Author Archives: Nischala

Blogging for Business / Run a corporate blog? – Here are a list of topics for 1 year (for FREE!)

Are you blogging for your business / run a corporate blog to gain mind-share, market-share or profit-share?

And you don’t know what to blog about?

If I had to create a Blogging FAQ( Frequently Asked Questions) on what I get asked most of the time, the top questions would be
1) Why blog?
2) What to blog about?

If I had to answer Why should a business / corporate blog? – The answers are manifold :

(i) To share their views / voice

(ii) To engage / nurture your industry ecosystem by connecting with customers,partners, suppliers, analysts, solution providers, etc.

(iii) To learn yourself and stay updated with market / industry trends

(iv) To generate leads and

(v) To create a brand!

The next question is What to blog about?. In this post, I’m listing blog post ideas for a business blog which can last you for 1 year – if you publish at least 1 post a week.. The key to success is consistency over a long period.For that, focus, plan and a commitment to invest in your blog is most important.

I usually recommend a healthy mix of different content formats on a corporate blog – including blogs, pictures, infographics, video content, etc.

So choose a topic from the list below, decide on the format, and publish publish publish away :)

1) Why did your business / corporate start? What was the idea and how it came to be?

2) The initial phase – Challenges and Lessons. What you learned from setting up your business?

3) The founding team – Who they were and How they came to be? A fun or lesser known facts about the team. It always makes an interesting read if a reader knows a “personal / human” side to you.

4) A timeline which highlights key dates / milestones since inception.

5) What are your offerings (services / products)?

6) Recent innovations in your business / which affect your business – This could be done once in 3 months, so you can have at least 4 posts / year

7) What is unique about your offerings?

8) What difference will your offering make to a customer?

11) An industry timeline – Infographic (How the industry came to be?)

12) Less known facts about your business / industry – – With interesting trivia, facts and figures (well researched and data accuracy is important)

13) Industry survey / trends – Infographic (What all the latest market surveys are saying – for your industry as a whole).

14) Video from your CEO on any topic he is passionate about

15) A blog post on the current trending topic (technology / business / process) and your view on it – Even you do this once in 2 months, you’ll have 6 posts for a year

16) A success story for your business | Who was the client? What was the problem? How you solved it? This could be done at least 2 times / year

17) Lessons learned from a not-so-successful customer project | What was the problem? What did you learn? This could be done at least 2 times / year

18) A Must-Read monthly round-up of 8 – 10 interesting industry articles, news, views, opinions, perspectives – from your customer, partners, competitors | as an online curated resource which anyone can refer to (With 1 / month, this adds up to 12 posts for the year)

19) A Must-Read monthly round-up of 8 – 10 interesting articles, news, views, opinions, perspectives – on life hacks, productivity, getting better at work, general inspiration | as an online curated resource which anyone can refer to (With 1 / month, this adds up to 12 posts for the year)

20) Interviews with Experts – What your industry experts are saying about the future? Even if you do 1 / quarter, you will have 4 posts in a year

21) Choose any topic that is currently trending and get the 3 or more alternate views on the subject. for e.g.: if the topic you are currently interested in is around next generation analytics solutions, write a post with the views of a customer, technology provider, product vendor and analyst. Just bringing together voice from different perspectives can make a truly unique and compelling read

22) A note of CSR initiatives (Corporate Social Responsibility) and what your company is doing towards specific causes

23) 10 reasons why anyone should join your company

24) A post on Marketing – Its relevance and importance for your business

25)  A post on Digital – Its relevance and importance for your business

26)  A post on Social – Its relevance and importance for your business

27) A post on Big Data – Its relevance and importance for your business

28) A post on Analytics – Its relevance and importance for your business

29)  A post on Cloud – Its relevance and importance for your business

30) Your company’s view on “The Next Big Thing that can change the world”

31) Your company’s view on Innovation

32) Your company’s view on changing role of Leadership

33) 10 Must-Read books – for your business / industry, and Why?

34) Open Letter to anyone joining your company

35) 5 – 10 Blogs you suggest anyone to follow to stay updated / relevant in your business / industry

36) 10 – 20 Twitter thinkers / influencers you recommend others to follow and Why?

NOTE: Some of the above may already be part of most company websites, but a blog post is usually more informal and can be written by the CEO / founder/ core team in an anectodal / story-telling fashion.

 

Suggested Readings

Understanding the Hype Cycle of a Blog

Why you should were the 6 Thinking Hats on your blog

Focus on Diversity on your blog

Why will a reader remember your blog?

Importance of an editorial calendar

Women at Work | Round-up of articles to read today

The regular readers of this blog know that I’ve started a new section on this blog around the topic of Women at work / working women.

