Courtesy of: The Seen
Courtesy of: The Seen
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:
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
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?
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
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 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
(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…
“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!
Have you tried any of these? Did they work for you.. Leave a comment to let me know
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 Post, Women’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:
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:
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?
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:
Here are the DONT’s
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?
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
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
So I’ve set a milestone of sorts on this blog.. From consistently posting at least 1 post / week for 32 weeks, I DID NOT publish a post last week.. As I look back to connect the dots on why I skipped the post, I came up with a zillion excuses.. No time, busy at work, too tired, .. etc.. All lame I agree, because I did find the time to do what I wanted to (both professional and personal).. On deeper introspection, I recognized that I had become a tad bit disorganized for my own good.. Just when I wondered what I could / should do, I came across this comprehensive solution.. I am yet to apply fully, but felt it was timely and appropriate to share on my blog for the benefit of all my readers..
Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com
This week at work has been a lot of creating marketing assets and planning an integrated marketing campaign. Suffice to say, it was busy and I don’t know how time went by. The one point which was much debated and discussed was COLORS!! :)
I can’t emphasize the role importance and significance of colors in any communication, and more so if it is a marketing related corporate communication. Colors can be the one and only reason why you and I read something or not, why I feel or think something after we read a specific communication. I guess it is the same for you..
So on my (delayed) post for this week, I’m going to share with you some of interesting and insightful points on the “world of colors”.
ONE COLOR can MAKE IT / BREAK IT.. Agreed?
Do you have goals?
Do you want to achieve them?
Do you know how to get there?
Hmm.. Well.. If you’re looking for some guidance, then this is the post written for you based on all the I have observed and learned in my life…
D1: Discover your goals for life
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” BY Albert Einstein
Discovering your goals is the first step to get there. And discovery can sometimes take a lot of time, effort and also support from those around you. But discovery is really the process in which you think through what you want to achieve. For e.g.: I would like to write more often can be a broad goal that you discover for yourself
D2: Define your goals in a clear and concise fashion
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” BY Bruce Lee
The next step is to precisely define what you really want to achieve. The more specific you are, the better are your chances in reaching your goal. And the best way is to define SMART goal (Simple Measurable Action-Oriented Realistic and Time Bound). For e.g.: I will publish one blog every month of this year is a good target to start off with for any blogger
D3: Design a plan to achieve your goal
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” BY Larry Elder
Once you have defined your goals, design a realistic plan to achieve your goal. I emphasize on realistic as you need to be cognizant of your current commitments, circumstances and constraints; and model a “personalized plan” factoring all of these. For e.g.: I will wake up at 6 AM and write for 30 mins on Tuesdays & Thursdays; as I need to reach work only by 9 AM.
D4: Develop your skills and everyday routine in line with your plan
To reach any goal, you usually need to develop new skills on some areas and also possibly hone and enhance skills on some areas. The best way to do this is to integrate specific tasks into your everyday routine. For e.g.: Let’s continue with the goal of writing. Every writer needs to read continuously to hone their writing skills. So one specific action plan is to set aside 15 mins everyday (say during lunch time) when you will read diverse articles from diverse authors. Not only does this reading enable you to become aware of writing styles, but also increases your own knowledge base on one / more topics.
D5: Be Dedicated in doing what you have to do when you have to do it
“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” BY Paulo Coelho
Next and very important is that you need to be personally dedicated towards achieving your goals. If this means that you make some sacrifices and choices to achieve this, then so be it. But be dedicated, sincere and put your best foot forward to reach your goals.
D6: Be Determined to achieve your goals
“know what you want, work to get it, then value it once you have it.” BY Nora Roberts
The road to any goal has its share of ups and downs. And what will make the difference in helping you reach your goals is usually how determined you are. So stay focused, objective and positive; and when things get rough and tough – be a little kind on yourself, but never lose sight of your goal.
