When Alvin Lim, Founder of Alvinology started blogging in 2007, it was really an experimentation on content platform and audiences. The experiment has become a success - serving up to 280,000 readers monthly and 54,000 instagram followers now. Currently, there are 16 writers contributing to Alvinology, with a writer in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and London each while the rest are based in Singapore.
We talked to him to find out about his journey to becoming one of Asia's most popular bloggers and social media influencers.
I receive an average of... (releases, a day, a month?)
About 10 on a slow day, 50+ on a heavy news day.
My main subject areas are...
Social news, humour, travel, food, entertainment and gadgets. Basically things people read to kill time.
3 challenges as a blogger...
- It's not a full-time job, so there's a need to juggle it with work.
- Some people think we blog for freebies, but it's not true. Try doing it yourself, and you'll see the amount of hard work we put in is just not worth it.
- Not all bloggers are the same. There are some black sheep, there are some with like zero traffic or followers. Don't lump us all together and expect us to respond favourably.
How is blogger different from a journalist?
Journalists holds a full-time writing position, whereby they are paid to write. Bloggers have to find other ways to feed ourselves.
Why didn't you consider being a traditional journalist?
My grammar sucks. I was raised in a Chinese speaking environment and only picked up English in primary one.
Share about development process of a story...
For bloggers, experiential participation is key. Hence, conventional media releases may not work. We need to feel, touch or experience the product or service in order to write something.
Studio shots of a client's product are really nice, but they are too nice to be real. For blogs, believability is key, which is why we seldom use PR or client provided pictures and stories. Originality is important.
What makes a good story for you?
An article that sends a smile across people's faces, or can help improve life.
Suggestions to PR / Communications staff...
For bloggers, try to send word documents instead of PDF files which are hard to cut and paste. Avoid non-experiential releases. Don't call repeatedly during office hours or when I am overseas. Especially the latter, which happens a lot.
Worst Press release received...
Press release with text in CAPS and rainbow coloured fonts; The event got cancelled and rescheduled; Promised to be the grandest event ever but did not live up to it.
The best time of day to send press releases to me...
Emails are okay. Anytime is okay. Try not to call repeatedly during office hours. Once is enough. I will call back if I didn't pick up.
How do you find new stories these days?
By surfing the net and staying active on social platforms. Basically, waste a lot of time online.
Do you feel that the quality of content produced by traditional journalists has dropped overall?
I don't think quality has dropped, but sometimes, content written for print publications do not translate well into online writing and vice versa.
What do you think contributed to your success as a blogger?
I was one of the pioneers. Also, I can take photos, do designs, do illustrations, shoot and edit videos, plus write. Being able to produce all sorts of content helps a lot. It also helps that I worked in the media and entertainment industry.
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