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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 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

Blogs come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime

When I entered the blog-o-sphere years ago, I had no idea where that would take me. Suffice to say, I just took the plunge – There were no real expectations, no real agenda, no real goals. Just some time at hand, an open mind, curiosity, an interest in reading, a laptop, an internet connection and The English language :)

I started reading blogs for a reason. Somehow somewhere I continued reading blogs through the seasons. And today, reading blogs is an integral part of my life, and I guess it will continue for my lifetime (If I have it my way!). Reading a blog enables me to learn, travel, get answers, ask questions, grow, watch others evolve / bloom / blossom, see the world with a new lens, make me feel that I’m not alone, give me clarity of perspective and most importantly, experience life through others experiences

After about 2 years of reading others blogs, I started writing my own blogs. Again, for a reason. Somehow somewhere they extended to a season. And then many seasons. Today, my blogs area an integral part of my life, and I guess it will continue for my lifetime (If I have it my way!). Writing a blog enables me to learn, express myself, get answers, ask questions, emote, connect, grow, share, see the world with a new lens, gain diverse perspectives, truly comprehend things and possibly leave a social media legacy

And I strongly believe that Blogs comes into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime..
When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each blog.

When a blog comes into your life for a REASON . . . It is usually to meet a need you have expressed. A blog can assist you through a difficulty, provide you with guidance and support, aid you emotionally, socially, intellectually, financially or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be.Then, without any wrong doing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, you lose interest in the blogs. Sometimes it is forever, sometimes it is a hiatus. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, and the work is done. And now it is time to move on.

When a blog comes into your life for a SEASON . . . Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.A blog brings you a purpose, phenomenal clarity of thought, an experience of peace, platonic connection(s), sometimes financial benefits too or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done or even thought of. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season. And then the bond is severed. You take the lessons and move on.

LIFETIME blogs and bloggers teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid foundation for life. Your job is to accept the blog , love the blog from your heart, have an open mind without judgment and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and experiences of your life.

All the blog-o-sphere is a stage
And all blogs and bloggers merely players
They have their exists and entrances
And each in their time play many parts

Inspired and based on the original words
“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON . . . It is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be.Then, without any wrong doing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON . . .Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

What about you? Have blogs come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime.. Leave a comment to let me know

Blogging can change your LIFE! – Give it a CHANCE today…

2008 was the year I entered the blog-o-sphere; primarily as an avid blog reader. In 2009, I created my first blogs in which I used to write occasionally – Of course, my blogs were private. In 2010, I shared my blogs with my inner network of friends and family; and received very encouraging feedback. After this initial response, my blogs went public in 2010 and so started my blogging journey.

Its 2013 now – Almost 3 years since I embarked on my blogging journey as a blogger. During this journey, I have published 1000+ posts on my own blogs (public, restricted and private), and have published several guest posts in site of global repute on a diverse set of topics.

So, really what is blogging to me? My blogs are the 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.

As of date, I run two popular blogs:

(1)   VERVE : The Quintessence of my Life – Which is my personal blog and covers a broad range of topics around Life, Creativity, Parenting, Relationships, Human Experiences, Emotions, etc.

(2)   Nischala’s Space, Thoughts and Expressions – Which is my professional blog in which I about topics of professional interest which revolves around Social Media, Marketing, Leadership, Innovation and Strategy.

In addition to the above, I also publish guest posts in several reputed sites of global repute.

Blogging can transform your life in more than one way. Once you start actively blogging, you will see many aspects of your life can change drastically. Physically, you become more aware and observant of the world around you – Simply because you need things to write about on your blogs, and most bloggers typically draw in from real-life experiences. Emotionally, you will feel more balanced and happy; because you get an opportunity to express your emotions through your blogs. Intellectually, you need to think to write a blog – So it provides good exercise to the “gray matter” in your brain. Socially, it can help you build new networks and connections with like-minded people, and also interesting people – Whom you would otherwise never have known. In some cases, it can also elevate your social standing in select circles. If you are good in blogging and consciously work on blog monetization, it can add to your personal finances. And of course spiritually also, blogging can help you re-connect with yourself!

