The Good, the bad and the best of So Delhi Confluence at The Lalit Delhi
Blogging as a creative medium and career choice is still evolving in India. Blogging as a career option is still trying to find its feet on the ground with only a handful of bloggers in India making decent money from blogging. Whenever I attend any blogging event, the talk eventually moves to “How to Make Money from Blogging”.
Now, this always makes me a bit uncomfortable as I never started blogging with the intention of making money. I still do not make much money blogging, and I do hope that blogging never becomes my only source of income as there are few other things I do where I am more heavily invested financially as well as emotionally.
With this background firmly in place let me take you to the latest blogging conference I attended on the invitation of the good folks of So Delhi, a platform that is trying to bring bloggers and brands together. This was the second confluence by So Delhi in Delhi, but only the first one where I was invited. I am not a keen attendee to networking events, preferring to stay at home and talk to the tomato plants that are struggling to cope with the June heat. ( do I see a gardening blog in near future ? )
Long story short, I decided to attend the So Delhi Confluence and I am glad that I did, for more than one reason.
Let me talk about a few good things about the So Delhi Confluence at The Lalit. First about the venue, well I am an old-timer and still address The Lalit as – Holiday Inn, the first name of the luxury property in the heart of Delhi. After that, it has undergone many a name change and finally settled for Lalit after the name of the founder of the hospitality group, late Mr. Lalit Suri. I think The Lalit , Delhi is a great place to hold conferences like So Delhi Confluence as it is centrally located and easily accessible by both road and my Blue line of Delhi Metro. The hotel is spacious and well equipped to handle large conferences with hundreds of attendees.
The signing in at the reception desk etc. was quick and after the inauguration formalities the first interesting event was a dialogue with 4 prominent bloggers – Ms. Deeba Rajpal, Mr. Pawan Soni, Ms. Sukhneet Wadhwa and Ms. Devina Malhotra who talked about their experience and how blogging is changing and what bloggers need to do to take the blog to the next level.
I liked Ms. Rajpal’s comment the most when she said (As I did not record it, I am writing the synopsis in my words.)
“Whatever you post, be it picture, be it recipe, blog post etc. make sure it is worthy of your reader’s time, you should be proud of your work that you post because only if you post reading worthy content then people will flock to your blog, but please don’t spam others, do it in moderation ” —- Deeba Rajpal – Passionate about Baking & Blogging
I think she nailed it perfectly and what anybody posts on their blog should be worthy of the time of the readers.
My own personal 2 cents to the same is that write for readers not for search engines, not for PR folks, not for the girl you want to impress in the Chemistry honors, but for your readers. If you have readers, brands, PR and money all will chase you. If you get involved in gimmicks you may get a short-term boost but ultimately law of averages will catch up and your blog will remain an average blog only.
Another interesting event at the So Delhi Confluence at The Lalit was the highlight on Armani Exchange watches. Now I am not a big fan of watches but I was sure impressed by the models on display and the price range that start from around 8K, I think at that price these watches are a great fashion statement for anybody who likes to flaunt watches. I think the Armani Exchange watches were the most photographed beauty at the event, much to the disappointment of some of the fashion bloggers around who were too busy either clicking selfies or clicking each other’s pictures.
But all said and done it was a dazzling evening with more fashion per sq meter than the best of fashion shows I have been to, and I have been to a few.
As for me I focused on some of the vegetarian Sushi that I thoroughly enjoyed along with some delicious pizza from the Lalit Pizza truck. My personal favorite was the one with Caramelized onions ( I called them burnt onions, but was soon corrected by Food Nazis around me. Ok Caramelized Onions they are I said and took my next slice).
There was another panel discussion where top guns representing brands, and PR agencies peddle some gyan about the evolving scene in the blogger / influencer engagement and how the market is evolving. Some of the words that reached my ears were
- Real Followers
- Bought Followers
- Engagement level
- Quality content
- Follower vs engagement level
While my little desi brain is too small to understand all these complicated ideas I tried to process all the information and hopefully will be able to act on the same in future.
The only challenge that I feel on taking advice from the PR folks is that as of now most PR companies in India have only a foggy idea how to work with bloggers. They reach out to bloggers and either due to the absence of reliable data or inability to extract and comprehend data go for the lowest quote or the ones who are willing to work for free or exposure or in the best case scenario a cousin’s former colleague who now declares him/ her blogger. This basically means familiarity bias plays a big role followed by cost consideration and not the actual brand brief to get the best possible bloggers for the assignment.
My personal understanding of the same is that PR folks work on a fixed budget and the mindset that you need to share some of this budget with the blogger is yet to sink. Mind you I am over simplifying the situation and there are good well-researched PR companies who understand the value a blogger or influencers bring to the table and I do hope their numbers keep on increasing. But let me assure you as long as there will be bloggers willing to work for 10 Rs a tweet, there will be people willing to offer 5 Rs a tweet. But I digress again and let me go back to the So Delhi Confluence that is the topic of this blog post. Is my assumption correct ? Hell know, I am far from an expert on brand and blogging matters and just like most PR folks work on hearsay and personal intuition.
The most interesting event of the day ( ok second most interesting as the most interesting event was by the drummers ) was a pitch presentation by 3 bloggers – Pallavi Chaturvedi, for whom I was rooting as she goes by the name – That_ desi_ Girl, ( that she is absolutely gorgeous and has 5 feet long hair has no bearing on my fandom , by God kee Kasam, I am yet to meet her in person !!!), and Devyani Kapoor, Faizan Patel. It was an interesting session to see how the bloggers are becoming almost corporate-like in their thought process and professionalism. All three of them made an excellent pitch but in the end, Pallavi aka That_desi_Girl won an Armani Exchange watch for the best pitch? What can I say desis Rule jee!!!