Here’s the thing | Being a working woman, I regularly read on this subject – simply because it enable and equips me to appreciate and understand multi-dimensional issues, and possible solutions. I can safely say that there is a lot of literature on this subject, and a lot lot lot more is required. Many times when I read something, I wish someone had shared it with me much earlier. The thing about reading is that “timing sometimes makes all the difference“. So on this blog, I’ll be  periodically sharing a round-up of articles for your reading – hoping that the timing is right – for both you and me

I’ll structure them into 3 sections

Section 1 – Worth a Read | News, Views, Opinions and Perspectives related to women at work

In work reviews, women are criticized for personality rather than performance First she studies, then she gets a job, then she performs. And lastly, you are criticized for your personality! How much better can it get. An interesting article which highlights the differences between how men and women are appraised

Women company directors: can quotas change the status quo? A Forbes article on Quotas and gender diversity language in corporate governance codes do result in a higher percentages of women directors

Gender Inequality’s Latest Victim: Flex-Time Requests Very interesting read since it highlights how flex-time requests are viewed for men and women, and how a woman’s career is impacted, even though flex-time is her crying need today.
 

Section 2 – Worth a Share | Resources to enable, empower and equip women in your work and beyond

Book – Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology BY Vivek Wadhwa and Farai Chideya is the voice of hundreds of great women and aims to motivate and inspire thousands more to join the innovation economy–and better the world.

Pink Petro initiative Very interesting initiative as the 1st online social media platform built by the energy sector for “women, girls and diversity advocates

Springboard An ecosystem where influencers, investors, and innovators meet to build great women-led businesses. Their 562 women-led companies have raised $6.5 billion, including 11 IPOs.

 

Section 3 – Worth a Thought | Writings which compel you to think, reflect and introspect

Why do you think women should work? What are the top 10 / 20 / 30 reasons? Here’s an answer

Are you a mom looking for a business idea? Here is a fantastic list of 25 ideas

 Why is it so hard for working women in India? A perspective on multi-dimensional issues

Quitting your job to find your passion?An honest encounter of a working woman, the considerations / deliberations when you quit after a decade of work life

 

NOTE: If you think this post could enable / equip / empower another woman as she navigates her path at work and in life, please share. Thanks for reading me!

Enjoy your weekend!

 

 

Launching “Women at Work” | A new section on this blog…

If you’ve ever read or followed my blogs, you’ll know that Women at Work is a topic very close to my heart.

Why? Because I’m a woman, I work and I’d love to see more women at work finding their spot under the sun.

I dream of a tomorrow where

  1. The workforce includes at least 50% women by default
  2. Women are given “right, fair and equal” opportunities, exposure, experiences and environment to blossom and reach their true potential
  3. Globally, there is at least 30% representation of women in business, politics, policy, education, reforms and everywhere where it counts
  4. She is not “discriminated” against in any way in any phase of life (especially for her gender, physical appearance, social standing, or choices of life)
  5. At work, she is compensated and progressed for her knowledge, skills, competence, performance and results
  6. She never experiences abuse of any kind at the workplace – physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, financial abuse or social abuse
  7. She can “truly” exercise her choices – with respect to education, choice of career and employment, choice of her life partner and the decision to be a mother ; and also have a satisfying career on her terms
  8. She does not face the “glass ceiling” (which exists even today for women) as a part of her professional career
  9. She has “true” freedom and control over her personal finances
  10. She believes that she can aim for the stars, and reach the sky – if she sets her mind on it
  11. The law of the land / policies / processes will protect her for her rights and interests; and not tilt in favor of power, position and money

Ever since I started blogging, I’ve written on various issues / subjects related to women at the workplace on my own blogs and in my columns on n WomensWeb and SheroesIndia.

I’m also at a point in my professional career where (young) women [There! I said it! - I'm now part of the older generation :) ] come to me for advice, suggestions and general career guidance – from fundamental questions to “Should I work?” to more complex questions around “Is entrepreneurship right for me?

I generously share my perspective with the hope that it enables, empowers and equips them to make the right choices and decisions, and try to play a small part in “rightly” shaping their career trajectory

Here are a few facts I learned along the way

(1) Women at the workplace – Issues exist, and are complex – Every one of us is unique, including the woman. So there is no “universal set of problems / questions” and no “One size fits all” solution / answers. A lot depends on the women, the kind of person she is, her aspirations, her upbringing, her mental conditioning, her supporting ecosystem, her education, the kind of career choices she has made and the company she is currently employed with.

(2) It is tough for working women – in India and all over the world. So firstly, kudos to all those women who brave it out there every single day by showing up to work, and working through the day! Things will only get better from here is what I believe.

(3) Things are changing and evolving for the better; but a long way to go – It is a crucial point in time for women at the workplace. Many women are now educated, confident and aspiring to make a mark at work, but multi dimensional issues exist, and impede the career progress and growth at various points in her career path. From corporate policy, to power equations (at home and work), to legacy (of systems, people, processes, culture) and how things have always been, to general public safety, to workplace dynamics, to the era / society we are living in.. It is a complex complex complex equation.

(4) Conversations make all the difference – I’ve been through lots of good, bad and ugly experiences as a part of my professional career. Let’s face it – by law of averages, that it is how anyone’s career will be. For a long time, I stayed silent. I did not share or speak about my issues until I realized that it was the biggest disservice I was doing to myself, and the cause of women at the work place. One conversation may / may not change things. But it is a start. It can get people thinking. It can show you a new perspective to an old problem. It can open doors / possibilities which you never knew existed. And if it does not really help you directly, it will help hundreds on women somewhere down the road. And trust me, that one conversation is worth your time and their time. So speak up!

