Archive for September, 2011

Common mistakes of Content Marketing

Posted by on Sep 30 2011 | Content Writing

I’m sure that you have heard and seen the phrase ‘content is king’ so many times that it has left a permanent imprint on your ear drums and retinas. It’s everywhere because of one simple reason; it’s true. Search engines go through the content to determine its rank, people read though it to learn about your company, etc. There are a glut of reasons why it is true.

But running a content marketing strategy is much more difficult than writing a couple of blogs every now and then. Without any consistency or focus, your content marketing strategy will fall faster than a house of cards in front of a table fan.

Here are some common mistakes made during content marketing.

Targeting the wrong audience

It is imperative that you learn as much as possible about your target audience before you try and sell your wares or you could end up trying to sell sand to the Arabs.

Not promoting your content

There is a chance that you have laid down the perfect content marketing strategy, but aren’t promoting it enough. To get it noticed you will have to engage in content promotion. Try submitting it to bookmarking sites or slipping it into newsletters. You could also add a couple of buttons to allow people to share it on their social networking sites and profiles.

Too much promotion

There also a chance that you may end up over promoting your services. If you think that you can disguise an advert as a blog post or a comment, then you are either underestimating the intelligence of your audience, or overestimating your skills. People will have little tolerance when they realise that they are being tricked and may end up with a negative attitude about you and your company.

Giving up too easily

Success doesn’t come overnight. It could take months or even years before you can say that your content writing strategy is successful. Be prepared to put in the time and the effort and soon you will be reaping your just rewards.

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Smell The Rat

Posted by on Sep 29 2011 | Content Writing

Ever encountered these words- ‘the greatest’, ‘the grandest’, ‘extraordinary’ ‘invincible’, ‘never seen before’ and host of other adjectives used to describe the services on a company website? Well you must have, because these are the terms that are most conveniently used to entice customers. Using such a jargon grabs attention and projects an image that is next to flawlessness.

Websites that are miles away from the reality create a pseudo identity in the minds of the customer where the naive customer falls in the trap of believing that he is going to get a deal of his lifetime but ends up with just a regular product available in every second shop. Disheartening and tricked is what the customer feels, making him vanish only to never come back. False promises and exaggerated promises come to the fore only to haunt the company. A loop that was once prepared to hook a potential customer becomes a hangman’s death trap for the company itself.

On the other hand, what happens when the content on home page or in the product description segment is laden with such humongous vocabulary after every two words? It definitely turns the reader off! A customer who for once would have believed the superior service, which even might have been the case, now feels amused and astonished and begins to doubt at every step just like a suspicious spouse constantly trying to find clues with a magnifying glass in hand.

Well, both are impending disasters waiting to emerge out of the falsity of facts provided. The key is honesty, after all that’s what every customer would expect from the seller. Heavily blown facts that are out of proportion will take to a road leading to ‘nowhere’.

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Writing for an ‘audience’

Posted by on Sep 28 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting, From the Writer's Desk

New age professional writers besides having to fight the uninterrupted melancholies of writing by the rules at work also have to confront an ever increasing urge to throttle the all knowing client whose creativity starts and ends with C for ‘convenience’. With microblogging becoming the mode of communication for the better part of the population online, professional writing is being relegated to the dusty corners of a yesteryear typist’s den.

The professional writer is realizing that his words are not just meant for reading and remembering anymore, they have to quickly enter through the reader’s eyes and sculpt a mini-second long nook in his mind while the second word is already shoving its way through after. Each word and the impact it creates lasts a nano-second in the brain before the reader unfailingly ‘moves on’. Like SMS breakups, the reader’s urge to move on is so strong, that you’re a self professed net-o-bard if you had the visitor on your page for more than a minute.

Writing is increasingly becoming like any other experience of today- good writing has to have an instant impact, great recall value and as direct as communication can be- the indulgences of reading, perceiving, analysing and then pondering are the luxuries of a few and chosen.

If authors can now write 140 character stories and create a dedicated network of readers following their work like gum on paper, your reader is obviously progressing to an experience of the ear. The aural delights of a piece of writing are clouding the visual (AND sensual) experience of holding a book and turning pages thanks to e-book readers/i-pads and other ‘they-that-I-don’t-want-to-name’. What stays is what you liked ‘hearing’- the sound of a word, the way the reader read it, or the manner in which the last syllable of the word wraps and snuggles into the word- case cited- try the word ‘mollified’- the ‘word experience’ is like you met a small kid in a polka dress that suddenly grew up into this clot of anger and lunged out at you. You’ll never forget this word if you remember how you heard it in your mind.

