Blogs as a form of ‘new media’ in Lebanon

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.

make money blogging

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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.

Did you read my blog?source

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.)

I think, therefore I blog

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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.

Will blog for food

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Where am I going with this again?

Oh yeah.

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.😉

14 Comments

Filed under life in Lebanon

14 responses to “Blogs as a form of ‘new media’ in Lebanon

  1. Patrick

    I think one of the reasons we like your blog so much is because because it is shows that this is a labor of love for you🙂

    The other reason is because you’re awesome obviously😉

    Keep up the great work.

  2. From my personal experience each of my posts take about 5-6 hours to draw so I know exactly how you feel when you talk about how each post is like your …baby.

    And I know what you mean about the press releases. The funny thing in my case is that I’m not exactly a traditional blogger. So they send me these press releases to promote and it’s like…uhm…I’m a cartoonist, I can’t promote this!

    By the way, trust me your readers appreciate your efforts in your posts😀

  3. Youssef Chaker

    Everything you mentioned here is exactly why I don’t blog (you hear that @krikOrianM :P). But at the same time, the fact that you do what you do is also the reason why this blog is pretty much the only blog i comment on so regularly. I appreciate the effort you put in and I reciprocate the love🙂
    btw, I would love to see you go back to thinking more about yourself and writing about what you feel like writing without thinking about what your readers might want to read. I know you like to open up and share a bit of you. so do it, and i think you’ve accumulated enough brownie points you can come out with one post that is more selfish😉

    • Youssef..well it’s a good thing you don’t blog..coz who would add the same value to my posts (and my blog on the whole) as you do? I think my readers expectations and my expectations are one and the same at this point. (I distinctly remember talking about his before)..This blog challenges me to dig deep inside of not only myself but to really analyze the situations and events happening around me so that I can portray them in an interesting and non-traditional way. It takes a lot of time and effort..but in the end, it is so rewarding!🙂 and thank you again for always taking the time to comment! I really do appreciate it so much!

  4. Thank you Dani❤
    I will start forwarding this to people who send me press releases out of the blue =P

  5. Ivy

    U just summarized my life in a blog post Dani! Thank you for voicing most of our concerns, if advertisers want to benefit from our readership they should at least try to pay for it in some way/shape or form, and as you know many are reluctant to do so, yet they still insist on bombarding us with their press releases. Ditching work to blog isn’t always the best idea so we might as well reap some of the benefits, without turning off our readers and becoming product placement Hoes…
    Hope your enjoying your time off, you sure aren’t missing out on the crazy traffic🙂

    • Ivy, it was actually a comment on one of your recent posts about Whisky Mist that partially inspired this post..when the person said something to the effect of “Did you get paid to write this?” I really don’t think people understand how difficult it is to continually come up with topics, being careful not to mention specific businesses (so as to not make it seem like we’re promoting a place).. and it really bothers me when people automatically assume that just because I blogged about a place, that must mean I’m getting a kick back for it..when in reality, I’m NOT! And yes..the same goes for advertisers who think we are going to write posts about them..for,,well..NOTHING! It doesn’t work that way. That being said, as bloggers we need to be selective when choosing which brands to associate with through advertising. For example, neither my nor your blog would look good if we ran ads for Insurance/Accounting firms..you know?

      Anyway, thanks for your comment!😀

  6. 12-20 hours per week spent on the blog? Respekt!

    In regards to promotional requests: you ought to ask for ridiculous things. Ask for lots of freebies and make no promise that you’ll review it favorably. You don’t even need to blog about it. Tell the restaurant/spa/etc. that you won’t be associated with brands you haven’t personally tried and enjoyed, so they have to give you something free and then *only if* you like it, you will allow them to pay you to advertise on your blog for a couple weeks in a non-intrusive way. But if it sucks, give them the option: either I’ll write a bad review or not review it at all? Obviously they’ll choose the latter and you won’t have to do anything!

    This is my strategy for dealing with requests to do things that I don’t want to do: I demand something absurd just in case they’re crazy enough to go along with it.

  7. Hi Daniel,
    Actually you described my frustration anjad thank you, amazing! Although I am like 24 over 24 overloaded I make sure to read yours blog and some other interesting ones every couple of days…
    You are totally right, actually I am just an amateur in the blogging, I only post once a week but I am stressed all week long just to make sure that my story will be interesting to read… not just another meaningless story! I am stress by people telling me your stories are long, you need to write more frequently, you need to mention names… you need to do that you need to do this … but at the end, I feel happy when people start telling me stories to right on my blog, or when I am invited to a restaurant they tell me this is off the record not to be mentioned in the blog, I feel like I achieved something with my blog….

  8. You surely do spend a lot of time on your blog. I know it takes a lot of time to get ideas together in a good way for readers or viewers. At the end of the day, you feel the enjoyment that you have accomplished something. Keep it up!

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