VN youth tap into blogging, vlogging trend

Update: January, 14/2018 - 09:00
Catching on: 2017 saw a significant increase in the number of content creators in Việt Nam. VNS Photo An Phương
Viet Nam News

by An Phương

Blogging has become a passion with Việt Nam’s youth and has brought them a wide variety of job opportunities.

Surprisingly, the addiction is nothing new and, in fact, has been around for a decade with many popular online personas, including Michelle Phan, Zoe Sugg (Zoella), Ryan Higa (nigahiga) and Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie), among others.

It’s difficult to determine who was the top blog trendsetter as bloggers each have their own story to tell. Together, the pieces make the picture complete.

While Michelle Phan and Zoe Sugg are widely known for their skincare and makeup skills, Felix Kjellberg has been a success in the gaming field.

“Michelle Phan seems to be everyone’s childhood hero. I admire the passion and creativity that she puts into her videos. Her beauty journey is fascinating,” Ngọc Anh, a frequent YouTube user, told Việt Nam News.

A lot of work: Blogging requires a great deal of time since blogs and vlogs need to be updated regularly. Photo courtesy of Letsplaymakeup

Blogging is special in that it emphasises personal experiences and the ability to effectively deliver content via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Blogspot.

Due to its friendly nature and interface, bloggers who post videos (called vlogs) on YouTube seem to reach a bigger audience.

“When I started blogging on Instagram, I had 60,000 followers. That number significantly increased to 100,000 as soon as I created my YouTube channel and vlogged!” the beauty blogger known as Letsplaymakeup said.

“Being able to communicate a distinctive personality has played a significant role in follower engagement,” she added.

Blogging content

The variety of content that blogging covers has made it an interesting career for anyone, regardless of background, especially in the digital era.

The Vietnamese blogging industry, for instance, bloomed within the last two years, with debuts of many bloggers and vloggers, mostly in beauty, technology and lifestyle categories.

Some of the well-known bloggers include Changmakeup, Trinh Phạm, Chloe Nguyễn, Letsplaymakeup, Hannah Olala, Vinh Vật Vờ, Review Dạo and Súp Heo, among others.

“There aren’t many bloggers who have early access to beauty products and technology gadgets in Việt Nam and worldwide. So their first-hand opinions are worthwhile, at least to me,” Ngọc Anh said.

Travel is another topic that has long been embraced by bloggers in Việt Nam as tips on where to stay and dine affordably are always in demand.

All about looks: Beauty is one of the most popular topics that Vietnamese bloggers covered in 2017. Photo courtesy of Chloe Nguyễn

In addition to more in-depth topics such as beauty, technology and travel, many bloggers and vloggers are expert at reviewing games and children toys, with Oops Banana and Thơ Nguyễn attracting millions of views per video.

“Content is worth spending time on as long as it’s helpful and entertaining,” Ngọc Anh said, adding that reaction videos to popular trends are also her favourites.

According to beauty blogger Chloe Nguyễn, interesting content that is well received by viewers is one of the most important elements determining a blogger’s success.

“I’m inspired by all things beauty and after two years pursuing my YouTube career, I still believe that by creating content dear to my heart and experiences, I’m able to engage and maintain audiences’ interest,” she said.

Blogger Letsplaymakeup agreed, saying that honesty is key to blogging, which differentiates it from other social-media jobs.

“Even though it doesn’t seem to be ‘proper’ job, blogging helps creators earn a living as long as they’re serious about it,” she said.

Opportunities, challenges

There are three common ways that bloggers, particularly those on YouTube, create multiple streams of income.

To begin with, they can get paid by YouTube after connecting their channels to an AdSense account for monetisation.

Unlike overseas bloggers who directly work with YouTube, most Vietnamese bloggers have to depend on a YouTube partner such as Yeah1! and METUB for payment collection.

“Even though the amount of money earned from YouTube is definitely not much, I’m glad to have some extra income to invest in better filming devices,” said Chloe Nguyễn, adding that quality video is a “must”.

As blogging can work as a marketing tool, many brands and advertising agencies seek collaborations with bloggers, creating another stream of income for bloggers.

“So far, I’ve had great experience working with technology brands and retailers. It’s a win-win situation when I’m provided with the latest gadgets, while brands and retailers can promote their products to a wider audience,” technology blogger Review Dạo said.

Even so, this mode of collaboration raises ethical questions about bloggers possibly lying about the quality of promotional products in exchange for money.

“Dishonesty can jeopardise any blogger’s reputation and even long-term career,” Letsplaymakeup said.

As a way of respecting viewers, bloggers should provide truthful, real experiences after using promotional products from brands, she said, adding that claims about their collaborations with brands in their videos or posts should always be true.

Channeling: Affiliate partnerships have become a favoured mode of marketing for e-commerce firms like Lazada Việt Nam. Photo courtesy of Lazada Việt Nam

Affiliate partnerships between bloggers and e-commerce firms such as Lazada, Tiki and Adayroi, among others, can create another stream of income for bloggers.

Đặng Thuỳ Trang, affiliate marketing manager for Lazada Việt Nam, said that 2017 saw a significant increase in the number of content creators, making affiliate partnerships a potential marketing strategy.

With affiliate marketing, bloggers are paid a certain amount of commission every time a follower clicks or makes a purchase on the partners’ e-commerce websites via tracking links inserted in bloggers’ videos or posts.

“The amount of commission can be significant as long as bloggers regularly input external links to products which they have mentioned,” Trang added.

Đinh Hồng Hạnh, a senior affiliate executive at Lazada Việt Nam, added that affiliate partnerships are beneficial not only for bloggers who want to generate extra revenue and track their level of influence, but also are useful for brands that want to maximise their audience reach.

“Though it was recently introduced in Việt Nam, affiliate marketing showed its real potential by successfully connecting many bloggers and brands in 2017,” Hạnh said, adding that the number of bloggers joining Lazada Việt Nam’s Affiliate Programme has grown by five times since June.

In addition to the financial aspect, blogging brings about many other opportunities.

“Letsplaymakeup and I got to collaborate with Rohto Metholatum Việt Nam on a project in which we produced our own liquid lipsticks. The collection, which included four liquid lipsticks called "Forever and Always", "Blind for Love", "Interesting", and "Plot Twist", has been highly supported by young Vietnamese,” Chloe Nguyễn said.

Similarly, beauty blogger Changmakeup successfully launched her own makeup line, called "Ofélia", in 2017.

Though blogging is undeniably a promising full-time career, it requires a great deal of time since blogs and vlogs need to be updated regularly.

“I spend about 10 hours per day creating content on different social media platforms,” Chloe Nguyễn said. “This can range from shooting beauty products and outfits of the day and writing captions for photographs to filming videos and planning new posts and videos.”

“The more connected a blogger is to his or her audience, the better. But this can be overwhelming sometimes since you can’t always feel inspired to create content with impact,” she added. 

In addition to the time needed, a blogger has to invest in equipment such as editing tools, a camera, lighting and products to review and be ready to receive feedback, both positive and negative, from the audience.

“I’m occasionally judged by newcomers who look at my YouTube channel. Though their discouraging words upset me sometimes, I still choose to embrace my individuality. Blogging should be about expressing your unique style and personal opinions,” Letsplaymakeup said.

What to expect in 2018

In 2018, the blogging industry is expected to be more vibrant, with the participation of bloggers with experience in fitness, food and health, Trang said.

“Affiliate partnerships will continue to be a favorable mode of marketing,” she added.

In addition to the growing number of bloggers in the industry followed by new modes of marketing, 2018 will witness various awards with a new category honouring bloggers’ contributions to society and to the younger generation.

Đẹp magazine’s Đẹp Awards and Kenh14’s We Choice Awards are among some of the examples.

“Bloggers are relatable and are indeed very influential with young audiences,” Hạnh of Lazada Việt Nam said. 

Blogger Chloe Nguyen is positive about 2018. “I have some interesting plans for the year. I hope more people will recognise this as an interesting career.” VNS