vs. Returning
Map Overlay (countries/territories)

Traffic Sources: This indicates how your visitors found your website. If you have an offline advertising campaign, getting direct traffic may indicate that your visitors may have seen or heard about your website through this campaign. Getting traffic from search engines is important since it indicates that your site is relevant and people are looking for you! Use the Google Website Optimizer to help you make your website more search engine friendly.

Source (search engines, referral sites or direct)

Top Content: This indicates which of your pages are being read by your site's visitors. You can perhaps list the top 10 to 20 pages being visited. This helps marketers find out which of their products/services are important to them. This will also help marketers determine which products need more push/promos.

Tech Stats: Google Analytics also provides a lot of statistics that would be helpful to your website manager. It's useful as well for doing usability studies. Some key points include: browser profile, connection speed, navigation analysis and click patterns.

View this for a sample format.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Earning from Blogging

I have at least 4-digits in revenue from blogging. In US dollars.


4 digits per month!!!

Yup, you read it right. Four digits with a dot in between the second and the third number.


I couldn't help but make a pun about it since it's April Fools Day. I have yet to get a check from my blogs, but it's no biggie. It would make me happy, but I see it just as passive income. I enjoy blogging because I like to write and I've lately been enjoying vlogging as well because I want to learn how to edit videos.

Anyway, I've been feeling a bit disturbed for a few weeks now over a conversation between two bloggers I overheard. One is an undergrad taking up engineering and another works for a government institution as a developer. They started off by talking about topics that draw traffic to ones blog, where to get keywords and how to utilize the info to increase traffic and then they started talking about niche blogs that they could create in order to earn more money from blogging.

"I'd be very happy if I get 10,000 pesos per month."

Eveything else was drowned out after I heard one of them say that and the other was pretty much excited about it too. I don't know if they mentioned if they wanted to earn more, but that line stuck and I zoned out then. It seemed to me that they wanted to put in all their efforts in earning from blogging (and that translates as well to doing a number of tricks to get traffic).

I honestly wanted to bonk them in the head.

I know there are a number of successful bloggers who earn a good keep from blogging. And that made me think - can a person live off his/her blog? I asked my pro-blogger friends about it and they said that they all HAVE OTHER sources of income and they said it has to be that way because they don't think that blogging alone would be sustainable.

I was disturbed with the boys because they are both very talented young people who I think should their time in garnering real-world experience before they settle in earning their keep through blogging. They might be surprised on how much easier it would be to earn 10,000 if they really do well using their talents.

Earning from one's blog is no easy feat and I salute those who do. It takes time and effort though to do so. I've been getting a number of requests to do talks about making money from one's blog. I'm sorry, but I'm no expert in that department. There are quite a number of respectable Filipino bloggers who talk about blogging for money and I'd suggest reading Manuel and Ely.

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Social Networking Scrap

I am one of those social networking junkies. I have a smattering of accounts in different social networking sites - Friendster, Multiply, MySpace, Orkut, Facebook and even the more serious ones (which I think is also a form of social networking) LinkedIn and Shelfari. I cannot really pinpoint where I spend a lot of time in coz I use it for different things.

I use Friendster mostly as a contact point for friends from school. Multiply is where I spend time randomly checking on friends who upload photos or blog and in some rare instances I check out what's being sold by some enterprising entrepreneurs. Facebook is where I play Mario Brothers (haha), my friends list in there isn't really controlled since I just approve (almost) anyone who invites me. I don't spend that much time on MySpace and Orkut, I just find it to be a totally different world, but it's where I've been getting quite a number of hilarious invites/scraps -

Here are some things I've been getting (and I have not deleted any of it for gloomy days) -

if i say hi.......u may say whoz this....
if i ask for chat....u may say why??....
if i ask u for a coffee.....u may say wt rubbish....
if i say i liked ur profile......u may say m flattering u.....
if i ask for frnship.......u may say m flirting......
so can u plz suggest me hw to start wid a new relation.........????
till u reply i am trying wid a request........."plz check me out".......m here lookin for new frns. r u
nice name.....
I am ur friend........ u add to me
I DON't know........ ur language..
plz tell me in engaliash
ok kiss

And here's the best one I've received -



First of all I bow down my head at ur feet and kiss ur sandals to show my devotion towards u, princess my owner I want to be ur pet doggy or ur pet slave which u likes, please give me some space near ur feet.

your pet doggy

I could not help but grin over that last scrap. Imagine, somebody call me Hon'ble (does it mean honorable or honey-able?) and Princess. I giggle everytime I read that scrap. I guess to each his own and that's why social networking sites attract different types of people and culture, and, I might add, comfort level (for usage).