(5) Where you reside influences your decisions and impacts your choices more than you realize – As a working woman, you can’t ignore the influence of your immediate living environment on the challenges you face, the choices and decisions you make.  Every country has its own legacy, history, evolution, growth story, political scenario, policies, laws, educational framework, economic growth, culture, “ways of living” and employment guidelines which influence the mind-set of the “community at large”; and this creates unique set of country-specific-issues when it comes to the topic of “Working women and the issues they face”. India is no exception.

Given that its a subject so dear to me, I’m starting a new space on this blog called Women At Work in which I aim to share observations, insights, lessons, perspective, opinions, resources and stories of / for / by women at work. This space aims to be a hub of information for women / working women / working mothers on things which can help you be productive on a daily basis, bring you a smile on a gloomy day, share information on resources that can keep you going through your career journey or which can help you navigate through office politics and power.

You’re worth it
You deserve it
You’re meant to fly..
Will you?

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
And I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
BY Robert Frost

As I sign off,  I hope you find your space and spot – under the sun, at the workplace and at home.

What is the ROI of an MBA?

The dilemma is “To do an MBA or not”.. What better way to find an answer than by looking at this good infographic on ROI (Return of Investment) of an MBA course Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment to let me know

Src:

http://onlinemba.unc.edu/mba-at-unc-blog/mba-roi/

http://www.inc.com/uploaded_files/inlineimage/MBAROI_28564.png

Online, Digital, Social – 9 Insights from the lens of a Marketer

A few months ago, I was in conversation with the CEO of a multi-billion$ global consumer goods company. One of the topics of discussion was around online, digital and social strategies that the enterprise was embarking on (yes! They are  some-what “old school” in operations even in 2014 and as I learned there are so many companies who are NOT ONLINE, NOT adopting DIGITAL, and NOT really SOCIAL – and many are successful with impressive growth targets), and the conversation got exceptionally interesting when we spoke about the below questions:

  • Is there a boundary between online, digital and social strategies?
  • Does business strategy drive online marketing strategy?
  • Does digital drive social?
  • Does social drive digital?

The questions stayed with me..

A few days later, I was in discussion with another entrepreneur friend who runs a successful manufacturing unit which has a diversified business portfolio of apparel manufacturing and agricultural machinery. He was planning to launch a social campaign and again had some basic questions

  • Is online marketing necessary?
  • Digital / Social marketing – What first and What second? Why?

And then a few days back I had the opportunity to connect with a high-end fashion designer who again asked me the same question?

  • Should I do social? Which social channels?
  • Should I have a digital marketing strategy?

All led to long long long conversations and some interesting insights. Before I get into my views, I did some online research on the basic definitions.. Sharing snippets I found relevant:

Online Marketing (or Internet Marketing) refers to a set of powerful tools and methodologies used for promoting products and services through the Internet. Online marketing includes a wider range of marketing elements than traditional business marketing due to the extra channels and marketing mechanisms available on the Internet.

Digital Marketing refers to any marketing delivered via an online platform or involving an interactive response channel including mobile. Digital marketing is: Building awareness and promoting a brand or product using all available digital channels

Social Media is the social interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.

Without much ado, let me now share my key insights from the lens of a marketer

(1) Business Strategy should drive the Marketing Strategy; and Marketing insights can drive Business Strategy For e.g: If your business strategy is to provide a portfolio of products and services to your customers, your marketing strategy should be aligned accordingly. And if your marketing insights indicate that your customers want you to add a new service, then your business strategy should be open to the consideration

(2) Marketing initiatives should ALWAYS be based on marketing objectives

(3) Online, Digital and Social Media Marketing are marketing channels and a marketing strategy. The boundaries blur. Below is a conceptual view

Online Digital Social

Online Marketing examples include web-sites, blogs, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), online ads, e-mail marketing, online Press Release (PR)

Social Media Marketing examples include leveraging social media platforms like Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn for your marketing and promotional activities

Offline Marketing examples include print ads, Press Release, Direct Mail, Telemarketing, etc.

Real-world Social Marketing refers to marketing through ‘real-world’ social interactions and conversations at events, word-of-mouth publicity, etc.

(4) It is (near) impossible to show quantitative ROI (Return on Investment) for every marketing initiative – specially for Internet Marketing initiatives. In marketing parlance, the qualitative ROI can be subtle, long-term and not directly attributable. Below is an good way to showcase ROI

ROI

[Src: http://www.infographicsshowcase.com/roi-on-internet-marketing-services-infographic/ ]

(5)  “No Money Marketing” is often misunderstood. It is NOT about ZERO $ marketing spend, but optimally leveraging marketing channels coupled with creative marketing strategies to have maximum customer reach and impact in line with marketing objectives

(6) Social and Digital – What comes first? : It depends on your business, and your understanding of social and digital. I know of companies whose digital strategy drove their social media marketing strategies, and I know of companies whose social strategy drove their digital initiatives. Suffice to say, the digital world and social world are closely coupled and if you do one, you (or / and the ecosystem you’re a part of – like partners, customers, community, suppliers) also make inroads into the other. In most cases, Social Media Marketing is a sub-set of Digital Marketing.

