By Jessie “Jeman” Villanueva as told to Ruth Manimtim-Floresca
I was still in college, finishing B.S. Journalism when I did my OJT at People’s Journal Tonight, a newspaper tabloid of the Journal Group of Companies in 1999. I was mentored by then City Editor Abner Galino and then Managing Editor William Chua. The company eventually absorbed me after graduation and had me cover police beats all over the Metro during graveyard shifts. Due to salary issues, I made up my mind to apply as a reporter for ABC5 (now TV5) and was hired as a news writer instead. After five months, I was promoted to Junior Desk Editor. For a while, I also did a short stint in ABS-CBN as Researcher for Korina Sanchez’s show but decided to look for another job and landed as Media Relations Officer for Senator Gringo Honasan.
After the senator’s term ended, I became a writer/liason officer for Global Destiny Inc. then as a member of the Secretariat for the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines. In 2005, I got an offer to work as Ad and Media Promo Coordinator for Cueshé, a top Filipino band at the time. I immediately grabbed the chance since I’m a music lover and a big fan of bands.
When I chose to call it quits with my latest job, I eventually created my own events and media outfit called FreelanceProductions where I accepted projects to do product launches, media press cons, and the like. In 2008, I was hired by Playboy Philippines and became their Media, Events and Ad, and Promo Coordinator. I was also in charge with the go-see for models and possible features for the magazine. That’s where I learned about the ins and outs of the publishing industry.
When working conditions with the publisher turned sour, I switched back to freelancing and continued blogging which I’ve already started in 2005 through the now defunct Friendster. A fellow blogger, Azrael Coladilla, whom I worked with during my stint as media relations officer eventually invited me to cover events I can write about in my blog.
The time came when the numerous event invites became overwhelming. So I decided to launch an online website and called it OrangeMagazineTV.com. My main goal was to be able to accommodate as many press releases as possible even if I was not able to attend the events. I figured, since it’s online, it would be simpler to promote as well as be cheaper and easier to maintain. I was wrong.
I thought things would be uncomplicated because I had partners and staff doing the layouting and other stuff while I handle event coverage, marketing, and promo. Finance-wise, it was not a good start and this caused a lot of friction with my partners. They all bailed out, eventually, because they got tired waiting for the magazine to earn.
After a year of struggle and studying all I could about how an online magazine really works, I was able to figure out a lot of things. Aside from changing the site’s format, I enlisted the help of other friends and fellow bloggers, and now have correspondents who help me cover events.
I only have two reasons why I work. It’s either I should be wellcompensated or I should enjoy what I do. If both are missing, that’s the time I shift careers and simply move on. But with Orange Magazine TV, although the first year was not financially rewarding and it was not all fun, I resolved to stick to what I started because I already invested a lot on it and it’s my first online publication after all. You see, it has been my dream many years ago to have my own magazine and I’ve finally realized that aspiration.
One thing that’s good with this business is the perks. Aside from a lot of free stuff, we get invitations to try out the latest products, dine in nice restaurants, and, if we’re lucky, get to travel to different places for free. Apart from that, I earn from ad placements in my website, writing paid posts, and by organizing bloggers’ events for various clients.
To make an online magazine work though, you’ll need good contacts and the right connections. Of course, you also owe it to your readers to provide them with good content. It also helps that I often hold online contests to further promote my site. All I need, really, is a laptop and a good internet connection, preferably 24/7. My iPhone is a bonus because I can update my blog faster and share it to the magazine’s Twitter and Facebook followers.
In addition, I made sure the magazine is as wholesome as possible. I want our features not to be too formal, just fun, and I have not, and will never, promote violence, drugs, and anti-Christ works. I am further very fortunate and thankful for the trust that a lot of well-known personalities and celebrities have given me and whom I’ve been able to feature in my magazine. I also owe much to PR companies and outfits that continue to support Orange Magazine TV through our media partnerships.
This year, I’ll be coming out with my very first print issue with the help of friends and sponsors. We are still testing the waters with this new venture but we won’t be signing off once we’ve launched the published issue. Definitely, there will be more innovations and surprises our readers could look forward to in the months and years to come.
Advice to Blogging Newbies
Getting started as a blogger?
Read Jeman Villanueva’s tips.
- Never expect too much and never rely on others to help you all the time. That was my biggest mistake before because, when I started, I didn’t know anything about how Adobe Photoshop or WordPress works. When my business partners left, I had to start from scratch. It took me two months to learn how to use those essential software. Also, I learned to accept that not everyone will be supportive nor be happy for my success.
- Blogging is not all fun and not just about receiving freebies/lootbags. Always be professional and maintain credibility when dealing with clients, PR companies, and fellow bloggers. If you blog because you primarily want to earn, you will be disappointed. Blog because you love what you’re doing and not just because you expect others to pay you for blogging.
- Make sure your site has good content so that companies will invite you to their events or even hire you to write paid posts for them.
- Most importantly, surround yourself with the right contacts and proper connections but never compromise friendships over blogging.