1. For the people who don’t know about you, Can you tell us a little about yourself and your blog?
My name is Shruti Chaturvedi and I run - Chaaipani - a platform to discover and share positive and inspiring stories of people and initiatives that are making our world a better place to be in. I am 22 year old, a recent graduate in Psychology from St. Xavier’s College. I dropped out of engineering after a year and I’ve been writing since then.
2. Every website has a story behind it. What was yours? What was the motivation behind starting this Blog?
I began Chaaipani when I was in class 11th, this was sometime in 2010s. It was a blogspot blog where I’d write those teenager-ish poetry and short stories. For someone blogging in his/her 16s, it made me feel very gratified everytime someone would comment, or tell me that he/she reads my blog. Also, it was after I had started blogging that I could reach out to people out of my geography and connect with them. Soon, I started getting more views and Indiblogger happened which connected me to several bloggers across the country. These people became my friends - people who made sense with every word. Everyday, I’d look forward to get back home from school and talk to these new people who sort of belonged to a whole different world. (My school friends began looking stupid to me!). I think that’s when I learnt those little tips and tricks of blogging, began reading a lot of content online, getting the nerves of the trends, picking up new formats of english language that was ‘in’ then. When I joined college, I began working in various media houses as an intern and later as an employee. That’s when blogging took a backseat. However, soon, I found that quite a chunk of stories I’d do, were rejected by the editorial since they didn’t have ‘masala’ in them and were quite informative and positive (yes that was the drawback!). That’s when I took to my blog again and began posting every story that’d get rejected at the company I was working at. These were very happy, positive and inspiring stories of people doing worthwhile things. By the time I finished graduation, I figured I wanted to take it full-time and now I run it like an online media startup with 3 employees.
3. Do you ever get stuck when writing a blog? What do you do then?That’s usually an alarm to me to go and read more. I consume a lot of content through the day - on Medium, on blogs I’ve subscribed to, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, books. The more content I consume, the less stuck I get. And since I’ve started running it like a startup, writer’s bloc isn’t even an option I have - I have to post something or the other, no matter what. And am glad I have a team which now takes good care of editorial when am busy working on things to scale it as a company.
4. If there was one thing that you feel makes your blog stand out, what would that be?
The way we tell stories of people. The website has very happy, positive feel to it and stories are written in a very personalized way. Our site is full of amazing people worth knowing.
5. If you had to give three advice to budding bloggers, what would that be?
- Since blogging is so saturated a thing now, it is best newbies take it to publishing platforms like Medium, Sway or Facebook notes which guarantee good front-end and readership. This, if you are not someone with a lot of patience.
- Don’t overdo sponsored posts! It is super-annoying for a reader.
- Write for real human beings sitting on the other side of the computer rather than writing for number of page views. Don’t treat humans like numbers with your content. They are people, not traffic.
6. Do you promote your blog? What promotional techniques work best for you and why?
Yes we do promote it on social media channels and in blogging networks, though we’ve never put money on socials to boost our posts. Okay so we did a couple of times in the beginning, but now we’ve figured that it is real people, no matter how small in number, that matter. The advantage we get is that we write ABOUT people, and they themselves put a lot of effort to promote the article in their circles. We’ve chose to stay organic.
7. What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?
Comments! Reactions are very instant and you know exactly what is working and what is not, very instantly.
8. And Influencer Marketing – what it holds for bloggers?
Engaging in influencer marketing is fruitful but most of the bloggers feel there are some characteristic problems while engaging with brands.
9. How is your experience of engaging with brands and problems, if any?
There is little understanding about Influencer marketing in most brands - they want bloggers to literally pester their product with words and their blog posts with every second word about the company, because they are being paid, which is a problem. However, brands I’ve worked with at personal level, I’ve had to put some effort to convince them of how to plant the knowledge about their brand in OUR audience’s minds content that they’ve come looking for. Most have been really delightful after the conversion.