(7) The choice of which social channels to use depends completely on your social media objectives and where your customers are. Don’t do Social because everyone is doing social and because it is the new buzzword. Do it because you believe it will add value to your business and marketing

(8) It is better not to start social media initiatives if you don’t have a long term plan, management commitment and the “right brains” behind your social initiatives. Too many companies start and stop too soon, and that impacts your brand negatively

(9) Digital and Social are evolving and will continue to evolve. Everyone is learning, so be open to learning, failing and course-corrections. That is the only way to succeed.

What do you think? Leave a comment to let me know…

How to fuel your creativity? – Here are 20 ways..

Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity” – Charles Mingus

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while” – Steve Jobs

Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people” – Leo Burnett

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will” – George Bernard Shaw

The “creative genius” is in different states for each of us
For some it is perpetually active :)
For some it is seldom active
For some it is dormant
And for some it is asleep :(

In this post I am listing 20 easy ways to fuel / spark / re-kindle your creativity. I have personally tried all of these and they work!

  1. Do nothing for 30 minutes a day. Just lie / laze around and let your thoughts flow. You will be surprised at the impact this has over a 1 week period!
  2. Dream – Yes! Day-dream :). There is something about dreaming which sparks better creativity
  3. Take a walk “ALONE”
  4. Disconnect for 15 minutes with the electronic world (including mobiles, TV, internet, Google, Twitter, Facebook) – Refreshingly liberating and aids significantly in “creativity”
  5. Listen to music
  6. Talk to someone you love (parents, friends, siblings, children, spouse)
  7. Look at the sky for 10 minutes (especially early morning or evening) – I don’t know why! But this always helps
  8. If you’re a right handed person, use you left hand for 15 minutes a day. In 1 week, you will experience the difference
  9. Indulge in physical exercise – Run, Dance, play a game, do whatever to get your heart pumping and hormones flowing!
  10. Meditate
  11. Read something you’d never usually read
  12. Watch a program you’d never usually watch
  13. Learn something new (For e.g.: Cooking, A new language, Art, Ikebana, Puppet making, make-up, yoga, photography, etc.)
  14. Laugh – Indulge in anything which makes you smile
  15. Sleep – Sleep is the best medicine for so many things, and can solve many a problem (no matter how complex or complicated)
  16. Think about the HAPPIEST moment(s) of your life – There’s something about a good memory which sometimes sparks the best creativity
  17. Look at old photographs
  18. Re-live the “good old days” in any way you can 
  19. Take a shower
  20. Your turn. And be CREATIVE :)

Have you tried any of these? Did they work for you.. Leave a comment to let me know

My (love) affair with blogging – How it came to be?

Regular readers of my blog know that I’ve been blogging for years now (4+ to be precise). I have chronicled my blogging journey in many of my posts to share my lessons and insights.

It was indeed an honor and a pleasure when Bhakthi Bapat Mathew requested me to give an interview on the chronicles of my blogging journey. For those who don’t know, Bhakti is a freelance journalist based in Bangalore, India. Bhakti has been writing for Indian and international publications since 2006.Her byline has appeared in CNN Travel, South China Morning PostWomen’s e-News (USA), The National (UAE), Friday Magazine (Gulf News), The Women’s International Perspective (The WIP, USA), Business Standard, Good Housekeeping, Mint, The Hindu, Deccan Herald, Spice Route, New Indian Express, and more.

She wanted to feature me in a special series she is doing on her blog. Titled. “How they did it?” she aims to bring to the fore-front stories of successful authors, journalists or bloggers. Each interview will delve into how that writer overcame the usual challenges to make a mark in the space. Past interviews feature Yashodhara Lal, Rasana Atreya and Advaita Kala . How could I say No?

THE interview below. Text is bold is the questions Bhakthi asked and my responses are below. Happy reading

By when did the blog pick up big readership? Any memories you remember from those early days of your blogging success.

Firstly, thank you for featuring me on your blog. I think “How they did it” is a great initiative that you’ve started, and am sure that it will help a lot of aspiring / newbie and even veteran  writers / bloggers. After all, we all learn from each other’s stories, right?

Coming to my blog, I think it was after 1-2 years of blogging on my own blogs, and a lot of guest posts in many global forums. Interestingly for me, the initial thrust came from global readership because my guest posts were published in forums like Problogger, ChangeBlog, etc. It was only much later that I became active in the Indian blog-o-sphere.

There are so many memorable moments mostly because they were completely unexpected and took me by surprise, and of course, made me happy. Top among them are:

  • Alyssa Milano (Yes! The American actress, producer and singer) shared my post on 12 Most Wonderful moments in the first year of Motherhood. This was in 2011, and about a year after I started blogging. The post went viral in a few minutes after she tweeted it. It was like with every blink of my eye the numbers just shot up :) I almost felt like a mini-celebrity!