So it really has the potential to touch impact and influence every facet of your life.

Personally, there have been several positives. If I had to list the top benefits and life skills which are enhanced along my blogging journey, they are:

  • Blogging enables you to be a lifelong learner
  • Blogging enhances your self-discipline
  • Blogging enables you to prioritize better
  • Blogging helps you truly understand a subject; The best way to understand any subject is to teach someone about it or to write about it
  • Blogging enables you to hone and refine your written communication skills
  • Blogging enhances your “thinking skills”
  • Blogging helps you accept and deal with compliments and criticism in a better way; It makes you open to feedback
  • Blogging compels you to improve your personal time management skills
  • Blogging makes you dream; and dreams are vital to the journey of life
  • Blogging give you a new-found respect for every other writer / blogger; and a new-found respect for your blog readers

In conclusion, I’d like to say that Reading and Writing can be your two best friends in life. And the blog-o-sphere can enable you to do both – So why would you not extend your hands in friendship to blogging?

At the end of the day, a blog is really a creative piece of art. And a blogger (is like an artist) who need to be true to his / her blog-art.

Blogging can change your LIFE! – Give it a chance today….

Happy Blogging and Have a Great Day!

Originally published @ here

How Social Media can really help Writers / Bloggers?

As a writer / blogger, I have found Social Media to be a blessing! Be it Blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. – They all prove to be invaluable for any writer..

So How can Social Media really help a writer / blogger?

1) Research

One of the best ways Social media can help any writer / blogger is for research. Research is an integral part of the writing / blogging process; and most writers / bloggers spend time in active research on the internet. Searching in Blogs, or on Twitter using specific Hashtags, or even simply following an expert on a specific topic on Twitter can significantly simply your research process and reduce effort!

2) Inspiration

Most writers / bloggers need a periodic dose of inspiration to bring out the best pieces of creative output. We all have different triggers / things which inspire us, and Social Media provides it in abundance. The only pre-requisite is you should know what kind of things inspire you (quotes, pictures, emotions, others experience’s, etc.) and you should know the fastest way to get your dose of inspiration on Social Media. trust me! Its there everywhere – Blogs, Tweets, Pinterest, etc. etc

3) Ideas

Many times, a write / blogger needs ideas – On the topics to write about, how to articulate, how to take the story further – And you just can’t seem to move ahead. Again, Social Media can come to your rescue. Sometimes reading totally unrelated articles fuels your imagination (I don’t know how the brain wiring works, but it does!) and propels your forward, Sometimes reading a tweet gives you food for thought, Sometimes a picture / infographic does the trick, and sometimes it is a blog post which gives you that killer idea! Sometimes it is your own past Social Media activities which trigger new ideas  and thoughts :)

4) Easy access to samples of other writers / bloggers

Many writers / bloggers like to read samples of what other writers / bloggers have to say. It can be for very many reasons – To get exposure to alternate styles of work, to gauge audience sentiments, to figure out tips, tricks and best practices of the trade, or simply because they enjoy others work. Again, Social media provides easy and instant access to sample the work of other writers / bloggers

5) Promotion & Marketing

Sharing your blogs / writings has never been more easy, efficient, quick and global as it is today. Any blogger / writer can share their work at the click of a button. So Social Media can aid significantly in Promotion & Marketing

6) A Social Network

Writing / Blogging are lonely activities. It is just you , your thoughts , your words and your tools (Whatever hardware and software and systems you use!). So many writers / bloggers do like to have social interactions with others – After all, it is a basic human need! And the best part of Social Media is you can converse at any time you wish to, and with anyone who is willing to converse with you on any Social Media channel (Be it Twitter, FaceBook chat, etc etc). This virtual social network sometimes is a blessing for most writers / bloggers.

7) Writing / Blogging Groups and Communities

The other good thing about Social Media is the presence of online Groups and Communities. They exist on almost all channels (FaceBook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, Google+, etc.) and are formed by individuals who have common interests on specific subjects. Such groups usually share knowledge, information, request for reviews, provide feedback, support, encouragement and many times, also help in Promotion & Marketing of your work. You can join one / many such Groups and Communities, based on your personal interest, the time you are willing to invest and the personal value you see from them. But if you join the right Groups and Communities, you can benefit enormously by learning and interacting from fellow writers and bloggers.

