I was invited to a virtual group discussion with my fellow content creators in Cebu to talk about the current state of blogging. With all honesty, my answers during the session were half baked, and I was not so sure if I have hit the bull’s eye to make my statement clearer to everyone who wanted to drive the same path as we are taking. All I can remember is that “Blogging is still alive,” I said, but I was not able to give my explanation as to why it is. Let me share with you today what I think as I deeply elaborate on my thoughts about it, and my BCBA 2020 adventure. I do hope you have the spare time to read the story of my blogging journey, especially those who are aspiring to become a blogger.
Is Blogging Still Alive? (My Blogging Journey for BCBA 2020)
I started to blog because of one thing: I love to write. I find writing an escape to de-stress from the busy world we are in. At a very young age, I began appreciating the idea of writing through short stories, essays, poems, yes, it all started with literary works that others might find very challenging to do. To add, I also love reading books.
Blogging taught me a lot of things, considering that when I was still new to this platform, I wasn’t that serious about how to go with my content and my audience. I just wanted to write anything that I like to write about. It was 2006. My blogging journey let me venture into a new experience of sharing my thoughts and ideas on the Internet without knowing that someday, someone would come across and read it. All I was thinking before was, “I just want to continue my passion for writing.”
There may be ups and downs but I always make sure that I will keep on moving. It may have started from my urge to pursue my love of writing but blogging became something else. It became a reason for me to be more passionate about my craft and became something deeper: a blogging journey with a purpose.
My Blogging Journey
A year after I started my very first “serious” blog, I have realized that what I’m doing is fun and exciting. I have met a lot of new friends, and get acquainted with people who share the same interest. I became more open-minded to ideas from others because even though I have a background in campus journalism, I still need to learn things from a different perspective, thankfully from fellow bloggers who are doing the same thing as I am. I became more creative in my writing from reading other blogs from writers I personally know and follow.
It was in 2010 when I first got nominated for Best Cebu Blogs Awards. And after a decade, I was thrilled that I am one of the finalists for this year. I am so grateful that my blog has been nominated because it gave me the impression that someone’s reading it. I am very much happy that amid the Coronavirus crisis, my personal blog still gives inspiration to people during these trying times. I was not expecting to be nominated, let alone be a finalist for BCBA 2020.
I am very much humbled to be getting this honor as one of the finalists for the Best Cebu Blogs Awards, and I have so many people to thank for giving me the joy that I am feeling right now. Even though we are physically distant from each other, our blogs, our videos, our content made us socially connected online.
With this, I would like to share with you five (5) things I have realized while quarantined at home, and the lessons I have learned from my wonderful journey as a blogger, most especially this time as we stay-at-home to be healthy and safe:
1) Being First Helps But It’s Never A Guarantee.
The Best Cebu Blogs Awards didn’t exist when I started blogging. It was in its infancy when I first got a nomination. However, it definitely helped lead to my familiarity with this industry and my blog‘s popularity that it has today before it became a hit. To deny this would be foolish. But the most significant part here is that BCBA introduced me to more events and more brand partnerships. It gave life to my blog and that is the truth.
It is very funny for me but the blogging community in Cebu considers me as “the O.G.”, “the first”, “the finest”, “Cebu’s finest” (a pun from my other blog’s name, CebuFinest.com). But I have so much respect for those Cebu bloggers who did this before me. But remember, being first helps but it’s not a prerequisite.
I can list dozens and dozens of bloggers that, despite having begun early, went under. They no longer be found in the blogosphere. Maybe, they drove to a different path. But to shed light, on this, most specifically, I can also list tens and hundreds of incredibly well-done blogs that have started in the last couple of years.
Being diligent and creative, making great content, delivering something that addresses the issues of your readers, networking, and many other aspects matter more than being first. “Being first” will be low on my list of “things you need for success.”
2) There Will Be Changes — And So As You, And Your Content. That’s Fine.
