Facebook Advertising: The Key is Micro Targeting
I have started another shot of Facebook advertising with a Budget of $1000. I was determined to boost my followership and likes on my Facebook page which were growing at a snail’s pace in the past few months. I also wanted to promote the new look and format of my travel blog to others through Facebook advertising tool. I am familiar with the functions of this tool as I had used it before. I also got advice from Facebook representatives on how to effectively promote and advertise on Facebook.
The key to its success lies in micro targeting your audience because that is the key. The key is to focus on the group of people that are the most relevant to me and the travel blog. Using demographic and psychographic parameters and indices, one had to carefully craft a picture of one’s followers and get a feel of their habits, age, nature and interests. If you can get that right, it is easier than to selectively communicate with them and tweak promotional offers that target them specifically.
Here, one needs to pay absolute attention while forming a target group. There are filters like male, female, age group, location, city, interests and hobbies, income group, ownership of consumer durables, job profile and the list just goes on. It can all get very confusing at times but if you take your time and apply all your parameters, it’s half the battle won in the first place. One can experiment by changing the post that one is boosting, changing headlines or content of the post. One can tweak one parameter or the other to assess the effectiveness of the posts. Many different permutation and combinations can be used to get maximum website clicks and post shares.
Remember, like every advertising campaign, yours also must have a clear objective, message, content and a reasonable goal. Get that right and put most of your research time on getting that done through and through.
One can change the timing of the boost and its nature to get different results. At an average expense of $100, one can expect around 1250 clicks. If you get more than this figure, you have done well. There is a metre on the advertising page that tells you how selective and focused your audience definition has been. This will give you a fair idea of how successful your campaign will be. So go out there and burn a few dollars for a little bit of love, likes and shares. Experiment with your gut and get your content out there to be viewed by millions. With over 2 billion members, Facebook is the most effective advertising tool on social media and it just cannot be ignored. Facebook also helps you design your own ads and campaigns. You can add video, images and sounds to produce your own snazzy ads and messages. Get in depth into what your product proposition is and make sure you highlight it enough. I promise you that Facebook will give you results but you will have to experiment at first for a while before you start getting better at it.
Oh! My Porn – Social Media and the Proliferation of Porn
The most startling fact emerged from a research conducted recently that says social media has taken over searching for pornography as the most popular activity on the internet. Teens see more porn on Tumblr and Snapchat than they consume from the net. With over 20 million porn sites on the network, there is a huge demand for porn which is being fulfilled by sites like youporn.com and grouporn.com that has reached 1 billion in sales faster than any other company on the net.
Social media with all its wondrous value add applications. Social media helps in the deception and sharing of pornography on the net amongst friend groups. People have also been known to share their personal nude pictures and videos on the net. It’s a fact that more than 1 in 5 cupolas first meet on Facebook and an equal number blame Facebook for their break up and separation. More than 50% of the population who are active on social media are under the age of thirty.
This is where parents need to get involved and keep a strict check on the online world of their children to understand what children are watching and sharing on these various social media platforms and applications. There has also been an upsurge of cyber bullying and young people have been affected by it.
As much as 24 million Americans are addicted to online pornography, this compulsive behaviour can cause deviant sexual behaviour, loss of job and unwanted social behaviour.
So yes, social media has brought pornography closer to netizens and has made it easier for them to share it amongst each other. An NSCPP poll conducted recently show that children are especially aware of this problem and 4 out of 5 children using Facebook or Twitter want protection against porn and cyber bullying.
Cyber pornography is a grey area in India but has been banned in many countries. In India, it comes under section 67 of the Information Technology act 2000.
The downloading and storage of pornographic material is not a crime under the law if it is for the purpose of private viewing in your home. But however, if this material is used for the purpose of distribution, it is seen as a crime. So publishing pornography on your site or blog or sending it to others using social media is a crime and punishable by 3 years in prison. In a recent case, a 21-year-old engineering student was arrested for sending obscene messages to a lady through his social media application. If the content being stored or viewed carries pictures of kids or underage girls, then it is an offence and punishable to up to 5 years in prison.
So cyber pornography and publishing of pornography are a crime in India. But the downloading, storage and private viewing of this material are legal in India except in the case of child pornography. Here, it is a crime and punishable by 5 years in jail.
Internet pornography has been banned before on 31st June 2015 and the order was passed by the additional solicitor who wrote to the DoT to ban more than 857 pornographic sites popularly being used to download absence material.
How Social Media and Internet Helped Me Fight Back
Social media, internet, applications and technology per say has made a dramatic impact in the last four to five years of my life. After the tragic demise of my father, I was left alone to pick up the pieces. Now, there was no one to guide me and to handle all that he had left to me. It was now my job to take his legacy forward and increase the wealth that he had bequeathed to me.
Here is where technology helped me and I found it to be a very powerful ally in my fight back to normal life and taking charge of my environment and my destiny. I managed all my financials through internet banking and mobile alerts. I can even buy and sell funds at the click of a button and transfer funds or pay my utility bills through the internet. I use the Airtel application to pay my wi-fi and mobile phone bills. When I go out for long travels, I know my house is safe with an integrated alarm system and video camera that give me live feed on my mobile phone. I am always keeping an eye at my house. My insurance policy and life insurance premiums are all paid online with active alerts. They are a steal to manage. I make my post bill payment through card and Paytm at times. I don’t use a car. Who needs the hassle of a driver and a car to maintain especially when I am travelling throughout the year.
My security payment draft goes through net banking. Social media is also helping me do my catharses after my father’s blog and has been the corner stone of my blogs newly found success. I am integrated into most social media apps and used skype extensively last year. Whatsapp is another application that I use frequently. With My 13 inch MacBook Air and iPhone 7, I am equipped at all times to meet my travel blogging challenges. Not to mention, my Canon Mark 5 camera with 100 mm to 200 mm zoom lens and also the bazooka 200mm to 400mm. It has a built-in wi-fi for photo sharing and transfer technology that plays a huge role in connecting us together.
In both ways, by giving me efficiencies and simplifying tasks, it has given power back to me so that I can take charge of day to day tasks. On the emotional front, it has helped me through a tragic phase of life and the loss of my father through my catharsis. It has helped me get a new focus and vision in life and that has led to my recovery and keeps me motivated in life to strive and make an effort. It has been my healer and I am hooked on to it.
Social Media – A Devil’s Lair
The advent of Orkut and the popularity of Facebook and Twitter has made a rapid resurgence in our times. Its utility, value and the ability to connect the world together is unparalleled. The advent and popularity of smartphones, tablets and smart devices along with the proliferation of Wi-Fi facility around the world has made social media a very very powerful weapon. But just like any other weapon of mass destruction, it can be used in destructive ways by negative forces to accomplish their work.
