Instead of going the usual ‘one size fits all’ route, The Digital Movement had a different way of approaching BlogOut! 2009. By focusing on two distinct themes: Corporate (targeted at enterprises who wish to learn more about engaging customers through social media) and the Open track (aimed at everyday bloggers), Blogout ensured that its appeal was broad-based but targeted at the same time, gaining more audience.
Joe Augustin was an excellent emcee, by the way. Loved all his jokes, jibes and ability to engage with the topic and the audience throughout the two days.
Here are some of the more salient points from the various sessions.
Bloggers Don’t Owe You A Living
Tania Chew from Ogilvy discussed certain questions businesses may have about social media. She touched on various issues like pitching to bloggers and how your brand really only matters to you. Thus, you cannot just ‘pitch’ to bloggers but must participate in the conversation and get to know them (listen).
A slide from Tania’s presentation.
Measuring The Unmeasurable?
Everyone now seems to agree that social media has to be added to a company’s traditional marketing mix, if not feature as one of the more important aspects of a marketing strategy; problem is, it’s a hazy social media world out there.
Enterprises probably already know the qualitative benefits of engaging customers via social media: loyalty, trust, passion, interaction, brand awareness. And they probably also have a vague idea how to dabble in social media to engage customers (blog, follow people on Twitter, have a Facebook group etc.). But how does one measure these ‘benefits’?
Yongfook tells us that “it IS easy to measure, just not with conventional metrics”. Instead of going with the ‘obvious’ and oft-mentioned statistics like “number of followers” or “number of pageviews”, we should be clear of which metrics we should be tracking and where said metrics must contribute directly to a business goal.
When these metrics have been identified, constant A/B and multivariate testing has to be constantly done so that you know which aspects of your communication (website design and copy, email subject lines..etc) positively impacts the metrics/goals you’re tracking.
The crowd was equally strong, with many new faces and only a couple (like us) who were present the previous day. Tech65 liveblogged Day 2 here.
Getting In Bed With Social Media Schmoozing
If you like an excellent example of how you can leech off others (read: schools and other kind folks), look no further than to hail Preetam as your saviour and role model. A social media and technologist junkie, he travels mainly throughout Southeast Asia coaching schools on how to engage an audience using social media (he gets free lodging and food).
The affable Preetam started day two of Blogout! 2009 in a good, light-hearted way with his tales as a Travelling Blogger. He recommended sending postcards to fellow online junkies to keep in touch, talked about cold-calling the schools overseas, and to make sure you document your past coaching trips as they act as your portfolio.
Preetam Rai speaking.
Have Market Validation? Try The Freemium Route.
Lester Chan’s presentation on WordPress As A Blogging Tool was a great summary of the differences between WordPress.org (host on your own server) and WordPress.com (the el lazy way). Can we also emphasize that this guy knows what he is talking about? Being a prolific WordPress plugin developer and all? (He has developed 17 WP plugins and counting so far!)
Currently, Lester doesn’t charge for his plugins but since people love his work, it was suggested that it might be viable for him to go the freemium route. He could offer two versions of a plugin and charge for the more robust one.
Only Some Can Make A Living Through Ads
Yongfook using Xiaxue as an example.
Yongfook spoke about how he knows of Xiaxue, one of Singapore’s most (in)famous bloggers, but know not our television celebrities. She is one of the few bloggers worldwide who makes money through blog advertising and many everyday bloggers can’t hope to do the same. One blogger who had 1.5 million visits that month, earned only US$1,039.81 through Google AdSense.
“Advertising is not a way to monetize your blog, it is a way for someone else to monetize your blog.”
Find A Niche: The More Niche, The Better
Bringing up the example of CopyBlogger, Yongfook advised us to (1) find a niche (2) have a free blog, and have paid content (3) dare to charge for your content!
“You’re an expert on something, no matter how niche.”
PS: Did we mention that Microsoft was there, and as usual, had their XBox all set up?? Microsoft and XBox are now a mainstay of social media events in Singapore. Hail Guitar Hero!
More Thoughts, Conversations and Photos from Blogout! 2009
If you attended Blogout! 2009, take this survey by The Digital Movement.
 Flickr photos from (1) SGE (2) The Digital Movement (3) Preetam (4) mhisham
 Tech65, (1) 65Bits Episode 109.5 : Excerpts from BlogOut! ‘09 (2) Videos from BlogOut! ‘09 Day 1 – Part Un (3) Videos from BlogOut! ‘09 Day 1 – Part Deux
 Seriously Sarah, Blogout 09!
 Claudia Lim, Blogout! 2009 Ended With Mixed Of Emotions
 Techgoodu, Thoughts on Blogout ‘09
 A short study on the use of Twitter hashtag for Barcamp Singapore (Asia) and Blogout! 2009.