I am a Software Engineer by profession but a writer ( http://www.akankshadureja.com )by passion. Madly in love with SRK, I am as cliched as it can get. While my days are dull and boring and are spent writing code that isn’t really world-changing, it’s the nights that weave their magic on me. As the sun sets, I create stories, dream of traveling to places far and wide, and think of how I can change the world for good by one tiny blog post at a time. But then mornings come with a realization that traveling doesn’t earn money, world peace & gender equality are still myths and writing isn’t going to pay for my shopping sprees.
Every website has a story behind it. What was yours? What was the motivation behind starting this Blog?
I love how that question begins. I too believe that every website has a story. That’s why whenever I encounter a new blog, I make it a point to read the first post as it kind of spills that secret out in most cases.
I don’t have a fancy breath-taking story of how it began. But, I do have one. During the summer of 2007, while all my friends had joined fancy IT companies, I was still waiting for my date of joining with Infosys. Waiting gave way to writing as it had always been by stress buster. The blog was born as a means to blurt out everything I was feeling, including jealousy when my friends got their first pay-cheques while all I got was a mail informing a further delayed joining date. It was such a random act that frankly, I didn’t know I would even write a second blog post after creating the blog.
P.S. It’s been nine years now and I can’t imagine an alternate life without the blog.
Do you ever get stuck when writing a blog? What do you do then?
Okay, I do two things. First, I dig out travel memories, stare at the pictures and they invariably give me an exciting story to write.
Second, I open the newspaper and there’s always a piece of news that irritates me.
As my tagline says, anything that excites me or irritates me goes on the blog – So, that’s your answer here.
If there was one thing that you feel makes your blog stand out, what would that be?
I have been told that it is the way I begin my posts. Trust me, I have spent hours staring at a blank page, writing and re-writing a beginning at times. If I am not able to start well, I skip the post and don’t do it at all as I truly believe in ‘Well begun is half done’. Whether it is a travel tale, a review or a feminist rant, it has to establish that connect in the first couple of lines.
If you had to give three crazy advice to budding bloggers, what would that be?
- Be yourself in a world that’s constantly trying to change you. Collaborations or not, write what you are passionate about and do it with all your heart. SEO, Monetization and brand collaborations are just a small part of it and not the heart of the blog. Don’t forget that it’s all about the content you churn and the passion with which you do it.
- Blog because you have a passion for writing, not because of the perks it brings.
- Like in any other sphere of life, ethics will take you farther even though it might take time to get there. Shortcuts are not the key, effective writing is.
Do you promote your blog? What promotional techniques work best for you and why?
Yes, I do promote my blog though I don’t follow a promotional strategy as such except bullying friends to share my posts on their social channels. Jokes apart, I really don’t have a strategy other than religiously sharing them on my social channels after I publish.
What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?
Being able to paint a colourful picture using words of black and white is such a gratifying feeling in itself. And it magnifies many folds when someone comes back and mentions how your writing made an impact on them. Or when people remember you by the name of your blog – that’s a precious feeling.
And Influencer Marketing – what it holds for bloggers?
Influencer Marketing is coming up in a huge way and it brings a lot of benefits to bloggers and social media influencers. It might provide perks, monetary or otherwise and make bloggers popular. It feels good that brands are finally recognizing the powerhouse that bloggers are and paying them their due share.
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?
So far, the experience has been a positive one and I hope it remains the same. I choose the brands very carefully and it’s not always about the money or the perks. Invariably, my brand collaboration posts have a personal aspect to them and if I don’t connect with a brand in that manner, I won’t sign up for the assignment. Following this simple thumb rule has made it very easy for me to do the work I want to do and skip the rest. I can be choosy here as it’s my blog and I decide what goes on it.
As far as the problems are concerned, I think all bloggers agree on the fact that start-ups are a point of concern for the community as they don’t want to pay for the content they need from us, all in good faith.
Another emerging problem area is the brands going behind numbers instead of actual engagement and the fact that it’s getting more and more enticing to fall prey to the concept of buying followers. A profession as pure as writing is losing ethics because brands need the numbers and are hardly bothered about content if the statistics look great.