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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Let's Toast!

"Stefan is a man of focus, commitment, sheer will... something you know very little about. I once saw him butter three toasts in a kitchen... with a pencil, with a fucking pencil. Then suddenly one day he asked to leave. It's over a croque monsieur, of course. So I made a deal with him. I gave him an impossible task. A job no one could have pulled off. The cherry tomatoes he buried that day laid the foundation of what we are now." - Come On Kaya Toast

Friday, June 19, 2020

That changes: Some, not all

And over and over again we read:

Covid-19 has changed everything

Hmmm. I am still married. That hasn't changed.
I still drink 4 cups of coffee. Unchanged.
My address is the same as last year
I am still using the same phone
My parents are still retired....
Still driving the same car
Favorite alcohol: scotch. For the past 30 years
I am still cooking with water
Keyboard still QWERTY
Checked: Twin Towers still in their usual spot
Sun rises in East, sets in West
STILL have to pay taxes
Constant at 9.81 meters per second squared: gravity
In Malaysia, still using metric system

Dunno where people get that idea from that everything has changed

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Not so Free Advertising on Social Media Platforms

As mainly a publisher of print magazines we supplement the product with electronic media, not denying that there are advantages and that one has to use a mix of mediums. It appears to me that more and more advertisers depend solely on “free” social media channels to get their messages out. Neither LinkedIn, nor Facebook, Instagram or any of these platforms actually create content. All they do is offer a noticeboard for anyone to post their ads, articles and rants. They live off content creators. And maybe it is these creators that need to be supported much more again. As such, most posts by brands can be classified as “ads”.

Full article here:

(Yes, I do see some irony in publishing this here)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

See You Soon Again: Eastern & Oriental Hotel

Part of the recent renovation was a re-allocation of spaces in the Heritage Wing to accommodate guests who are typically repeat visitors, who surprisingly oftentimes opt to stay for extended periods of time, some even staying longer than a month. Offering them a revived experience in the Heritage Wing, they can now choose between three outlets to consume their breakfasts. What used to be the Farquhar’s Bar has been converted into a club lounge, The Cornwalllis, is now exclusive to patrons of the Heritage Wing and the Corner Suite Guests of the Victory Annexe. Also relocated was the Farquhar’s Bar, that has been transformed from something that was described as a dark and uninspiring place into a bar that has truly come alive yet maintains the overall experience of the E&O.

 The pool is an icon itself, which is also exclusive to Corner Suite Guests and is now protected by an improved seawall. One of the main components of the renovation was the enhancement of the seawall, which proved difficult as work schedules had to follow the tides. Fraser urges tourists and locals to explore more of Penang’s rich history, of which the E&O is part of. A good starting point would be the high tea and the Nyonya-styled tasting menu that has been added to the long list of things to discover.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Not Funny

For three months I have now been at home. Only going out to re-stock the fridge and lately for a quick jog as we were allowed to do so. Not that we did not keep entertained and in good spirits, but overall, it was not as much fun as it could have been.

Avira must know something we don't. Until the end of August we still have to adhere to special rules and regulations, international travel not being allowed for example... so, how exciting could it get?

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Those Challenges?

Rock albums, travel pictures, food items... they can all be used for these challenges...

 "Day 7: I was nominated for the 10-Day Life is Good photo challenge. 10 days, 10 photos, 10 nominations.

Every day, I share an image that’s meaningful to me (without an explanation). Today, I nominate Larry Mitchell."

I have a question! If you post that with the picture of the Rock albums, travel pictures, food items, is that not an explanation?????

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

I Like What They Have Done to the Place

When in Penang, a visit to the Easter & Oriental Hotel is a must. And when in need of a drink, the Farquhar's Bar is a good spot to try some more cocktail oriented material. With the recent renovation of the property came a move of the bar to a new place within the hotel. And with that came a make-over of the style and ambience.

I like to step into such places and let myself being transferred back in time. With this renovation, the place feels like what it must have been to be in the very first Eastern & Oriental when the place was established: lavish parties, the elite of the country coming together to mix, mingle and cut deals.

There is a real danger that one will just spend a whole night in Farquhar's Bar. But that is not a problem, now is it?

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Tale of Two Businesses Continues

What’s My Incentive to Publish a Press Release? - Part II of Many

By Floyd Cowan
Publisher / Editor-in-Chief Asian Journeys

Daily, I receive swarms of email pitches grinning at me across the ether, dripping with bon hommie from PR Professionals who want me to give their clients exposure. Very few of them get in my magazine or on my website or get posted to Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. I welcome press releases as they inform me about what’s happening in the world, and they provide me with valuable content.

So why do some get used and others not?
First of all, they have to be on topic. It is obvious when a PR pro is just sending out releases to a list of media whether or not they cover their subject or not. These releases get treated with the same respect as they show us.

Most PR professionals believe I am as invested in their client’s product as they are. I’m not.
During a working day I’m dealing with dozens of things with my focus on how I can build and monetize my business. Most often they think I am going to be happy to help promote their client – for free. But why should I be? There are hundreds of companies wanting to use my platforms to promote their products and services. Money talks, but it doesn’t always take talking money to get my attention.

“We are sharing this information for your reader’s interest…” wrote one PR pro to a friend who is a multi-award-winning freelancer and author of several books – and is very good at what he does.
That rings hollow because we all know the PR pro is sharing it because they are being paid to share it – that’s their job. That’s how they make their money! Nobody faults them for that. Many PR pros do not know who my readers are, much less what their interests are. I’ve even been approached by PR pros who didn’t know Asian Journeys is a travel magazine.

From that PR company quoted above, the full sentence reads: “We are sharing this information for your reader’s interest, unfortunately, there will be no media drops or seeding for this engagement at the moment.”

Other than the use of annoying PR terms there is less likely to be any engagement if it comes from a company that is global but expects small companies and freelancers to work for nothing. It takes time to edit a piece to your house style – often taking out annoying PR words – and then formatting it for whichever platform it will go on. It takes years to build readership and a following.
My friend made several excellent points in his reply:

“On behalf of [the client], you send out a release about something - to be honest; I didn't read it. I am assuming … you are earning a renumeration for issuing this release unless, of course, you are doing this pro bono. If that is the case, I salute you.

“So, what is the incentive for me to publish this article? … there is none.

“… advertisers are not doing what they are supposed to be doing - advertising. So this whole system is grinding to a halt. Then what happens when all the publications fold because, as you know, they can't survive on fresh air?

“If I were a PR practitioner and in touch with the market, I would tell my client: "Hey, I have a great idea. Publications and freelancers are suffering and you sell a valuable product. Wouldn't it be a great idea to offer them some complimentary products? There is a big mark-up on your products so it's not going to make you go broke. Alternatively, we could purchase some ads."

There are many good PR professionals whom I am happy to work with, two of whom I wrote about in Part I of this series. For them, I don’t need a free cup of coffee every time I do something for them. And believe me, if either of them had made the approach, they would’ve gotten exposure – without any lip back.

A little bit goes a very long way and far into the future.  I like to show my appreciation far beyond one project because that’s what real partners do.