Social Media – As A Propaganda Tool
Like Lao Tzu once said, all battles are won even before they are fought. Social media has been used by modern day marketers as a positive and negative tool to spread false propaganda against a competitor and to defame others. It has been used by day to day mom and pop businesses like dhabas, hotels and even small retail shops. One of my friends at Kake Da Hotel has got the brunt of this attack when a video showing his staff in negative light went viral on Twitter. All the subsequent media blitz on YouTube, India Today and NDTV pointed to unhygienic conditions in which food is prepared in the dhaba. The poor owner Captain Arun Chopra’s famous dhaba was raided by food inspectors. But like a true Punjabi warrior, Captain Chopra fought this and got a high court order to stop this nonsense from his enemies.
Politicians and newsmakers have used social media to uncover truth, carry out sting operations, catch corrupt politicians taking bribes and even speeding propaganda against political enemies. Raids and counter raids are conducted to humiliate and harass the opponent. This is what creates the news and the controversies on which our media survives. There are many such examples where the social media has been used to fuel infamy and it has been very effective at that. Social Media agencies manage this for a buck and the rewards are immediate.
The armed forces have used it to highlight their plight, lack of proper food and ammunition and services. Many jawans have voiced their concerns through social media to highlight issues that have been kept on the back burner by the government.
The stock market is a major user of this kind of propaganda as social media is used to decimate false information to cause a manipulation in the stock market indices and to drive down competition stock. Pitting one company against the other, social media plays the levelling advocate by making money both ways.
So like the bomb of Hiroshima, THE FAT boy has become really fat and is flexible with muscles. Social media has already become a more powerful tool than the main stream media and it is time we acknowledge that. We need to try and use it in a positive manner to do good and not to harm competition but to improve our business by using its efficiencies and effectiveness.
Why Taking Backups is Important for Bloggers
Backup is a very necessary thing as a blogger if you wish to store, save and share information from one device to another like a phone, a computer, a laptop, iPad or iPhone. All Mac devices have back up facility. I use an iPhone 7 as my primary phone and a MacBook Air as my first choice of computer. It is thus imperative that I take backups of my information both on the Mac and iPhone on the iCloud. An iCloud is a data storage device that can store information such as videos, contacts and photos. You can buy space on the iCloud like 10 GB, 50 GB etc. for a price from Apple and then take back up on it. This is useful even if you lose data due to a crash or lose your device. You can be sure that your data is available to you all the time and that too on the go. There is no need to carry cumbersome hard drives or disks with you in your bags to save data. The iCloud feature saves that problem.
Google also gives you that facility as a Google Drive and Photos where you can save data or pictures and share them with a third party. I share data with my service provider on Google Drive in this manner. This too can be purchased at a cost. Technology today has bridged that gap. Even your music and movies can be shared and stored in this manner.
At all time, take back up. It is your only safeguard against a crash. iCloud is a storage subscription service. When you subscribe to iCloud, you get 5 GB of space free and you cannot exceed the capacity of 15 GB of storage space.
iCloud Shortcoming: iCloud is not a Dropbox and does not have that kind of a facility. Application updates are not automatic. 5 GB is too little space and you may need more of it. But all in all, it is the best back up service as it is in the market along with Dropbox and certainly a popular one.
To Like or Not to Like, That Is the Question: What Is the Worth of a Facebook Like?
The question that has been debated and trashed about for years since the boom in social media marketing is about the real dollar value of a Facebook like. According to social media marketer Syncapse, the value of a single Facebook like has gone up from $136 in 2010 to $174 as the years have gone by. But this figure varies from research to research. Blackburn NTEN and Common Knowledge have pegged this value to $214.81 per like. Syncapse also found out that a single recommendation from any one of the influencers can earn as much as $22.95 from a brand on social media.
There is an interesting formula to calculate the ROI on a Facebook campaign. It is as follows.
- L = The total number of Facebook likes before launching your Facebook campaign
- UpM = Unlike per month, this is the average number of people who unlike your page month on month. Since the number can fluctuate, we recommend collecting few months of data. This can be found on the insight page of Facebook.
- C = Average clicks, this is the average number of clicks your social media post gets.
- CR = Website conversion rate. If your website gets 10 leads, CR is the number that gets converted into a sale.
- ACV = This is the average retainer value of a client who has made a purchase.
- Lpd = Number of likes your page receives per day.
For some, a Facebook like cannot be quantified as marketing efforts on social media as it is very different to traditional marketing and they feel the whole exercise is futile as Facebook is very secretive about its algorithms and the impact it has on its newsfeed. A larger number of likes should lead to higher engagements, that is what common sense tells us. Well, according to Derick Muller, it does not, especially if the likes are paid likes. With the numerous click farms scattered around the world, bought likes give you no result at all as your fan base is fake and it does not lead to genuine conversions. The only way to improve likes and increase stickiness on your page is to improve the quality of your posts and excite and enthral your audience with engaging content.
These are more authentic and genuine in nature as here, the likes have not been bought and it is a measure of the emotional response of your fans. Likes is an emotional response that has to be earned over and over again. So think very hard at every level before you engage with your customer and remember to separate the chaff with the grain. True gems are always found after a great deal of effort and polishing.
CTR and PPC Demystified in Google AdSense
CTR: Called the Click Through Rate, this is simply a method of evaluating the effectiveness of an ad on AdSense. It is simply the number of times an ad is clicked divided by the page views on which the ad appears. So if we have an ad running and 100 people view it but only 10 people click on it, the CTR is 10%. A high CTR does not mean high ad revenue for you. The matrix here to be seen is Pay Per Click.
PPC: So what is the funda of Pay Per Click? Well, AdWords is an auction based system where advertisers specify how much they are willing to pay for an individual who clicks on their ad which leads and directs the user to their site. The advertisers who pay more get more traffic diverted to his/her site. To increase the effectiveness of your advertising campaign, one must concentrate on Keywords. Instead of broad keywords, narrow your keyword type. This will give you a sharper position and decrease your bounce rate. It will get only the right people to your site and increase the effectiveness of your ad campaigns.
Using Effective Keywords: Use long tail keywords, these increase the effectiveness of the purchase process and results in higher conversions. Use plurals in your keywords and also use negative keywords. Negative keywords tell you where your ads should not appear.
Effective Landing Page: Make sure that when the user clicks on your ad, the landing page is not the home page. If you have talked about a discount offer, then the landing page should be a page that in simple terms talks and elaborates the offer. Landing on the home page will just confuse the user and will not add any value to the ad offer. Also, make sure that you highlight your phone number effectively on the landing page.
Correct Targeting: Make sure that your targeting is precise. If you are targeting multiple countries, you need to set up ad groups for each country. Use geo specific features and gender and age targeting. Even a small increase in CTR and PPC can improve your campaign and it’s effectiveness by miles.
Demystify YouTube Monetisation through Google AdSense
YouTube, as you know, is a video sharing platform like Vimeo. One can create a channel and an account on YouTube and link it to Google ads. This way, your monetisation process will begin as ads will be served on your videos and you will get revenues depending on the ad clicks and impressions.