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

Lessons to any Blogger after 3 years of Blogging

2008 was the year I entered the blog-o-sphere; primarily as an avid blog reader. In 2009, I created my first blogs in which I used to write occasionally – Of course, it was private. In 2010, I shared my blogs with my inner network of friends and family; and received very encouraging feedback. After this initial response, my blogs went public in 2010 and so started my blogging journey.

Its 2013 now – Almost 3 years since I embarked on my blogging journey. During this journey, I have published 1000+ posts [Average of 1 post / day] on my own blogs (public, restricted and private), and have published several guest posts in site of global repute on a diverse set of topics.

So after 3 years of blogging – Am I any wiser?

Well, I’m sharing some of the most important lessons of my blogging journey in this post.

(1) If you’re wondering why should blog. Here are the AEIOU reasons

  • Blogging increase your AWARENESS
  • Blogging enhances your own EXPRESSIONS
  • Blogging compels you to INTROSPECT
  • Blogging makes you OBSERVE
  • Blogging enables you to UNDERSTAND

For full details, refer my post on AEIOU reasons for you to blog

(2) Writing on a blog helps you learn and discover more about yourself – Let me just say, you re-discover yourself and re-connect with yourself in ways which you could never have imagined

(3) Regularly writing on your blog is a great way to express yourself, your thoughts, your creativity, your views, your perspective, your ideas, your opinions, your experiences – if nothing else, it does wonders for your overall state of well-being (emotional and intellectual)

(4) Blogging is a “creative process”. Take the time to understand the process. It is worthwhile in the long run

(5) Blogging helps you to create new relationships and there is beauty in blogging relationships

(6) Guest Blogging is a great way to challenge yourself and extend the reach of your writings. The learning’s and connections you make in the process is invaluable. Here’s a summary of what Guest Blogging taught me

(7) Blogging has the potential to open new doors and possibilities – More than you can dream, think or imagine. Here’s a post I wrote on “OK You Write a Blog – So what Next?”

(8) Regular Blogging helps build and enhance your own self-discipline. And self-discipline is a great virtue to build in today’s day and age.

(9) Starting a blog is easy, but continuing to blog for years is a challenge for many. One of the key reasons is because every blogger runs out of ideas to blog. And for this, it is important to read continuously, and to wear the 6 Thinking Hats on your blog and to Focus on Diversity on your blog ; constantly challenge yourself to do new things on your blog. Be creative and sky is the limit to how long you can blog! For e.g.: Do reviews, interviews, curate great content, share interesting quotes, etc.

(9) Blogging can help you share your thoughts and views through interviews and alternate mediums for a larger reach. Check one of my first interviews focused around Blogging

(10) Every blog has a Hype Cycle. Be aware of it and spend time in understand this hype cycle

(11) There are only 3 Types of Blogs which a reader will really remember. If you want to make a mark in the blogging world, ask yourself if you’re doing any of these?

  • Blogs from which YOU LEARN
  • Blogs which make YOU THINK
  • Blogs which TOUCH YOUR HEART

(12) Practice the 65:20:15 Mantra for every blog post.

  • 65% of your time should go towards Blog Content
  • 20% of your time should go towards Blog Marketing
  • 15% of your time should go towards Blog Reader Engagement (after the post is published)

(13) Having an Editorial Calendar helps any blogger to be regular and disciplined about blogging efforts

(14)  Blogging is a journey; Not a destination. Enjoy the journey

(15)  To Keep at Blogging, here’s what you need

  • New Life experiences
  • Passion for writing
  • Creativity
  • Self-Discipline
  • Self-Motivation

And all the above are vital in the journey of life as well. So why not consciously invest in these by starting your blogging journey today?

On that note, Happy Blogging! Give Blogging a chance today..

Who knows how it will change your life!

2013 | What I’ll be blogging about?

