Blogafest 2019: This Geek’s Bloga-Pabaon

Blogafest 2019 may have been weeks ago, but I’m so glad at how much knowledge and advice have been gained from attending the event and listening to its speakers. Let’s take a stroll at some of my notes from the panels that took place!

Also, some context.

“Defintion of pabaon: something to be used as food, a snack or other provisions brought on to work, school, or on a trip”

As someone who traveled to Manila for this event, I’ve somewhat treated my notes as a bit of personal reflection also, with the knowledge and ideas from Blogafest’s panels as my pabaon going home. I think I’ve

The stuff that’s ahead will come with my own biases or personal (and sometimes limited) understanding of the information presented to me. Hey, if you think of something better, do leave some comments below! Let’s discuss.

Good Influencership

With great power comes great responsibility, as we’ve learned and picked up from the Spiderman comics. From the “Good Influencership” panel, one key takeaway is that much as all of us have influence when you become an influencer that singular difference in the letter “r” now stands in for responsibility. Influence comes into play by way of the influencers that act on it – the myriad of content creators that cover bloggers, vloggers, social media stars, etc. 

As content creators, we have our own set of followers – whether they may be big or small, local or international – and much like being the leader of the pack or simply being an older sibling, we are responsible for the effect of our influence unto those who pay attention to us and our content. Responsibility starts with a sense of awareness of our impact on our followers’ lives and decisions, and if we really think about it – there needs to be a sense of care and consciousness. I think we have passed simply throwing information out into the world because as content creators our influence rides on nearly every bit of info we share on our platform and to our followers. The information we share, in the form that suits our style, has the capacity to shape someone else’s opinion or idea of something (or someone).

The term “influencer” cannot just be limited then to being a buzz word for someone raking in tons of engagement and attention. The term, the role and its responsibilities, refers then to any individual who can create enough amount of impact on others’ lives and decisions. We, however, are influencers in the sense that it is through the content we generate – blogs, vlogs, social media posts – that we create impact. Heck, even designers and creatives I follow on social media and related platforms are influencers in their own right too – influencing ideas, creativity, and inspiration overall through their skill and talent to create stunning art and design.

The kind of influencer we want to become then is up to us, with the best scenario that we are able to impact some (or better, plenty of) good towards our followers or to the community. 

Authenticity

The market is or has been correcting itself to identify and value those who are authentic from those who aren’t. After all, I think that’s the best way to find real, useful information relevant to the one looking for it, especially in a sea of information in our current era. A useful test for authenticity I picked up from one of the Blogafest panels is that if you can’t say it to someone’s face (or to the public), then don’t post it online. Now, this can be a bit challenging as there will always be differing opinions, there’s bound to be someone who will disagree, or possibly issues on privacy and confidentiality, but I’d like to think and believe that the best we could do is, to be honest with ourselves first and foremost and decide to stand by what we know or what we have experienced. If we got it wrong, I’d like to think we are allowed to change our opinion or thoughts on certain matters and move on.

Authenticity is a huge deal especially in the content creators community since followers not only pay attention to the content we’re pushing out but also to who is behind the curtain toiling on the writeups, photos or videos they’re consuming and enjoying. I personally don’t see it as about recognition (or maybe a bit of it is, that creators are hard at work at their craft) – but more so about relatability. At the end of the day, aren’t we following who we follow because they’re pushing out something we’re vastly interested in just as much as they are? 

Don’t we all follow people simply to connect? Either to make a friend or be comforted and entertained with the sight or thought that someone else too likes the same things we do, or has gone through what we thought no one else had. But of course, the only way we can truly connect with one another is when we are true to ourselves, doing what we truly love, sharing what we truly think, to begin with.

The Core Questions

“People love to ask how questions: How do you succeed? How do you get to 400,000 subscribers? How do you get to these numbers? Pero they don’t have the core questions locked in first – Who are you? What do you stand for? Why?”

So this as a concept is an eye-opener to me personally. Thinking about who we really are matters because if we don’t define ourselves, probably (and sadly) the world will define us ironically for us. Naturally, what we stand for comes next because when we know who we are, then we know what we like, what we don’t like; what we want to stand for and what we are against. The “why” then is our driving force, our purpose – literally why we’re doing all this. This “why” is the only thing we can go back to when we find ourselves in difficulty over the content we’re creating or prioritizing, when we’ve tired ourselves out, or when we’re finding ourselves in doubt.

Only then should we be asking the “How” questions – on how best do I make content, how to set up our channels, how to capture the perfect angles, how to possibly earn from all our hard work, etc.

These may be difficult questions, but I can understand why as they’re the right ones to ask first. The answers to these will serve as the foundation after all of whatever one will be creating. Without some solid answers to these, that foundation might be prone to crumble easily. But sticking to these answers, I think, might lead the way to success with your craft.

It’s an eye-opener for me because I too personally may have to re-evaluate my own venture into this sphere. I’m actually quite thankful to have had gone to Blogafest and be reminded of these essentials.

Training your Audience

Now this one is an interesting perspective that I just had to take note of. With each upload or content we push out to our followers, it’s kind of a given that gradually we are getting better at our craft but what we may not immediately realize is that we’re actually also training our audiences, our followers, two main things: (1) that we are a valuable source of information that is relevant to them, and (2) that they can look forward to our content at certain times or time periods.

Of course, this can only be achieved with consistency in terms of the quality of content with proper or timely scheduling. In my point of view, not as a creator but more like an audience member, I’ve been witness to this with the plenty of tech blogs I’ve been following over the years. Whenever a new phone has just been launched or announced, I’m almost certain anytime now they’ll be sharing technical specifications about the phone and even their first impressions on it (whether based on paper or an actual hands-on of the device). I can even see fellow followers’ comments asking for advice on certain smartphone models or if the channel can also share their thoughts on another phone that’s coming next. Some have achieved that great a level of consistency to have garnered not just our full attention, but also our trust in that we value their thoughts and opinions.

Brands and Influencers

“When you reach out to an influencer, you have to think of it not just as numbers but also you’re choosing a bespoke distribution platform for a niche platform.”

I’ve taken note of this statement probably as a for-future-reference note if brands and businesses may approach to ask first and foremost, how best they could work with content creators. I see this as more of that we as content creators – we not only bring value to our followers but also in a way to brands and to the marketing and sales industry as well. Granted it’s up to us which brands we’re willing to work with or for, but the point is that we have a lot to bring to the table as well, and I think there are still plenty of opportunities and creative ways to work with brands that have yet been explored (at least in my point of view). All of which is exciting! Like who knows what awesome, unique collaborations can happen next between brands and influencers.

Blogafest 2019

As a whole, I will remember my first Blogafest experience very fondly.

I was able to pick up lessons, helpful advice, and new knowledge from even more experienced influencers who’ve decided to share their time and knowledge with us, be able to meet fellow content creators from other parts of the country, and had fun going around the sponsors’ booths (and chatting them up about their brand) during portions of the program.

The event is something I’m already looking forward to for 2020! Not only does it give me an opportunity to learn even more about the content creator industry and take notes on the best practices, it’s also a great time to feel like I’m part of a bigger community, a bigger picture of things.

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