Engaging Content: Remember, your content must be engaging and appealing. Have a call to action. This will be the only way people will be encouraged to click on your ads and also find your videos through key word searches.
YouTube will only serve ads to you if your channel has over 10,000 views. This is a limit that YouTube has set up recently.
The Type of Ads Served On YouTube
Display Ads: Ad size 300×250 or 300×60 appearing on the right side of the video on desktop devices.
Overlay Ads: Ad size 468×60 and 728×90 will appear on the lower end of the videos on desktop devices.
Skippable Ads: Full-length motion ads that play for 5 seconds before your video begins. These can be skipped or inserted in the beginning, in the middle or the end of the ads.
Display Ads: Display cards with related products that feature on your video or on desktop devices.
Again, YouTube monetisation is not a get-rich-quick solution and it takes a lot of sweat to make money from it. Your videos have to be engaging and exciting. You should hope for at least one of your videos to go viral to be able to make some money. Again, make sure you that have alternate revenue streams available to make money. Only video monetisation will not solve your problem.
What Is Google Adsense All About
Whether you have been blogging for 5 years or 5 months, it is not so easy to make money on Google Adsense. There have been times that I have made only 10 cents through Adsense and that too has taken me months. You need to have a lot of patience if you want to make Adsense work. Most people get frustrated quickly and give up easily on Adsense. Adsense helps website owners and bloggers to make money through ads that are displayed on your web pages. At a time, Google will post three ads per page one on the top of the post, one at the end and one on the side bar.
Impressions: This is based on the number of page views and clicks per post
Clicks: This is based on the number of clicks on the ads.
For instance, you post something regarding heart attacks or heart disease and Google will display an ad of a heart surgeon or clinic on the post. If people search through google and arrive on your post, they will read it and if they want more information on heart diseases, they will click on the ad displayed on top of your post that amounts to a single click. Once you make more than $100, Google will send you a pay check or send the amount directly to your bank account.
So Who Is Eligible?
- If you are a blogger, use the monetise tab to install Adsense Account.
- If you host through self-hosted WordPress account, you can also install Adsense.
- If you use free WordPress, you cannot use Adsense. You need to host through Word Ads.
Some ads are worth more money per click. It depends on the level of your SEO effort and also word searches. Your post should solve someone’s problem. It has to be informative and help the reader so that it encourages him to know further by clicking on the ads.
Stay Away from Doing These
- Never ever click your own ads. You will get banned by Google if you do that. Remember, his daddy is watching you all the time and there is nowhere to hide.
- Avoid telling your friend and family members to click on the ads.
- Don’t use more than three ad blocks on a single page. It just increases the clutter on your page and can be troublesome.
- You should not rely singularly on Adsense to make money. You should also have other revenue streams in mind. The amount of money you make on Adsense will be a pittance. Remember, it is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Building Features and Expanding Your Travel Blog
Since I started on my travel journey through my blog www.tikkustravelthon.in, I have evolved through my journeys and so has my blog. With the help of a few knowledgeable friends and some intelligent people, I have made sure that my blog adds maximum value to my life as well to the lives of people who read my content. Now my blog is a colourful website which receives ads from Google. I have integrated the blog with more than a dozen social media applications and contribute my content to other travel websites like tripoto.com. The slide looks more bright and full of colours as sliders highlight the many features that I have added to my Travelthon website.
Features are opportunities to add separate channels to your current existing blog. These are content tributaries of the mother website. Like different satellite and TV channels, they form a separate content niche. For Instance, my Blogging for Gold focuses on the technical aspects of blogging and cuts through the jargon to explain what blogging is and how one can create his/her own blog and make it grow.
Survival focuses on day to day issues of motivation, tackling depression, coping with pain, building a joyful life, spirituality and religion.
I have, in all, added eight of these featured sections to my blog and I have also managed to get some help from others who agree to write for me. Features can add wonders to your blog as you can increase your followership. By doing that, my page views are now 23,000 which is almost double than the previous months and my user base is increased with 4300 more users which is still the highest yet.
It is also important to see where your traffic is coming from. 50% of my traffic is from my social media integrated applications and there are a dozen of them. The rest 25% comes from Google search where people get to know about my URL through keyword searches or just a simple name search. If you know these figures, then you can stimulate activity in this particular area and focus on doing promotion activities to grow the source of your traffic. You can start advertising or use teaser campaigns that will increase your traffic and you will get spikes during the promotion period.
The next move that I am aiming is to expand and add new languages to the website and have the content available in Hindi and Malayalam expanding to 6 more regional languages. This will again widen the readership and get new segments of followers under the mother brand www.tikkustravelthon.in.
So go differentiate yourself and identify sub niches within your blog themes. This will help in getting a larger base and also segment your content sharply.
Customer Feedback Surveys are a Great Way to Add Value to Travel
Now that I have started travelling full time, I have gotten used to booking through internet travel websites, hospitality services, AirBnB, airlines websites and much more. Each time I use a service, I get an email from the vendor asking me to rate his service. This could be a room stay at the Taj or a week in OYO Rooms. Even sites like makemytrip.com, goibibo.com and trip advisor ask travellers to answer a feedback form to rate their services. The ratings are generally from one to 10 or Excellent to Poor. One has to rate the hospitality or air service on various parameters and then send the reply with your name and e-mail id. Taj gives free inner circle points which are added to your card. These can be redeemed as free dinner and drinks or even a free night stay facility.
As an incentive, these sites give the customer who fully replies to the survey freebies, free points, e-cash, discount coupons etc. This is just a bait for people to take the trouble to answer the feedback forms and is also a great customer data building and customer profiling tool. This can be used by the brand marketing teams of the service providers and give them insights as to how to retain and attract new customers. makemytrip.com has a free e-wallet facility and straight away adds cash to your e-wallet so that you can use it next time you make a purchase from the website. It is also a very effective direct marketing tool and a great way to analyse consumer behaviour.
I have ended up answering a few and have won free points or e-cash as an incentive. Airline companies like Jet offer customers with free extra miles if they answer a survey or do their ticket bookings online. At times, one can also save on the service tax on the ticket. All this adds up to your savings. The relationship that you build with the service provider helps in the future as they target you with more incentives and more lucrative travel services and offers. So go ahead and fill those feedback forms and e-surveys, you will become a great travel critique and that will also help you better internalise your own travel experience.
SmugMug – A Photo Gallery Application Review
SmugMug is an application to handle, display, buy, sell and showcase the collection of your photographs. This application can be easily integrated with your website and WordPress blog, the only thing is that you should have a custom WordPress for it. You can upload and download photographs through Google photos, photo drive or just the desktop. These can be neatly arranged in albums. There is also a facility for photo enhancement and editing to give your picture the real professional look. You can sort, interchange and even close up with your photos. There are a whole host of design templates and skins to choose from to give your showcase window the look and feel you want to display. Various themes and background add another flavour and dimension to the application.
