My Blogging Journey and Malaysia Social Media Week

Malaysia Social Media Week
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Year 2015 is my 10th anniversary on blogging. When I reminisce the past, I’m amused by how much the world of blogging has changed over the last decade. After I quit my job in 2005, I was so excited to read from a magazine that said blog would be a world-changing platform, and bloggers could make a lot of money out of it.

raining money
Therefore, I started this travel blog (i.e. MySabah.com). Did you know that 80% of Malaysian bloggers write about either travel or food? At that time, there were a lot of bloggers jumped on the bandwagon too. To avoid stiff competition, I focused my niche topic on travelling in Sabah. We blogged almost every day about everything and placing ad banners all over our websites, wishing for thousands of clicks and tons of cash flowing in.

What others think bloggers do
However, after many months, most of us received a cheque of only two digit earning. One by one, people stop blogging. I’ve seen many bloggers come and go, and some of them produced great content, which is sad.

blogging poster
Pic: The moment of truth. Is Blogging just a waste of time?

Every now and then I would hear marketer or consultant started their presentation with cliche opening such as, “There are over 2 billions Internet users, so you must sell on the Net.” It’s just a marketing gimmick, which is almost as silly as saying, “We have 7 billion people on earth so everyone must open a shop.” Well, you know I know, that is impossible to reach everyone online or offline. Anyway, cyberspace makes it easier provided that we know how to reach our target audiences.

pissed off with computer
Pic: If I was only after for money, I would have quit many years ago, after seeing no result from many months of hard-work. I believe most bloggers go through the same struggle in the beginning and share the same sentiment. Albeit the setbacks, I’m glad I didn’t give up.

There is a joke which says, “To become a millionaire travel writer, start with 2 millions.” Don’t get me wrong. Blogging does make money. However, majority of successful bloggers make money indirectly from their blog, for example, by writing sponsored posts, publishing book, providing training, consultancy and digital marketing services, selling products related to their blog, after they build their reputation and traffic online.

“The currency of blogging is authenticity and trust.” – Jason Calacanis

presentation slide: Sharing is Caring
Pic: Sharing is Caring. Photo by Vanessa from The Island Drum, one of my favorite speakers.

Luckily my passion on blogging is not solely driven by financial incentive, I always have the genuine interest to promote Sabah, my beautiful homeland a.k.a. the Land below the Wind. Now I have built a steady income stream from blogging and it’s still growing. Now my blog has over 800 articles (with millions of page views), 30,000 photos and 200 videos (over 4 million views), covering most destinations in Sabah. Some of my articles got over 10K shares on social media and my works are published on many books and magazines. I’ve been focusing my blog on introducing least-known attractions. If I blog more about popular destinations, I can triple or even quadruple my traffic (income), something I’m looking forward to do more this year.

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” – Brian Clark

falling asleep
Pic: I always blog in late night. This is how I feel after clicking the “Publish” button. LOL

Nowadays it’s no easy task to be a travel blogger. Besides good knowledge in your niche, you also need to be good at HTML, writing, photography, SEO, social media, digital marketing, video making, etc. But the hardest of all is the time and level of self-discipline it takes. I have to turn blogging into a habit or even a lifestyle. But thinking of the positive side, even if your blog doesn’t do well, you still learn a lot of new things.

You cannot be serious
Pic: Asking for sponsorship? In early days, bloggers were not being highly appreciated. People thought we were amateur and air-headed attention seekers who blogged about something controversial or to complain about others.

Dude, yes
Pic: The attitude of business owners have gradually changed today. More companies say Yes to bloggers. Blog is now making a comeback in business world and becomes a crucial component of Content Marketing. No matter how fast technologies evolves, people are always hungry for quality and useful content. Many businesses want to offer great content and blogging service is very desirable. I’m very sheepish in asking for sponsorship, so I’m very grateful to those who see my value and support me.

