Monthly Archives: April 2012
Blogging is a creative medium for literary expressions…
The reason I say “CREATIVE” is simply because
* You need to be CREATIVE in the topics
* You need to be CREATIVE in the articulations
* You need to be CREATIVE in reader engagement
Else, you will not enjoy the blogging journey
In this blog, I have listed the AEIOU Reasons for YOU to Blog :
Blogging increase your AWARENESS
Blogging enhances your own EXPRESSIONS
Blogging compels you to INTROSPECT
Blogging makes you OBSERVE
Blogging enables you to UNDERSTAND
All these are based on my own personal experiences and journey as a blogger over the past 2+ years!
Blogging increase your AWARENESS
Once you start blogging regularly, you become AWARE. Aware about what? – Yourself, Your environment, People, Events, Social Media, Tools, Technologies,… – The WORLD at LARGE! And AWARENESS is probably the single most important REASON why you should blog. Once your own awareness increases, the sky is the limit to what you can think, do or achieve!
Blogging enhances your own EXPRESSIONS
The one thing which REALLY MAKES a difference in today’s world is EFFECTIVE EXPRESSIONS – Be it as a part of personal or professional life. And blogging can make a transformational difference here! The more you blog, the more you are compelled to express yourself in a clear and concise fashion – So that anyone anywhere can comprehend your message. And over a period of time, you will be able to witness a transformational change in your expressions. This has a definite positive implication in all aspects of your life
Blogging compels you to INTROSPECT
To blog, you need to be able to introspect and “connect the dots” in your head – There’s lots of data, views, opinions, perspectives available today – It’s the age of Information Overload. Blogging compels you to leverage some / all of this information to your own life experiences and INTROSPECT so that you have a message to share. And that’s how your blog content emerges…
Blogging makes you OBSERVE
If you’ve been blogging for a while now, the one change you will see in yourself is that you are more OBSERVANT. And why? Because you will realize that after a point – what you can write about in your blogs is linked to your own observations – Can be observations of yourself, nature, friends, family, customers, organizations, people at work, children, schools, education, etc. And the more you observe, the more you actually learn.. And Learning is a key element in the journey of life..
Blogging enables you to UNDERSTAND
TRUE UNDERSTANDING of anything in the world comes only with AWARENESS, OBSERVATION and INTROSPECTION. And this can be understanding on any topic – Could be blogging, to social media, to people, to yourself. Blogging makes you understand several things – because in the long run, you cannot blog quality and quantity content if you don’t understand and appreciate things in you and around you…
On that note, HAPPY BLOGGING!
And hope this blog inspired you to leave a BLOG in the blogosphere.
What are the reasons you recommend for others to BLOG? Leave a comment to let me know…
ABOUT BRUCE SALLAN
Happy and Proud Dad who learns everyday | Writer of the book “A Dad’s Point of View” | Blogger | Radio Show Host | Former Award Winning Television Executive; Former Producer of 30 Television, Movies, Pilots and Series; Former Vice President at ABC. For a detailed bio on Bruce, check this link . You can also refer Bruce’s Media Kit
Nischala: Bruce.. Good Evening! Thank You so much for your time. It’s indeed a pleasure and honor to talk to you…
Bruce: Hi Nischala. Thank You for talking to me all the way from India.
Nischala: Firstly, congratulations on all your success in the Social media space and on being a speaker at the DatSummit2.0. That’s awesome! My first question to you really is about your career transition from the show business to an advocate of parenting. It’s quite a transformation. How did that happen?
Bruce: To be honest, I’ve had a wonderful first career in the show business and was blessed that I made a lot of money and that gave me significant financial freedom. I’ve worked with some of the best and most talented people in the industry; and have completely enjoyed this stint. And then I experienced first-hand the hardships of a divorce, the loss of my parents and the reality of being a single dad. And I learnt from these experiences and grew as a parent, individual and human being. After a point, I felt that I want to share this message to the world to make it a better place. And thus my second career evolved. I say evolved because I did not plan doing all that I am doing today. I was open to try, to learn and more importantly, to share. What I try to write and blog about is what I call the layman’s “Point of View” on parenting based on my own experiences. I write and share about my journey as a parent – Both the failures and successes. I write about what I did wrong with the intent that other parents across the globe can learn from it. And I do hope that my writing touches people as I write from my heart and it is the truth. What’s most important is to realize that every kid is unique and hence each parent needs to understand this and deal with their children accordingly.
Nischala: That’s wonderful Bruce. And such a noble thought. So what are your guiding principles that make you keep going..
Bruce: This career is not about money.
I have just 3 guiding principles:
1) To make a DIFFERENCE in the WORLD
2) To Have fun
3) To Demonstrate to my kids that it’s possible to be a successful working Dad – Essentially to do complete justice to your responsibilities as a parent and successful professional
Nischala: So can you elaborate a little bit about this? Specially about making a DIFFERENCE in the WORLD
Bruce: Looking back, I think I am blessed that I had an opportunity to meet and interact with diverse people and impact their lives. Even as a part of the show business, I only did work in which I believed I had something positive to say. So I believe if your primary intent is POSITIVE and aimed at DOING GOOD, you will find ways and means to do it! And I believe every individual can make a DIFFERENCE in the WORLD – It can be in your family, friends or a larger scale of impact. But what’s important is to understand that even one simple word, act or deed has the potential to create a transformational change.
And I do want to leave a legacy in the world that I’m proud of…Like I support a girl’s school which is impoverished in Ghana – I personally send books, toys, etc. and request people in my network to do the same. I also request the listeners of my radio shows to help and support in whatever way the can. Now guess what I get in return? A photo of these kids holding the books / other supplies that we shipped them. And the joy and satisfaction of that one image is priceless. I would not trade it for anything else in the world, and mind you – Money cannot buy this! I honestly believe that everyone should give back to others – those you know, those you don’t know, to the world at large
Nischala: That’s very kind of you Bruce. So wonderful that you are supporting such causes – Very noble! My next question is really on how did you this crystal clear clarity on your 3 point agenda for life? Like many of us have good intentions and want to do good, but somehow lack the precision in clarity. And hence somewhere the efforts are not so focused / get diluted in actions.
Bruce: To be honest, there have been a few strong influences in my life; which influenced my thinking and life.
