Tag Archives: alvinology

Hello ST701

Today will be my first day at ST701:

I will be marketing STjobs, one of four online classified sites under ST701. The other three are STCars, STClassified and STProperty.

I am new to the online classified industry, but I am looking forward to work with my new bosses and teammates to face up to the challenges ahead.

Hello and a very good morning from ST701. 🙂

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Bye bye omy.sg

Today is my last day working at omy.sg.

I have been with omy.sg for close to seven years. I joined the team before it was even launched in September 2007. Click here to read through all the projects and experiences I shared with the omy.sg team.

omy.sg's first ever print ad in 2007
omy.sg’s first ever print ad in 2007

I was there when we launched our first TV commercial. Yes, we had one at the very beginning:

I was there when we launched the first Singapore Blog Awards and the first Singapore Entertainment Awards.

I was there when we hosted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the launch of CLing, a Chinese learning portal, co-developed together with Business China.

I was there when we set up the omy Blog Club and developed it to what it is today with a strong, vibrant community of over 3,000 registered bloggers.

I was there when we ventured into mobile and tablet platforms, launching the Fong Fei Fei commemorative e-book and the Vice Ring Probe mobile news magazine app.

There are more exciting projects upcoming at omy.sg. We have to constantly innovate in order to survive as the industry is constantly evolving. I would love to be a part of all these, but the journey ends here for now.

I am thankful for all the opportunities given to me by my wonderful bosses at omy.sg, my supervisor, Kuan Fung, and our big boss, Chim Kang. 

I am thankful to all my colleagues, new and old for the great support they have given me, especially when I have to constantly trouble them with many last minute marketing projects. Janet in particular for having to support so much of my work whenever I am absent.

I am thankful to all the external partners, sponsors and advertisers I have worked with for omy.sg. Thank you for supporting us and do continue to shower your support for the omy.sg team.

It is bye bye for now as I am being transferred to market another website within the Singapore Press Holdings group.

I will still continue to watch omy.sg grow, but this time, as a blogger, as part of the omy Blog Club and as a news reader.

Adieus. 🙂

Introducing a new writer on Alvinology.com – my wife, Rachel Chan!

It is about time.

With traffic growth and higher exposure, I am getting way too much blogging invites and requests that I can handle alone. 

I tried to search for a regular guest contributor to collaborate with on this blog, but it is hard to find the perfect fit. 

In the end, who else knows my personality and blogging style better than my wife, Rachel Chan? 

Actually, she has written posts on this blog previously, but without proper attribution. You can read all of Rachel’s post on Alvinology.com here. 

A quick introduction on Rachel:

Rachel and son, Asher in Hong Kong Disneyland with Mickey Mouse
Rachel and son, Asher in Hong Kong Disneyland with Mickey Mouse

Rachel has nearly a decade of experience as a print journalist for my paper (English)and Straits Times Life! and has also worked as a news producer for Mediacorp Channel 8.

She won a nomination for a Special Award for Excellence at Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH’s) annual English & Malay Newspapers Division Newscom awards in 2010 for her investigative story on self-proclaimed celebrity hairstylist, Jonal Chong.

Rachel has since made a career switch into education to spend more time with her young son and young Alvinology, Asher Lim and is a guest contributor to this blog.

With a stronger writing background than Alvinology, you can clearly differentiate her blog posts from Alvinology’s from the use of difficult and obscure vocabulary and more words than visuals. :)

5 quick and dirty tricks to market online content

This article was first written for and published on the Social Media section of the International Newsmedia Marketing Association (INMA)’s blog on 16 April 2013:

Recently, I was the moderator for a panel discussion on blogging for leisure versus blogging for profit.

The session featured four prominent bloggers from Singapore and was attended by more than 70 bloggers and media professionals. It was held as a prelude to the sixth-annual Singapore Blog Awards, a successful social media campaign we have been running at omy.sg, billed as the biggest social media event in Singapore.

What struck me after the forum discussion and chatting with the bloggers in attendance was the fact that many bloggers were seeking the elixir to instant online traffic.

Bloggers, just like newspaper publishers, are hungry for traffic. Whether the primary motivation for blogging is profit-driven or for leisure, what everyone wants are readers and eyeballs.

I am a relatively successful blogger myself who enjoys reasonably good traffic and fame outside of my work. The current president of Singapore thinks I am influential enough to invite me for a luncheon during his presidential campaign as a candidate. I get dozens of media invites daily, addressed to my personal blog.

How did I build up my blog traffic?

I used my personal blog, alvinology.com, as a platform to test content and find out what attracts Singaporean readers online.

I am going to share five simple, quick and dirty tricks to get Web traffic fast, based on my observation of Singaporean readers (and I believe universally online readers should replicate the same reading pattern with globalisation):

1. Sex sells.

I am not just referring to porn, but sexy news on celebrities or ordinary folks’ leaked sex crimes or sordid stories. The Internet is where readers thrive on traditional tabloid news, but in an uninhibited frontier.

2. Lists sell.

Top 10 lists give high Web traffic. People are lazy and tend to search for terms like “Best Restaurants in London” when they are looking for a place to eat.

Building a large log of such evergreen listing content bumps up your traffic with a fixed base.

3. Images sell.

Online attention is really short. I find that peppering blog posts with photos and videos, making your content more visually arresting, helps vastly to garner readers.

4. Real “breaking news” sells.

I am not referring to “breaking news” that every single news publisher is writing about at the same time. What I am referring to is genuinely breaking news, whereby you are the first and only content provider of a piece of news for at least an hour after your story has gone viral.

Media publishers tend to use the term “breaking news” too liberally.

5. Niche content sells.

One of the most-read blog posts I have written is a simple article on how to unsubscribe from an unpopular army magazine that all conscripted Singaporean males have been “opted in” for. This is very niche content and my blog post might be one of the only sources of information about this topic.

