5 Questions to answer before you start BLOGGING!

Now a days, I get a lot of calls, mails, messages and questions about blogging. As a case in point, a friend called a few days back and said “I want to start a blog. Should I even do it?”. A work colleague was inspired by my blogging journey and accolades, and asked me “I want to start blogging. You make it seem easy. Is it that easy?”. A relative read the media coverage my blog received recently and wrote to me saying “I want to blog, How do I go about it?

While I appreciate the interest, intent and spirit behind all these questions, let me lay out some facts before you.

I recently read an article which highlighted that there were 220+ million blogs in the blog-o-sphere. And that there are 3 Million new posts published everyday. Those numbers are mind-boggling! Interestingly, I also heard that the average human attention span in today’s digital era is less than 10 seconds!

So before you start, be cognizant of the fact that you are entering a highly crowded and competitive world, where there is a content aplenty, and individual attention span is abysmal. Hence, it is extremely important to ask yourself some important questions before you start blogging, lest you be disillusioned after you start blogging.

In this post, I am sharing the 5 questions most important questions. So think through and answer honestly before you start posting!

Start Blogging

Question 1 : What is your big WHY of blogging?

This is the most important question. Is it for sharing, is it for branding, is it for the money? Whatever it is, be clear on the answer. And realistic on your expectations based on this

Question 2 : Do you LOVE writing?

You cannot sustain a blog / blogging if you don’t love writing. So if all that you’ve written in your life are official mails, then I doubt if you really like writing. If you love a related skill / art form like photography / painting, then creating a blog on this makes complete sense.

Question 3 : How much time can you commit to blogging?

Blogging is a journey. A slow and evolving one. It takes time and effort, and there is no overnight glory or success. So be clear on how much time you can give to your blog and how frequently. Starting a blog is  easy. Keeping it updated is always a challenge unless you consciously commit time.

Question 4 : Do you know what you want to blog about?

Again, think through what you want to blog about. Is it something you know or do? Again, in the long run the biggest challenge is to find topics to blog about. So think through a theme or broad areas to start off with. You can expand later, but there has to be a theme that you stick to for 6 -12 months

Question 5 : Why do you think anyone will read you?

Most important, what is in it for any reader? Why should he / she read what you have to say amidst 220+ million blogs? What’s your sparkle?

If you have convincing answers to all 5 questions, go ahead and start your blog today.

On that note, Happy Blogging!

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in India, Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

 

What determines “HER” Career Path?

I’ve been in the corporate world for about 15 years now. In this tenure, I have been fortunate to experience in my career (up close and personal) the great, good, bad & ugly; and I survived.

Along the way, I’ve also seen a lot of women / mothers navigate their career trajectories very differently at different phases. Everyone’s context / circumstances are different, and hence so are their choices. And yet, there seems to be some drivers on how she makes those choices to make peace with her work and her life.

So what are those variables which determine her ‘career path’? Sharing my views in the infographic below.

Career Path

As I sign-off, I leave you with a thought..

For a very long time, I used to believe that making a choice was tough!

But now as a working mother, I believe that living your choice everyday is the toughest.

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

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes 20 Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Mention in | “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Mention in | “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in | “Are entrepreneurs born or made?

The Key Questions which impact and influence “HER” work life

I believe there is power in questions.

The right questions at the right time can make all the difference.

Just acknowledging that the question is important, right and relevant can sometimes be the best thing that can happen in life.

As I observe, converse, analyze and appreciate the complexity of issues of Women At Work, I find that there are some questions which are more important than others. These questions determine her career, and eventually her life.

What are these?” you might wonder

Sharing them below in the latest infographic I created. Like it? Do you think there are more questions which affect the life of women at work? Leave a comment to let me know

Women Key Questions for Career

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Men v/s Women | Color Choices and Preferences

Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” said John Gray. In my personal view, Men are from Mercury and Women are from Pluto” – I say this just to highlight the differences is how men and women differ in very many things – Be it what we see, how we interpret things, what we understand and take-away from the same situation, how we are naturally wired, our preferences / likes / dislikes, etc. The list is endless.

As a marketer and communication professional, very many times I need to decide on the colors to use in different communication. From experience, I know that the colors make a lot of difference in how a communication is received. And hence, I was particularly interested when I came across the below infographic on how men and women view “colors”. Though dated, it highlights some key insights.

Key Take-Away for me was “Blue reigns supreme” – and it is no wonder that almost all the large brands use blue generously (For e.g: FaceBook, Twitter, IBM, Intel, IE, etc.)