First is Dennis Prager. He is a very WISE MAN. He runs a popular radio chat show. And he mostly writes and speaks about politics, but he also speaks about life. He wrote a book “Happiness is a Serious Problem”. And since I also personally know him and have interacted with him, he’s been a very STRONG influence in my life. So his book + listening to his radio show + my interactions with him have a definite impact on my life.
What he says is that Gratitude is the Number 1 ingredient for a happy life. During a vulnerable moment in life, I once questioned him about the belief in god. My heart wanted to believe, but there was a resistance from my mind. And Dennis is Jewish. So am I. Here’s what he said – “If you observe Shabbat for 52 weeks in a row, you will believe it and it will become a part of your life” – And that’s a very powerful message that I learnt.
So my point is this –
If you are happy, then great – Do show it
If you are not happy, then act as if you are – Fake it until you make it
If nothing else, your show of happiness will probably make others happy – And you’ll end up happy as well
Second, be open to experiment and to new life experiences. I retired from my first career in the show business at the age of 45. For the next 8 – 10 years, I explored and considered several alternative careers – from being an elementary school teacher, to several franchisees like restaurants, etc. before I settled down to being an advocate of parenting
Nischala: Hmmm… So it takes time…
Bruce: Absolutely. It takes time. But make an effort.. And the best way to start is to write it down. You may start with 20 things on that list. And over a period of time, the list will get refined based on your own experiences and growth. Like, over years of trial and error – I’ve come so far. I was open to try, open to learn. When I started, I never thought of doing a radio show, or a tweet chat (#dadchat), or my own comic strip, or being a conference speaker (Like I’m just back from Texas where I was a speaker at the first Dad2.0 Summit. To give you a very specific example – Before, I had no clue what FaceBook was? And more importantly, I had No interest in learning it either. But once I realized the power of Social Media and how it can help in my work – I made the effort to learn. For a year, I had a Social Media tutor. I’d go to her house 2 days a week for an hour & she taught me all about Social Media and how to use it. Learning is important in life. It activates your brain and that’s sometimes even more important as a parent.
Nischala: That’s really commendable Bruce. So what are the most powerful Social media tools that you have found to be most effective?
Bruce: There are 4 really and each serves a different function. In no particular order,
1) Twitter & Tweetchats – I host the #DadChat (6 and 7 PM PST) every Thu. It is a live chat and is open to people all over the world. I usually bring in a special guest and the topic is usually what I have written about on my blog for that week. It’s been an amazing experience and personally, I have been introduced to so many wonderful people across the globe. I’ve also had charity auctions as a part of these chats.
2) My own website / blog
3) Facebook – And this has 2 elements
a. My own Personal profile
b. My FB page of Dad’s Point of View .To be honest, I spend more time on this FB page than to the one dedicated to my work
4) Triberr – Which is really a social advocate site in which you form tribes. Each tribe is owned by a chief and is focused on specific topics of common interest. And this exposes you to the work of other people on that topic and you also get to share each other posts. I’m a member of 7 tribes with a total of 175 tribe members and a reach of 3 million people. So if all 175 were to tweet 1 of my blogs, it has the potential to reach 3 million people. And being a part of these tribes has personally been very rewarding because it has connected me to some awesome writers and thinkers. And most importantly, this is the most critical element of social media – The potential REACH. I spend a significant portion of my time on social media by commenting on other’s posts – Every day, I comment on 15 – 20 posts that I read – And that has been a definitely positive channel to enhance my social media connections, relationships and networks. A lot of artists or bloggers or creative people want to focus only on the creative aspect of their work, and want others to take care of the Marketing, PR, etc. In my view, that is nonsense. Part of your job if you really want to have an impact is to promote yourself (and this needs learning too) and to learn how to reach, connect and engage with your audience / readers. Only then can you make a difference. If that means, you got to dedicate some time for this as a part of your schedule, then so be it. Like for e.g.: Certain portion of my time is devoted to the marketing and promotional activities of my work. I’ve learnt how to use social media and utilize several channels to broaden the audience reach. The more people you reach, the greater you’re potential to create an impact
Nischala: So can you elaborate a little on Tweetchats in terms of how they are moderated and the audience reach?
Bruce: So, the first Tweet chat that I attended was the #blogchat – which was started by Mark Colliers – He’s again an amazing guy and very gracious. Tweet chats were his idea. And the kind of audience reach and engagement is amazing. So for #blogchat, there are usually around 5000 tweets for every chat. In the case of #Dadchat, which is today globally the most popular parenting Tweet chat, there are usually between 1000 to 1500 tweets. I myself post about 200 tweets during each chat. I use Tweetgrid which allows you to filter for the specific hash tags and you can also adjust the settings of the refresh rates. So you can get the tweets in almost real-time, but more importantly you can simultaneously read and respond. I personally think and write really fast. But at end of the chat, I am tired. It’s like I’ve run a marathon
Nischala: Wow! That’s a phenomenal reach.. Amazing to hear this. So moving on…Bruce you touched a little bit about a legacy… Any thoughts on what you believe are important elements of your legacy?
Bruce: To be honest, what I really want to leave as my personal legacy would be
1) Leave behind 2 good men (my kids) in the world. So that’s really that I want to be – A GOOD DAD! And this is what I value the MOST
2) To teach people the value they get from doing good – So that’s really, to do good myself and be a living example for it through my work, words and actions
3) To give back to others – And to make other’s realize how important it is to give back to make the world a better place. And you don’t need to give back in a “financial” sense – But really, to give your time, your thoughts, your ear,… No matter how much / how little you have, you can always give…
And most importantly, to be known as someone who cared about others… As people age, I’ve rarely seen any one wish that they had earned more or had more corporate success (Of course! If you’ve had a very tough life where basic needs like food, etc have been a struggle – Then the case is different)… But otherwise…almost everyone I know really wished that they spent more time with those they loved. And these are the things that matter – The small joys of life – Sharing, Loving, Caring and Giving. The truth is that happiness / ultimate joy comes from what you give to others.
Nischala: That’s a beautiful thought Bruce and I can see that all your work and efforts are directed towards this. My best wishes for continued success. So lastly, what would be your advice to parents.. Rather, what’s the wisdom you’d like to share with parents?
