5 Tips on Making an Event for Bloggers

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

As more and more businesses make use of buzz marketing to promote their products and services and try to get good word-of-mouth, we get to see all kinds of gimmicks and come-ons.

Some fail dismally in this task- as more educated consumers see right through the more obvious efforts to put pearls on swine. Others cross the ethical borderline, striving to gain positive exposure no matter the cost. And then there are some companies you just can't help but support, solely for the reason that their corporate values naturally align with your own.

Having been a media person for 14 years, and now as a denizen of the local blogosphere, I can say that I've seen all kinds of companies employ all kinds of marketing tactics to get a good review or two out there. Some good, some completely forgettable, and some just downright wrong.

Of course, if your company chooses to make use of new media- blogs, podcasts, social networks, viral videos, etc- as a means to promote your latest line of products and services, you want to be remembered the right way.

I was in a bloggers' event last week, and it made me think about writing the post you're now reading. Let me share with you a few insights I had with that experience.

The Kawayan Cove Experience

Just a few days ago, several bloggers (myself included), headed off for Kawayan Cove in Nasugbu, Batangas. Kawayan Cove is a 68-hectare exclusive seaside residential community, located in Nasugbu, Batangas, a town 2 hours south of Metro Manila famous for its white-sand beaches and resorts. Edge Properties invited some bloggers to come check it out, and you can read the details of our visit on this other post of mine on another blog, The Life & Times of The Renzie Man.

Whether I like it or not, the side of me that's all media-and-marketing can't help but pay attention to how promotional activities- like this particular event for bloggers- unfold and run its course. I've managed a number of similar events in the not-too-distant past, so I have a few observations myself.

Here are some things we learned from our Kawayan Cove visit:

1. Set the expectations straight. Naturally, when we were given the invitation to event, I already had some preconceived notions in my head: is it going to be a sales pitch? Those real estate open house events are usually boring! Wait- blogging about real estate IS boring!

But the invitation explained it all: it's a workshop for bloggers into digital photography. Just so happens it's set in Kawayan Cove. Bring your camera- you'll want to take lots of pictures. Bring extra clothes- you might want to hang by the beach.

The organizers did a pretty good job in setting the expectations straight, and sticking to it. It was pretty much everything they said it was going to be, then they surpassed themselves by executing their plans very well.

2. Preparation is key. In any given event, even your best-laid plans can go awry. In this case, who would've known it would be raining half the day? Nevertheless, there was a Plan B in place- the venue for the talk was moved to a more suitable location (from the ampitheater to the pavillion by Bamboo Beach), there were vehicles on hand to shuttle us from place to place, even sandals for those who didn't bring any.

You have to admire the kind of preparation any company makes to ensure the success of any event. It's all about covering all your bases. And allowing yourself to be flexible when the situation calls for it.

3. Play the part of the gracious host. It's all about creating new connections and encouraging long-term relationships. Make your guests comfortable, encourage mingling with other guests, make yourself available for Q&A's.

In the case of Kawayan Cove, the Puyat family were all there to show us around, share stories and tell us what we needed to know about the property. I'm sure they've done this dozens, maybe hundreds of times, yet there they were, taking time to have a chat with each and every one of us.

The staff of Kawayan Cove was on hand to make sure we were well-attended to. From the welcome drinks, to the hearty lunch prepared for the group, even those nice little moist towels we got after the tour.

All that thoughtfulness and hospitality can only create a positive image of you and your company. For me, it shows how genuinely warm and welcoming the Puyat family is, and also how well Edge Properties trained their personnel. That's always a good thing in my book.

4. Provide lots of venues for interactivity. There were specially prepared food and drink arrangements, just for pictorial purposes, with Anton Diaz (of Our Awesome Planet) going around giving tips and pointers to all the bloggers, and the Puyat family sharing anecdotes about Kawayan Cove's history.

There was more than enough time to take pictures, work on a blog, do a podcast, or even shoot a viral video. Also lots of opportunities to walk around with fellow bloggers to compare notes and get to know them some more.

You want the interactivity because you want to give your bloggers a chance to soak up and appreciate the experience- in every way possible. It's good that they have a good experience about your products and services, and even better that you allow them to process all that information, and consider all aspects of whatever it is your promoting.