  • My guest posts being accepted by Problogger. For those who don’t know, Problogger was started by Darren Rowse who was among the first bloggers globally to make money through his blog. It is a dream for bloggers around the world to get published here, and it can take months to fit in to their blogging schedule. It is one of those indications that “You have arrived as a blogger” :)

  • There have been many comments and shares on my posts from many globally respected leaders, CXO’s and influential / popular individuals / communities from corporate / business, politics, education, social media, marketing, movies, etc. For example, my posts were shared by the likes of Guy Kawasaki (former chief evangelist of Apple; co-founder of Alltop.com and currently Chief Evangelist at Canva), Angela Maiers (a globally respected educator and TED Speaker), etc. Also, my posts have been quoted in a number of forums.

When did you first start the blog…what was your main motivation in starting it?

In 2010, I thought to myself Maybe I should create a blog of my own too. But I had so many questions “What will I write about? Who will read them? Will anyone comment?” And most importantly, I did not know how / how much I will be able to blog. Anyway, I started a blog and published my first blog post as a private post. I felt I was not ready to share it with the world. It’s like when you start anything new, you have more questions than answers and are simply not sure about how things will work out. But over time, I began posting regularly. A few months later, I shared my posts with a few trusted friends and family and received positive and encouraging feedback. So one fine day in 2010, I decided to let my blogs go public and since then, there has been no looking back. In terms of motivation, there are a number of reasons:

  • One, I wanted an “online space” as a canvas for my words. Words which stem from dreams, thoughts, observations, analysis, learning’s, conversations, view-points, outlook, views, emotions, perspectives, achievements, mistakes, failures, lessons learnt, comprehensions, experiences and conclusions.
  • Two, the initial phases of motherhood are taxing physically, emotionally enriching / draining at the same time and lonely (socially) since you hardly have any time for social interactions. In that phase, I needed something intellectual stimulating and some social connections to keep me going through the long dark nights from the confines of my home and I found that in the world of blogs.
  • Three, When I became a mother, I used to ponder and introspect a lot on “deeper existential questions” on life and legacy. I’ve always believed words and writing can be a significant part of anyone’s personal legacy, and I hope mine will :) In fact two of my most popular posts are “What is your personal legacy?” and “What is your social media legacy?”. Be sure to read it :)
  • Lastly, To give back. I believe that many times it is “words” that make all the difference in life. So if my writings can make a positive difference in someone’s life – either by enabling them to learn, making them think, help them through a rough phase of life or just bringing some sunshine in their life, I’m good.

Incidentally, my tryst with blogging started at about the same time as my journey as a mother and so both are special to me.

My blogs include:

  • VERVE : The Quintessence of my Life – my personal blog and covers a broad range of topics around Life, Creativity, Parenting, Relationships, Human Experiences, Emotions, Lessons and Wisdom of life.
  • Nischala’s Space, Thoughts and Expressions – my professional blog in which I write about topics of professional interest like Social Media, Marketing, Leadership, Innovation and Strategy.
  • Worth a Read – – a compilation of interesting, touching, humorous write-ups that I come across — via mail, on the net or a random read… And believe it’s worth saving and worth reading again.

In the beginning, how often did you post, and later too, when it got popular?

Initially, I used to publish when I’d finish writing a post. So there would be phases when there would be five posts published on my blog in one day and many days when there would be no activity on my blogs.

It took a while to understand the my own process / method of blogging. Some days, I have 30 blog post ideas and some days I can write 10K words and on some days I’ve even written up to 20 blog posts!  I’d also done a post on this — The Biorythmic cycles of a blogger.

I think it takes a while to find the rhythm in the madness. Today, I am more structured and have a well-planned editorial calendar. I run 3 active blogs and target 1 post per week on each of the blogs. I also do at least 3 guest posts per month. So in one month, I have around 10-15 posts which go live :). I write almost every single day and have done it regularly for the past 4 years. I don’t publish everyday though!

According to you, what helped make the blog a success?

  • Choice of blog topics that have a large appeal: So I have a 10 year old girl who reads my blogs, and a 70 year old grandpa who says he enjoys my blogs.
  • Simple words, language and articulation: which make my writings unique and easy to read / comprehend, I’m told.
  • Posting regularly: This really comes from the love of writing, focus, planning and self-discipline.
  • Guest posts.
  • Focused blog marketing and promotion in online / social channels and communities.
  • Social networks and advocates who share my content generously.

One of the most challenging things for a new blogger is getting readers and comments. What can newbie bloggers do to get more readers?

I think that is the wrong question to ask or start with. The more important question is “Why will anyone read  your blog on Day 1? Or Day 2 or .. Day N” and that should drive your blogging efforts! And more specifically how many blogs have you read and how many comments have you left on other blogs?”.

In specific, here are the DO’s that have worked for me:

  • Have a specific niche for 70 – 80% of your posts
  • Have an authentic voice. Be real
  • Get to know your reader – Who is he / she? What do they want to read about?
  • Continuously provide compelling content
  • Religiously promote the blogs across social media

Here are the DONT’s

  • Pass off someone else’s content as your own. It has happened to me so many times, and trust me as a blogger, I DO NOT appreciate it.
  • Talk only about yourself and your personal life. No one wants to read beyond a point unless it is relevant or you are a celebrity already
  • Share negative / abusive / sensitive / incorrect information / opinions

Building blog traffic takes time (if you are not already a real-life celebrity). There is no overnight glory and success in blogging. One step at a time. Also the “Law of Karma” works well in blogs. I call it the “Blogging karma” – You get what you give – in thoughts, words, comments and shares :)

If you are a newbie “individual” blogger, I personally think that you’re starting late, so now you have to differentiate yourself to even find a place in the blogging world.