1) There’s no such thing as QUALITY time ; there’s only QUANTITY time
2) If you can afford it, your children will always be better off if ONE parent can be at home during the teenage years of your kid’s life – That should be your first job. If you can’t afford it, then do the best possible in your circumstance. If that means you cut down a few material pleasures, so be it. Like I’ve cut back on my life significantly. I drive a truck which has been with me for the past 7 years. Looking back, when I was in the show business, I used to drive a Porsche, a Mercedes.. So I’ve personally done it and it’s possible. The point is that the teenage years are the potentially most dangerous years of a child’s life – And 1 mistake can change your / your child’s life forever – I always say to parents of teens – “Don’t expect them to listen, Don’t expect respect”. The only job of a parent of a teenager is to “Keep them alive.” And all that you instilled in your children before their teenage years will make a difference now..
Nischala: So, What are the lessons / values that parents should instill in their children?
1) Persistence is important – My observation with the current generation of kids is that they give up way too easily. They take everything too personally and want things to be handed down to them on a platter. As parents, you need to teach them the importance of being PERSISTENT in life. To try and attempt and keep trying till you achieve what you want! When I started writing, I sent 5000 e-mails to publishers / editors. There were 25 acceptances and 4975 rejections. So you have to persist to get a break /opportunity.
2) Be dedicated and sincere in all that you do – There’s no substitute for hard work and no short cuts to long term success and happiness. Dedication, hard-work and sincerity are values your should develop
3) Use every failure as an opportunity to learn and grow - Every failure is really an opportunity to learn. My first book was a commercial failure. I published it 1 year back. It did not sell as much as I expected. After I got over the shock and hurt, I realized the creative mistakes I made in the content. So that has left me wiser and I’ve learnt my lessons. The next book will be better. And this message is not important just for children, but for anyone in life
4) Own your actions – Take responsibility for them and have the courage to say “I messed up” and now what I can do to “change this”. You can’t blame others for your actions.
Nischala: So profound and yet so relevant! Thanks Bruce for sharing your thoughts. This rendezvous has been an absolute pleasure. Any final message you want to share as a part of this Rendezvous?
Bruce: I would invite all parents to #Dadchat… It’s globally the biggest Tweet chats on Parenting. Thank You Nischala.. It’s been an absolute pleasure to talk to you…
How did you like this Rendezvous? Leave a comment to let us know….
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I created my first Twitter handle in March 2009. Of course, it was private. Along the way, I also created several additional Twitter handles for myself – each with a specific personal objective – Like one was a personal log of my life, One was to capture my incessant thoughts, One was a repository of interesting data / links I came across, One was for all the quotes I read,etc. Over time, I could not keep up with regularly tweeting on all of these. And hence, some became defunct along the way.
In 2010, I decided that I would focus on only one of my Twitter handles. At about the same time, I also began to understand the power and reach of Twitter and hence I converted it to a public profile. Along the way, I tweeted, followed several interesting handles and began to understand how to really use Twitter. Not only did these interactions teach me about Twitter, they also enriched my understanding on human behaviors!!
And the reality today is that I YET DO NOT have even 100 followers on Twitter! (Got pretty close once, but not yet managed the MAGIC 100 L). Over the past few days, I have done a critical analysis to understand WHY this is the case when every second person I know seems to have 1000+ followers on Twitter… Do I not get it? Am I doing something wrong here?
After some analysis, observation and introspection, I figured WHY?
In this blog, I have listed the key reasons based on my analysis. The reason I am sharing is so that YOU LEARN from my experiences and probably reach the 100 or 1000 or a million mark much sooner that I do!
1) My personal objectives from Twitter changed frequently
To be honest, when I started using Twitter I did not have any specific objective. I started using it out of curiosity and because everywhere I went people spoke of Twitter! Along the way, the objective has changed from being a learning platform, to being a knowledge sharing platform, to being a personal log, to being a platform to market and promote my blogs and writings, etc. etc. And there’s nothing wrong with these changing objectives.. But just that to see tangible results in anything in life or business – you need to have a specific objective and focus on it for some time duration to see visible results!
The key take-away is this: You need to have specific objective(s) for your Twitter usage. In fact if you have SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time Bound) objectives, your Twitter usage will be more effective. And the objective can be anything that it important to you – But you should be aware of it and make it explicit to yourself – Simply because you will eventually follow people and tweet based on your personal objectives. And your followers are usually a function of who you follow and what you tweet. And of course, there will / can be deviations here – But the point is at least 80% of your Twitter behavior has to be governed by your objectives!
2) I had a set of Twitter guidelines on whom I would follow
Twitter is a social media platform. And the focus is really on “Social” here. And while there are so many tips, suggestions and guidelines on whom you should follow.. I had my own guidelines which were:
i) The tweets should be “relevant” in my personal context and aligned to my objectives
ii) I will not follow a handle because they follow me – No “Follow Back” policy, unless again it is “personally relevant”
iii) I will be able to devote at most 30 minutes a day on Twitter. And my focus was always on how I could maximize my personal Return on Time Invested in line with my objectives – Trust me! 30 minutes is also a stretch for a working mother!
These guidelines did come at a price. But I was willing to pay this price!
The key take-away is this: Irrespective of all the tips, tricks, suggestions, advice available galore in Twitter-verse, take a minute to reflect on what your own guidelines are with respect to your SMART objectives. That is the key to your personal success on Twitter!
3) Most of my real world friends are NOT on Twitter
Again, something which surprised me – But it’s TRUE! Most of my real world friends (both personal and professional) are NOT on Twitter! And though some are, they barely use it. And the reason is that Twitter is really not an integral element for their personal commitments or professional responsibilities. And hence, the chances that I get some followers from my real life connections are abysmally small. So, I need to start building new networks and relationships in the online world. And this takes time!
The key take-away is this: It’s a BIG BIG PLUS if your real-world (personal and professional) friends are on Twitter. They usually become your initial set of followers and your network has the potential to grow from here!
4) I have not been regular in the usage of Twitter
To be honest, I have “courted” Twitter in brief spells from 2009 to the start of 2012. So there will be a day in which I post 30+ tweets (I love Twitter) and then probably 30 days with no Twitter activity (I forget Twitter) and then probably 3 days when I don’t want to see Twitter (I don’t like Twitter) and then days when I don’t have time for Twitter (Twitter is way down in my priority list).