So what do I think about the So Delhi Confluence: Now you may wonder what was all that I have written above ? Well, all that was WISWIS – ok for those of you not sure what is WISWIS here it is : What I Saw is what I said. Now my desi gyan about the same.
What I liked: I think the importance of an event like So Delhi Confluence is that it brings various stakeholders like PR, Brands, and Bloggers on a single platform and start a dialogue that an evolving new age medium like Blogging desperately needs. An event like So Delhi Confluence brings out in open the questions that bloggers may have for the brands and PR and new aspiring bloggers have for seasoned professionals like Pawan Soni who have built a fan following rivaling TV stars purely by his hard work and dedication to the blogging and food community he has nurtured painstakingly one member at a time.
The brands also get to see and meet names they have stalked (yes brands may not follow bloggers out of company policies / ego but they do stalk bloggers handles on social media to understand the latest trends and influencers mindset).
The biggest advantage the brands get from events like So Delhi Confluence is simultaneous, geometric, 100% organic amplification and broadcast of their brand name when 100s of bloggers write / tweet / post about them. This is also a great opportunity for them to Network with bloggers (which I am absolutely ZERO at L ) for upcoming engagements and builds a personal rapport. But the bloggers also had something good to learn from the corporate big shots. Like the Country Head Sales of Fresca Juices, Mr. Ashok Chopra gave a comprehensive number oriented presentation about how in a short span a homegrown company Fresca is now a household name as well as made inroads into big name corporate clients.
So dear bloggers when you make a pitch to a potential client make a professional deck, share some numbers, share some past success stories, create a good first impression, especially when you are a new kid on the blog. The really good clients who spend money on blogging campaigns love numbers. Mr. Chopra from Fresca kind of proved that.
What I did not like at the So Delhi Confluence : Again I will talk about my experience. While it is wonderful to try and know about how to make money from your blog and one of the bloggers shared her income report also on the dais. I feel while questions related to monetization of a blog while valid and important, somewhere bloggers should also wonder how the guys on the stage reached the level today. I was appalled to see absolutely no interest in knowing how to make a better blog, how to write engaging content, how to increase follower count. Everybody almost echoed the same thing – “How can I make money blogging. “ Maybe there were people who asked questions how they can make a better blog or write better or engage followers but either I was busy eating Sushi or Caramelized Onion Pizza at that time or these voices were too far off and too meek to make much of the difference. But let me clarify this is not a failure of the organizers i.e. So Delhi as they gave an open platform to the bloggers to ask questions but it is surely food for thought to all the bloggers to worry about their priorities. (I know I antagonized PR folks earlier, and now I am making my blogger brethren look bad. But what to do ? desi Aisa hee hai jee may I invoke the poet-saint from Benaras – Kabir Das ?
Kabira Khada bazaar mein maange sub ki khair …
Na kahu se dosti na kahu se bair.
And was it not Kabir who said
“Dheere dheere ray mana dheere sub kuch hoye,
Maali seenchhe sau ghada, rut aaye phal hoye”
Translated in blogging terms = Grow your blog slowly and steadily shortcuts will not work. And once the blog grows and the time comes automatically you will get the fruits of your efforts.
Ok now one thing that not only me but a lot of bloggers around also did not like ( with this I antagonize the organizers – Kya Karoon Control nahi hota jee . So I loved the location, liked the food, the event was well-organized, but I am like a desi Barati who has to find something wrong. So there was this gentleman who surely needs Kayam Churna , who on every opportunity announced —
Free Beer” First it looked like a joke and we laughed. The second time we thought it was for those who did not get the joke, the third time it felt stale and after the third time, it started stinking. Yes everybody enjoyed the Beer and was probably waiting for it. But by announcing it again and again not only you distracted people to run towards the bar you also made us feel that we are here only for the FREE BEER. No, sir, we were there on the invitation that did not mention anything about Beer only about the Blogging and Brands. I know the guy at stage was joking, well so am I 🙂
Ok now that I have made everybody a little unhappy – The PR & Brands, my Blogger buddies, and the organizers let me end the post on a high personal positive note.
Thanks a lot So Delhi for this certificate of appreciation for my little blog. Many thanks to Mr. Digant Sharma and Ms. Priyanka Sharma the founders of So Delhi to invite me and present this certificate and a fabulous evening that entertained engaged and enlightened us about the blogging world. I must also mention Ms. Ankita Bhattacharya from So Delhi who convinced me to attend the So Delhi Confluence by her relentless follow-ups. And finally, my special thanks to Ms. Deeba Rajpal to be kind enough to accept the certificate on stage on my behalf and send me a picture of the same.
And below is the image of various goodies that bloggers received just for showing up at the event, including your friendly neighborhood desi Traveler 🙂
To know more about So Delhi and keep updated about most happening events around Delhi check these links: WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK |TWITTER. You can also download the SODELHI app on Google play Store
About the images: I did not carry my camera on the day of So Delhi Confluence, so most of the images you see here are from So Delhi Facebook album. The Instagram images have the rightful owner of the image already mentioned in the same. And finally a special thanks to Priyanka Sachar for giving me lift back home 🙂
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