It is 2013. The start of a new year. Firstly, HAPPY NEW YEAR to you. And Thank you for reading and following my blogs. I genuinely appreciate it and hope to create compelling content this year to keep you engaged as a reader.

In this post I will be listing what I will be blogging about in 2013 on this blog.

What will I be blogging about?
As the blog title states, I will be blogging about Social Media, Leadership and Marketing. In addition, I will also write about things close to my heart or which I am passionate about with the intent that you will learn something new, feel inspired or go back with something to think about…

How frequently will I be updating this blog?
Once a week on an average. In some occasions, I will be updating more frequently

When will I update new posts?
Every Thursday at 3 PM IST (Starting with this one)

The monthly schedule will typically be as below:
Week 1 – A post on Social Media
Week 2 – A post on Marketing
Week 3 – A post on Leadership
Week 4 – Nischala’s Blog-o-Review in which I will be posting a review of a book, blog or something worth sharing

Will I continue Nischala’s Blog-o-Rendezvous Series which I started in 2012?
Well.. No.. Atleast not so actively as in 2012. If I do come across any specific individual that I’d like to feature for any specific reason, I will do a Rendezvous.

Will I accept Guest Posts for this blog?
I’ve received several requests from people across the globe to post on my blog. Unfortunately I am not accepting Guest Posts for this blog. Any Guest post published on this blog is by INVITATION only.

A Blog is really like a Movie…

What is a blog really like?” was the question asked.
And the answer which satisfied the audience was “A blog is really like a Movie…”

I was addressing a group of non-bloggers and I found it hard to explain what blogging really is. Suprisingly, the answer which satisfied them was one in which I explained how a blog is really like a movie… The reality is that there are several people in the world who don’t know what a blog is and why anyone in the world would spend their time and money in blogging :)

And to such an audience, the most effective and satisfactory response was this “Every blog that you publish is really like a Movie…”.. ..And in this blog post, I’ve tried to make my point on the co-relation between the Movie World and the Blogging World….

I am neither a Movie buff nor do I understand the nitty gritties of movie-making.. But I do have a high level understanding of movie making and of course, an in-depth understanding of creating a successful blog…

There are really 3 broad phases in making a movie / blog
Phase 1 – The Ideation Phase : In which you have an idea for your movie / blog
Phase 2 – The Creation Phase : In which you give form to your idea to create the end product (movie / blog)
Phase 3 – The Promotion Phase : In which you market your creation (movie / blog) to an audience
And then of course, is the Feedback phase in which the audience verdict is OUT – Good, Bad or Ugly!

Phase 1 – The Ideation Phase
This is probably the most critical phase in the journey of making a movie or a blog. Simply because you need to have an idea for your blog – In terms of the topics of focus for your blog and specifically in terms of the topic for every single blog post of yours! And if you get this RIGHT, your chances of success increase manifold!

Phase 2 – The Creation Phase
For easy of communication and comprehension, refer the comparison below:

In the Movie World In the Blogging World
Director Blogger – In terms of making the idea come to life and ensuring that everything needed from the creative or technical side is taken care of
Producer Blogger – In terms of the investments he / she does to create and maintain the blog (both the design elements and the content)
Story This really translates to how the blogger is able to articulate his / her idea into words and the power of the message in the blog!
Actors (Hero / Heroine) The words. Yes! The words you write on your blog are your final actors. You can make them perform the way you want based on your choice of words, your literary elegance and your presentation style
Editor Again, the blogger itself if he /she does the editorial work or someone else you hire for your editorial efforts
Special Effects This can be through pictures, music, podcasts, video blogs, infographics, etc. – You can choose your special effects based on your individual creativity, preference and context.The point to note is that there are several options available and you can decide based on the kind of investments you are willing to make (time and money), your target audience, your objective for the blog and the impact you want to create!
Guest Performances Don’t we all like the appearance of a guest actor / star in a movie? Be it for a special song or just to make a point! Sure we do because it’s just so refreshing. So it is with guest blogs.As a blogger, you allow other guest bloggers to write for your blog to bring in diverse points-of-view to your audience. Also, not to mention the actual effort of creating the content (which becomes a challenge after a while) is the responsibility of the guest bloggerAlso, as a blogger you probably also write guest posts for other blogs because your able to enhance your brand and reach a wider audience with minimum time and efforts (as someone else is finally responsible and accountable) for the end product