But its best part is the shopping cart. One can sell their displayed photos to buyers, these can be in the form of cards, photo t-shirts or just framed photos. The pricing is variable and there are guidelines mentioned that tell you how to fix an optimum price for your photos. There is a facility under the sell icon to make packages and sell your photos as part of a package to an entire group. You can even create an Event to help promote and sell more of your lovely photos. One can, in a single shot, create and design a completely customised photo website. It is also blessed with a good photo sharing mechanism and tools along with a large photo gallery which is the main display area for your photographs. This is the best photo application for serious photographers, professionals as well as beginners.
There are four plans to choose from,
Basic: Here the cost is $3.99 if billed annually and $5.99 if billed monthly. With this, you get a customised website, gorgeous photo galleries, photo sharing through social media, order prints from best labs, unlimited photo uploads, drag and drop facility and other such features.
Power: $5.99 a month billed annually and $8.99 if billed monthly, here one can use their domain name and HTML customisation which is also possible.
Portfolio: $12.50 billed annually and $20 billed monthly. This is the best for show casting and selling your photographs. Here also HTML customisation is possible and one can store and display downloaded videos too.
Business: $25 billed annually and $35 billed monthly. Perfect if you have a photography business, it helps you to order prints from the best labs in the world and is also e-commerce compliant. Use site wise pricing and activate events to sell your photographs in a more profitable manner.
With a robust cloud sharing facility, this is the best place to safely store and then transfer photographs around the net and social media. I have integrated my blog Tikku’s Travelthon with SumgMug, they give the first 14 days free trial after which one must choose any of the displayed packages. So my last word is, SmugMug is a must for all photo enthusiasts.
The Five Keys to Blog Analytics
Blog analytics looks like a complex subject with all the figures, tables, charts and graphs that one has to go through. I mean a decent size blog linked to WordPress with active Google analytics tool to go with can provide invaluable data and analysis that can serve as a gold mine to improve blogger traffic and web visibility. One just needs to understand and familiarise oneself to new terms and their meanings. Understanding and strategizing for the success of your blog can only be done by understanding and interpreting daily and monthly analytic reports.
This is the period of time someone visits your blog. So if someone logs into you blog twice that will mean one unique user and two sessions logged. The user is one, he has just visited your blog twice. Sessions tell you how many people are coming and visiting your blog, reading, commenting and interacting with your content. More sessions mean a popular blog. Mind you, people reading your post in their RSS feed will not count as a session. That is why, like in my blog, there is a huge difference in followers and real blog page views. The followers are only seeing it in their RSS feed but it does not count as a session.
2. Page Views
This is the number of time a unique user logs into your blog, loads and reloads the browser. Every reload is a page view. So one user can see three pages of your blog, that will be three page views. Page views tells us what kind of content the users are liking or disliking. It points us towards the right content strategy to use, to increase stickiness and make users savour more content and spend more time on the blog. You will always have high page views compared to the number of visits, unless your bounce rate is very high. One can improve and increase the number of page views by using interlinks, popular posts widgets and link within widgets at the bottom of the posts to show related content.
3. Bounce Rate
This is the percentage of people who leave your blog without further going through the first page. So if a user just clicks on the home page or a previous post and leaves immediately, it is considered as one bounce. Really bounce rate of less than 60% is good and less than 10% is fantastic. But you shouldn’t worry about the bounce rate and the only way to counter is by increasing your page views.
Referrals are other sites bringing traffic to your blog. It could be through Facebook, Twitter or other such social media application. If you go to google analytics, you will find organic traffic, this is what comes from google and non-direct traffic which comes from people typing the URL of your blog. Referrals tells you where to put your attention, time and energies. One will invariably focus on sites and application that get more traffic toy your blog.
You can analyse this through google analytics and it tells you the most visited places on your blog. It tells you the readership of your top most pages, videos and most liked buttons. This tells you and points toward the flavour, style and character of content one posts on the blog.
These keys will open all doors of the blog and social media marketing. If you can ANALYSE THIS, you are on your way to success.
11 Applications Every Blogger Must Have
1. Facebook is the mother of all platforms and as a blogger, one must be on Facebook. Apart from Facebook, one must definitely have a distinct page for the blog and should post regularly on groups and internet pages relevant to the blogging theme.
2. LinkedIn gives you a network of professionals you can forge business partnerships with. I found my current service provider through this platform.
3. WhatsApp is a must stay-in-touch app and adds a chat element to your blogging. You can respond instantly and send pictures and videos too making it a great communication tool.
4. Instagram, the father of all photography and photo sharing applications, has kick-started the lives of many internet celebrities. It is very popular with photographers, journalists and media personalities.
5. Tumblr is a creative blogging platform and is smart as well as easy to use. The level of blogging is also visually attractive and artistic. For these reasons, a lot of professional bloggers have integrated with this platform.
6. Pinterest is used widely to pin down hobbies and common interest areas.
7. YouTube is meant solely for videos and is very popular and powerful at it. You also get paid for your video views.
8. Vimeo is another video platform like YouTube. This is a more advanced and sophisticated platform specialising in HD and higher video qualities.
9. StumbleUpon is a must for hobby enthusiasts and creative people.
10. WordPress is a singular blogging platform that manages all your social media and internet entities.
11. Twitter is a popular news and social networking app where users can communicate with a limited number of words called “tweets”.
The Four ‘P’s of Blogging
An obscene amount of patience is needed to achieve any kind of success in a chosen field and the same goes for blogging. Trial-and-error is the name of the game. You keep failing and finally, you will find something that will work. I started my travels three years back and started blogging around two years back. I have had to be patient for my rewards but a few victories have come my way like adding my newsletter and getting to 75,000 total followers. I have experimented with different content styles and categories to see what works and what doesn’t. But I have had to grind and blow away money on some useless internet advertising tools and I am still not generating revenues from my blog. My monthly outlay is Rs 50,000 for just website hosting and content creation. So keep the faith and trudge along, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
I have formed concrete partnerships for content creation, web hosting services and content posting as surrogate content to other travel websites like TripHobo and Tripoto. So a process has been set in place with the various partners playing their respective roles. Content creation, hosting and posting are all being looked after by partnership teams.
Visual appeal is very important for a travel blog. For this, you need enticing photographs to display the exotic locations. Theme photography is preferred in which you communicate through pictures. They capture emotions the best and have a nostalgic value too. A picture can trigger many thoughts and can speak louder than words.
What you say, how you write about it and how well you inform and engage your audience can only be done through a thorough and fantastic post that conveys its message clearly and crisply. So, what you post is also of the utmost importance. Its structure, grammar and punctuations should be spot on and it should be original content coming right from you backed by your research.