These were tricks that we played in school to remember new words- but the new age readers are following a very similar pattern in identifying content that they liked hearing or want to hear about, so the professional writer is combing through his vocabulary with the sharpest teeth to extract words that will have a sonorous experience for the reader. What will hold your reader back is not the macro picture of what you were writing about, but the micro of what you said, how you said it, and how did it ‘sound’. So now you’ll have opinions gushing galore- everybody has something to say- what matters is how you said it. A great opinion will lose to a ‘soundly’ put opinion- try posting a comment on a recent movie you watched and see what catches the maximum attention- your general opinion of the movie (the thought behind this opinion) or the words you used to describe it. While ‘cool’ will get 7 responses, ‘riveting’ will get you none- you must be kidding yourself if you thought that’s how one word movie reviews were described!

Play by the ear, to the ear and for the ear, because your audience which was once a reader, will switch channels right now!

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Think before you call yourself a Product Reviewer

Posted by on Sep 23 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting

Here comes one more product to write the review on. I don’t know the product, have never used it in my life, but I am getting paid to promote it. This reason is more than enough for me to dance around and say positive things about it, or wait, think there are so many people who prefer to read product reviews before they actually go and buy them. People who religiously practice reading reviews before landing in a store to buy it will easily tell whether the reviewer has actually experienced the product or is simply making castles in the air and fooling the readers globally.

It is critically important that as a reviewer, you should actually know the product or read thoroughly about the product before becoming the expert, which unfortunately we think we are, giving the review. Frankly speaking, many of us never bother to get the first hand information about the product that we are going to describe. What is important is that we have a product, the labelling looks great, it has a colourful appearance and here comes the review, beautifully explained with flowery language used. Excuse me! Where are the facts or the answer to the problem that a consumer may be looking for?

Product reviews should always focus on the solutions to the problems that a consumer looks for. If I am prone to hair fall, I would rather look for a shampoo that helps me keep my hair on my scalp and not the design of the bottle and fragrance that the shampoo has. Make sense out of product reviews; do not forget that the readers trust you for what you write. Give it a neutral (including good and not-so-good points) tone and come out of the fear that telling what you don’t like about the product will make sales go down. It won’t, readers will rather appreciate you for giving honest product reviews. The best way to deal with product description is to study the product well (if not use it) before saying anything about the product and leave the rest to the consumers.

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Houston, We Have A Word Problem!

Posted by on Sep 22 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting

Recently, in the middle of seeking reference material, I came across quite a punctilious-looking company profile for some construction company. The keywords were well-laid out, the content was systematically proportioned and the writer had done a fine job of tying baubles and ribbons to the text in the form of bullets, charts and the usual pretty suspects. But in the midst of skimming through the article, I noticed that the word ‘site’ had been tragically replaced by ‘cite’. This meant that every time the writer meant to point out an area, the reader would be keeping a weary eye out for an official declaration or two!

Looking back, I’ve noticed that word confusions (or tripped terms, if you please) are commonplace and, unlike grammar mistakes or sentence mis-formulations, we don’t even have Messrs. Word to mark them green or red, because, technically, they’re good to go. Either as a result of a garbled lexicon or, alternately, an eye untrained in matters of concerted après perusal of the copy, word confusions end up disfiguring the implication of the sentence. Sometimes this ends up as a subject of harmless hilarity. Otherwise, the endgame involves the brow-beaten writer at the receiving end of an oiled whiplash that is the boss’s verbal lambast. Mostly, it passes away, peaceably unnoticed.

Here are some word jumbles that I’ve come across in recent times:


A very common pothole, which still manages to trap its victims with alacrity. Reign means a period of royal rule whereas rein merely corresponds to a horse’s strap. I once read an article (on a reputed history website to make matters worse) where the ‘rein’ of Richard, the Lionhearted was described as bloody and violent. Either it was a case of word confusion or, to give the benefit of doubt, Sir Richard probably needed a change of steed.


Another very common mistake, which can have alarming consequences, given the right (or should I say wrong?) sentence. Allude is defined as a call to attention and elude means to escape from danger. So, either Johnny was ‘alluding to‘ Professor Rory, or he hadn’t done his homework and needed to hightail it, on the double.


The spelling difference is much more noticeable in this one, but the pronunciation is exactly the same, which means that there’s still a high probability of the word ending up on your ‘never-to-repeat-again’ list. Aisle is the passage between rows, usually of a church, a plane or a theatre. Isle is an island. So, a ringing choir of ‘Here Comes The Bride’ might not be required if one is traipsing up the ‘isle’.


Yes, people do tend to goof up on this one as well. There was a well-known blogger’s gaffe when he embarrassingly referred to Jupiter’s orbit as ‘stationery’. Inevitably, a torrent of comments followed, mostly to the tune of, “Ooh, it better watch out for them sharpened pencils along the way.” Just for the record, stationary means unchanging or fixed, whereas stationery is a writer’s friend and a fifth grader’s worst nemesis.

So that’s that and if you’ve been paying attention, you would have already noticed the word confusions that have (deliberately) been placed. First person to spot both gets the special bumper prize of an inflated ego.