Phase 3 – The Promotion Phase
This is probably the most important phase as it determines the results that your efforts yield. Firstly, you need to be clear about who your target audience is. And then you need to define and execute a well-integrated marketing plan to promote your blogs. So for e.g: You need to send an e-mail about your blog or share it on FaceBook or ask some celebrity (online / offline) to share your blogs on Twitter, etc etc. While there are many channels, what’s impoartant is to decide on the key (say 3) channels you will leverage for your promotional activities…

And once you’re blog is released, all you can do is to hope that your readers will enjoy your blog.. you work of art.. or your BLOG-ART!

What do you think? Is there a similarity between the blogging and movie world? Leave a comment to let me know

Originally published @

Does your CULTURE influence your BLOGGING behavior?

I’ve been active in the blog-o-sphere for about 5 years now. During this time, I have read zillions of blogs of people from all over the world and from different cultures.. About 2 years back, I had a personal hypothesis which suggested that an individual’s blogging behavior is partly influenced by their culture.

Before getting into details, I’d like to share a broad definition of culture : “Culture is the characteristics of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.” [Src: ]

So have you ever thought whether culture influences your blogging behavior? Well I did! And I am listing below the blogging behaviors which are influenced by culture:

  • Awareness on what a blog is – Reflection on your inherent curiosity in learning and being aware of the world around you! (And trust me! There are lots of people who still do not know what a blog is)
  • Whether you start a blog  (it could be private or public)  – A reflection of coming down to “doing things” – Do you want first hand experience? Do you like to try and test the waters? Same can be extended for anything in life!
  • Whether your blog is public or private – A reflection of how much of yourself you like to share and also how confident you are about yourself, your views and your literary abilities!
  • How long you continue a blog – A reflection of your interest, creativity, self motivation, priorities and discipline. All these are vital to sustain a blog in the long term
  • Your habits in reading blogs – A reflection of your personal interest and priorities (which are definitely influenced by your culture)
    • Do you read blogs? If yes, how frequently?
    • What kind of blogs you read? (Topics / Focus. For e.g.: Cooking, Parenting, etc.)
  • Do you comment on a Blog – A reflection of whether you have a view on a subject and whether you are comfortable expressing yourself in public. And even if you do, do you prefer to comment with your own name, a fictitious name or anonymously!
  • Will you share a Blog  – A reflection of your beliefs when it comes to sharing and the value you associate with sharing- Do you like to share valuable / invaluable information / content with others or do you keep it for yourself?
    • With Whom?
    • Through which channel? – Mail, Twitter, FaceBook, etc

NOTE: Above is purely based on my observations and analysis of blogs across the globe. I don’t have hard-data or scientific analysis to prove / disprove my hypothesis. And I definitely believe that this could be a great research topic for anyone to pursue in detail.

What’s your view? Do you think your culture influences your blogging behavior?
Leave a comment to let me know

Does the 30:3:30 Marketing Principle apply to Blogs?

During one of my initial marketing assignments, I came across the 30:3:30 Marketing Principle – One which I have effectively leveraged in several marketing communications.

So what is the 30:3:30 Principle? 
The 30:3:30 Principle suggests that when any marketing material is presented to readers – They immediately became either a 30-second reader, a 3-minute reader, or a 30-minute reader. The principle also goes on to add that a 30-second reader can move on to become 3- or 30-minute readers if the information gleaned in the 30-seconds / 3-minutes motivates / compels them to do so, thanks to:
i)  Interesting / relevant / contextual / crisp / catchy titles and headlines
ii) A well written introduction and opening and
iii) Easy-to-digest / appealing / novel / interesting content , articulation and representation (For e.g: Pictures, Tables, Bullet points, Crisp content).

Having been in the blog-o-sphere for several years now, I can’t help but wonder if the 30:3:30 Principle applies to blogs as well..