5. Content is still king. What makes your event so compellingly different from everybody else's? A promotional event like this gives your company an opportunity to create content relevant to your market. It doesn't have to be forced, nor does it have to be overly elaborate. It only has to be relevant and timely.

With all of Anton's experience as a photographer- he only stuck to what we wanted to hear: Travel and Food Photography for Bloggers. In fact, he only had ten or so slides, yet we already learned so much.

More importantly, we had the chance to put all his tips to practice for the rest of the afternoon as we toured the property. Two birds with one stone: not only do we get to appreciate the majesty of the natural beauty of Kawayan Cove, we also had a newfound appreciation for digital photography.

Bottom line: Make your event a memorable experience. For businesses who wish to tap blogs and bloggers as a means to promote their products, events, ideas or services, what they're really trying to accomplish is to get good online buzz- the kind of word-of-mouth that inspires the bloggers to tell their readers about their experiences, and share something unique about the activity.

As a blogger, The Kawayan Cove event was probably one of the best I've ever been to. I've learned a lot from it, made some new connections, and it gave me a fresh perspective on things (particularly on the topic of real estate, for me!).

As a media-and-marketing person, the activity was well-planned and equally well-executed. Businesses who plan on making use of blogs and bloggers would do well to learn from this exercise.

Cheers, everyone.


A Step-by-step Guide on Writing a Resignation Letter

Monday, September 15, 2008

I've worked long enough to have seen dozens of resignation letters pass through my hands. Heck, I've written quite a few myself.

When it's time to leave the job you have right now, it's probably in your best interest to leave the company on the best possible terms, even if you feel otherwise.

A resignation letter has to accomplish two simple goals:

  • It gives your employer a formal (and legal) notice of your intentions to leave the company, and
  • It gives you an opportunity to make an impression that, yes, you are professional, yes, you are rising above the petty things others might otherwise fall into, and yes, you are respectable.

A resignation letter is not a venue to go emo and vent your frustrations, or air your opinions, wishes and grievances. It has to be concise and straight-to-the-point. That's all there is to it.

How To Write a Resignation Letter
  1. Treat the resignation letter as a standard business letter. First, you have your name, position and department. The date comes next, two lines down after that. After two more lines, put in the name, position and department of your employer. Then two lines more, you can go into your 'Dear Mr. '.
  2. On the first paragraph: State that you are leaving your position, and give the date of the last day you'll be working.
  3. Second paragraph: Thank your employer for the opportunity you had working for them. If you want to, mention colleagues you enjoyed working with, or supervisors you want to thank for mentoring you.
  4. Third paragraph: For your closing statement, wish the company continued success.
  5. After two lines down, type 'Sincerely,' then your name after four lines.
  6. Sign your resignation letter on the space above your name with a flourish.

There you have it. A short and sweet resignation letter. Hope this helps.

Cheers, everyone!


The Linden Suites in Ortigas Center, Pasig City

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I have had the pleasure of staying at The Linden Suites several times in the recent past. Mostly for work-related functions back when I was still working for an FM radio station, but there were a couple of times when I have been able to spend a few days off and just kick back by hanging out here.

The Linden Suites is located right smack in the middle of the Ortigas Center, one of Metro Manila's more progressive business districts, as we've seen more and more outsourcing companies and multinationals setting up shop in the vicinity.

You also have a number of good shopping malls and restaurant strips around the Ortigas Center- more notably, Shangri-la Mall, SM Megamall and Robinsons Galleria- all three of which are along EDSA- and then you have The Podium (along San Miguel Avenue), MetroWalk along (Meralco Avenue), and Tiendesitas just a little bit ways off towards C5. All of these spots are within the general area of Linden Suites, the first three malls being the closest.

The Linden Suites is managed by the Hong Kong-based Swiss Belhotel International group. It has more than 160+ rooms, and you can choose to have a standard room (the Executive room), a one-bedroom suite, two-bedroom suite, or even a penthouse suite if you want to settle into more long-term accommodations.

