Blog + Magazine = is it the perfect combination for digital media?

Ever since the World Wide Web was invented in 1989 by British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee, innovations kept on coming. Aside from the website, a set of pages of information on the internet about a particular subject, another medium in the digital arena came to life in the late 1990s when the idea of creating an online diary became popular.

Jorn Barger coined the term “weblog” on Decenber 1997 but it was only two years after that the people came to notice it when Perer Merholz coined the shorter term “blog.” In the sidebar of his weblog on April or May 1999 (http://www.peterme.com/archives/00000205.html), Merholz separated the term into two words “we blog”, which was later on interpreted as as a short form of the noun and also as a verb – to blog, meaning “to edit one’s weblog or a post to one’s weblog.”

In the Philippines, blogs have been around almost at the same time the Internet was introduced in the Philippines on 1995. Since the term “blog” was just coined on 1997, early Filipino bloggers didn’t have name for what they were doing. They just referred to it as a personal website or an online journal.

Based from the Internet Archives’s The Wayback Machine (http://web.archive.org/), a site used to recover websites and blogs from way back in 1996, the oldest recorded Filipino blog (and probably the first blog that ever existed in the world) was Lauren Dado’s online journal http://www.worldkids.net/kids/lauren/journal. Dado was only 10 years old when she first published online on December of 1996. Though thee Wayback Machine was only able to archive Lauren’s online journal from October 1997, her very first entry was dated on December 22, 1996.

As years passed, blogs did not just become limited to online diaries or for personal use. Even businesses and media organizations have adapted the innovation of websites and blogs to contribute to their marketing efforts. Some companies have their own concrete website, while some utilizes blogs.

But which of the two is better?

Unlike websites, blogs are “flatter.” Blogs organize content in reverse chronological order (most recent published posts appear first). According to Curatti.com, reverse order is a lousy way to organize content for great user experience (engagement), to promote inbound links and to secure long-term search engine (SEO) power.

Comparison between a website and a blog

The birth of a new page on thr Web

Former Daily Tribune newspaper columnist for Multimedia and Technology section, Homer Nievera, started his own web page when he saw the opportunity to fully moved to digital.

I have looked at content and blogs as important tools in digital marketing since my days at Friendster where i was the global head of partnerships. My quick learnings on how Facebook overtook Friendster led me to look into the use of social networks — such as Facebook — as amplifiers of content. I knew then that content will always be king.

Nievera was in the print media industry for 25 years. Aside from his stint as a newspaper columnist, he also worked as the Bureau Chief for Asia for the Asian American times in San Francisco.

In March 2011, Nievera established Negosentro, the first-ever blogazine in Asia that produces and curates content on start-ups, digital and traditional entrepreneurship, retailing and franchising.

negosentro

According to Nievera, there was not much planning in his first blogazine. It was trial and error so he can see what a particular audience liked.

Its content is globally sourced but locally applicable to the Philippine setting, having content partners from popular tech and entrepreneurship bloggers, writers and other resources. Its content is accessible across PCs and all digital devices.

As of writing, the content is still is fluid though the structure and functionalities have stayed the same.

Blogazine vs blogs & magazines

Because Nievera wanted to have a narrower audience in which he could serve better, he decided to create a blogazine instead of a website.

Blogazines are magazine-styled blogs. It carries more targeted content for hyper-localized audiences.

Blogazine is a cross between websites and blogs. Blogazines carry multiple bloggers or columnists, thus have more following than single blogs which have certain audiences only. Websites are created for particular purposes from simple information placements to commercial purposes. Blogazines are both commercial and non-commercial in nature.
The content can also be more SEO-centric for particular advertisers on the monetization side.

As a content marketing solution for advertisers and marketers in the industry, Negosentro presents an integrated platform to house valuable content such as articles, videos, infographics, reports, whitepapers, studies and other content formats. This makes the site an authentic partner to convert niche visitors from learners to buyers. The site has an active base of 24-34 year olds, 55% female and 45% male, and access content from their workplace.

Surviving the Digital Arena

The main difficulties Nievera experienced were in finding the right hosting service and getting the right web developer.

When it comes to the competition of content found on the Web, Nievera reversed the Yahoo model which was a portal that had various categories. He got the more popular ones and turned them into blogazines.  He also curates materials from affiliate sites.

Just like any other digital media company, Nievera business model was to make money from advertising. He packaged content (advertorials) with banners.

Materials from affiliates are both free and paid. The paid ones are usually trade ads only.

The number of advertisers in a blogazine is not necessarily higher compared to other websites because the volumes on blogs are limited given the space limitations. 

Blogazine uses automated revenue sources like Google AdSense and Nuffnang since they do not have the luxury of money yet to hire a sales person to run to agencies and advertisers.

With Negosentro, Nievera got his money back in 45 days from launch. Because of this success, he created 7 more titles and turned them into blogazines in 2014. And this year, the blogazines were bought by the United Neon group in February 2015.