Did your blog help you professionally? If so, how?

  • More visibility at the workplace – I have a second identity now as a blogger :)
  • More visibility in the industry (IT) / across specific functional areas like Marketing, Social Media, Leadership, HR, etc.
  • CXO level connects – I have many CXO’s who read / comment / share my blogs. They know me on a first name basis
  • Professional networking – I’ve build so many wonderful online connections with people who inspire, assist and enable. Since they know me already, it is easy to connect and converse on (m)any issues
  • Re-connect with academia – As you know, I’m an IIMB alumni and a lot of my IIMB professors also read my blogs and share in their networks.

I know so many people and so many people know me because of my blogs :)

What, according to you, is the importance/role of offline networking (attending blog meets, lit events etc.) in growing a blog? Are there any examples of your own blog where offline networking helped?

I don’t know since I’ve never attended any blogging event till date. From what I’ve read / seen, it can boost your readership and strengthen the power of networks and relationships. So people share / like / comment / recommend you – It is like a peer-to-peer ecosystem.

Your thoughts on monetizing a blog through google adwords etc.?

No comments since I’ve not done it

What role, according to you, does SEO play in making a blog successful?

It plays a significant role. But to be honest, I don’t do any SEO for my personal blogs. I know bloggers for whom SEO made all the difference. To each his / her own.

Would be great if you could share details or examples with links showing just how successful the blog is…or stats, like at its peak, how many comments per post, views per day etc.

This number game is bad you know – in the corporate context, in Bollywood, in cricket, in politics or whatever! But I know that the bottom-line is data is accounted and hence valued more.

To give you an insight, one of my most popular posts  “33 Life Lessons No School really taught me” was shared 10K+ times in social media in about 3 days that it went live.

Personally, I’ve stopped tracking all this. However, I like to observe overall trends periodically because they give you insights into what your readers want to read. Like another most popular post on my blog has been around extra-marital affairs. I was surprised, but looks like it is an issue which people are keen to read about!

What’s your current professional status…

@ Status 1: Head of Marketing and Thought Leadership for a specialized theme in one of India’s largest IT service provider

@ Status 2: Mother, Wife, Daughter (in-law), Sister (in-law), Aunt…. and everything that it entails :)

@ Status 3: In between the two, I blog / write :)

For more tips  on blogging, visit this post by Nischala!

What is your view? Leave a comment to let me know….

Originally published here

Why women should work? – Here are 30 good reasons

If you thought “(S)he loves me /loves me not” was one of the most difficult questions to answer in life, you probably got it right and wrong.

Why? Because there’s another question which is equally (if not more difficult) to answer, i.e. “Should she work or not? – especially if she is married / mother”.

This topic is much discussed and debated in almost every circle I know. No matter his / her age, almost everyone I know has a strong view, opinion and perspective on the issue – from my neighbor’s grandfather to my mother to my mother-in-law to my friends to my colleagues to my daughter to the family friends dog to the long distance uncle / aunty who saw me once as a baby…all and sundry. But of course! We live in an era where we all have freedom of thought and speech, and so literature and stories galore!
Here’s the thing…
I know what it takes for most women to answer that question and make peace with her answer.
I know what it takes for most women to share her answer with the world, and deal with all that her response entails
I know what it takes for most women to action her answer on a daily basis, and deal with all comes her way

Why?
Because I’ve been there, and done that! And like with everything else in life – It has its good, bad and ugly.
And yet, anyone who listens to my voice knows that I am a strong advocate of #WomenAtWork.

A lot of times I’m asked and ask myself “Why women should work?”

Well, because

She wants to work

She loves to work

She believes in her work

Interestingly, above responses don’t get enough merit… So here’s my response on 30 more reasons

1) You earn. Financial independence and freedom can be one of the most important variables that influence the quality and quantity of a woman’s life. It can also be one of the most liberating aspects for a decent quality life and respect.

2) You learn. Learning is one of the foundational pillar to personal and professional growth and life, and sky (rather your view of the sky) is the limit to what you can learn when you work.

3) You have an identity of your own – independent of your personal relationships and associations. There’s no telling how important it is in your own self-confidence and self-worth

4) You are a better employer as almost all working women hire more help at home / on the domestic front – in terms of home-maintenance services, like driving / cooking / cleaning / ironing, etc. You provide an opportunity for more women to work by being a working woman yourself and make a significant contribution to improve the life of all your employees
5) You are a part of diverse life experiences and that enriches your own understanding of yourself, people, the world and life

6) You connect and interact with people from all walks of life / diverse backgrounds and that opens your mind, views, opinions and perspectives

7) Your general knowledge improves – just by being part of a world out of the 4-walls you observe, listen can comprehend a lot lot more

8) You appreciate the differences and nuances of the world within the 4-walls and outside the 4-walls. Trust me, this bursts your bubbles in terms of what it takes to be a working woman!