Travel Journaling – A Great Way To Start
Travelling is a very therapeutic and creative activity. One’s awareness becomes high as you are more alert when you travel. Once you have done travelling for some time, you get to absorb the atmosphere and learn to savour and appreciate things. One gets into interesting conversations with new and, sometimes, strange people. Friendships are made, new discoveries, new experiences, a wanderlust that just sucks you in. This is where you need an outlet, a mode of inner expression of your thoughts, moods, perceptions, awareness, imagination and creativity. I mean there is so much to absorb and then one needs to structure the experience to a presentable and enticing manner so that it is easy to read.
You can capture the sounds and sights of the places you visit on your iPhone or through a lens. You can then make notes and save ideas on a voice recorder. This is the raw material one needs to collect before one sits down to write a travel journal. It is the catharsis of days or weeks of travel experience. Your journal entry can be specific to an event, an insight or a wonderful thing you saw at a particular place. One can make it pictorial and add pictures to the words.
A travel journal is a start if one has to graduate to making a travel blog. A blog has many different angles integrated together. It is more complex and requires a steady flow of textual and visual content. Writing a travel journal is the first step and anyone who is expressive and has a command of language can do it. It is just putting your thoughts and feeling down on paper, your travel experience laid bare to you first and then to the readers.
This is also meditative and therapeutic. Many successful people write their personal journals. They say it helps in structuring your thoughts, a way to digest and analyse all the events, thoughts and feelings of the day. It is contemplation time, a way to think things through and evaluate pros and cons of decisions. Your experience is reinforced to you when you journalize it. It is the essence of the sum total of your experiences of the day as you travel from place to place.
A journal is a cheap and effective tool to share your experience with others. But, of course, a blog does it in a far more efficient manner. So my advice to new travellers or those who have just started on the travel bug is to start writing a journal and document their travel stories. A blog can then simply follow.
Syndicating Your Blogging Content
One great way to make your content available to a larger audience is to do lots of content syndication partnerships. This means you tie up with other content providers like newspapers, magazines, content websites and mobile applications that can use your content. I, for one, have tied up with a local newspaper and my old school Welham Old Boys’ magazine which will have stories from my blog. At first, one can give out free content to these partners or just generate user generated content for other sites. But after three months, you can start charging for it. A typical blog will be 500 words long with 10 photos and a video. If you pay a fee of Rs. 40,000 for SEO Level marketing, maintenance and newsletter generation to a service provider, 15 blog posts will come out in a month. So the cost is Rs. 2,600 per post. That is CPP or cost per post. Mind you, I have not added the cost of travelling per say to this. But CPP is a more accurate way to see the cost per post.
Start charging after three months of giving content free. Remember, no one appreciates anything given free. Package your post and charge more for posts that are made abroad and have a different price for local posts that will get you some additional revenue. This will be my entry level strategy for content syndication of one’s blog. After this, you can package your content under certain themes like Adventure Sports, Passion, Food, Nightlife and Spirituality. These can be sold separately to niche websites and content aggregators. So, first is cost, then position your content with agree entry level strategy when you hit the blog content market.
Include motivational content and build further on your blogging journey by educating people through your learnings and mistakes. Be like a guru spreading your joy to others. Educate others through your blog posts. Build a topical edge on your blog and have posts that highlight the event of the day. You can throw in contests to increase membership too.
But syndicate you must as that’s what will drive revenues to you.
A Blog Is Like a Job
A blog is like having a job. Only with the blog you have the freedom of working from whenever, wherever and however you want to do it. You don’t have a boss. You just have a set of followers and avid readers of your blog who keep giving you course corrections as you go along with your journey of blogging. But you have to do it relentlessly only because you enjoy it. You have to be relentless in your goals and pursue them vigorously. It is an activity you have to be with every day. You should either be writing, thinking or planning about your next post. One has to be on top by reading other bloggers, internet marketing on the net and spending time on ideation and research. Photography, videography and capturing footage through the drone on 4k becomes an add-on while you are writing your blog as you want to make it visually appealing. This is where Youtube comes into play as you can store these videos with labels on the site.
Be specific about what you are writing. Make it humorous and witty but also informative at the same time. Lace your post with colours and great photos. As long as you are using the best available photography equipment, you should get good results. I use a drone for air photography to get unique and best angles. But no job is fulfilling without results. So it’s great to see your likes, shares and comments rise along with your overall blog followership.
For instance, my blog has over 70,000 followers. Now, this is across all social media platforms that I have integrated with. I have over 300 average sessions logged in a day and more than two dozen shares at an average per post for my blog. Changing skins also helps in making the blog more visually appealing and giving it a more focused identity which will be predominantly determined by the style of writing on the blog.
If done every day with persistence, it will start giving you results in about a year’s time. So you have to be patient with it for a while as you prepare yourself for the long hall ahead. Writing, of course, is like therapy and one’s ideas and discussions get reinforced every day as one writes a blog post. Framing your sentences concisely is an art but with practice, it will come. If you speak correctly, you will be able to write correctly and the grammar will take care of itself. Once you have interacted with some of the followers, you will get enough feedback to twist your posts to cater to your unique audience. I, for one, have not had a lot of comments on my posts lately but the shares have gone up drastically which is a good sign.
So treat your blog as a hobby but take it seriously like a job. If you have the passion, you will persevere and move to a custom build site in the future. Your learnings will help others to excel in blogging as you go forth and leave a trail behind.
Blog Writing Skills
Writing and writing well is the key to creating engaging content for your blog which is appealing and captures your feeling and thoughts to the T. It is easier said than done as it requires thought and preparation. Here are a few ways by which you can create engaging content for your blog.
Make sure you choose a topic and reinforce it by giving a heading to your post as it is of paramount importance. Have a clear positioning and define your statements.
Just Do It
First and foremost, get a good computer or laptop with keyboards that you are comfortable with. Open the word page and just start typing your thoughts as they come to you.
If you are trying to write a blog, have the angle clear in your head before you start typing anything. What is the subject that you are going to be writing about and how do you want your reader to react to it? Is it engaging enough? Will it draw the kind of response you want from your audience? Will it move your reader?
Call to Action
Will what you are writing motivate your reader to act and to respond by action? Will he want to share your content with friends and family? Will he talk about it when he is with friends? Will it give him new information which will enrich his day to day life? Have the objectives in place as you begin to write your blog post.
Spelling and Punctuations
Have the spellings corrected through spell check and punctuations too. A tardy post is very irritating and no one has the time to waste on understanding your post. You have to have the grammar correct in the first place. Please make sure that the grammar is good and the errors are kept to a minimum, or else you will look like a fool to your readers.
If you are writing on a particular type of food or a product, make sure that you have done adequate research. There is a plethora of research that can be done on the net. Otherwise, before you start shaping the post, get the facts and the specifications right. Any mistakes on this front will make your post look lazy and incomplete to the reader.
Keep It Crisp
Don’t meander and use too many adjectives to define places or events. Be specific and to the point. You don’t have to fill the page with words. Rather, each word and sentence should pack a punch and say what you have to say precisely and concisely. Be prudent in your posts and try to avoid long sentences.
