Last Saturday was my second time to join Dainty Mom‘s writing workshop. First one I attended was all about Thinking Editorially. This time it was about Branding. Both workshops were held at La Creperie in San Juan. Although I don’t consider myself a legit blogger (I just felt something inside me that I do have something to share about our homeschooling lifestyle and journey via blogging), I find myself looking forward to joining workshops like these for two reasons: to improve my writing in order to share our experiences as a homeschooling family and (2) to also meet and connect with other women who have their own stories to tell. Plus, it’s also a bonus to meet other women who happen to share the same interests as I do and who are generous enough to share what they know in areas I don’t know
My family and I came all the way from the south, from our morning sewing class and arrived just in time to have lunch. We chose to have it two doors away from La Creperie at Calderon, a Spanish resto (which was a great foodie discovery, by the way). Last Friday, we also discovered two other new places in Kapitolyo, Pasig in search for a place to eat dinner before heading home. Our friend recommended Poco Deli, which unfortunately did not have a table for four available and so, their staff immediately pointed us to their other place, Epic Coffee Roastery, which was just a few meters away. Our food interestingly came from the kitchen of Poco Deli and was “delivered” to Epic. Good service and good food for first-timers like us. After trying out places that are totally new to me in the past two days, spending my Saturday afternoon in a workshop at La Creperie felt more like going and being “home”. Its hole-in-the-wall kind of place, pretty interior, and of course, yummy food especially their crepes (obviously) were really a warm welcome, considering that I’ve experienced a freaky kind of weather, alternating between rainy-windy-stormy and fair-almost-sunny, from just moving from one part of the city to another in the last 24 hours!
The afternoon turned out to be a unique and interesting gathering of women bloggers with different personalities, interests, professions, and backgrounds. We were just nine but that was enough for me to feel comfy. I guess we ALL already felt comfy because from the time we introduced ourselves, we were already candidly talking about how to conceive a baby girl or a baby boy and later on, about relationships that developed with a significant other in a music choir! In the group, we had a corporate trainor on communication and personality development, a military wife, a single lady, a marketing manager with cute twins, a theology college professor, a full-time working mom who also sings for a band, a working mom based in Singapore, a soon-to-be blogger (who was the luckiest among us to win that coveted Moleskine planner!), and me, a homeschool mom. Different women. Different stories to tell. Different messages to share.
That brings me to WORKSHOP NOTE #1: MY BLOG IS MY MESSAGE TO THE WORLD. It goes deeper and beyond the theme, the colors, the logo, although all these elements should consistently and clearly reflect who I truly am and is all part of blog branding. Strip down all these and what’s left is my unique voice, my YOU-nique message that nobody else has, that nobody else can tell the way I would and would want to.
I will never forget my very first blogging workshop with Arriane Serafico called Blogworthy. That was what I would consider my leap of faith on blogging and we had a giveaway which sums up what blogging is all about. YOUR BLOG IS YOUR MESSAGE TO THE WORLD. MAKE IT A GOOD ONE.
Martine, the blogger behind Dainty Mom, spelled out the same message in the workshop, loud and clear. How you share that message of yours in your blog, photos, tweets, posts is part of what makes up your branding.
BRAND = YOUR MESSAGE; YOUR “WHY”; YOUR PURPOSE
WORKSHOP NOTE #2: I may be writing FOR an audience, TO a particular set of readers, but I must remember that when I write, it is not about pleasing everybody or somebody. I sometimes fall into that trap. Quite tricky, actually. After giving it some thought, it was clearer and it made sense to me. After all, it’s MY BLOG. It’s MY MESSAGE. I decide what I want to write and how I want to write a piece of article. That keeps me true to my UNIQUE self AND how I want to be remembered by my readers. If I decide to share something negative, then it would be my discretion on how I would want to impart that thought or experience. Do I keep it negative all throughout and make it a tell-all kind of post? Or do I make it a point to bring out the positive in the end? Do I expose my entire self to my readers or do I keep a part of me private? The key is to be as comfortable as I want without putting up a pretentious front (You really wouldn’t want to fake your readers, would you?). The blogging platform can be my comfortable home or an extension of myself but at the same time, I really don’t need to expose my dirty laundry (Unless, that’s how I would want things to be and I’m okay with that!)
And it was really time to snack on La Creperie’s house favorite!
Lastly, what I found new and helpful in the workshop was our Brainstorming #2 session where each of us had to create a character of our blog reader. To me, it was both an exercise on looking outward and inward, a thinking of whom I’m connecting via my blog and of myself. It was kinda like a 360 degree kind of turn where it gave me an opportunity to identify and get a closer look of my audience, describe her and give her a full profile, which for me, was also a reflection of myself. It was an exercise that I felt would help in MAKING THAT CONNECTION to my readers to be able to CONSISTENTLY AND CLEARLY IDENTIFY THE MESSAGE I WANT TO IMPART THROUGH MY BLOG. What made the session also interesting was when Martine cited sample blogs similar to each of our blogs (to most, if not all of us), giving us some kind of reference as to how to give our own blogs our unique brand and voice. (Unfortunately, Martine didn’t show a homeschool blog similar to mine. I take it as both good and bad. Good, because it means my blog is truly unique and there’s really no one out there blogging about homeschooling tweens and teens who is based in Asia or in the Philippines, specifically. Bad, because I may be the only one doing it as of the moment, leaving me alone in this and trailblazing it in the local blogosphere. I feel alone and with no one to look up to!)
Overall, the workshop ended on a happy note! We all gained from Martine’s expertise and learned from each other. I personally went home with a full tummy, and with new insights and learnings. I’m glad I joined this workshop (which was also a clear example to our homeschooled girls of what lifelong learning is all about!)