There's an upcoming conference for social networking entitled, "Social Networking & eBusiness Conference Philippines" which looks interesting. I wonder if there's someone who could explain why I get all these scraps from nowhere and what is it in a platform that attracts a certain set of people. Is it because of the interface? The features? Culture? The person who invited you? What makes one site successful over others? Will social networking sites eventually be a huge place for commerce? What's the huge fuss behind social networking anyway (aside from generating revenue)? Maybe this conference will answer some of my questions.

Well, if you wanna be my friend... add me up!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Getting Inspired by Technopreneurs

I had the chance to join three Filipino technopreneurs last night at the E-Commerista 3.0 through Andrian Lee's invitation - Gabby Dizon, Jonas Diego and Gio Bacareza - and it's really inspiring to see how they've managed to turn their interests into successful businesses and here are just some thoughts that I wanted to share.

Flipside Games

I noticed that a lot of my friends who are developers now dreamed that they wanted to develop their own game "when they grow up" and this was their reason for taking up computer science back in college. Gabby Dizon, CEO of Flipside Games, said that the reason that he went into game development is because he "did not want to grow up". He used to work as a developer for and grabbed the first chance when they opened a slot for game development. Eventually he started his own company and has been successful in this endeavor. He even just got back from a gaming conference from SFO.

Integrated Art Services

I call Jonas Diego "Mr. Comics". I met him about a year ago through blogger-friends and I was glad to find out that we had common friends - artist friends from back in college and my former boss' son who publishes comics. I have very high respect for artists since I can only draw stick figures and coconut trees (seriously!). I believe it's one talent/hobby that's really hard to "monetize" unless you are very, very gifted. I truly admire Jonas for turning his first love into a very successful venture. During the "day" Jonas manages Interactive Art Services which caters to international clients for their storyboard needs. I think that this is a great way to showcase Filipino artistry.

The Philippines still holds the title for "Texting Capital of the World" and that's the industry where web company has been very successful in. If you're a Filipino I'm pretty sure that you use Chikka's SMS services (tipid sa load!) and that's the company that Gio Bacareza represented during the event. I've been using Chikka for several years already and it has been very useful for me. Chikka has also re-engineered their service and it allows you to log-in all your IM services into their services and your IM friends can seamlessly communicate with you even when you are offline. Cool huh. Gio also mentioned that they'll soon be launching a service for bloggers.

I have neglected to make posts about "Good IT News in the Philippines" the past couple of months and I should just DO IT since there are so many exciting things happening around the country.

Here are some photos from Libby -

Thanks for the invitation Andrian!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Content Scraping

Hamsters on Content Scraping

Wikipedia says that web scrapping (or content scraping) is when content is copied and mashed up to create a scraper site... for the non-techie... it's simply PLAGIARISM! Rawr!

One of the major reasons why I started blogging is because I wanted to revive my muse. I've been writing since I was a kid, but I stopped for about 8 years and only found my way back again a couple of years ago. I try my best to come up with original content and I hope I succeed in doing that.

I have friends who had to report abuse because their content was being copied in bulk! I have been a victim of content scraping (both for text and photos) as well, but it's nothing really major. I try my best to come out with original content because I think it's quite un-creative (and unethical) to just copy another blogger's post and criticize it on your blog, unless it's a meme (and meme's are usually fun to do!).

Here are some exercises I do whenever I'm stumped: (1) Get 5 objects near you, make a story out of it. (2) Or chronicle everything you did today and ask yourself, "What's the most interesting thing that happened?" (3) List down all your expenses for the day and answer the question, "What purchase gave you the most value for your peso?" (4) Or go answer a survey/meme, I normally do that to psyche myself up for work on blue Monday mornings.

There are days though that my muse totally deserts me, so I just normally don't force the issue and take a break. So, what do you do when you face a blank sheet?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Localized iGoogle Gadgets

Just wanted to show some new gadgets developed by Hamilton which he shared in our group:

(1) Latest on the ZTE NBN Controversy

(2) Philippine Stock Exchange Ticker

Other localized gadgets from the Philippines you might be interested in, done by Andrew:

(1) (relevant for bloggers)

(2) GMA News

(3) Philstar

(4) Inquirer

(5) Business World

Pretty nifty eh? My iGoogle wish list include: TV guide, local comics (I want Pugad Baboy!), something to do with OPM, local entertainment news and maybe local recipes (like a recipe of the day).

Now I regret not taking up computer science back in college!

Go, add `em up in your iGoogle!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Ahhh this blog's been really quiet the past few months, been quite busy. I just bumped into this video on iGoogle awhile ago and it easily explains what iGoogle is all about.

I customized my personal home page a couple of months back and aside from mail, the weather, a to-do list I've included some pets in it - some fishes and a pig! - and I know Pacman is so very 80s, but that's the only game I'm really good at. I wish though there was an iGoogle theme for the Philippines.