Tuesday, 26 May 2015

INFLUENCER INTERVIEW : DEEBA RAJPAL

Deeba Rajpal (www.passionateaboutbaking.com), discusses with Blogmint her inspiration and journey of food blogging. She also hands over some sound advice behind the superb food photography :



How did your blogging journey begin and what motivated you for the same?

My journey into blogging began in 2007 when I was deeply inspired by food blogs that I saw on the net. An internet connection, time on hand and a digital camera made it an easy and fun hobby to pursue. I have to add that the beginning was very intimidating, the fact that anyone could judge what I was blogging. Soon it became addictive!

As seen in your blog, imagery is one thing which stands out for food bloggers, can you share some tips and tricks to bring out the best in food photography?

Invest time to hone your talent and browse for inspiration. Try and figure out the style you like. Shoot lots and ask your friends for a feedback. It's not the camera but certainly your eye that will capture creatively.



What are your characteristic learnings which you would like to share with Budding food bloggers?
Respect copyright, be ethical. Plagiarism has no place in this world. Give credit where due. Turn out quality content consistently. Take pride in what you do.

What is your definition of being an ‘Influencer’?

That you can correctly and genuinely offer advice towards a choice or trend. Times are changing. More and more folk turn to a review before making a choice, so 'influence' responsibly.

And Influencer Marketing – what it holds for bloggers?
The world is their oyster but ethics come first. Find a niche area; everyone cannot do everything. That said, be large hearted. There is plenty of space for all of us in this world. Find your focus.

Engaging in influencer marketing is fruitful but most of the bloggers feel there are some characteristic problems while engaging with brands. How is your experience of engaging with brands and problems, if any?
I have been fortunate to work with brands that respect my time, my honest opinion and my images. I do not work for free. Please learn to say no. I often find that certain brands will willingly 'dump' their products on you for an online mention and link back. Be convinced because it's your reputation. If I like something I buy, I will blog or talk about it anyway. If a product or experience bothers me, I will first get in touch with the brand. I don't believe in negative publicity for a little social mileage.

Coming onto food blogging, Blogmint recently launched #BloggerDreamTeam for Food and Travel Blogging. What you think of the initiative as such?
I think it's a great initiative because it brings together two very nostalgic and dynamic aspects, food and travel, that are so closely intertwined. Images of both create lifetime memories. To top it, a team led by the uber talented Vir Sanghvi can only be a DreamTeam!

What you think of Blogmint as a product?
I have worked with BlogMint for about a year. I find them ethical and thoroughly professional. Seeing them grow over this year makes me happy to see the expanding platform  bloggers can interact on. I am really enjoying being part of BlogMint

INFLUENCER INTERVIEW : ANIRBAN SAHA

Anirban Saha(www.anirbansaha.com) , a photo-blogger from Kolkata, sheds some light on his blogging journey and how influencer marketing is shaping up for bloggers.



How your blogging journey began ?? What motivated you to start blogging ??
I started blogging in class 12, after having come to know about it in a Bengali teenage magazine. It used to be a public-personal e-diary. Later in 2009, I became the blogger of my college’s entrepreneurship cell. www.anirbansaha.com is live from August 2010.

Is there any specific genres you prefer while blogging ??
I post my photographs along with my writing. So, I call it photo-blogging. I prefer to stick to travel, culture and event coverage.

What according to you is an Influencer ??
A person popular for right reasons and whom people trust, is an influencer. In the world of digital media where brands use such people to promote their brand or cause, I would like to define an influencer to be a person who can moderate discussions on consistent topics with a consistent amount of people participating in it constructively.
This would ensure a expected reach and the conversion.

If a brand wants just brand awareness and to reach out to people, a person with a good presence in the social media can be regarded as an influencer. But if I brand wants their products to be sold by the influencer, the conversion rate is of utmost importance.
If the influencer has grown his klout organically over a sustained period of time through discussion and quality service, nothing can be as valuable.

Influencer Marketing – what it holds for bloggers ??
Money!
And if the brands share their blogpost, it means more reach for the bloggers!

What are the problems you faced while interacting with brands for campaigns ??
I generally do not do campaigns for other brands, unless it is an initiative of my own. But very recently I’ve worked for the West Bengal Government, Magnum ice creams, IIHM event and Literary festivals in Calcutta.
There were a few times when I believed a specific product or service was bad and promoting it through my blog would not be a right thing to do.  

What you think of Kolkata Blogger community ?? Is it that active as compared to Delhi or Mumbai ??
There are many bloggers in Kolkata, but not many of them take it up professionally. They are not as active as compared to Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. A lot of awareness needs to be created not only about blogging but of the digital space, digital content creation and distribution. It is with this idea, a friend and I had started “Kolkata Bloggers” [www.fb.com/kolkatabloggers, www.kolkatabloggers.com] last year. We have near 400 active bloggers from the region. We conduct regular meetups, workshops and corporate engagement programs. The engagement has increased over the last few months and we are confident Kolkata will be as active as the rest, if not more.