“The term ‘Professional Blogger’ is no longer an oxymoron.” – Luke Langford

Malaysia Social Media Week

Blogging has stood the test of time and is widely and formally accepted as a media in Malaysia. In Sabah, we have Best Online Media Award by Sabah Tourism Awards to acknowledge the best blogger. In national level, Malaysia also presents Bloggers and Social Media Awards to outstanding bloggers in Malaysia Social Media Week (MSMW) in various categories annually.

venue of Malaysia International Tourism Blogger Conference and Awards
The coming Malaysia Social Media Week 2015 will be held on 21-25 Apr 2015 in Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. I’ve joined it once and strongly recommend this grand event to aspiring bloggers and social media marketers. Companies are advised to participate too, as there are lot of ideas on digital marketing being shared. To users, your business does not exist if they can’t find your website, photos, videos and stories online. They google you before they buy from you.

presentation slide by Murni Amalia Ridha / Mumun from Indonesia
Pic: presentation slide by Murni Amalia Ridha / Mumun from Indonesia (www.Indohoy.com)

During the conference, you will see many international bloggers like you and me. It’s encouraging to know that they do the same thing like you and achieve great results. You could be the next one in spotlight. If you are a music lover, you should join a live concert at least once in a lifetime. Same to blogger, you should attend a conference if blogging is your passion.

presentation slide by David Hogan
Pic: David Hogan shared his blogging tips during MSMW conference. His Malaysia Asia website is one of the most successful blogs in Malaysia.

photo with Murni Amalia Ridha / Mumun (middle) and David Hogan (right)
Pic: photo with Murni Amalia Ridha / Mumun (middle) and David Hogan (right)

You can even connect with your favorite speakers / bloggers and learn from them. Sometimes a small change in mindset and approach can improve our results significantly. Please don’t blog alone in your room. Meet other bloggers to get inspired.

presentation slide by Pham Hoang Mien from Vietnam
Pic: Pham Hoang Mien (www.hanoigrapevine.com) from Vietnam

presentation slide in MSMW
The conference and workshop of MSMW cover various topics in blogging and social media. Photography is also a hot topic. You would discover new tools, connection and opportunities for your platforms. Being diligent is not enough if we don’t have the right strategies.

speakers of MSMW 2015
MSMW is not only about blogging. Key players of online media, advertisers, technology corporations, etc. will come to speak at the summit. You may follow the Facebook of MSMW for update.

photo with Blogie Robillo from the Philippines
Pic: Blogie Robillo (Philippines) from www.dabawenyo.com. I really like his name. He has a travel blog about Mindanao.

pounding keyboard
Who knows you might find new meaning that reignites your passion and take your blog to next level.

do not give up
Many give up right before the tipping point. Just keep blogging if you enjoy it, good things will definitely come along, money hopefully.

Photos taken in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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  • Keep it up!

    You really done a hard work as I can see that your blog is very details about places in Sabah,

  • Thank you JMei! I received your positive energy. ^_^

  • Vanessa Workman

    Thank you for inspiring! (also for using cute pic of me).:D
    Sabah is on my radar for 2015, so thanks for all this excellent information too!

  • Hello Vanessa! Welcome to Sabah. Please let me know when you are in Sabah. I’ll be more than happy to show you around. I was trying to link to your blog from that cute photo, but I lost the note about your profile. So it’s great that you show up. 😀

  • Vanessa Workman

    Thanks, ya I’ve been ‘tidying’ up recently so maybe no more. 😀 Love this write up though, and yes will be stalking you more closely now and hope to see you this year in Sabah. 🙂

  • I’ve been an avid follower of your blog for quite a few years now, and I really admire your passion in promoting Sabah. Best thing about it is that you write a lot of places that I didn’t know exist – right in my own homeland. And yes, if blogging is all about money then many might be in for a disappointment. For me, it’s all about sharing and reaching out, knowing that somewhere out there, there are people who are reading my ramblings. Keep blogging because seriously, Sabah needs your blog. The tourism industry in Sabah owes you big time. 🙂

  • Thank you Jipp. My online world is not so lonely because of great follower like you. 🙂 I’m also happy that you are still blogging after many years. My motto is “when writing for the Internet, be the best answer.” All the best to both of us. ^_^

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