As a second part to my new Blog Advice section on this blog, I think punctuality is something to make note of, because being on time can impact your blog’s reputation by bounds and leaps.
I spoke to a few PRs and event organizers about this (no, I will not be revealing who or which company I’ve spoken to) and some of them admitted that punctuality is one of their biggest pet peeve when it comes to any event.
“It’s always been a personal pet peeve for me when people are not on time, and when it comes to work, you sort of have to face it at every event and grit your teeth because you know… Malaysian timing.” – Anonymous PR representative
“People will always be late, some even think being 2 hours late is acceptable. For our company, those bloggers who tend to be ALWAYS late would usually get pushed back to much smaller-scale events instead – because punctuality is very important for our bigger events.” – Anonymous PR Manager
As you already tell, punctuality is important especially when it comes to working with PR companies who are affiliated with bigger brands. The blogging industry is so new, with so many grey areas – I think we shouldn’t jeopardize it and give bloggers a bad name, especially if we want to grow. We want more brands and companies to have faith in us, to prove that we can show up and be punctual like any other media journalist, and that we can be responsible.
Most of us have already read about Singaporean blogger Xiaxue’s stand on making the blogging industry better – by repelling and exposing those who are unethically inflating pageviews and other dodgy stuff. (I honestly enjoyed Part 2 of the exposé a lot because, well, the proof is out there for all to see and hear. And there are also less numbers involved.)
In my opinion, she’s helping make the blogging industry a better place by trimming off the rotten stems (albeit a little harshly, because Gushcloud is indefinitely in very hot water right now) and weeding out bad business practice and ethics by the root. Though my post here lacks ‘juicy exposés’ within, I will be writing on why punctuality is important and how you can remedy your tardiness. (This is especially targeted to Malaysian bloggers, because we Malaysians are well known for our bad sense of time. #truestory #dontdenyit)
BEING LATE: HOW LATE IS ACCEPTABLE?
In my books, you should only be at most 30 minutes late and not more. However, I always would recommend to reach right on the dot. If you are absolutely stuck in a massive traffic crawl or have other emergencies, then call your PR contact to let them know you will be late. It is courtesy after all. I know many Malaysians do NOT practice such courtesy, but at the end of the day, this reflects on you as a person who is representing your blog.
EVENTS DON’T START ON TIME, SO WHY SHOULD I BE ON TIME?
Because if everyone thinks like you, then events would definitely not be able to start on time! Most events are based on attendance. If there are only a handful of early birds, then it is pointless to start on time. However, if they manage to gather over 60% capacity (in most cases) then the event is likely to start on schedule. This would also depend on the VIP guest(s) attendance. So really, if everyone sets their mindset to be there early, it could make all the difference.
IT’S BORING TO REACH EARLY AND SIT DOWN TO WAIT
Think about it, when you’re early, you get to take photos of the event space and displays unobstructed. You do not have to deal with crowds of other bloggers or photojournalists trying to take photos of the same thing – you know, those photos where you have a piece of hair, head or hand of someone else who’s in front of you? You get to take your time, get a nice shot. Even once you’re done, you have that time to make a new friend (with someone else who is early as you) or chat with your PR contact. Honestly for me, being early is never boring.
BEING LATE IS EMBARRASSING
You know that girl, who comes in late and has to make the walk of shame to sit in front (where the empty seats usually are?) You don’t want to be that girl, do you? I know most of you think that’s okay, I’m thick-skinned enough. It isn’t great for your reputation though, as unabashed as you may be. Most people will see you as irresponsible, especially the MDs and CEOs of the brand who are present. Remember, these big business minds have no time for tardiness.
BEING EARLY: TIME MANAGEMENT
If an event starts at 7pm, you should already be leaving from your place by 6.15pm (unless you live 5 minutes away) Factor in the traffic conditions and the rush hour jam. My trick is to always check with Waze an hour before the event to get a rough estimate. If traffic is really bad, I’ll leave an hour before. That way, you still have a 30 minute window (the acceptable late window) and still be considered ‘on-time’.
BEING EARLY FOR SMALLER EVENTS IS CRUCIAL
Some of the events I’ve attended are small, intimate gatherings of only 5-10 bloggers. You are more likely to be accounted for by name in events like these, and being late can give you a bad rep. I usually try to be at least 10 minutes early for these things, so as to get acquainted with the other bloggers (there are only 10 of you after all) and the event host as well. It makes you give off a good first impression, as well as good PR skills.
AVOID RSVP-ING TO TWO EVENTS THAT ARE CLOSE IN TIMING
In other words, double-booking your schedule. It’s not classy to rush from event one to event two, especially if they are both starting an hour apart from one another. Some bloggers do this because they get extra posts for their blog (and extra freebies), but at the end of the day, I believe that if you do not have a good time in the events you attend, why bother blogging at all? You’d only end up with a very half-hearted, short post on the event. Trust me, those posts do no justice to you or your client.
NO-SHOW IS A BIG NO-NO
You obviously must show-up after you have RSVP-ed. Not showing up once is fine, but repeat that a few more times and a PR company is not likely to call you back for anything else again. Even something really important did come up, resulting in your absence, at least be considerate and call your PR contact to let them know that you are unable to make it. It is again, common courtesy.
These are just my two cents, and also a look at overall blogger ethics. If we were to move forward and get companies out there to put their trust in us bloggers, we must also prove that we are responsible and ethical in everything we do. Let me know what you think.