And though I know that the quality of content that I tweet is good and will have a global audience, the point is that if I exhibit “random tweeting patterns”, chances are that others will also “randomly read my tweets”. And hence, I have lost several followers along the way. It was only this year (2012) that I have become more disciplined and focused on the usage of Twitter. So hopefully over a period of time, I will re-build a follower base!
The key take-away is this: A consistent usage pattern on Twitter helps in building and retaining a follower base on! You can use tools for this – But ensure some degree of consistency. It can be 3 tweets a day or 3 tweets a week. But over a 3 month period, figure a pattern that works for you – again aligned to your SMART objectives. And stick to it!
5) I am NOT YET an online / off-line celebrity
Real but TRUE! I am NOT YET an online / off-line celebrity (Though I hope to get there some day J). I am probably just like you in a quest to find my TRUE identity in the real and virtual world! Yes! I am a working mother, an active blogger and blog for several sites of global repute .
And yes! I’ve had my moments of online and offline glory! For e.g.: My blog 12 Most Wonderful Moments in the First Year of Motherhood was tweeted / Re-tweeted by celebrities like Alyssa Milano (Yes! The Hollywood actress and former singer) & Jure Klepic (who was represented in Forbes’ Top 10 Influencers in Social Media) and it went viral after that.
Does that make me a mini-celebrity with moments of celebrity status? Probably, Yes in select circles.
But does that make me a celebrity enough that thousands of people will follow on Twitter? Probably, NO! And hence I probably may never get as many followers as Lady Gaga or Amitabh Bachchan or Katy Perry or Shakira or Shah Rukh Khan or Rihana or Oprah Winfrey or Guy Kawasaki or Deepak Chopra. And hence, I need to work hard to build my follower base; and even harder to retain them with high quality tweets on a consistent basis!
The key take-away is this: It helps if you are an online / off-line celebrity to get your initial follower base and retain these followers. However over a period of time, you need to tweet regularly to increase your follower base and retain existing followers.
6) Twitter was not integral to my overall Strategy
Again a great personal revelation! For a long time, there was no need for me to use Twitter as I did not have a SMART objective and hence, no real motivation to use Twitter. Consequently, I did NOT spend time to use it nor did I make a conscious effort to read and understand about the Twitter developments, the new features, extensions, add-ons, tools, etc.
But once, my objectives were well defined, Twitter became an integral element to my overall strategy – And hence today I use Twitter for specific objectives.
The key take-away is this: Twitter needs to be an element in your overall strategy. And the strategy has to be aligned to your SMART objectives to achieve Twitter Success.
Ending Pearls of WISDOM:
- Have SMART Objectives for your Twitter usage
- Define your own guidelines for Twitter usage in line with your objectives
- Review your success against your objectives periodically
- Re-define your Objectives, as appropriate
Lastly, Have fun along the way! Learn! Grow! Evolve! Make new Twitter friends and connections!
And leave a legacy on Twitter that you and your grandchildren will be proud of!
On that note, Happy Tweeting!
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on The Only 3 Blogs that YOU will Really REMEMBER. While I presented the Reader’s view on what kind of blog posts a reader usually remembers, I now look at the other side of the coin. The blogger’s view….
I entered the world of blogging in March, 2010. In the past 2 years, I have read zillions of blogs on diverse topics from diverse individuals. Of course, they have all had a diverse impact of me – I have learnt from some, laughed at some, gone back wiser after reading with some, pondered a lot after reading some, some touched a deep emotional chord, some I did not understand (Either they were too complex for me OR they were written in a fashion that was beyond my literary comprehension) and some I just did not feel like reading (Either too long or too boring or just not my taste…)
Today, as I step back and analyze the different types of blogs and logically categorize them, I realized that there were ONLY 5 types of BLOGS..
1) Blogs which are about what YOU THINK
2) Blogs which are about what YOU KNOW
3) Blogs which are about what YOU DO
4) Blogs which are about what YOU FEEL
5) Combination blogs – Which combine two / more of the above 4
In this post, I will elaborate on each of these, and highlight specific posts which I was able to recall with amazing clarity and what were the key characteristics of these blogs which stood out.
1) Blogs which are about what YOU THINK
These are blogs in which you write about your thoughts. When a blogger blogs about his / her own thoughts – it is usually exclusive, unique and personal; and most importantly, it has the power to make a reader also think.
In my personal assessment, the best examples of posts that stand out are Chris Bogan’s post on 106 Excuses That Prevent You From Ever Becoming Great or my post on ProBlogger on Why You should wear the 6 Thinking Hats on your blog? or Angela Maiers post on The 12 Most Important Ways to Let People Know They Matter or Corbett Barr’s post on 5 Simple Principles for Becoming an Expert
Majority of the blogs that I have visited have at least 20% of posts published on what the blogger thinks. But in general, the categories of blogs which are primarily about the bloggers thoughts ONLY are probably those by film critics, economists, financial advisors, academicians, researchers, scientists, politicians, self-help gurus, spiritual leaders, professional services blogs – be it marketing, technology, etc.
If you blog about your thoughts, you typically are able to attract a diverse set of readers. Simply because many readers are usually interested in what fellow bloggers think. If you’re already an online or offline celebrity, then you are able to attract a global reader base as people are interested in knowing and learning about what you really think.
2) Blogs which are about what YOU KNOW
These are blogs in which you write about things you know – either by virtue of the theoretical knowledge you have or because you have had a real-life experiences which contributed to your knowledge, comprehension and realization on a specific subject
From my personal experience, the best examples of posts that stand out are Guy Kawasaki’s post on 12 Most Valuable Lessons I learnt from Steve Jobs or my own post 12 Most Mesmerizing Mantras on how to publish 321 blogs in 321 days
In terms of categories, the cookery blogs are a classic example. Take a detailed look at Alana Lowes blog or Aparna’s blog – They combine knowledge of their core skill which is cooking, and supplement it with the power of photography to showcase what they know (and of course what they do with what they know)
If you blog about what you know, then the kind of readers you typically attract will be those who have a specific interest in knowing or learning about the specific subjects you blog about – either because it has some relevance in their professional or personal context OR they are just curious to learn or know more on the subject.
3) Blogs which are about what YOU DO
These are blogs in which you primarily write about things which you do as a part of your personal or professional life.