Personally, I love getting one of the one-bedroom types. You get an adequately comfortable room that also comes with a kitchenette (with pretty much all the utensils you need to whip up a storm if you have to), and a nice little receiving area where you can just chill in front of the TV and catch on up your DVD viewing. Absolutely great if you have guests dropping by, or if you want to keep your family entertained for the weekend.

For me, the Linden Suites makes for an excellent destination for hosting a dinner party, or just relaxing with the family over a long weekend. It's very family-friendly; you can arrange to have baby-sitting services, rent a playstation for the room, or even grocery shopping arrangements if you need an extra hand getting things done with the kids around.

Ideal also for business travelers, the Linden Suites also has a business center with pretty much anything you might need to get some work done- broadband internet, conference rooms, laptops, overhead projectors, and even serviced offices if you might need one while you're in town.

If you need to relax, you can have a massage at the Health Center, or just stew for a while in the sauna, or take a dip in the indoor pool. I had a massage done a couple times myself- you can even choose to get it done in the comfort of your own room if you'd prefer. Just make sure you book well in advance.

As for food, you can ring up some room service, or head on over to the second level, which has the Azzurro Bistro and Bar. Alternately, you can head on out to Ortigas Center to check out the local nightlife, or if you even prefer, get some food delivered to your room from the many restaurants nearby.

I would have to say that The Linden Suites is a great place to stay whether you're traveling with the family, or if you're traveling on business. With the rates that they have, you easily get more for your money given the amenities and services available to you, even compared to a lot of hotels in the Makati or Manila area.

The Linden Suites is located at #37 San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center in Pasig City. You can check out their website here. For inquiries and reservations, you might try calling their 24-hour customer service hotline at (+632) 638-7878. AsiaTravel.com has a map to The Linden Suites if you want to go check it out.

Cheers, everyone!


The Bellevue Hotel Manila

Thursday, September 11, 2008

From the Travel notes of Renzie Baluyut.

The Bellevue Hotel Manila is a 5-Star hotel located in Alabang- one of the more upscale and rapidly developing cities at the southern end of Metro Manila.

Mostly catering to business travelers and the occasional medical tourism market, the Bellevue Hotel Manila is conveniently located a short distance away from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, two major shopping malls- Festival Mall some 2km away and the Alabang Town Center less than a kilometer away from the hotel.

Also very close by is the Asian Hospital & Medical Center, encouraging other guests to come stay while attending to their executive check-ups or other out-patient medical needs.

The Bellevue Hotel Manila has a free shuttle service to take you to the shopping malls mentioned above, or to the surrounding areas if needed.

The Hotel has some 222 well-appointed rooms and suites:

• Deluxe Room - Floor Area: 33 square meters
• Executive Suite - Floor Area: 61 square meters
• Premier Suite - Floor Area: 91 square meters
• Presidential Suite - Floor Area: 129 square meters

Many guests have praised the Bellevue Hotel Manila's cuisine- as buffet breakfasts are usually included in the accomodation packages. The spread includes a wide selection of food from Filipino, American, Asian and International stations. Buffets are also available for lunch and dinner.

Guests have also recommended the Bellevue Hotel Manila's well-equipped gym, beauty salon and spa.

A point worth mentioning is this: a number of guests have given the hotel high praises for running smoothly even when a category 3 typhoon ("Xangsane"/"Milenyo") hit the city in September 2006. The Bellevue Hotel Manila has power generators that kept it up and running even when the entire Metro Manila was without power for 2-4 days.

Other amenities include a number of function rooms and conference rooms, a business center, a pool on the second floor, a bar on the 20th floor and a pastry shop.

Check out the official website for the virtual tour. Average year-round price is US$182/night.

The Bellevue Hotel Manila
North Bridgeway, Northgate Cyberzone,
Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Metro Manila, Philippines 1781

Other Sources:

Cheers, everyone!


Essential Cool in Digital Media, Pop Culture and the Internet, with Renzie | RenzieBaluyut.com

The Life & Times of The Renzie Man

Keyboard Monkeys! | Tips, Tricks and Advice for the Digital Entrepreneur


How to Change the World, by Guy Kawasaki

Barfield Management

PinoyMoneyTalk.com - Make Money Online, Stocks, Forex, Mutual Funds Philippines

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP