Credit Lifestyle Asia and Centara Hotels & Resorts is hosting a panel discussion talking about best practice for hotel PR. How to communicate your message, How to not annoy media agencies, How to speak to the heart of your audience, and How to make the most of social media.

Samantha Proyrungtong, a famous foodie blogger, the founder of Bangkok Foodies, and Extrovert Marketing is talking to us about blogging.

As a blogger what interests you?

Depends on what type of blogger you are? Who is your target market? What are your objectives? We are a ‘foodies’ blog so for me, I’m very interested in anything related to food in both local and International news and having to do with renowned and up-and-coming Chefs, food festivals, competitions and awards. Foodies are also interested to hear about kitchen products, gadgets, food trends, food technology, advancements in the food industry and some of the more “livelier” stuff, like some of the crazier food trends,  the latest gossip about Michelin star restaurant/chefs. Also lifestyle activities which are interesting for foodies. Foodies in Bangkok, generally enjoy an active and social lifestyle. People, who not only enjoy stimulation orally but mentally and physically as well. That may sound a bit perverted but what I mean is that they enjoy worldly indulgences and have an expense to do so. From extreme sports to visiting grand museums all over the world.

In terms of local foodies, activities to which are interactive are popular, like;  pop up events, new restaurants to visit, new dishes to try, food demonstrations/talks, food fairs and events.

This generation’s have acquired an insatiable need for streams of content which continues to stimulates them.

When something goes viral, it’s all that’s talked about for a day or so, then completely  forgotten and we’re onto the next bit of viral news. It’s really a challenge to stay on top. You need to work extra hard to create fast content, and devote so many hours to be one of the first to get wind of the latests and viral news. So much that now I’ve coined a new phrase, “Content is King, but New content is GOD”

  • I advise to P.R and Marketing, that they stay on top of the trends and the who’s who. As it’s changing week to week sometimes. By the same token, don’t be a gimmick horse. Thailand might seem like it’s all based on crazy-ass bacon donuts and hipster inventions but are those bums on seats? Are they even your real customers? And where’s the longevity in that? Visibility is very important but it’s not everything, your image is more so. For our followers, those who will actually dine in your restaurant, ,may be watching you but likely not interacting (clicking like or commenting), keep this in mind when creating good tone for copy and visuals. This is another reason not to base everything on likes or followers but tracking real interactions via back-end analytics is key for our particular section of the market. Otherwise, if you continue to market toward 12 year old girls or fake accounts, then naturally this does not convert to real BAHTS!
  • I advise P.R and Marketing create interactive; competitions, collaborations (the power of two networks coming together)
  • It’s important to have your key point of difference and identity finalized. Remember to remind the public of who you are and what you’re about. There are always newcomers or those who need to recall how much they enjoy your brand or should enjoy your brand.

Can I pay you to write a good blog post?

As I mentioned there are different objectives, for me I build this foodie community out of passion and networking, but it’s definitely become work, work that needs to be paid for, along with the design, web and creative team, plus administration I am hiring to put this together and keep it successful and growing.
For what I do, It’s also important to differentiate to people what is a BLOG, a REVIEW and COVERING? Blog is a little more loose, it’s writing about something that is happening with a point of view but that doesn’t need to be a highly opinionated one. Whilst a real REVIEW is highly subjective and opinion based, so here it becomes tricky to manage in regards to your advertisers. That’s why we ‘COVER’ an event or make a ‘BLOG’ for a promotion or a brand rather than calling everything a REVIEW! I notice this on Instagram a lot, everything is a review but in fact it’s an Ad. This is a good way to lose your audience’s trust, best to be clear about what you’re sharing.  I think some online/print Magazines do a pretty good job when they put their advertorials in a blue border, but for some that’s really borderline manipulation. So yes, be smart, be clear… enough. Ambiguity will allow you to get away with only so much.

As I’m launching my website blog, I’m looking for partnerships for advertising, and in packages. Such as 3-6 months. Where throughout this period, we cover many topics about the client’s offerings, not just the same artwork or promotional post appearing in Ads. However there are opportunities to do short-time one time shot, such as event promotions, we can advertize the lead up to the events, we can also cover the event as part of the promotion and post and share the album as a follow up. We may also give priority for our foodies directory.

This means developing a strategy plan, which can be a challenge.

  • Coordinate with the PR. and Marcom about upcoming specials, promotions, highlights and think of creative ways to communicate this to the public, using the website as the mothership and sharing it on relevant social media channels
  • Some ideas would be through targeting: depending on the keyword search and Google Ads, the brand would appear, therefore targeting by relevance, this is more effective than blatant spamming or advertising to those who are not looking or interested in what you are offering at that given time or at all.

How much do you want?

How much are you going to give me? Depends on the package and client’s needs. We do custom made, from a small Ad to the whole marketing and P.R package works for Extrovert Marketing.

The most important thing for us at Bangkok Foodies is, not to lose our following as the community is based on authenticity, so nobody really minds Ads or Advertorials, as long as it’s clearly communicated, what it is you’re selling and that it is relevant. Nothing is for free in this world, as long as you’re appearing as “ethical” and smart in the way you position your Ads and how you talk to your audience. Don’t patronize, instead use clever campaigns and humour to capture your audience’s trust. We’re living in a hyper-speed trend setting, tech savvy world, therefore it’s a lot harder to try and manipulate through traditional and outdated sales techniques.

What can hotels leverage from bloggers

The most obvious is visibility. Gaining visibility through blogs.
The exchange of services, the unspoken barter that happens between a blogger and P.R. As we all know, it’s now become a form of “free” Advertising. Yes there are still cost involved to put together a press/blogging event but nothing comparative paying for billboards or print Ads in glossy mags.

The lesser but just as important is to remain in good relationships hence getting the Bloggers Kudos. Bloggers (mostly) are considered to know the best places to dine or go to in Bangkok, however they are inundated with invitations from all different hotels, how do you differentiate yourself and make yourself memorable whenever a blogger does a story or recommendation is based on relationships with the P.R and Marcom. Hence the “Relations” in Public Relations. You will be the first to be thought of or mentioned when a blogger needs to recall a brand, and that is gold. So the leverage is to have a blogger who can always put you at the forefront of the competition. Based on your good relationship.

Being on the side of the blogger means you can also get first intel of what’s going on around Bangkok, this information could be vital information, to help as part of your marketing and to know what competitors may be doing. Blogger turns to Bloggers for information also. Instead of trying to randomly attract and entice the best bloggers for you, bloggers themselves are a valuable resource to gather more bloggers and press/media people together. We’re definitely not one big happy family, but we are connected and meeting on a regular basis so it’s important for bloggers to be friendly to each other, and keep each other in the loop about invites and events from P.R.

One major issue I have with some P.R & Marcom of hotels mostly, is the efficiency of material for communication. If I go to an event, to cover the event, but am not given any press release or material to go by. Now in this day and age that’s not a bad thing, saving trees and not wasting resources etc. However that means Marcom should be quick to follow-up. Bloggers should not be the ones to initiate, to ask to be sent the information. Particularly when it’s a review and the experience is fresh in one’s mind and the blogger is feeling inspired. In some cases it’s taken 3-4 emails from myself to obtain all the right information, such a; menu items, press pack, menu costs, high resolution images, promotional details etc. By the time the review is written, the blogger is uninspired and rather annoyed.