In my personal experience, the best examples of posts in this category are the Photography blogs. Take a look at Darren Rowse photography school blog or Kristie Hines photography blog to see what I mean. Other examples are the blogs on social good and social welfare which primarily showcase the work done towards a specific cause, marketing blogs, technology blogs or even several corporate blogs, etc.
If you blog mostly about what you do, then the kind of readers you typically attract will be those who have a specific interest in knowing or learning about the specific subjects you blog about – either because it has some relevance in their professional or personal context OR they are just curious to learn or know more on the subject.
NOTE: There sometimes is a thin difference between what you know and what you do – simply because many times we tend to do things that we know primarily, but its important to understand that there is a difference
4) Blogs which are about what YOU FEEL
These are blogs in which you write about what you feel. And these are very powerful posts because they are based on your own human emotions; and hence have the potential and power to get a reader to feel…
The best example of posts which come to my mind are Jamie Wallace’s post on 36 Things I Want My Daughter to Always Remember or my own post 12 Most Wonderful Moments in the First Year of Motherhood @ or Bruce Sallan’s post on Revisiting Gratitude
In terms of specific category, the Mommy / Parenting blogs stand out. If you read them, they usually are very personal, expressive and are able to stir / evoke your emotions – They are written from the heart and touch your heart. I’m yet to come across any mommy / parenting blog that did not make me emotional. The point is that most of these blogs are about a women’s / parent’s personal journey and hence they are written from the heart. And invariably, they have the power and potential to touch your heart.
If you blog about your emotions, you typically are able to attract a reader base who has / is experiencing similar emotions – And probably want to learn about how you dealt with these emotions or sometimes just to feel that they are not alone in experiencing these emotions.
5) Combination blogs – Which combine two / more of the above 4
These are blogs in which you combine two or more of the following – What you know? What you do? What you think? And What you feel? .. Most blogs I come across are usually of this type. And they are undoubtedly my personal favorites.
In my personal assessment, the finest example I can give is Lisa Petrilli’s post on What I learnt about networking when I asked a stranger for a kidney. To be honest, I’ve read this post a zillion times – and yet every time I read it, it inspires me. And this sentiment has been echoed by almost everyone I know who read the post.
When I objectively looked at why this post had this effect, the following things stood out:
1) The title – You just can’t miss it! I know I read this post for the first time on a very busy day at work when I was working to meet a deadline I had already missed. That’s how compelling the title was! And once I read the post, I was glad that I did read it!
2) The articulation – It is so beautifully written and it is evident that Lisa has written it straight from her heart
3) It is a classic example of a combination blog in which Lisa has written about What she knew? What she thought? What she felt? And also what she did?
4) Most importantly, there was a message which Lisa conveyed – which was so positive and inspirational to any reader
Other examples of posts which I can recall are Leo Babauta’s post on 9 Essential Skills Kids Should Learn, my own posts on 12 Most Life Molding Basics You should Invest in and 12 Choices to Transform your life
If most of your posts fall in this category, you will typically be able to attract a diverse set of readers, enjoy your blogging journey and be able to keep at blogging for the long haul.
Ending with Nischala’s Pearls of Wisdom:
• Based on the type of the blog posts you choose to write, you will be able to control and influence the following
o The title of the blog posts
o The content on your blog
o The kind of readers that your blog attracts
o The larger impact of your blog in the life of your readers – both in the personal and professional context
• In all my blogging experience, I have found that the REAL and MOST PROFOUND impact of a blog is when you write a combination post including elements of What you know? What you do? What you feel? and What you think? .. And if one of those elements is What you think? OR What you feel? – The greater is the power to influence and have an impact..
• Most importantly, if you write from your heart and it touches someone else’s heart – That is the real testimonial for your success as a blogger – Because it takes complete command on your literary skills, creativity in expression, courage in articulation, control on your emotions and conclusion on your thoughts …
And this is a gift endowed on a select few…
So if you are one of those gifted few, do leverage your gift for a larger GOOD!
And if you have found a blogger who you believe has achieved this level of MASTERY; do continue to read their blogs!
Leave a comment to let me know which blog posts have had a REAL IMPACT on your thoughts and your life….
Having been in the Blogosphere for 2+ years now, I can say that I have met some amazing individuals across the globe through their blogs.
I have never spoken some of these people,
I have never met some of these people,
Some people I knew, but I got to know them better through their blogs,
And Some people I have known for ages; but I see then in a new light just because I follow their blogs…
And as of date the fact is this – I DO HAVE a Blogging Relationship with many BLOGGERS!
It’s hard to define and explain what I mean by a Blogging Relationship.. But if you’ve been in the Blogging World long enough – You will know what I mean!
With some bloggers it is just on occasional acknowledgement and appreciation of each others work,
With some bloggers it is a regular exchange of thoughts, ideas, opinions and beliefs,
And with some it is a strong bond of mutual respect and trust – Which transcends the “blogging world” and has blossomed at a more personal level..
In this post, I will list down the BEAUTY of Blogging Relationships based on my personal experiences…
1) They are completely VOLUNTARY
The BEST part of blogging relationships is that they are completely VOLUNTARY. So, you can choose with whom you want to build and nurture these relationships. You can also keep at bay the one’s that you don’t want to invest in. And also, any time you think you don’t want to further strengthen a relationship, it’s easy to action. In the real world sometimes, you are compelled to build and invest in some relationships simply because you Don’t have a CHOICE!
2) You are in COMPLETE CONTROL of the INTENSITY and CLOSENESS
This is another wonderful aspects of blogging relationships – You can completely control the INTENSITY and CLOSENESS – Based on what and how you articulate through your blogs and blog comments
3) They are BASED usually based on a genuine Interest / Respect for Someone’s THOUGHTS – “Mind Level Connections”
This is probably the most UNIQUE and SIGNIFICANT aspect of blogging relationships. In real life, most human relationships usually begin one / more of the following – An “Emotional Connect” with another person (For e.g: You are very fond of someone for reasons unknown to you) OR A “physical appeal” (For e.g.: You like someone’s personal style, smile, eyes, etc.) and you form a bond.