You should highlight key phrases and information that is unique to point out its relevance. If you are sharing unique information, make sure that your readers know about it. It will give added sheen to your blog and make them feel that they first read it here for the first time.
Pictures and Images
Use images, pictures and diagrams when you want to say things that are important. Remember, a picture is more valuable than a thousand words. So use it to your advantage. Keep your eye open when you take photos and use them often as they are more powerful than written words.
Have the closing in place and keep a tab on your word limit. Closing a post is the hardest to do. Make sure you reinforce what you have just said and build statements that will move your reader to respond to your post. Reinforcing your angle and views are important for a more rounded post.
Blogging For Gold
Blogging is a bit like digging for gold, only that you are doing it in the internet space in an environment of social media using technology, connectivity platforms, and other applications. It is not as complex as it seems and once you get the hang of it, blogging is simple and logical. If the passion, application and share intelligence is there, anyone can build and profit from a blog. So how does one plan and execute a blog? The chapters below will elaborate on that and much more.
Power of Positioning
Your blog needs a sharp positioning. It has to define its goals and focus upfront clearly. The reader should know immediately what your blog stands for and what it talks about. You have to be clear about what you want to say and what topic you want to address through your blog. For instance, my passion for solo travelling was the reason for starting a travel blog. Once I had decided on its over-riding theme, I decided to choose a name and buy a URL on the internet along with a company email id. The name of my blog is Tikku’s Travelthon. It conveys my name and the theme of the blog upfront. People immediately know it’s a travel blog run by a chap called Tikku. The ‘thon’ is a creative twist like a marathon. Here, it’s a travelthon representing a revel journey that keeps going and never ends. The by-line of the blog is One Man’s Journey to Discover Himself. This reinforces the blog name and gives the blog a sense of purpose and direction that elaborates the purpose of the blog.
You can buy a URL at the cost of a fee. You can buy a URL for two years along with a company e-mail id and some space for Rs. 4,615 from sites like Rediff. Even Google and Yahoo provide this service. Payment is to be done online through a credit card. Once that is done, you can buy a basic WordPress.com site for Rs. 14,000 per year and upgrade it to a business site later after you have filled it up with basic content.
Logo design is also very important as it should go with the theme and positioning of the blog. The logo I have is bold and creative with a blue seagull on top. This conveys the element of the sky in the colour blue and the gull flying in the sky. The thon in the Travelthon is in green depicting the earth, jungle and forest. The logo should be chosen carefully. You can design it yourself but ideally get it done by a professional for maximum imp ace. It will not cost more than Rs 5,000. Now you have a theme, an intent identity, and a face. These are the key. Without these, you are a nemesis and faceless on the Internet. A lot of bloggers do not define their blog with sharpness and focus and thus the content looks and sounds diffused. They talk about too many things and thus confuse their readers. So keep the positioning tight and the rest will follow. Remember, the blog is an expanded identity of you and you have to give it shape through the vision of your thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is an attention to your primary hobby and your current passion. So let people understand clearly about what you want to say.
Keep your Audience in Mind
You need to keep your audience in mind, who you are talking to and why they should read you. You should also have in mind what is in it for the reader and whether you are addressing some of his needs either by educating him or by giving him vital information that he needs. Is it adding value to an aspect of his life? Do you connect with her through your writings? Do your photos and videos excite them that they would want to become a follower of your blog and read your stuff again and again. Say what you want to say and be precise. Before you finish each post, know who you are addressing and what reaction you want the post to have on your audience at the emotional level.
How and what is the mindset of your prospective reader? Is he or she an adventurer, an outdoors person, a foodie or a fitness fanatic? Maybe the reader is just a couch potato or a sports enthusiast. How does the person like to spend his free time? You should ask these kinds of questions to define the category of your prospective reader. For my blog, I choose people who enjoy travel, leisure, adventure and outdoor sports. These will depend on your chosen blog theme and matter. So make sure once you have done the positioning, you also start to profile your prospective audience. This will help you frame your posts better and will help in focused ideation. At many times, ill-defined target audience leads to a confused blog and you will be unable to attract the right kind of readership. Remember those who agree with your vision and approve of your mindset and philosophy will only flock to you. So know your followers before they become your followers and it will be easier for them to find you.
Where does your audience reside and what age group or income category do they fall into? What are their profession and qualification? You also need to know your gender splits to male, female etc.
This defines the demographic of your audience. This will help you to choose your language, tone and matter when you formulate your posts. Demographic profiling is the key to the success of your blog. Use the demographic profiling tools used by Facebook as they are much focused and narrow the audience down very well. Your content will depend on your profiling and hence, keep it sharp. Once the above steps are taken care of after much thought, one can move to content creation.
Now is the time to fill up your blog with written words and links. Start with what this is all about as this elaborates the theme of your blog. You can also try telling a story about yourself. My blog has a backstory of my life and on how I overcame the death of my father and how my current passion of travelling is helping me rebuild my life and seek happiness and control of my life. Put this up front for all to see.
Then comes your profile and contact details. Your background, educational and professional, go a long way in establishing credibility and the audience gets a glimpse of who you are as a person. Make it brief and precise. Ideally, your posts should not be more than 500 words. Say what you want to say within this word limit. Remember, on the net people want to gauge and costume your content with ease without wasting too much time. So say what you want to say upfront.
Content is not easy to come by. You have to do research on the net depending on what you want to write and then go out and get it. I have to keep travelling regularly in order to generate content and stories. I have to keep meeting and chatting with strangers in search of a story, humour or a particular angle.
Always have a Headline
Your blog post must have a headline which should give the reader an idea of your content and what to expect out of your post. Make it catchy and rhythmic. Remember you are spinning a yarn, make it exciting. One must read the headline and become excited about reading your post.
What’s The Angle?
This is important. While formulating your post, always have an angle. Do you want to talk about the history of a place, convey a story or just be plain funny and stupid? What is it you want to say through your post? You get the angle right and your post is bound to be a hit and results in getting a lot of attention though sessions logged in, likes and shares. Engaging posts always have an overriding angle. It may be linked to your direct experience and what moved you the most on that day. My posts on Demonetisation, David Sheldrick project, Lake Tritiva or Airline Miles have an angle to it. They are also informative posts. You can have call for action posts that get your audience to react and do something. These can be posts encouraging them to enter a contest or just pick up their bags and travel just like me.
Be Funny and Positive
Chisel your posts with humour and motivational quotes. Be motivational and inspiring through your stories. If I can do it, so can you. Take pride and have a sense of achievement.
Lace your content with information. You will need to do some research for that. If you are talking about food, talk about the ingredients, the cost, the decoration and packaging. Where is the particular dish available and what are its ingredients? Can you order it? If yes then how and from where. Limit your blog to 500 words through and do not ramble aimlessly just to fill space. Don’t use too many adjectives as they sound repetitive and boring. Be more visual and descriptive so that your reader can be stimulated enough to visualise the scene himself. Put links so that the reader can search further and gather more information going through other sites.