There you go, now you know my secrets (which are not really rocket science).

I practice what I preach. In fact, I have just used item No. 2 to market this article.

To read more of my writings on social media and publishing, do visit this link to access all my posts with INMA. 

Blogging for Leisure vs Blogging for Profit – Insights from Singapore Bloggers

We have all read horror stories of diva bloggers misbehaving, demanding fees from restaurants for positive paid reviews, bringing along many friends to eat for free at food tasting, among many other complaints. Likewise, there are positive stories of bloggers who spend considerable efforts maintaining and crafting quality entries on their blogs out of interest rather than for commercial gains.

With the advent of social media and digital media, more and more brands are looking to working with and engaging bloggers for their campaigns and publicity.

Where do bloggers strike the balance? How should brands leverage on this trend? Why not hear it from the bloggers themselves?

Me moderating a panel of bloggers
Me moderating a panel of bloggers at SPH News Centre (picture via omy.sg) 

As a prelude to the launch of the 6th Singapore Blog Awards this year in April, the team at omy.sg organised a causal sharing and networking session with a panel of prominent bloggers in Singapore. I was the moderator for the panel discussion.

Joining me in the discussion were bloggers, Daniel Ang, Peter Breitkreutz, Grace Tan and Christine Ng. 

Check out the full video recording below if you missed the event:

Personally, I think the panelist did a great job and were candid with their replies. If there were more time, we could have gone deeper into the topic and stir up more controversy.

The conclusion I draw is regardless of your motive for blogging, a common arduous task is how to grow your readers base or get yourself noticed by organisations and people that matters.

One shortcut is of course to join a blog awards (shamelessly plugging for the Singapore Blog Awards).

To find out more about the 6th Singapore Blog Awards this year, bookmark this link to the official website. Coming soon in a few days time. 🙂 

Social media needs newspaper publishers — and vice versa

This article was first written for and published on the Social Media section of the International Newsmedia Marketing Association (INMA)’s blog on 17 Mar 2013:

Doomsday social media practitioners like to predict the death of news publishers with the advent of social media, just as people used to predict the “death of radio” with television and the “death of television” with Internet.

To this day, all these different media are still very much alive, each finding its own audience and adjusting to survive.

What is social media?

From Wikipedia: “Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.”

Fundamentally, social media is about two things: the people and the act of content sharing.

Where does shared content come from?

Sans the rare breaking news stories, images captured by citizen journalists, and updates on cute cats and dogs (you get the drift), what makes up the bulk of the content being shared on social media? Rather, where does quality content comes from?

News publishers.

Most of the content shared on social media is reposts of online newspaper or magazine articles and professionally taken photos or videos by news organisations or media personnel.

Recently, a video posted by omy.sg, the bilingual news and entertainment Web portal where I work, went viral in Singapore, garnering close to 1,000 Facebook shares in a matter of days.

Heart-wrenching moment during the funeral of the two brothers (image via omy.sg)
Heart-wrenching moment during the funeral of the two brothers (image via omy.sg)

The video featured the funeral of two young Singaporean brothers who were killed on the spot in a tragic traffic accident that tugged the heartstrings of the nation. The article accompanying the video garnered another 1,000 shares.

If you combine the two, that is more than 2,000 Facebook shares.

The number might not seem large, but in Singapore’s context, it is. Singapore has a small population of just over five million, and most are not avid “news sharers” culturally. News articles seldom even reach 100 shares.

When the news first broke, many Singaporeans shed tears and shared the family’s heartache at the unfortunate demise of the two brothers. Their parents were both ordinary, working-class Singaporeans with whom many could identify.

The public was hungry for news about the funeral and how their family members and parents were coping. Many wanted to help, whether in monetary form or by providing moral support.

Where does such news and information come from then? Was citizen journalism via social media enough?

No, most of the relevant news content came from news publishers. In fact, there were some tasteless members of the public who kept re-posting leaked photos of the horrific corpses of the two boys, despite calls from the boys’ family to stop.

I am proud to say none of my newsroom colleagues published those photos. We joined in the call for others to stop circulating them. In the end, the newsrooms’ reports were the news content and photos that went viral, not the photos of the corpses.

Quality content has to come from somewhere. It has to be professionally written and produced. Social media needs newspaper publishers because, without news content, there is nothing much to share.

Nonetheless, with social media, there is a paradigm shift in power from the newsroom editors as the sole influencer to the public as influencers. The editors curate what goes to print first. But after the news content is published, it is the individuals who curate each piece of news content that comes out – deciding whether it should be shared on his or her own Facebook profile.

“The medium is the message,” wrote Canadian media scholar Marshall Mcluhan in 1964. The phrase is still relevant today. Social media shapes how we produce, consume, and engage with news content. But, fundamentally, social media is about sharing, and you need content to share.

Hence content is still king.

It is not all doom and gloom. Social media needs news publishers (and vice versa). We just have to adapt and adjust to this new medium.

Don’t you agree?

To read more of my writings on social media and publishing, do visit this link to access all my posts with INMA. 

My First Blog Article Contribution to the International Newsmedia Association – How Social Media Saved Me

A big thank to Earl, Dawn and Laura from the  International Newsmedia Association (INMA) for giving me a space on the INMA site and e-newsletter to share on social media with industry peers internationally.

Read my first blog article contribution on how social media saved me. True story:

Click to read the full article on the INMA blog
Click to read the full article on the INMA blog

I will be contributing regularly to INMA, sharing on my insights and perspectives working on social media in a traditional newspaper company. Do stay tuned to the INMA blog for more updates.

Additionally, I am also contributing casual social media stories in Singapore on omy.sg’s Go Social. Check it out too. 🙂