With blogging, the initial reason to form a relationship is usually because you have consistently liked someone’s blogs – which is really a reflection of the individual’s thoughts over a period of time. And hence, blogging relationships are usually based on genuine INTEREST / RESPECT for Someone’s THOUGHTS – So in other words, the foundation of the relationship is a “Mind Level Connection”. Just think about it! This one aspect puts BLOGGING RELATIONSHIPS in a very different league… Of course, these relationships can evolve over a period of time to the “real world” – And hence, you may actually even form an “emotional bond”. But the foundation will always be the “Mind Level Connection” – In relationships, if the foundations are strong, they don’t usually change – They can be strengthened! But are rarely re-built…
4) They NATURALLY EVOLVE with TIME
As individuals and people, we are all evolving with time – Based on our own life experiences, thoughts, interactions, environments, circumstances, decisions, opinions, etc. And hence, as you evolve – so do your blogging relationships. And the best part is you can nurture, navigate and steer these relationships based on your own personal growth and evolution
In my experience, these are the MOST BEAUTIFUL aspects of BLOGGING RELATIONSHIPS!
What’s your view? Leave a Comment to let me know
Wearing the 6 Thinking Hats on your blog helps in generating valuable, interesting and diverse content.
What are the 6 Thinking Hats?
Dr. Edward de Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats is a simple, effective parallel thinking process that helps people be more productive, focused, and mindfully involved. And once they’re learned, the tools can be applied immediately!
The premise of this concept is that the human brain thinks in a number of distinct ways which can be identified, deliberately accessed and hence used in a structured way to develop strategies for thinking about particular issues.
De Bono identifies six distinct states in which the brain can be “sensitized”. In each of these states, the brain will identify and bring into conscious thought certain aspects of issues being considered.
His 6 Thinking Hats are:
- the White Hat, which calls for information that’s known or needed: “The facts, just the facts.”
- the Yellow Hat, which symbolizes brightness and optimism; under this hat you explore the positives and probe for value and benefit
- the Black Hat, which is judgment—the devil’s advocate that spots the difficulties and dangers, and where things might go wrong; this is probably the most powerful and useful of the Hats but a problem if overused
- the Red Hat, which signifies feelings, hunches and intuition; when using this hat, you can express emotions and feelings and share fears, likes, dislikes, loves, and hates
- the Green Hat, which focuses on creativity, the possibilities, alternatives, and new ideas; it’s an opportunity to express new concepts and new perceptions
- the Blue Hat, which is used to manage the thinking process; it’s the control mechanism that ensures the Six Thinking Hats guidelines are observed.
How to wear the 6 Thinking Hats on your blog
Blogging is a testimonial of an individual’s thoughts, creativity, and literary expressions. And the quality of the content you create on your blogs is directly linked to the quality of your thoughts. Given that de Bono’s principles focus on mindful thinking, the Thinking Hats concept is highly relevant to blogging.
In my journey as a blogger for more than two years, I have published 1000+ blogs and have been featured in several forums, communities, and reputable sites. And when I look at the body of work that I have created, I realize today that I have consciously and unconsciously worn these many hats in my blogging.
The Six Thinking Hats can help you create diverse content on your blog, keep it vibrant, enjoy blogging, and create a meaningful relationship with your readers. Here’s how.
The White Hat
Ensure that some content in your blogs are based on hard data and facts. This can be information that you personally know, or links to articles, research, and literature available in published sources.
This is important because:
- You tend to read and learn about key data and facts before you can blog about them
- Sometimes the data itself can alter your and others views, comprehension, opinions, judgments, perceptions, and conclusions on a subject
- you have logged this data for your future reference, and also the reference of your readers
- you build credibility when you support your views and opinions with hard facts and data
- readers place more value on the content you generate, since your blog is not purely based on your thoughts and feelings
- the chance that you’ll be quoted or referenced in other places is significantly higher than if you never wore the White Hat.
The Yellow Hat
Ensure that some content in your blogs gives a positive, bright and optimistic view. This is important because:
- when you write positive stuff, you tend to think and feel positively
- when anyone reads your blog, they take-away a positive thought, message or emotion
- readers are more likely to share a positive post in their sphere of influence—the positivity just spreads and magnifies along the way! And it all started with your blog!
The Black Hat
Ensure that some content in your blogs highlights the difficulties, challenges, risks, dangers, and negatives of your topic. This is important because:
- this is the reality of life and it needs to be reflected in your blogs; otherwise, you may appear to be in your own dream world, far from reality
- having all positive, data-driven content does not give the real holistic picture for any topic, hence it is imperative to wear this hat.
The Red Hat
Ensure that some content in your blogs articulates your feelings, hunches, and intuitions. This is important because:
- it makes you think, introspect, and feel
- it also gets your readers to think, introspect, and feel
- it makes you connect within—to draw from your creative imagination
- it makes you acknowledge, recognize, and appreciate the power of your sixth sense.
The Green Hat
Ensure that some content in your blog is creative, innovative, novel, and radical. This could present your own views or thoughts or something you’ve read and would like to share with your readers. It’s important because:
- when you read and hear such things, they transport you to a different plane—a different world in which you are able to view the world through a very different lens; this usually gives you a radically different perspective on any topic, and on life itself
- when you immerse yourself in creative, innovative, novel and radical readings, thoughts and ideas, you tend to dream and visualize beyond the realm of the known.
The Blue Hat
Ensure that some content in your blogs is about processes. This is important because:
- it makes you clear in your own mind about processes that should be followed
- it gives you an opportunity to showcase your knowledge and understanding on subjects which you are aware of and strengthens your own personal brand.
Do you wear the 6 Thinking Hats on your blog?
You can wear the 6 Thinking Hats on your blog for many purposes:
- to choose a topic that you will blog about
- to write the title of your post
- to create the actual blog content itself
You can wear one or many hats in a single blog post. But ensure that over a period of time—a month, for example—you wear at least four of the hats in your blog. We all wear the different thinking hats at some point, so the more you wear, the more likely you’ll be to meet the varying needs of your readers.
Do you wear all six thinking hats in your blog? Tell us in the comments.
ABOUT DANNY INY
Co-Founder of Firepole Marketing | Blogger (who has guest posts everywhere on the internet that you can possibly guest post) | Author of multiple books, including Engagement from Scratch! | Marathon runner | Serial entrepreneur
Danny Iny’s success in the blogging and writing world is truly a benchmark to many bloggers across the globe. I have learnt from his posts, applied several of his suggestions, tips & tricks and look forward to reading more of his articles. And for those who know Danny personally will agree that he is one of the few people in the ONLINE WORLD who is always ready to help. For e.g.: He will reply to your mails promptly, He will genuinely make an effort to help, support, and encourage you. And I can say this with confidence as I did not know Danny Iny until just a few weeks back – But he still read my blog posts, commented on them, shared in his network, and has given me valuable suggestions for improvement.