9) You understand human behavior and how the real-world really operates

10) You get to see how fair / unfair life is beyond the 4-walls – It is Kalyug for good reasons. And that changes the way you view your own life and the way you live your life

11) Your own self-esteem increases significantly – you just feel so much surer of yourself

12) Your family views you in a new light – many times, this translates into more respect and value they associate with you

13) You are better enabled, equipped and empowered to make decisions – simply because you know that you have a choice

14) You can “buy” things for yourself – yes! You’re a good prospect for (m)any businesses. You pump money into the economy and boost money circulation

15) You can be a role model to someone – I know many of my role models are everyday working women who balance it all every single day

16) You learn a lot of key “life skills”. Top among them are time management, communication, negotiation, saying NO

17) You tend to let-go of a lot of excess baggage – many times it is simply because you don’t have time to delve into the past or worry about the future

18) You can inspire someone somewhere – just by being a live example of “It is possible, you can do it”

19) You can “buy” things for others – with fewer questions, and no / few answers

20) You see life with a new lens

21) You realize the value of all that your mother and father and teachers and supporters / advocates a lot lot more

22) You value time a lot more. You recognize just how little / much there is

23) You feel more independent

24) You are in better control of your life

25) You teach your family independence / inter-dependence

26) You contribute to the world economy by being a productive contributor (in the economic world)

27) You understand and appreciate the value of money a lot more

28) You “genuinely” appreciate how life is for “him” – as he is the one who is usually working for the long haul

29) Your work will directly / indirectly play a significant part in your off-spring

30) Chances are you will leave a richer legacy (financial and otherwise) for your forthcoming generations

It does not matter what works she does
It does not matter where she works
It does not matter how she works
It does not matter how long she works
What matters is that SHE WORKS
Today, tomorrow and the day after

What matters is that her work makes a difference to her / their life
This post is dedicated to any / all women who have “worked” at some time in their life. May the tribe expand, flourish and prosper

T for Thought Leadership..

There are some buzzwords which will not go out of fashion in the business / corporate world. “THOUGHT LEADERSHIP” is one of them. When I first heard the word more than a decade ago at the start of my professional career, I was in “awe” as the word sounded important and impressive.

My first thoughts were “Don’t we all have a zillion thoughts zooming in our minds every single day, so what qualifies for thought leadership? How can anyone demonstrate leadership with their thoughts? Who decides that it is thought leadership? How does one demonstrate thought leadership?
With time and experience, I found these answers. Today, “Thought Leadership” is an integral part of my professional responsibilities.
And here’s the thing|
1) It is still in vogue to be associated with this “T” word or / and have it in your professional resume
2) It is still important and impressive to an individual / organization

According to Wikipedia, the term ‘Thought Leadership’ was coined in 1994 by Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of the Booz & Co magazine Strategy & Business, and used to designate interview subjects for that magazine who had business ideas which merited attention

Thought Leadership is simply about becoming an authority on relevant topics by delivering the answers to the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience.” By Michael Brenner

I think Thought Leadership is many times about asking the RIGHT QUESTIONS too. In fact many times the questions are more important than the answers – as they get one to think and provide the direction for your strategy and plans.

Thought leadership should be an entry point to a relationship. Thought leadership should intrigue, challenge, and inspire even people already familiar with a company. It should help start a relationship where none exists, and it should enhance existing relationships.” By Daniel Rasmus

I fully concur with this definition. The only thing is that very many times “Thought leadership” is incidental or accidental, and consequently so are the relationships which is possibly and probably not a good space / place to be in for any business.

According to a Forbes article,
A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.

A thought leader is an individual or firm that significantly profits from being recognized as such.

I agree with this view. The most challenging part is to become a Thought Leader, or the big HOW? I’m not so sure if Thought Leadership always results (directly) in increased profitability. It can – provided it is marketed / positioned well, and reaches the right audience / reader.

Wikipedia says that “Thought leadership is often used as a way of increasing or creating demand for a product or service. High tech firms will often publish white papers with analysis of economic benefits of the product as a form of marketing”

Agreed! It is really about putting your voices and views in the marketplace and promoting it on multiple online / offline channels that your prospects view.

Why is Thought Leadership important today?

Simply because it is a competitive marketplace and every individual / organization has several thoughts on a periodic basis. Establishing “continuous leadership” on your thoughts is a direct testimonial to the kind of team that you have and a clear ‘market message’ that nurturing and sharing these thoughts is important to you / your team and your organization. Thought Leadership can sometimes be your one and only “key differentiators” in the GTM (Go-To-Market) Strategy. Hence it is imprative for organizations to build, nurture and demonstrate “Thought Leadership”

How to demonstrate Thought Leadership?

With your content. With you communications. With your conversations (online / offline)

Who should drive Thought Leadership?

The beauty of Thought Leadership is that it

Integrates with a SME (Subject Matter Expert)
Integrates with content and social media functions
Integrated with marketing functions
Integrated with Leadership

And so it really is a collective collaborative constructive responsibility of an individual / team / organization to showcase / demonstrate Thought Leadership over a period of time.