Spelling and Grammar
Have zero-error content, no spelling mistakes, no grammatical errors, keep it crisp and position the links well. You can do this on your own or outsource this to a service provider who will charge Rs. 15,000 approximately for this service. No abusing, no ranting. You can be mischievous but not malicious. With practice, your posts will improve. So give it time and a lot of thought.
Your posts should be littered with sharp and bright photographs. Start with an amateur camera first and then move to a professional one. Do not jump the gun. Choose two lenses, a basic and a zoom. I started off with a Canon EOS amateur camera with a zoom lens that cost about Rs. 3,500. After a year, I moved to a professional Canon Mark IV 5D camera with a 70 mm to 200 mm zoom lens and this set me back by 3.5 lakhs. But invest time in photography and a visually appealing blog catches eyeballs and inspires people to share your posts. A photograph says so much, sometimes, even more than words. I also use my iPhone 7 to take photos and make videos which I clip and edit myself. Try to have a background commentary to your videos and shoot them in 4K which is the high-quality format that is used across popular platforms. Name your photos and videos with a descriptor so that the reader knows what it is all about. Make sure you use watermarks of your logo on your photographs that show direct ownership. Use Vimeo and Youtube to upload these videos and also integrate them with your blog posts. I have an average of at least one video and 10 photographs per post. The video can be a party, an event or also an interview. Wildlife videos are very appealing, so make sure you say the name of your blog every time you shoot one. It, again, establishes your brand and reinforces your blog identity.
Categorise Your Blog
Your blog must be divided into categories. These are the broad set of subtopics that you will talk about. For my travel blog, I have chosen five broad categories.
5. Adventure Sports
Depending on the theme of your blog, you can also categorise your content. This will help focus your content and will make it easier for your followers to search for your content with ease. You can then research and write content specifically for these categories.
Keep an Idea bank
Write down your ideas or record them when you get strokes of inspiration. I record my thoughts and ideas on the recorder of my iPhone and refer back to them when I am writing my posts.
Be On the Move
As a traveller, the best way for me to generate content is to travel more. The more I travel, the more sights and places I see and the more photos I take. The more stories I uncover, the more experiences I have to share. Whether it be Africa or Mauritius, I have to be on the prowl in search of content. I have already done more than 220 days of on-road travel in the year 2016 and hope to do more this year. I have been generating around 20 posts at an average per month and that has made my followership increase dramatically.
So remember, content is king. The more enticing and appealing the content is, the more it will be shared and commented on.
Integrate a monthly newsletter in your blog. You can do that easily through Mailchimp. A newsletter is a reprise of the month’s events. You have to add a letter from the editor which will be your views and takes on the month that has gone by. Have an essay from a fellow traveller and contests to spice it up. Use colours, pictures, fonts and boxes to make it visually appealing. People who subscribe to your newsletter will be your most ardent fans and you must get to know them. They are the people engaged with you the most. Have a big bright and bold button at the top of your blog so that it is upfront for people to click and add their e-mail ids to subscribe to it.
Tag all your posts with keywords that define your posts and the words that are used most in your posts. Good and precise tags help people to discover your blog faster in Google and help in keyword searches. Tag your videos on Youtube and label things at all times.
Be imaginative, descriptive, creative, eloquent and informative while writing your posts. Your grasp on the language should come forth on the material you post. Don’t just ramble but paint a picture and describe the scenery. Transport the reader so that it seems he is with you at all times seeing and feeling just like you.
How To Promote your Blog
Direct marketing tools like targeted ads with click throughs, generating user generated content for other websites, co-promotions, and media write-ups are one of the ways to promote your blog and get attention in the internet space. For advertising, one has to pay platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Outbrain a fee for them to show your ad to a targeted audience. These are calculated on a CPC model of cost per clicks. So for one dollar, you can buy 5 to 6 clicks on Facebook. Other social media vehicles have their own rates depending on their reach and audience size.
Facebook advertising can help in getting followers and clicks on your blog but one has to buy these and invest money in it. If you spend 500 dollars and above, a Facebook adviser will be provided to you who will take you through the online advertising process and teach you how to create a targeted ad.
Online advertising can be replicated on other social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter too.
SEO Level Marketing
SEO means search engine optimisation. This is tweaking of the search engine at the backend so that your blog URL comes up on top when anyone searches for it through related keywords. It is here that things like tags are important. If you have used the right tags, your blog will be shown more prominently when keywords are used to search content by people on the net.
Also, there are a set of rules, a set of dos and do nots that have to be followed in order for your blog to appear more on searches. The more your blog shows up, the more likely it will be discovered on searches. The more rules you follow, the higher your SEO score, the more followers and click throughs you will get.
Social Media Platform Integration
Integration of Social Media Platforms with your blog is of paramount importance and one should integrate the blog with all the prominent platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Youtube and Facebook. When your post is out, make sure you do a simultaneous broadcast on all platforms. This way, your followership on these platforms will also steadily increase bringing an increase on overall followership.
Facebook Page Creation
The creation of a separate Facebook page will get you closer to your target group. On this page, you can be more specific about your blog and proposition. You can also build a store if you are selling a product or service. Building customers and prospects become easier with a page as it represents your blog theme and proposition. Make sure you regularly post to your Facebook Page to keep the content on it rich and exciting. People can leave a comment or leave a message. They can even chat with you on the messenger to establish a business contact and trade with you. So having a separate page is important for your blog and its right promotion.
Posting On Group Pages
You can also post on other group pages that are relevant to your blog like photography and travel blogger groups. Groups of your old school and college or groups formed by old colleagues. You can create your own friends group also and be its moderator. These groups encourage discussion and exchange of ideas. You can guide and give advice to people on the theme and knowledge of your blog and pass on valuable information. This builds followership, retention and loyalty. It increases stickiness and encourages people to comment and interact within the group.
You can invite other bloggers also to share their knowledge domain with you and write for your blog as experts. If they happen to have a renowned name, it will add credibility to your blog and increase the level of knowledge and content on your blog. It will make your blog more informative. You can add a guest column to your blog where the guest uses his space to pass a specific message or impart a certain knowledge.
Write for Publications
Try to impress editors of publications relevant to your theme and write for them. This will not only promote your content but also give visibility to you and your blog. Try doing barter deals where you give the content and get publicity in exchange. In the beginning, it will be difficult to get money but keep at it. The more you write, the better you will get at it and the more value you can give to your publications. I got a story plugin from YourStory that helped in giving me positive publicity and garner support for my blog.
User Generated Content
Write for domain sites in their user generated content section or participate in their blogger programs. I did that with TripHobo and Tripoto. I posted on these sites for free in a hope to become visible to their users. This will be free of course but does help in getting your blog more views. It is nevertheless a slow process and takes time. But you need to identify and approach these domain sites first to get yourself listed on them and then post your content. You can also integrate your blog with these sites through a widget. So that whenever you post, the content appears on their site also.