How can the rendezvous with Danny Iny not be around blogging and writing?
Nischala: Firstly, congratulations on all the blogging and writing success so far. You seem to present everywhere I go in the online world, you are quoted in most articles that I read… You’re a celebrity! And you managed to release your book “Engagement from Scratch” which has co-authors like Guy Kawasaki (Co-Founder of Alltop and Former Chief Evangelist at Apple), Brain Clark (of CopyBlogger), etc. and you managed to get MARRIED in the middle of all this, or should I say you managed to achieve all this while getting MARRIED ;).. So how do you feel?
Danny: It feels great, thank you! I don’t see myself as a celebrity, but I’m flattered. I think it all boils down to personal productivity. And what is really important is to be aware and understand of what brings out the best productivity in you. Like in my case, I always carry a pen and pad to write down what all needs to be done – as part of my professional and personal life. And these thoughts can occur at any time of the day / night and in the midst of anything else that I may be doing. So I note it down immediately.
I then put up these sticky notes all over my desk / work place. And let me tell you that I am a little OCD when it comes to completing all the things that I need to do. So essentially, I want to action them as soon as possible, so that I have fewer things left to do.
Most fundamentally, all productivity tips and trick and tools aid you to basically answer only ONE question – “What I should do next?”. And if you are clear in your head about this, you will be productive and seem to get things moving.
My best advice to anyone who wants to get things done is just this – GET IT DONE! Spending endless amounts of time of thinking, planning and getting advice will NOT help – You have to do what you have to do! And do it now!
Nischala: That’s interesting! To be honest, not an answer I expected to hear. But then, so true and very relevant! On the same lines, anything else you do to boost your personal productivity?
Danny: The other most important attribution to my personal productivity is that I PAY ATTENTION. This is very undervalued and underrepresented by most people. To be productive, you have to pay attention to your own experience.
Let me narrate a short story that I like – A seeker travels long to meet a ZEN master and when he meets him, he asks the master to write some words of wisdom. The Master writes something and hands it over to the seeker. The only word written was ATTENTION.
The seeker is disappointed with this, and says to the master “Look I walked for 3 days to get here. And all that you say to me is one word. Please share more wisdom”
The Zen master takes the paper back, adds something and hands it back to the seeker. It now read as ATTENTION! ATTENTION! ATTENTION!
So the point is this, we can be doing stuff with varying levels of effectiveness. The minute you start paying attention, your effectiveness and efficiency increases.
Incidentally, March 2012 has been the Productivity Month at Firepole Marketing. We realized that productivity is important for individuals and businesses, hence do check out the special feature on our blog
Nischala: Thanks for sharing. I will check this. So, am guessing you apply all these for your blogging as well
Danny: Absolutely! I’ve been writing for a long time and over time, I have identified the process that works for me. And I follow this strictly – The trick is to identify and follow the right process which works for you. So in my case, I can easily write a guest post of 1000 – 1200 words in 1 hour. And how I managed to do this is that I paid attention to what brought out my best blogs and iteratively improvised this to eliminate the non-value adding activities.
Nischala: That’s good to hear. Look forward to reading more of your posts. I also see that you are making a genuine effort to help new / upcoming writers / bloggers through free webinars, consultations, newsletters, etc. – What’s the motivation to provide everything free?
Danny: See there are 2 aspects here. One is that I definitely want to help others based on my own personal experiences. Second is that giving anything for free has to be strategic and conscious decision. So, while I may be providing free services, the relationship mind-share and connections I am building here with readers and a larger global audience are going to be critical, important and very relevant in the long term.
I think a lot of people believe that there is dichotomy here– Of really doing the smart thing or the right thing. But in my view, if you have a broad enough perspective – The smart & right thing are usually the same.
Nischala: OK. Coming to smart things, I personally loved the infographic from your post – 21 Ways to Create Compelling Content when You Don’t Have a Clue. To be honest, I apply many of these in my blogs; & also it has given me a few more blog post ideas. Also, everywhere I see infographics are becoming popular. What’s your view on the future of infographics? Why do you think they are becoming popular? Do you recommend them for any blogger?
Danny: Well! It depends a lot on what you want to achieve with your infographics or for that matter even your blogs. What your goals and objectives?
My view is that Infographics are taking off because they are cool, fun to look at and interesting. Not to mention that there is a definite value in presenting information in a pictorial way. And a lot of the reason for the uptake is probably due to the growing popularity of Pinterest. Some of this interest may be hype and a passing fad .
Nischala: OK. That’s interesting.. Moving to books and writing – Congrats on your latest book Engagement from Scratch!. I’ve just started reading that book and have found it to have really valuable content – But the thought which continues to linger is that you’re giving it free… With so much of content available free online through blogs, etc. – Do you see a change in pricing model of books where books will be given away for free?
Danny: Fact of the matter is that as good as the book is, it really is a collaborative effort from all the co-authors and I am grateful to all of them to contribute here. I wrote only a fraction of it. Again like I mentioned before, while I am giving the book for free, the value here is that I am forging strong relationships with readers. And that to me is the WIN – WIN
Nischala: That’s good to hear. So again its a conscious and strategic choice. Coming to the book itself, how long did it take you to write this book, especially since you have so many co-authors?
Danny: This book from conception to the publication took about 6 months. In hindsight, I think it was too short and I probably made it a lot harder for myself than I needed to. Also, since there were so many co-authors, I had to find an arrangement that works for everyone. Since I had existing relationships with Guy kawasaki & Brian Clark, they were happy to contribute. And I am fortunate here. Once I had people like Guy and Brian on-board, it was easy to get other contributors. That point is the pitch changed completely when I sent the request to others. I mean, who would not be keen on co-authoring a book with Guy Kawasaki?
Nischala: That’s cool! Congrats again and I guess we’ll see more books from you in the future. So coming back to blogging – What’s your view on the future of blogging? Is it here to stay?
Danny: I think it is – in some capacities Yes! More importantly, I really think it depends of what is your aim for blogging?
Is blogging an effective tool for content marketing? Yes it is! It just depends on what the goals are.