D7: Dream about your goals at every opportunity you get
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” BY Rabindranath Tagore
One of the most important dimensions to achieving your goal is to dream about it at every opportunity you can. Dream the moment .. Create a visual memory .. and live the dream everyday. Before you know it, your dream will be reality and your goal will be well achieved..
On that note, Dare to Dream BIG; and work towards achieving your GOALS in LIFE!
What are Infographics?
Information graphics, or infographics as they are more often called, are a great way to convey complex information clearly and concisely [Src: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2011/09/16/blogosphere-trends-using-infographics/ ]
Over the past few weeks, I’ve read hundreds of infographics, and have enjoyed reading most of them. One, it is for very good reason that the adage “A picture is worth a thousand words“ was coined. I truly understood the “power of images” now. Two, infographics convey a lot of information in a simple, easy to read and easy to comprehend format. Three, I’ve been tasked with creating one at work.
Since I had to create an infographic, I looked for resources on any guidelines, tips, tricks, best practices and advice on “How” to create one. Dr. Google threw up a lot of content. Sharing in this post the links I found useful
The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Infographics @ http://blog.crazyegg.com/2013/05/10/infographics-ultimate-guide/
What Makes A Great Infographic? 8 Experts Weigh In @ http://marketingland.com/8-experts-talk-about-making-great-infographics-34958
The power of infographics @ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2014/01/20/the-power-of-infographics-on-your-blog/
Tools to create infographics
20+ Tools to Create Your Own Infographics @ http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/infographic-tools/
10 free tools for creating infographics @ http://www.creativebloq.com/infographic/tools-213197
9 Awesome Powerful Free Infographic Tools @ http://www.infographicsarchive.com/create-infographics-and-data-visualization/
70 Tools And 4 Reasons To Make Your Own Infographics @ http://www.edudemic.com/70-tools-and-4-reasons-to-make-your-own-infographics/
Five Infographic Templates in PowerPoint @ http://offers.hubspot.com/how-to-easily-create-five-fabulous-infographics-in-powerpoint
And how could I conclude this post without an infographic?
“Viral Content” – Those 2 words can be the dream, dare, delight or doom for many a marketer.
A dream because you aspire for it
A dare because you can’t really say for sure if your content will go viral
A delight because if it does, then you are bound to be a hero / shero of some sort, in some circles
A doom because if it does not, then you are bound to be viewed with a critical lens, in some circles
And the reality of today is that “viral content” is probably the fastest & most cost-effective way to get your message out in the market place.
There are ample examples of content gone viral that it must seen easy to repeat the formula. But it is not so simple…
In this post, I am sharing from my personal experience as a content consumer what truly differentiates viral content from the rest
(1) A catchy compelling title : In today’s day of explosive content, you need to have a title which compels a reader to stop-by your content. The title has to be unique, inviting, enticing and engaging – And most important have mass appeal! Phew – Tough one to crack!
(2) Touching an emotional chord with a reader : From my personal experience, almost every piece of viral content that I’ve come across touched an emotional chord with a reader, i.e., it brought out a deep human emotion in a reader – joy, surprise, fear, contempt, disgust, sadness or anger
(3) Timing of your post : The timing of when you publish your content is critical, and surely acts as an enabler in riding with current trends and sentiments.
(4) The Zing and Zest of the post itself : I mean the content itself has to be unique, new, relevant, positive and refreshing in its message and in articulation. Pictures / Videos are definitely more effective, but there are blog posts and even tweets which have gone viral, so it really depends on the content
In this post, I’m sharing a round-up on the many views / perspectives written on the subject of “viral content”. You’d think after reading all of these – I now know the magic mantra and am on my way to create the “viral content” of tomorrow. How I wish! :) In spite / Despite so much written on the subject, this is a tough one to crack, and even all the “Content Gurus” don’t seem to have a consensus.
Nevertheless, let me share the posts..
Lastly, an interview from Brian Solis which is real, well-grounded and probably one of the best advice I’ve come across
What is your mantra? Leave a comment to let me know