Today we have with us a very prolific blogger, Nischala Murthy Kaushik, whom we have been featuring very often in our weekly feature – Indian Social Media Articles Worth Reading posts. As Nischala never ceases to amaze us with her fresh and regular quality content, we decided to know more. Here is the email interview we had with Nischala, where she reveals the secrets of her blogging success and the lessons learnt along the journey…
Hi Nischala! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Firstly, Thanks for featuring me on your blog. Well, I’d like to think of myself as a Philosopher, Writer and Blogger, Scholar & Guru of Life for Life and the Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) of my LIFE 🙂
In terms of educational background, I’ve done my MBA from IIM Bangalore and currently work at Wipro where I am responsible for BPM (Business Process Management) Solutions and Marketing. I’ve been a part of the Indian IT industry for more than a decade, and during this tenure played several diverse roles ranging from Technology (Software Development) to Project Delivery to Customer Relationship Management to Business Development to Marketing & Branding to Business Solutions.
How do you manage to blog regularly with two jobs?
Hmm… Well! This is a question a lot of people ask me… Just how do you manage to blog so regularly along with your corporate job and being a mother? I think there are really 3 things that keep me going:
1) I love blogging, so I always make time for it. You can refer to my post on 21 reasons why I love blogging. Also as an individual, I personally like to think, learn, research and explore about diverse topics which I find interesting. And as I discover, read and think, I get so many ideas and thoughts; and blogging is a wonderful medium to give shape and form to my observations, musings, ideas, experiences, lessons, research, perspectives, view-points, conclusions, etc.
2) Self Discipline – You need to be self-disciplined to blog consistently and self-discipline is not important just for blogging, but even for life. I’ve also written a post on Self-Discipline which is worth a read!
What I’ve realized is that after a point, if you want to continue your journey as a blogger, you need to set aside time on a regular basis to blog. It has to eventually become a habit like brushing your teeth or having your lunch. And you can cultivate the habit based on your individual objective, priorities and context – It can be that you write daily for 15 minutes or weekly for 1 hour, but it should be part of your life. In my case, I set aside some time every week to blog – And at that time, I usually switch off my mailbox, Twitter, FB, etc. and any other distractions which de-focus my writing efforts. So if I schedule to write for 1 hour – I only write at that time! That way, I am able to publish on a periodical basis. Also, I have my own editorial calendar which helps me plan, prioritize and schedule posts regularly. You can refer my blog on Should a blogger have an editorial calendar? to get more insights.
3) My own discovery and self-awareness of the most effective process that works in my context. I also have a blog for this – 12 Most Mesmerizing Mantras on how to publish 321 blogs in 321 days. So as you can see from above, I have blog(s) for all your questions. 🙂
Do you think blogs working on a niche subject drive more response?
To the best of my knowledge, there is no universal definition for blog response (so what is more / less response is fairly ambiguous). To some bloggers, it is in terms of traffic / page views. To some, it is in terms of the comments and reader engagement. To some, it is in terms of your Alexa rankings. To some, it is really about the impact (personal or business) and To some it is about monetization. So I think it all boils down to What is your objective for blogging? and What you aim to achieve through your blogs? And response has to be measured in that context.
So coming back to your question, I don’t think that a niche subject is a pre-requisite for getting a reader base and interest. You’ve got to create interesting content and engage with your readers. Though I think it is important to focus on a specific subject for positioning your blog and creating a voice, identity and brand for yourself as a blogger and your blog in the “overcrowded” blogosphere!
Do you think social media is a boon for bloggers. How have you channelized social media for your blog?
Well – It all depends on your individual objectives as a blogger and how you use social media. If you understand how to usesocial media, it can be very effective to achieve any objective you may have as a blogger – be it creating a brand identity or monetization or even probably getting a new job! 🙂
Fundamentally, social media is about “real-time” potential reach for your content across the globe. In terms of my blogs, I adopt varied strategies based on what I want to achieve with each blog post mine – both in terms of reach and potential impact.For e.g.: Some posts I publish as a guest blogger in sites of global repute.
In terms of blog marketing and promotion, I primarily use Twitter, LinkedIn and e-mail! And I’ve realized that Twitter hashtags are a very powerful way to reach a larger audience provided you use the right tags and are judicious about the usage.
A very common question – how do I get leads from my blog from day one? What are your thoughts on this?