The point is that companies used to have print newsletters for publishing content. This is not affordable anymore, and will not be a viable model in the future.
So, blogging is less about technology infrastructure. It is more about content publishing and hence in that context, YES! It will be BIG for a long time. Serves a good purpose and does it well…
Nischala: With so many bloggers and blogs, what’s your advice to any blogger?
Danny: I think it’s important to be clear on what you are trying to accomplish, and what your goals are. You need to have an integrated strategy to achieve your goals, and your blog is one of those channels. Most importantly, as a blogger you should focus on the quality of your relationship with your target audience. And to use the right social media channels to achieve your objective.
See in my personal case, I am not active on Google+ or Facebook. Again, Twitter in my view is a broadcasting channel and I find that you probably have the shallowest connections on Twitter. And to be honest, we at Firepole Marketing are doing just fine by focusing our efforts just on our blogs and on e-mail. The point is that the level of intensity is critical. We are interested in the more engaged user, and we’ve found that e-mail is the best way for us to do that.
Nischala: OK. Anything else that you’d like to share as a part of this Rendezvous on what has worked at Firepole Marketing with respect to your Social Media strategy?
Danny: I think the important take-away there is no single answer for what works for every business. Social Media is a complex and diverse area. And rather than looking for prescriptive type of information on what you should and should not do, I think what is key is to test the waters. What I call “Hypothesis testing” in which we set an objective for ourselves and go about working on it. At the end, we either prove or disprove the hypothesis… Take the learnings, and move on! So it is important to be open, experiment, learn, pay attention, grow and enjoy along the way!
Nischala: Thanks Danny for this rendezvous. I have learnt from this rendezvous and hope that readers would echo the sentiment.
Danny: My pleasure! Have a great day!!
How did you like this Rendezvous? Leave a comment to let us know…
I am amazed at the number and types of brokers in the world – ranging from stock brokers, real estate brokers, personal service brokers, business brokers, commodity brokers, investment brokers, marriage brokers, auto brokers, insurance broker, information broker, joint venture broker, office broker, etc. etc.
According to Wikipedia, a broker is a party that arranges transactions between a buyer and a seller, and gets a commission when the deal is executed. The prime responsibility of a broker is to bring sellers and buyers together. Therefore, a broker is the third-person facilitator between a buyer and a seller. [ Src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broker]
A lot of individuals and enterprises make a livelihood by offering primarily brokerage services. It is probably a lucrative proposition, but definitely not without its share of risks. Here are some of my observations and insights on the important dimensions of any broker:
1. Understanding of the market / industry is key
Brokers facilitate the creation of a marketplace by connecting buyers and sellers. Hence, it is extremely important for brokers to understand the market dynamics, have a perspective of future trends, and recognize the requirements, preferences, strengths and weaknesses of both buyers and sellers. If this understanding is well-founded and well-grounded, the potential to prosper as a broker is significantly high.
2. Networking is vital
Personal and professional networking is vital for new business acquisition and growth. Networking with both suppliers and consumers is vital for a broker. What is essential is to identify the right set of connections that need to be made, to establish and continuously nurture these connections. Existing professional or personal relationships is probably one of the most important reasons for a buyer or seller to engage with a specific broker for potential business propositions.
3. Limited “capital” investments are required
In general, a broker has to make limited capital investments. The key investments are usually in terms of time and of course, basic capital and basic infrastructure. The capital and infrastructure investments are typically smaller than those made by a buyer or seller.
4. Clearly stated goals are imperative
It is important for a broker to have self-defined precise and measureable goals, primarily because the business model of a broker is significantly dependent on both buyers and sellers and hence there are many variables which will be outside the brokers purview of control. Therefore, it is all the more essential to have clearly stated goals and be cognizant of what is within and outside your own locus of control. Ideally, you should focus time and energy only on aspects which are within your control.
5. Clarity on values is key
Part of the job description of being a broker involves interactions with all types of individuals and enterprises. A broker has to deal with a diverse set of expectations, emotions, expressions and experiences – many of these will mandate the broker to introspect and act based on their inherent core value system.
It is necessary to be clear in your head and heart about your values, and to demonstrate this in action. This may require you to make some tough decisions along the way, and also probably lose some opportunities, but in the long run these decisions will strengthen your brand and ensure that you engage with the right set of buyer and sellers.
6. Identification of priorities
Another important aspect of a broker is to identify and list business priorities in line with the identified goals. Given that a broker plays the role of an interface between buyers and sellers, it is imperative to be clear on your top 3 priorities – on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. This will help you to apportion your time in line with your stated goals.
7. Understanding the risks
Risks are inherent in the brokerage world – ranging from financial risks to business risks to operational risks, cost overrun, credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk, market risk, legal risk, reputation risk, systemic risk, uncertainty, personal risk, etc.
Based on the kind of brokerage services being offered, it is important to understand the top risks in your specific context. Also, do take calculated risks. Of course, you will win in some cases and lose in others – but all of this will enrich your experience as a broker.
8. Plan and manage risks
Once you have an understanding of the risks in your context, it is vital to prioritize, plan and manage risks.
9. Clear understanding of broker’s position in the industry value chain
Another very important aspect of being a broker is an appreciation of the role and position of the broker in the end-to-end industry value chain. For example – the role, importance and value of an insurance broker is very different from a marriage broker.
10. Invest in your brand
A lot of times, buyers or sellers prefer a specific broker simply because of the brand image. The brand image is really dependent on whether you are an independent broker or a brokerage firm and is based on many different variables. If you intend to be a broker, it is important you make investments in building and enhancing your brand image. After all, branding is about managing perceptions.
11. Learn to negotiate
Negotiation skills are key to survive and succeed as a broker. One can learn how to negotiate through reading, experience, observation, practice, common sense and by making mistakes. Invest in strengthening negotiation skills if you plan on a career as a broker.
12. Exit when your time is up
There comes a time in the life cycle of a broker when it is prudent to quit being a broker and walk away from the deal. And at such a time (and it isn’t always an easy time to spot), just exit gracefully.
These are my observations on what it takes to be a good broker. If you are a broker, what additional items might you add to this list? Or if you’ve used a broker, what experiences have you had? Did you feel that they met or understood these aspects of being a successful broker?
Originally published @ http://12most.com/2012/01/11/12-vital-facets-broker/