You will change. Your life will change, and so will your blog. At first, I decided to travel and write about my experience. Now, I want more to remain in place. Do more local events and appreciate more of the local scenes.
I have opposed the transition for a long time. I really wanted to become a travel blogger. I was always trying to be the blogger that people will turn to when they are planning for their next destination. I was very positive that my blog will be the go-to source of everything an amazing travel adventure would be. If not a travel blog, what will I be? How will the readers proceed?
I said, “It’s not really necessary if I am not into traveling, as long as my readers get the information they need. Rather than anything else, the material counts.”
People are either going to enjoy it or not. Moreover, the lives of your readers will also change. They’re starting to be older, too. They’re going to have new desires. Perhaps, when they find it tedious, people would avoid reading your blog. They evolve out of your guidance, or they just avoid doing the things they love that they have inspired by you. That’s just how it is.
Life changes for you and your readers. Don’t be afraid of transition.
3) Don’t Just Do This For You. Do It For Your Readers, Too.
Do you know who the most successful people? Those that wake up and think about ways to make other people’s lives easier. The people who do whatever it is they do for a reason beyond themselves. The Internet would soon tire of you if your goal is only to get free stuff and how to do fun things for yourself. No one needs to hear someone’s story about doing stuff that they will never do.
We also want something or someone to help us fix a dilemma we all have in our lives. That might be anything like the mundane question “I need to know how to look better” or in my usual case, “How to start blogging?”
No matter what you do, don’t forget to do it for your readers as well. Think about ways to fix their problems. Do something that has your audience is thinking, “My life is easier because I came here to your blog.”
That, to me, makes people happy. Figure out what it is for you. Your blog’s mission can never be “How can I change my life?” People will see through that. Being a personality on the Internet only lasts so long as your gimmick is only a trend. You’ll stand the test of time if your blog content is reader-centered.
4) How You Monetize Your Content Will Greatly Change.
Simple ways to make money online have always been available. First, it’s Google Adsense. You would slap a pair of advertisements that looked like normal links and people would click away. Then there was banner advertising. Both do exist, but how many of us click on banner ads? Then it was selling text links to companies trying to game SEO. Then sponsored posts that did the same thing but were supposedly harder for search engines to detect.
Every single one was a fad that people said would last forever. Now, it’s influencer marketing where everybody gets brand deals and one’s visibility is the ultimate step on how to become a top-performing influencer.
You might want to create your own products. Continuing on that concept, own as much as possible of your revenue stream: seminars, workshops, merchandise, etc. I sold a lot of text links when I started. And, one day, when Google modified its algorithm, it went to zero. However, it didn’t worry me that much, because I had already moved on by then. Unfortunately, though, because of the current global pandemic, I step back a little and went to my blueprint on how to engage in my plans in the future.
I’ve got learning modules on influencer marketing and blogging. I invested my time during the pandemic to attend learning webinars so I can create my own lecture materials for my future seminars and workshops. Soon, I may do school tours, too. I will offer short courses by then.
I am just hoping the new normal will soon stabilize and I can conduct training for aspiring bloggers and businesses to start utilizing social media to promote their products and services. I diversified my potential profits and have produced goods of my own. No matter what it is, doing your own thing means that you don’t rely on anyone for your income and you never know what could happen.
5) There Will Be Setbacks.
After I began my blogging journey, I spent four years waiting for my first Google Adsense payout. I had put all of my money into a high-performing web hosting service only to think I lost some of my six-years-worth of content because of a faulty database and file backup. I was able to restore the majority of my old posts, paid off my invoices to a new hosting company, and relaunched the website. But it turned out I didn’t know how to cope up with the lost traffic since my website was temporarily down for almost two months.