After looking at the performance of my own blogs, blog analytics, analysis and interpretation – I DO BELIEVE THAT the 30:3:30 Principle applies to blogs as well. In this post, I will explain how and the key take-away for any blogger

For starters, what I’ve realized is that it is critical for any blogger to introspect on the most important question – “WHY WILL ANYONE READ MY BLOG REGULARLY?” – And the most important word is “REGULARLY” – Not for today or one random post which a reader comes across during random online browsing activity – But really a loyal reader of your blogs for months or years or decades to come…[Provided you continue to blog that long J]
1) Is it because they like you?
2) Is it because they know you?
3) Is it because they want to know you?
4) Is it because what you are blogging is relevant in their context?
5) Is it because they value what you publish on your blogs? – It could be your own content or guest posts from others or it could be a content curation exercise!
Whatever be the reason, as long as they follow your blogs regularly – You are doing it RIGHT!

So coming back to 30:3:30 Principle and its relation to Blogging… Here’s the KEY TAKE-AWAY..
Lets just assume that a reader has some-how landed on a post on your blog..What a reader reads on your blog for the initial 30 seconds (30 second reader) translates into whether he / she will continue to read your blog for the next 3 minutes

Takeaway for a BLOGGER – The first 30 seconds is just enough time for any reader to read the title of your blog – So do make sure that the title is one / more of the following – Interesting / Novel / Inviting / Unique / Catchy / Appealing / Compelling…

Moving on, let’s say you did this right! And now the reader has been converted into a 3-minute reader and continues reading your blog..

Takeaway for a BLOGGER – The introduction and opening to your blog is critical. This will determine how long a reader will linger on your blog! Make sure that the introduction is one / more of the following – Engaging / Personal / Relevant / Interesting / Humorous / Surprising / Shocking – In my personal experience, these usually have the best readership

Moving further, let’s say you did this also right! And now the reader has been converted into a 30-minute reader and continues reading your blog..So what can you do?

Takeaway for a BLOGGER – Ensure that the overall experience for any reader on your blog is positive in more than one ways

And while every reader has different things for what they would classify as a “POSITIVE” reader experience, the following are important:

1) About YOU – A short and sweet note about you – Ensure that it is personal and reflective of what you really stand for. Ensure that you use your own name (unless you have a reason NOT TO) and also use a photograph so that people can associate a face to a name. Extra Tip – Do add some humor as if you make your reader smile, the chances are that they will continue to hang-out your blog!
2) Compelling content!
3) Search option
4) Contact Me option
5) Categorization of your content

  • Into  logical groups and
  • Based on a timeline

6) Options to share through Social Media
7) One / More Ways to connect with the blogger
8) Place to comment  and last but not least
9) About Your Blog – which should include the following:

  • Why you started the blog?
  • What you will blog about?
  • Frequency of your blogging
  • Most Popular content / posts on your blog  – in terms of
  •           Comments OR / And
  •          Viewership

Moving further, let’s say you did this also right! Many Congrats to YOU.. You just managed to acquire a regular reader to your blog.. who probably will read your blog regularly – and hence can be upgraded to the 300-minute reader..

So are you a 30-second reader or a 3-minute reader or 30-minute reader or a 300-minute reader on my blog? Hoping that you are a 300-minute reader on my BLOG :)

Leave a comment to let me know…

The Most Beautiful Photography Blogs I’ve come across

Their pictures are beautiful
Each picture speaks a zillion words
Touches your soul
And takes your breath away!

Purple Ganesh
Purple Ganesh Photography
BY Ganesh Ramachandran

Dana Saviuc’s Photography
BY Dana Savuic

Digital Photography School
BY Darren Rowse

BY Kristie Heins

JeezoPeezo Photography
BY JeezoPeezo

Pixel Candy
BY Thomas Bonin

BY Frank Boenigk

Here and Now
BY Cyril Bays

Daily Dose of Imagery
BY Sam Javanrouh

Moments like This
BY Uwe Eischens

These Fleeting Moments
BY Jason Ertel

Daily Walks
BY Diane Varner

BY David and Libby Nightingale


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