In my view, getting leads is probably just the start. The more important question is what will I do with those leads? Do I have a well-integrated strategy aligned to my social media objectives is the real question. If your end objective is to get leads from your blog only, I think it is the wrong objective! Your objective has to be more specific, holistic and well thought through!
And from my experience, there’s no magic formula to get leads for your blog from day one unless you’re already an online / offline celebrity! So, I think the question which any blogger should ask themselves is “Why will anyone read my blog on Day 1? Or Day 2 or .. Day N” and that should drive your blogging efforts!
You are a common guest blogger at various well-known blogs. How has that helped you?
Yes! I blog for several sites of global repute.You can refer the full list of my guest blogs.
One, it has given my voice and views (through my blogs) a global reach and audience. Two, it has been instrumental in building my reader base and generating blog traffic to my blogs (Traffic has increased by 560% in last few months). Three, having been a guest blogger is diverse sites across the globe and each with diverse levels of maturity has helped me understand the “nuts and bolts”of blogging. And the most noteworthy outcome is that it has connected me with some amazing individuals across the globe whom I’d probably never have had a chance to know or meet otherwise! Some of these people are my friends, critics and give me incredible support in the blogging community:). You can refer my blog on the learning’s of my guest posting experiences.
Can you share some of the common mistakes a blogger can avoid?
Well, I think the 4 most common mistakes that many bloggers make are:
1) They don’t know why they are blogging, i.e, they don’t have an objective for their blogging efforts.
2) They don’t value their readers enough. And the point is this – Any creative piece of work has a creator and a consumer and their mutual to co-existence is a necessity and reality. For e.g.: A movie has limited value till it is viewed by an audience, Music has limited value till is heard by an audience, A book has limited value till it is read, An art / craft work has limited value till it is viewed by an audience – And so in the same light, the blogs you create have limited value till they are consumed by readers. And as a blogger you have to make the content consumption experience a pleasure to the reader, not a pain. Else, why will anyone read your blogs? As it is we all have several issues to deal with in the real world! So learn to value your readers and make it a pleasure for them to come to your blogs.
3) They don’t spend enough time and thought understanding the “process” of blogging – Again, very important but highly undervalued!
4) They expect over-night results and blogging does not work that way. Blogging is really a journey, not a destination. In business terms, it should be viewed as a long term investment. And hence, be realistic about any short term gains that you expect.
In addition, some posts of minewhich I recommend for any blogger are listed below.
Do you think free content is cheap and not trustworthy? Most of the traditional journalists think the same about bloggers. What do you have to say on that?
So let me answer that with a few questions to put things in perspective:
What are you (as a content consumer) paying to watch news on the TV?
What are you (as a content consumer) paying to read news online?
What you are (as a content consumer) paying to get the latest updates on Twitter?
Are all the above not free? (Of course, you pay for the internet connection or to the satellite television provider like Tata Sky to consume these) – Does that mean they are cheap or not trustworthy? Absolutely NOT!
[pullquote id=”lhipull” class=”center_pull”]The point is this: Quality content is always valuable – free or otherwise. Just that it needs to be put in the right context, accessed by the right content consumer(s) and has to be relevant in the individual context.[/pullquote]
And again, the real issue that I see is that with the proliferation of social media is that there are suddenly too many “voices”/”content creators” in the media market. So in India, a decade ago we had print newspaperslike The Hindu, Deccan Herald, Times of India, etc. and limited TV channels (including news channels) and of course, there was the internet. So in reality, there were limited content creators and publishers, and majority of us were really content consumers (You can refer my post on What’s your role in the world of content).Today with the proliferation of social media, everyone has the opportunity to be a content creator and content publisher – in addition to a content consumer. I’ve also written a post on the Content Life Cycle of Twitter. The point I emphasize is that in Twitter or in any social media platform, the content life cycle has undergone a transformation! And what’s key to note is that while the roles have changed on the one hand, so have the expectations from various stakeholders in the industry value chain, financial models and revenue streams! So in my view, the world of content (digital / media / print, etc.) is in a state of flux and it will take some time for every participant in the content life cycle to find their firm footing!
And so in my view, the real winners a decade from now will probably be the individuals or organizations that are able to understand and pre-empt what the content consumer wants, continuously create compelling content and continuously invest in reader engagement!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Nischala! This is quite a comprehensive guide for all aspiring bloggers and our readers too.
Does this inspire you to blog more? What are your favorite takeaways from this interview?