Working With Grace is another popular award winning blog from Singapore and recently we contacted the blogger behind it for an interview. She is Grace Tan. Other than writing the blog ‘Working With Grace’, She is also an author, speaker and a workshop organizer. She helps other bloggers through her workshops and speaking engagements. Grace Tan is the author of the book ‘Blogging For A Living’.
During our interview with Grace, she shared about her blogging journey and how she works with brands. She also shared her view on influencer marketing including advice to other entrepreneurs on how to engage influencers for their Marketing campaigns.
Below is our interview with Grace Tan. Read it and let us know your thoughts as a comment.
1. Hello Grace! Can you please tell us about yourself?
Hello, We Heart Entrepreneurs team and everyone reading this! Sure! I am the author of ‘Blogging For A Living’, which I wrote after winning at the 2013 Singapore Blog Awards organised by the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). I have also been blogging since October 2010, which now seems like such a long time ago! Honestly, I never saw myself as someone who could ‘stick’ to doing something for a really long period of time, and ten years is pretty amazing for someone who likes variety, has too many new ideas all the time, and is always looking for fun things to do. I have fish and rainbow crabs as pets (though I’d really prefer a cat) and I have an incredible weakness for bubble tea, such that I’ve taken to making my own bubble tea at home (yes, with pearls, konjac jelly, aloe vera, the works!)
2. What inspired you to start your blog Working With Grace? Please share more about it.
I started my blog simply because I was kaypoh (which you may take to mean infuriatingly – or adorably – curious about things). I wanted to interview celebrities, millionaires and entrepreneurs, and have them spill the beans about their secrets (oooooh) to success. The blog was simply a platform (or an excuse) to make that happen, since quite obviously I do not work for The Straits Times or CNA.
So I started off by interviewing people I was paying a lot of money to (and who, for this reason, could not possibly refuse me) – my Lasik doctor and my orthodontist. Then the list of people I interviewed just grew from there. At its peak, I got to interview Peter Buffett, the son of Warren Buffett. I knew some people might be sceptical so I asked Peter to send me a video clip of him speaking, and you can view this on my blog’s homepage here: https://workingwithgrace.wordpress.com/
3. As a blogger and influencer how do you help businesses to grow?
I don’t think bloggers and influencers help businesses to grow. The business will have their own business development people to do that task. As a blogger, I simply share my opinion about a product or service, and people who follow my blog or what I post on, say, Facebook decide if they want to accept my recommendation or not. Often, businesses write to me and thank me for helping them, but I don’t see it that way. Their product or service was good to begin with. And I simply encouraged people to try them out.
Bloggers and influencers can never really help businesses to grow. They simply help get the word out about the business. Businesses which have engaged bloggers have folded too. Sometimes it’s because their design team’s not doing a good job, rental’s killing the business, etc.
4. Do you think influencer marketing is still powerful and effective? What is your idea on this?
Influencer marketing is definitely effective if businesses pick the right influencers. And it’s definitely powerful when the influencer TRULY loves your product or service.
How do you pick the right influencer? Find someone who is already a fan. This person need not have a gazillion followers. If there’s a really popular influencer who’s promoting skincare brand A last week, and this week promotes skincare brand B (which is yours), I don’t think it’ll have much of an effect on discerning followers who know this person is simply selling out.
Look for the people who already love you, and help them love you more, such as by providing an insiders tour of your factory, getting their input on the next product launch, giving them exclusive freebies to hand out to their followers. When they grow, you grow too!
5. We know that you help other bloggers through workshops and speaking engagements. You have also published the book ‘Blogging For A Living’. Would you like to share more details with us?
The backstory to this is that in 2012, I took part in the Singapore Blog Awards but only emerged as a Top 10 finalist. I did not win, and I was devastated. I put in the work and in 2013, I won. So thereafter I decided to teach other people who wanted to learn how to blog, and also how to win a blog award for their work. One of my students went on to be a winner in the 2014 Singapore Blog Awards, while another became a Top 10 finalist at the ripe old age of 66.
I’ve had a few speaking engagements both in Singapore and in Malaysia. But the most memorable one is the one at UniSIM where one of the middle-aged participants told me, before the workshop started, that he was here to find out for himself “what this nonsense is about”. I was taken aback. But after the session, he came to shake my hand and thank me. I think many people do not realise how much effort goes into crafting a blogpost, especially an award-winning one. So I’m happy to share the tips and tricks, potential pitfalls, and strategies for success in this journey of Blogging.
And the book was really a dream come true. Most people have to self-publish their books. Armour Publishing loved my manuscript and helped me with design and editing. So I got to publish a book without paying a single cent. And I made a small 4-figure sum of money from it.
6. As a popular blogger and influencer in Singapore, would you like to share some advice to other entrepreneurs who wish to engage influencers for their marketing campaigns?
- It’s possible to get a free shoutout, if you really don’t have money to throw at influencers. A well-packaged product with a thoughtful handwritten note can do wonders.
- Don’t be a cheapskate. Someone named Saul dropped me an email regarding a collaboration. He wanted to offer me $100 credit to try out the ice cream from his company. That’s way below my usual blogging fee but I have a sweet tooth so I said yes since there’s no harm in helping a small business, right? He replied exactly one month later to say that he’s changing the terms of the collaboration and it’s now $50 only. Needless to say, I did not take him up on his offer.
- If you are a real cheapskate and/or have only enough money to pay one blogger yet you want to maximise your dollar, hold a blogging contest. Say, you own a hair salon. Offer free haircuts or treatments to any blogger or influencer who is keen (and whose social media profiles you have vetted), then have them blog / write about your salon. Best post wins $2,000. This way, you do not have to engage an agency which will probably take the bulk of the money anyway. And the quality of the posts will be really good as they’re now all blogging to win – there’s cash AND bragging rights at stake.
Hope you enjoyed reading this interview with the Singapore popular blogger Grace Tan.To connect with her, below are the links to her blog and social media.
Social media: https://www.facebook.com/thegracetan