This blogging thing..it’s not easy..and I don’t think that many people understand just how much effort it requires.
To be a (successful) blogger takes a considerable amount of time, commitment, patience, and persistence…as well as the ability to consistently come up with new ideas/topics that pique people’s interest and always keep them coming back for more.
It’s at least a part-time job..that most bloggers (myself included) do NOT get paid for.
Between the brainstorming (yes, I brainstorm!!), the drafting, the editing, the sourcing of images (I spend a lot of time choosing the perfect images), the dissemination of the blog posts, the comments followup..I would say that this blog occupies about 12-15, sometimes 20 hours per week. And even then, that doesn’t guarantee people will read, like, comment, or share what I have spent hours researching and writing about. Which is why most people abandon blogging after only a few months (if they even last that long)..as it really is a labor of love.
I have to admit that when I first started blogging, I really didn’t care about what people wanted to read about. Blogging was a form of catharsis for me..a means to get things out..to voice my opinions/experiences even if no one was listening (not even my family who I supposedly started this blog for!). But as time went by, and I began to realize that people were actually reading some of what I wrote, my approach to this blog changed. I began to think less about myself, and more about what my readers wanted to read about..
For those of you who have been reading this blog for some time..I think you may have noticed the shift from more review style posts about restaurants/bars etc etc..to more “features” type posts. And while I love writing features, they do take considerably more time/research/effort than other types of post. (That being said, they are also more rewarding.)
Anyway, I’m drifting further and further away from the purpose of this post… And that is “blogs as a form of ‘new media’ in Lebanon.”
You see…recently, and for whatever reason (blame it on Summer season?), the email I have associated with this blog has been bombarded with press releases from everything from fashion retailers, to authors, corporate CSR campaign managers, musicians, charitable events organizers, restaurants, and spa/salons trying to promote their pedicures which involve fish eating at the bottom of your feet. And honestly, this is just funny to me as I have yet to write about something that someone has emailed me about. Mostly because my readers couldn’t care less about these things.. I would definitely lose all of you if I wrote about every press release I receive. Definitely.
You see.. blogs don’t operate like traditional media – which is why people have come to rely on them more for authentic opinions, since most of us aren’t influenced by outside interests. A magazine on the other hand, like TimeOut, features a lot of “advertorial” style pieces, which (most of the time) just so happen to feature businesses that have run paid advertisements in their magazine and on their website. Yet, a magazine like TimeOut generates a lot of money..while most blogs..well..don’t..so there are definitely different motives at play here which I completely understand.
Where am I going with this again?
So to all of you people in PR and Marketing out there (if you’re even reading this, coz judging from the emails you send me, you aren’t!)..don’t think for one second that just because you send a press release out to a blogger, that they are going to mention it in their blog! Your time and resources are better spent generating a superb campaign that will garner our interest naturally. (Or..if you must send out an email/press release at least take the time to address us personally and let us know that you’ve actually read our posts from time to time!) Our readers are very savvy and have little to no interest in promotional messages. Hell, I can’t even write about a restaurant/bar/hotel without someone thinking I’m getting paid for it (see example below).
So while blogs may be a new and emerging form of media in Lebanon (because of growing readership), it will take much more effort for your company/brand/product to be featured in a blog post compared to traditional print publications..so..just understand.. that from here on out, sending an email blast simply wont cut it. Not for your clients, and not for us bloggers.
And to all of you who follow blogs out there regularly (especially ones that don’t generate a profit and are purely a labor of love)..just understand that it takes a lot for bloggers to do what they do. That’s all. 😉