And lastly who determines it to be “Thought Leadership”?

This is a tricky one since it depends on who is the addressable market for your offerings / solutions / services / products and who is the (potential) target customer. What may be “Thought Leadership” to one may not be “Thought Leadership” to another. The point is that there should be an “industry / community / group” of experts who “publicly” ratify a thought as “Thought Leadership”…

Agree / Disagree? Leave a comment to let me know

Recommended Readings
What Is Thought Leadership? 5 Steps To Get It Right
What is a Thought Leader?
How to become a Thought Leader?

Being among Twitterati – What it takes and what it means?

First the good news..

The team at SheroesIndia wrote a post on “Must Follow Woman Influencers on Twitter” . It was a pleasant surprise to feature in that list among august company like Tanvi Gautam @tanvi_gautam , Ankita Gaba – @ankitagaba , Lakshmi Rebecca @lakshmirebecca , Kalki Koechlin @kalkikanmani , Gul Panag @GulPanag , Meeta Sengupta @Meetasengupta and Kiran Manral @KiranManral

The post starts off with “There are tons of women on Twitterati making their mark. SHEROES list down a few Indian women who are impacting the space in a massive way“. Being included as ONE among 20 Indian woman is indeed wonderful. I do follow many of them on Twitter, and I know that they are doing their bit and best to make a difference in their sphere of influence with their tweets.

Personally, this is the second time I feature in a list among Twitterati. The first one was in 2012 when Dr Tanvi Gautam create the first ‘epic list’ of 50 Indian Woman to follow on Twitter

Her list in her own words was about “A dedication it to all women thought leaders from Asia, not just from media and film, not just the corporate world but all the ones that are making a difference in their own way.”

Even today, the list is as relevant as it was 2 years back because the women from that list continue to make a difference in their own way. Some of the women who find a mention are
Kiran Bedi ‏ @thekiranbedi
Sairee Chahal ‏ @Sairee
Sania Mirza-Malik ‏ @MirzaSania
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw ‏ @kiranshaw
Sagarika Ghose ‏ @sagarikaghose
Azmi shabana ‏ @AzmiShabana
Anupama Chopra ‏ @anupamachopra
Rashmibansal ‏ @rashmibansal
Barkha dutt ‏ @BDUTT
Jessie Paul ‏ @jessie_paul
Naina ‏ @Naina
Sucheta Dalal ‏ @suchetadalal
Rujuta Diwekar ‏ @RujutaDiwekar

Being featured amidst such amazing woman was indeed a a great honor and a humbling moment. It makes you happy, get attention (both in the real world and virtual world) and is extremely gratifying. Being in the spotlight makes me happy. Recognition is a great motivator in Social Media and in life.

Interestingly both the lists have several common names too!

But that’s not what this post is about? It is about my views on Why such lists are important? Why these women find a spot on these lists? And what it takes to be here?

So first.. Why such lists are important?
(1) They bring together in one place some awesome women so anyone can follow them, read and hear their views, opinions and perspectives on one / many subjects. I know I’ve connected with many of these women and learned immensely from their tweets / personal interactions
(2) They put ‘women’ in the spotlight and that is extremely important because it motivates, it inspires, it sets an example to more women
(3) They enable fostering networks and relationships amongst women and that is indeed a powerful force to reckon with – which can be the catalyst and harbinger for the cause and voice of many women’s issues.

Why these women find a spot on these lists?
(1) They are genuinely inspiring in what they share and do – Just follow them, and you’ll know why they’re on that list
(2) They are genuinely trying to make a difference with their words / tweets and shares on Social Media
(3) They are passionate about specific causes – And continuously support them

And what it takes to be here?
(1) Time - In today’s day and age, the most precious asset is “time”. And any serious Twitter / Social media user would know that being active on Twitter takes time and energy (which many times comes at the cost of letting-go many other things in life – specifically if you are a woman!), especially if you intend to be on Twitter for the long haul. Almost all these women are regular, active and serious Twitter users, so they are giving it time, focus and attention
(2) Willingness to share and speak up – Almost all these women are not shy to honestly share their life experiences, personal stories of success or failure, views, opinions, perspectives on one / many issues. So they speak up and share when given the opportunity, and that only helps the cause of women in terms of inspiration and bringing to the fore-front many critical and real issues
(3) Positivity - Again almost all these women are extremely positive, optimistic and hopeful (most of the times) while being conscious of the realities of today – especially in the context of women’s issues, empowerment and endowment
(4) Value - At the end of the day, Twitter is a free social media platform. While being free to use, any Twitter user has complete freedom to choose whom he / she will Follow / Unfollow. So your tweets should be of “value” to anyone who is reading, and almost all these women continuously share valuable content / tweets

And yes, before I forget another pleasant surprise came my way a few days back. The kind folks at Femspiration sent my way a #FemTribute .
FemTribute
As I sign-off, I’d like to say Thank you to all those who create these lists, and to all the women who continue to make a difference in their own way , in their own sphere of influence!

What do you think? Leave a comment to let me know…

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