I run Facebook Ads that haven’t gone anywhere. E-books that no one bought. Nobody turned up to one of my workshops about affiliate marketing because there’s no free food. I made merchandise that almost half of the products ended up as start-of-year gifts to PR agencies and marketing team leaders because no one bought them. Parts of my website have been redesigned, causing conversions to fail. I hired writers and contributors who have done nothing but attend events on my behalf and never written a single post by themselves. I tried YouTube that’s gone nowhere when YouTube changed their monetization requirements. I have consistently struggled.
The key is to remember that failure is a teacher. Sure, on all these projects that didn’t work out, it was wasting time and resources, but we took the lessons from these experiences in other ways. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, learn, and step on if you believe in your goal. To get the point out, you’ll find another way.
As Edison said, he didn’t fail, he just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.
And One Last Thing
The Internet brings out the best of people as well as the worst. They’re starting to be pretty nasty. They will get really mean; so mean that you’ll want to curl up into a ball and cry. Currently, you could do so. I’ve got lots of stories to tell about the mean comments I have received and rumors I have heard even though they know what you have been through on your blogging journey and life story.
It takes time to be emotionally intelligent, so don’t take it personally but learn to do this. Don’t mind the haters and carry on. It’s better to say than to do, but you have to! There are a thousand people who value what you do.
Are Blogs Still Alive?
For more than a decade of blogging, I can still say that blogging is still alive, very alive. There are still those who consume the information we provide through our content. There are those who enjoy reading written words. It is just the thing now that people prefer different platforms for their social media consumption. My blogging journey is still fun and exciting and it is still needed. It might be sad to hear from aspiring bloggers who are still not blogging because of whatever reasons, but this is what I can advise to those who are planning to start a blog, and those who currently are blogging: Just Keep Blogging!
I am always certain that as long as they are passionate bloggers who continue to provide information on the Internet through their blogs, and as long as the Best Cebu Blogs Awards continues to recognize content creators, it will be a living testimony that blogging is still, and will remain alive on the Internet. My blogging journey this year is quite challenging but it is fun and exciting despite the global health crisis. And because of this humbling honor of becoming a finalist for Best Cebu Blogs Awards, I still keep telling myself that what I am doing is right, and there are still people who appreciate it. I am greatly happy.
Before I end this post, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers who joined me in my blogging journey, who appreciate what I do, and the people, especially my family and fellow content creators who continually encourage me to keep going and moving forward.
And lastly, to Best Cebu Blogs Awards, Mark Monta and the BCBA Team, for the encouragement, the motivation, and the recognition in celebrating the life experiences and stories of every content creators in Cebu. Happy 13th anniversary to BCBA and congratulations! Cheers to a fruitful blogging journey, and more years of celebration no matter how challenging the time is.
About Best Cebu Blogs Awards
The Best Cebu Blogs Awards (BCBA) is a yearly Awarding Ceremony of Cebu-based Bloggers. BCBA is the only and pioneering award-giving body that recognizes the existence of blogs, bloggers, and social media influencers or movers in Cebu’s blogosphere. It acknowledges the existence and importance of Cebu Bloggers in the Visayas and in the Philippines. BCBA aims to recognize the finest blogs by Cebuanos and Cebu-based bloggers which are at par even with their foreign counterparts.
Best Cebu Blogs Awards is organized and handled by Blogger Volunteers headed by Cebu Bloggers Society Inc. Founder Mark M. Monta. Judges for the Best Cebu Blogs Awards By Niches are changing every year. Most of them came from Manila, Cagayan De Oro, Ilo-ilo, General Santos, Davao, and of course, a home-based judge here in Cebu.
BCBA was founded by Mark Monta in December of 2008 and later joined by fellow organizers Agnes Jimenez, Bjorn Bernales, Gezelle Tapangan, Chanel Marie Imperial, and Jaysee Pingkian.
As of this time, the current and active members of the BCBA Committee are the Founder, Mark Monta, Volunteers Geezelle Tapangan-Maningo, and Cebu-based Judge, Ms. Nancy Cudis-Ucag.
The Best Cebu Blogs Awards (BCBA 2020) is not possible without the help of the following partners and sponsors:
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