What you think of Blogmint as a product ??
Blogmint is the requirement, as we proceed to the next step in Indian Digital sphere. We require a forum where the corporates and the digital content generators should find a common platform to discuss expectations from each other. This is a fantastic forum. Kudos.

#TechMinter50

Blogging community is a well knit community where bloggers help each other to grow and develop together. We have observed bloggers organizing meetups where they interact and share their experiences with fellow bloggers. For Blogmint, being a platform to facilitate the blogger networking, it was a no-brainer to organize meets for bloggers. Hence after roaring success of Blogmint's Fashion Fab Fifty in December we came back with another blogger meet, #TechMinter50.



Sticking to the format, it was a perfect platform for both Bloggers and Brand to connect with each other. Unlike other blogger meets, we at blogmint aim that blogger meet should be all about Bloggers and not some product launches and brand showcase events. Planning accordingly #TechMinter50 consisted of a Blogger Panel Discussion, Brand Panel Discussion and Quiz.



Some of the leading bloggers like Jitendra Vaswani (www.technoven.com), Rahul Prabhakar (2brahulprabhakar.blogspot.com/), Jaideep Khanduja (http://pebbleinthestillwaters.blogspot.in/), Anurag Ajmera (www.quikrpost.com) and Gaurav Jaggi (www.blog) were handpicked for the Panel discussion where they shared about their journey from just-started-blogging to being a pro-blogger.



After a highly interactive session, it was time for bloggers to get perspective from the other side - Brand's perspective. Brands like GroupM, Casio, Zenith Optimedia and Thoughtbuzz shared the importance of Influencer marketing and what actually they look for while engaging blogger community.



After all these invigorating discussions it was time for a brain - cranking Quiz. Bloggers were divided into a team of 4 and questions ranging from technological topics to latest technological news were thrown on them. After 4 rounds of filtering one team were the lucky winners. The winning team got Casio G-Shock watches as gift. Gifts were sponsored by CASIO.



After mind draining sessions, it was time for a hearty lunch with fellow bloggers. Thanks to the Blogger meet format, bloggers not only gained knowledge on how Pro-Bloggers work but also what brands look into while selecting bloggers. Blogmint is delighted to have contributed to the blogging community with their initiative and look forward organizing more such interesting meets. Looking forward to meet you next time !!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

#ResponsibleBlogging - Sponsored Post


Every post stimulates a change. It excites, evokes, calms and inspires. As social influencers, you mould people’s minds and touch their lives in more than one way.

The power of words defies the worldly boundaries of time. Content has the potential to not just guide the present but also shape the future. Thus, the onus is on you to be wise with your words and present them with a sense of responsibility.

Gaining popularity these days are sponsored blog posts. A blog or social or video blog for which you have collaborated with a brand. The blog might have your own opinion entirely or might have been influenced by the brand's opinion. Either way, there are defined guidelines an individual needs to follow in regards to a sponsored post. It warrants a certain level of distinctiveness. A good analogy will be ads seen while doing Google search or an advertorial post in newspapers and magazines.

Even if you are not legally bound to disclose that you’ve been paid to publish a post, you should.


Trust and authenticity are important and your readers will soon become disillusioned and jaded if you mislead them, whether intentionally or accidentally.

So, a sponsored blog post must contain a disclaimer indicating the same. Examples include:

  • I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
  • This is a sponsored post brought to you by xxxx. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
  • I was financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience

Every job comes with a set of responsibilities and blogging is no different. And though there isn’t a written stricture that mandates you to disclose monitory benefits on publishing a post, you should.

Your transparent approach will only help cement that trust and good will.  On the other hand, being discreet can risk your credibility as a blogger and create a disconnect between you and your readers. 

Happy Blogging Vlogging!!

Let's come together for #ResponsibleBlogging 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Responsible Blogging - Let's be the Change


The corridors are abuzz with dos and don’ts for bloggers. Now, isn’t that interesting?
While the world does look good and organised within rules, it puts spontaneity and creativity at risk. 
So instead of external regulations, why not bloggers create their own no-no’s and become Responsible Bloggers. 

After all the world believes our opinion. 

Here are the 7 principles and ethics that add to the blogosphere’s credibility

1. Check your facts
   A misstated fact is like a trip gone bad. It takes away a lot apart from your credibility.

2. Respect Copyright Law
    Your intellectual property matters to you more than your gold. So respect other’s too.

3. Consider the implications
    When you post something in the  blogosphere or social media, you’re laying a digital footprint in concrete - the Internet, and it never forgets. Do weigh the possible results of your work. It helps!

4. Give credit where credit is due
    There’s a lot in the name. So give credit wherever due.

5. Disclose sponsored posts
    Be honest and transparent with your readers and they’ll keep coming back to you. 

6. Be transparent with affiliate links
    Always use affiliate links as part of sponsored links to differentiate it from your original preferences.

7. Avoid “blackhat” methods
     Excess of anything is bad so be wise with your SEO. Non-ethical SEO practices do more damage that you can imagine.

     If you follow above principles, use the badge on your blog and tweet with 

#ResponsibleBlogging