Try and participate in blogger conferences and create a network of like-minded trines for a free flow of ideas. You can also submit your blog and test your skills against the best in the business. Who knows, you might get a winners badge that will add credibility to your site. You might even get invited to TEDx for a talk or get training assignments too.
Theme based cross promotion with related brands can garner more followers and increase loyalty amongst current followers. As a travel brand, I can approach travel boards, airlines and travel Integrators to do a cross promotion with my blog where I can launch and execute contests and give away prizes to my followers. This will create excitement and increase traffic to the blog through partner sites. Use below-the-line marketing tools and direct marketing when promoting your blog. It will be more sharply targeted and ensure less spillage of your marketing budget.
Shares, Sessions and Comments
Shares are when your content is shared by your readers with others in the network. High shares show your content is very engaging and people feel proud to share it with others because they can relate or empathise with it. They can identify with your content and thus would like others to benefit from it. More the shares, more valuable your content is.
Time spent per session shows stickiness, how engaging and appealing your content is. It shows people are spending time every time they log in. A session is the amount of time someone logged into your blog to savour your content. More the time spent, the more involved the follower is with your content.
Comments give valuable feedback about your content and is another aspect of reader engagement. These parameters need to be tracked at all times for you to remain on course.
What are Social Media Platforms?
Social Media are platforms where people can interact and share information, ideas and build awareness amongst themselves. Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter are such platforms. Once you have a social media identity, you can interact with a sea of people and friends on any topic and issue. You can search for support groups to promote a cause or build an Idea. You can build a business just by using social media tools. It is a community on the internet which interacts with each other through these platforms and the services they provide. Platforms like Facebook have more than 2.3 Billion users who log in every day to chat and discuss with their followers or friends base. They are a rage in this era. Platforms like Youtube and Instagram have created their own celebrity culture and have users with millions of followers. They have become a more effective voice of the people and masses are a better way of judging the moods, opinions and minds of the people. In The US election traditional media got it all wrong as all the polls expert opinion pointed to a Hillary Clinton win. It was social media who predicted the true mood of the voters and leaned toward a Trump win. Social media is meant for the individual to express his opinion and thus has now become the true voice of the people. With the polarity of smartphones and the rapid rise of their usage, a large chunk of the population has access to the internet and thus, uses social media to interact and trade with each other. The digitisation of the Indian economy and the subsequent demonetisation in our country its popularity will only rise further. Billions are using it today to learn, trade and vent out their true opinion.
Capturing User Data
Social media capture user data over a period of time and analyse individual user patterns, demographics, and many such details. This helps in profiling the user to the T. This data can be used as a very effective marketing tool by brand managers to target promotional and advertising campaigns. It can be used by doctors and scientists alike. This rich data is very accurate and can help in making predictions. It is a darling for the pollsters and marketing research companies. Now even the insurance company and the banking sector are using this data.
Social media provide their users with a weekly analytics chart which tells them about their page visits, sessions logged in, time spent per session, reach and many such parameters that give info about traffic on your blog or site. This can be analysed and used to better the content and reach of your blog and is a great marketing tool. WordPress also provides these statistics and it is best that you go through these reports to get a better understanding of who is visiting your blog and how engaging your content is.
Broadcasting is a simultaneous publishing of your content, photographs and videos to a set group or bunch of people. Platforms like Whatsapp have a special feature for this so that you do not waste time and your reach is maximised.
How to Make Money Out of Your Blog
Make sure you have a substantial follower base before you jump into the market and start pitching your blog to people. Also make sure that the content and the blog is structured well including your product store, information, brochures, logo and the entire product. Going early into the market can hurt. So, be very well prepared for you to pitch and do it only when everything is in shape and order.
Make Money by Writing
If you have adequately enhanced your skills as a content writer. You can look to write for other publications also. You will be able to adequately promote your blog by cross readership. If the editors like your story angle, then they will start paying you immediately and that will give your blog adequate credibility. You can also write for industry specific websites. I have written for triphobo.com and travellers point too.
One can get sponsored by industry promotional boards who can sponsor your post or in my case, sponsor your travels also.
Banner Ads and Sponsored Space
You can sell banner ads and sponsored space on your site to others when you have enough traffic coming to your site. This will generate revenue. The transaction will be kept online and analytics can be sent to gauge the success of the specific campaign.
Through Celebrity Guest Column
You can spruce up your blog and add to its sheen by having celebrities and other people share their thoughts and expertise on your blog and sell the space to advertisers.
Value Added Partners
Tie up with tour operators in India as well as abroad to sell package tours through them. As in my case, I have also identified partners in wildlife safari and adventure sports area. Depending on your product and industry, you can identify such partners. You can draw up an agreement with them and work with them on a commission basis also. Travel with Tikku is a new offering by me where I take people on guided tours and along the way, teach them lifestyle skills like photography, videography, motivational skills and on how to create a blog.
Why Blogging Can Be Therapeutic?
Blogging is the activity of writing and sharing with like-minded people across social media on a particular topic or an idea. I have found it to be a very therapeutic activity to do. You have the freedom to blog anytime from anywhere in the world and do it at your own time and pace as and when the ideas come to you. It is a great way to express ones views and thoughts. Unlike a diary, blogging is a shared activity. Your friends can view your posts, comment on it and even react on your blog. So there is an active feedback loop built into blogging. By writing, you keep re-informing your views and the ideas you have become stronger and more etched into your sub consciousness. I have used blogging to overcome the tragedy of my life and the loss of my father. It has helped me to reconstruct my life and rebuild it. It has helped me focus on my inner world of thoughts and emotions and made me reconnect with myself. Unlike other costly therapies, it is fairly a cheap way of solving psychological problems.
The irony of it all is that before the brutal murder of my father, I used to visit psychiatrists and doctors but to overcome the biggest tragedy of my life, I have used no doctor for therapy. To overcome this huge loss, I have only written for my blog and this itself has been my biggest therapy. I have finally realised that you are your best doctor and no one in the world can help you except you. Like any other factors, external forces are helpless if internal forces cannot be corrected. I looked inwards after my father’s death and reconstructed my inner soul by blogging and sharing my feelings. I wrote about my conversations with people about my pain and shared it with others. I found support through their words as well as mine.
You are your greatest psychiatrist and your greatest friend as only you know your inner world and its boundaries. Only you can feel and define the ebbs and flows in the ocean of your inner world. I realised that my problems were not going away when I was looking outwards for hope but as my attention moved inwards, things became clearer. I was able to use my inner power to solve my problems. Blogging, especially about my travels, just helped me to identify these ebbs and flows and resurrect my inner world.
I call this blog therapy and it is as great as any panchakarma or shankhpachaaran. So all get together and say ‘Yo’ to blogging!