[Src: Kissmetrics]

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes 20 Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Infographic | All About Social Media Monitoring Tools

Everyone knows that Social Media is BIG, but Social Media Monitoring is a ? – In terms of time, focus, priority and effort. Whether you are a marketer / even otherwise – if you spend time on social media – it is worthwhile to monitor and track social behaviors – Data always speaks – The insights, inferences and implications are for you to draw. But the start is always looking at multiple views of real-time integrated data, and asking the right questions so you understand social media analytics better.

Many of us wonder what to track and how? So when I came across this comprehensive infographic on Social Media Monitoring – I thought it was worthwhile to share on the blog. It is an overview and just the start – But once the building blocks are laid, then it is easy to build and enhance the monitoring processes and tools

[Src: KISSMetrics]

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Mention in | “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Mention in | “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in | “Are entrepreneurs born or made?

Infographic | What to do before you click “PUBLISH” for your content?

 

Before You Click Publish

Via Salesforce

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost India | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes 20 Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Infographic | Total Social Network users in 2015 (Millions)

I always wonder how the growth of social network users will be in 2015. What will be their demographics and which social channels they will adopt?

Below infographic is an excellent compilation which highlights interesting perspectives:

[Src: Adweek ]

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in | “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in | “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in | “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Infographic | So what do the ‘Content Marketers’ do?

So the BIG question is what exactly do the ‘content marketers’ do? Sharing below an infographic which sheds light on this

[Src: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/49398927136065948/ ]

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost India | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes 20 Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Infographic | Meeting Meetings Meetings – Are they worth your time?

If you have a corporate job, you’ll agree that meetings are a core part of your everyday work routine. And yet, I can count on my fingers the number of times I stepped out of a meeting feeling that it was a completely productive use of time. The thing about meetings is that they are a ‘necessary evil’, You need to discuss, interact with people you work with to get things done, but how effective are you when you meet your team is what truly counts

In my experience, a few things really are critical to the success of a meeting

  • 1) Creating an Agenda with clear objectives on what you want to achieve / decide by the end of it
  • 2) Sticking to the Agenda and moderating the meeting effectively
  • 3) Managing ‘meeting time’ effectively  – Starting on time, Ending on time
  • 4) Having the right audience for the meeting
  • 5) Leaving ’emotions / ego’ before entering a meeting
  • 6) Keeping it professional; and not personal views / differences come in between

When I chair a meeting at work, I try to follow the above best practices.

So when I came across this interesting infographic on all about Meetings, I could not help but share it here on my blog.

What are your experiences with work related meetings? Leave a comment to let me know

 

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost India | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes 20 Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

“Time to use voices and leverage to be trailblazers in women at work conversations” says the US First Lady Michelle Obama, and I agree 200%

Several weeks ago, I came across an article on the White House Summit on Working Families which was held earlier this year (2014). Convened by the US president, Mr. Barack Obama the focus was on how to strengthen workplaces to better support working families, boost businesses’ bottom lines, and ensure America’s global economic competitiveness in the coming decades . According to the web-site, “The White House Summit on Working Families, hosted jointly by the Center for American Progress, the Department of Labor, and the White House Council on Women and Girls, will convene businesses, economists, labor leaders, legislators, advocates, the media, and ordinary citizens for a discussion on issues facing the entire spectrum of working families – from low-wage workers to corporate executives; from young parents to baby boomers caring for their own aging parents.

As I read more about the Summit, the speakers and discussion areas, I came across a video interview by the First Lady, Michelle Obama. If you are a working woman / mother, you should watch it! Her  openness to speak about the ‘real issues’ which plague working mothers, honesty, grace, articulation, style, humor and wit make it a compelling watch.

It was one of those videos which I found myself nodding all along – because I could connect with her observations, reflections, insights and perspectives.

In this post, I am sharing the key messages that resonated with me, and why?

1) Right time to Connect and Converse about topics related to women at the workplace

One of Michelle’s key message across the video is that “It is important for individuals in a position of influence to use their voices, power and leverage to discuss woman at work issues, and make positive changes within their sphere of influence” .

This is probably as relevant as in India as it is in the US. I agree that the time is right. If not now, then when?