Creating your own blogazine

With Negosentro’s success in the digital publishing, three important factors should he kept in mind: audience, content and social media (for promotions).

Audience
Planning should be based on first identifying an audience. It has to be super-niched. With Negosentro,the site targets mostly tech-savvy and business-minded people living in highly urbanized dwellings across the Philippines. It also has a large following in North America and Europe.

Content
After identifying the audience for the site, plot the categories a particular audience would relate to. Be speficc as possible. Puttung in the content and then hiring the writers come next.

Social Media
To gather the targeted audience, utilize social media tools. Social media is a very powerful too to drive traffic to your site. Share the contents via social media.

Personal recommendation

Negosentro is one of the blogs that are really niche-targeted. Its contents reflect the site’s objective. But when you open the blogazine, it’s somehow ‘heavy’ in a way.

There’s an overload of contents on the Homepage; that it became too text heavy.

negosentro2negosentro3

  • The latest articles & what’s hot could have been minimized to at least three items only
  • The columns could have been not too crowded
  • The twitter newsfeed could have been minimized

References:
http://curatti.com/websites-vs-blogs/
http://webfoundation.org/about/vision/history-of-the-web/
http://www.yugatech.com/tracing-back-the-philippines-blogging-history/
http://www.heartshaper.asia/our-websites/negosentro/

The Story Behind Women of Manila

Something simple. specific. But will have an impact.

Those were the things that we wanted for our group project. Thinking of a concept for a website was difficult at first. Primarily because a website is not just a simple personal ‘blog.’ With hundreds (or thousands) of websites on the Internet, it’s even harder to come up with something new or something that can compete with existing sites. But instead of competing with this sites, we used them as an inspiration. One of the sites that really inspired as was Humans of New York (HONY).

The Concept & Game Plan

After brainstorming, we have decided that we wanted to create a local version of the popular HONY website that features random people on the streets of the Big Apple and singles out a striking quote during their interview.

To veer away from this concept a bit, we have opted to give our website a working title of “Women of Manila” to mirror the kind of subjects that we want to feature. We want to showcase the interesting women here in the metro who have made the mark in their respective fields in an effort to promote women empowerment. (Since we’re an all-girl group, our concept was close to our hearts.)

From the name, to the logo and materials, we see to it that we have a consistent branding. For the content, we chose successful women from different fields – art, music, food, fashion, technology, youth and more – interviewed them & take photos to complement their story (one profile shot & one in action shot).

To come up with the striking quote, we came up with questions that will bring out the inspiring story of our subjects.
– Why did you chose your field?
– Turning point in life?
– What was the Life-changing moment wherein you realized your purpose aa a woman?
– what’s your inspiration in your chosen field?
– Are there advantages/disadvantages of being a woman in your field?
– Advice to women who plan to take on the same career path as yours

To make our concept and content more original, as well as for promotional strategies in the future for our Facebook Page, we decided to have on-cam interview questions. These questions focused on women empowerment.
1. How do you empower women in your field?
2. If you’ll be the next president what will you do/ what will be your top priorities?
3. Aside from being a mother, what is the essence of being a woman?
4. How do you define success?

To spice up our content, we also asked some funny questions. (But we decided not to include them in out website because some of our subjects have serious personalities.)

Game Face Mode On

We wrote our stories depending whom we interview. Our writing focused on profile/feature style, with the Millennials as audience.

wom

Uploading stories on our website comes hand in hand with the photos we took. All photos uploaded have watermark for consistency in branding and copyright concerns. Since we’re not really that knowledgable in WordPress, the first few uploading of stories were trial and error on the layout. But we were lucky that we got a free wordpress theme that matched our branding and brought our what we really wanted for our website – simple but classy.

FB page

We chose Facebook as our main social media tool to build an audience. We started to gather audience by posting teaser about our website. Then, after the first set of stories, we officially launched our website side by side with promotions in Facebook.

 

 

social media calendar (fb)We scheduled our posts that includes:
-quotes
-art cards
-videos
-backgrounder of subjects
-website promotion

Every post includes the Women of Manila website URL and hashtag #WomenofManila

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Aside from our Facebook Page posts, we tagged subjects, their groups/affiliations, various related FG pages; and shared our posts to FB page posts on various FB pages & groups.

Personal strategies included were sharing on our FB page posts and blog posts (via WordPress) on our personal social media accounts (FB, Twitter & Instagram).

The fruits of our labor

Driving audience to our website wasn’t easy but with our strategies, we were able to pull it off.

The homepage always got the highest # of views. Though they say the homepage is not anymore as significant as before readers tend to open various pages instead. But for us, our home page was the most viewed.
Personally, our homepage serves as a window to what we offer.
Every story had their own readers as well.

(statistics of views per posts from 1st to 3rd week)

website views

OVER-ALL we had:

12 POSTS
total of 1,868 VIEWS in 3 weeks
371 VISITORS
Referrer: Facebook
​Daily average # of views: 100-150
BEST VIEWS EVER: 303 (November 26, 2015)

WoM Final Presentation