Looking back at my professional experiences and my writing / blogging journey, that is probably one of the main reasons why I write about “Women At Work” on my blog. It is my way of leveraging my voice and influence to bring to the fore-front conversations, observations, insights and solutions on this subject. Trust me – as a working mother of two, this takes time and effort from my end, and compels me to de-prioritize several other things in my life to keep my blog regularly updated. But I feel strongly on the subject, and hence I make that effort in the hope that my voice and views can make a positive difference to some women somewhere in the world and at some time in her life.

2) Kids are the most important legacy we will ever leave

Again Michelle’s key message is that as a mother, children are among the top priorities in your life. She says that acknowledging and accepting your reality as a working mother (and all that it entails every single day) can be empowering because you can be open and up-front with your employer / team / workplace environment. This is important as it helps set expectations which holds you in good stead on the long run.

I couldn’t agree more. Children will be among the most important legacy any mother / parents leave, and hence it is important to do the best you can for their growth and development. As a working mother, I know I struggle with getting the priorities right in my head, and then living them every day. But I also know that the days my priorities are crystal clear to me, navigating through the course of the day (both at work and at home) becomes a lot easier.

3) Work Life Balance is fragile

I particularly like the way Michelle Obama mentions that work balance is fragile, and is thrown off with a broken toilet, a sick child, a sick parent, the day a baby-sitter is on holiday, etc.

Again, so very true. The number of variables that can influence the daily life of a working mother is mind-boggling that thinking about it can be truly unnerving.

In India when most working mothers rely significantly on paid domestic help / support stuff for day-to-day home maintenance it is indeed a very fragile thread that one treads on. And not to mention with the variety and rounds of infections doing the rounds, as a working mother I wake up everyday praying and hoping that my kids are healthy and can go to school. Almost all working mothers I know struggle to find the ways to keep that balance intact.

A few years ago, when I resumed work after my maternity leave, I was in conversation with a well-meaning work colleague who asked me about my long term career plans. Honestly, I said that my only goal was to show up to work every day, and give my best and make it count as long as I am there. Really, I couldn’t think beyond this because I really didn’t know if I’d wake up on a sick child, on a baby-sitter calling in sick, or anything else. The reality is that it is impossible to think long term when you are a mother of a small baby. The other fact is that kids grow up and their needs change, so these are passing phases. So if you are a working mother, it is important to hang in there and try to have career continuity if you are keen on a long term career

4) Women at Work issues are real and affect both men / women

This is so true! Women at wok issues affect the lives of men, women, children, workplace and society at large, and hence it is not only a “woman’s issue” really. Time has come to get men into the conversation, and to get them to think, speak and act – to support the women in their lives.

For a lot of men I know, women at work issues are really “women’s issues” – by virtue of their DNA, conditioning, upbringing and life pressures. No, they are not! Simply because that woman can be your daughter(-in-law), sister(-in-law), mother(-in-law), grand-mother, friend. And the decisions, choices and trade-offs made today (by both men and women) affect the life of women at large in the long run.

So the time is right to do what needs to be done.

5) However strong you are, being a working mother can make you vulnerable

Again in all honesty, Michelle confesses that she is a strong woman, but “the minute your kids come to the world, they rip your heart out of your chest. Every child is different, and you don’t know how you are going to feel when they come into the world”.

I think any mother will echo with this sentiment. Again, I speak from personal experience here – There are several moments in the course of every single day when you feel vulnerable as a working mother- flooded with emotions of guilt, self-doubt, concern, anxiety wondering if you are doing the right thing, worrying how things will work out, wondering if your kids will turn out okay. The sooner you learn to accept your “vulnerability”, and find a way to deal with it – The better things get with time.

6) Never take education and opportunities for granted

I couldn’t agree more. I think as a working mother, it is so important to value your education, knowledge, skills, opportunities and support. Never ever take anything for granted.

7) Employers need to do their very best to support the case and cause of women at work

In the start of the video, the discussion is around the fact that “Less than 5%, only 24 CEO’s of US Fortune 500 companies are women” which means there is ample room for making things better. And that holds true for India too.

Another note-worthy point was about how working “part-time” on part time salary is really not a wise choice because you continue to work full-time for a half-time pay.  Again relevant for India too

She sums it up beautifully when she says “It is important to get employers to understand the lives / needs of working mothers. Employers need to understand that as working mothers your kids well-being is so important. If children are not healthy, whole or happy , you are going to carry that worry to work and there will be an impact on work”

Again, I couldn’t agree more. I surely do think that employers / organizations need to do more to extend the required help / flexibility to ensure working mothers have career continuity and success.

These were the messages which stayed with me. What about you? Leave a comment to let me know…

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