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How to get the best from outsourced content

Posted by on Sep 21 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting

“The key to great SEO is high quality content.” This sentence has been repeated so many times that it should now be permanently etched onto your brain. But are you good enough to write quality content for your company on your own? If your answer to this question was ‘no’, don’t fret. There is a simple solution to your trouble. It’s called outsourcing.

There are some simple techniques that you can use to get the best content possible from the writer.

No such thing called too much information

There is a very good chance that the writer who is working on your project has absolutely no clue about your company. So it is an extremely good idea to give him as much information as possible, whether by links, or a quick phone call. There more information he has on the subject, the better content he will be able to create.

2. Don’t pester the content writer

The writer knows that the content that he is working on is important to you. Do not keep repeating that to him. While feedback is always welcome, try to be more specific about it. Telling him that the article is missing that ‘X-factor’ and he needs to add a little “spice” to it doesn’t make any sense at all. Remember that a writing a creative job, not a manufacturing one. A writer’s happiness will be reflected in his work.

3. Find good writers

There are a huge number of writers who can write high quality content for you, but the problem is finding the good ones, from a crop of bad ones. The first thing to do is not to choose the cheapest writer because there is a good chance that you will get what you pay. You can hire an expert to check up on the content that is provided to you. This way, you will get the best content at the lowest price.

If you follow these simple steps, you are guaranteed to get the best from your outsourced content.

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Time for a change

Posted by on Sep 20 2011 | Uncategorized

A company website should be a reflection of your company. It is a company’s calling card, and I don’t think anyone hands out old and dirty calling cards. Doesn’t matter if your website was designed in the 90’s or the early 2000’s, it’s time to spice things up.

If you created your website a couple of years back and feel that you don’t need to redesign it, think again. These days, technology and fashion become outdated faster than you can think. Don’t believe it? Go to any website and check out the current price of your mobile phone (warning, you may not like the result).

Depending on the age of your website, your decision to redesign could mean a complete over haul, or a few minor tweaks.

  1. If you have an e-commerce website, then the least you can do is keep updating it. If you still advertise a 6 month old item as new, then you are not doing any good to your online reputation, and in the world of retail, reputation is everything.
  2. Sometimes, even a small change can bring about a world of difference. Like for instance, a change of logo, or even a change of the colour scheme of your website can create a whole world of difference, but remember to be subtle about it. A garish logo and a seizure inducing colour scheme can turn your prospective customers into an angry mob of haters in no time.
  3. When redesigning your website, remember to not lose focus. Your website’s primary goal is to convey information, not to look pretty. This isn’t a beauty pageant; there are no awards for best looking website. As the saying goes, ‘don’t lose the forest for the trees’.
  4. If your website is from the time when CD ROMs were still the preferred means of exchanging data, then you will require a major over haul. It is recommended that you do it in many phases rather than a single swoop. A sudden change may cause your old customers to doubt the page they have visited and cause them to leave. Take your time to make the changes and let them know what all you are planning to change. Who knows? They may even give you some pretty useful tips.

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Target Those Smartphone Savvy Users With Mobile SEO_blog_19-9-11

Posted by on Sep 19 2011 | Mobile SEO

There might come a time when, using computers will become very restricted and most of the work will be done on other smart gadgets like iphones. Technology-driven-Smartphone- fanatics are increasingly choosing a platform that has much more things on offer than just a phone. They want instant social networking, emailing and all the services that internet has to offer on their mobiles. And indeed they are getting it too! As customers shift to other platforms, time has come that businesses turn their heads and look at other unseen ventures. Consumer is the ‘king’ for all businesses and no business would want to use an obsolete mode of communication to reach them.

Mobile SEO is an aspect that would become completely un-ignorable in the coming years. On a mobile platform, website dynamics never look the same and can have major discrepancies. This not only makes it a pain for the viewer but also makes the website look clumsy. After adjusting the design of the website by creating a mobile website, the next step is to utilize the most effective tool i.e. SEO.

In Mobile search mobility is the ruling factor that determines the visibility of the website and optimizing the mobile site will make sure it rules the ranking. Another important fact that is forgotten is: A Smartphone equips not only the user with various apps but also the website owner who by optimizing the mobile website can make use of all the facets of these brilliant new age gadgets. All Smartphone users are adept in making use of visual searches and optimizing the website accordingly will definitely please the Consumer king.

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Real can always be fictitious

Posted by on Sep 17 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting

When you see some of the most astonishing and interesting frames of human civilization, your mind wonders about the pinnacle of dynamism that the ‘Creator’ has bestowed to the blue planet. If you are infected with the ‘creative’ bug in your cerebral administration, you will definitely pen down the experiences in your notebook. However, if these experiences are a part of your journey and you are in one of the wildest regions of the world, you would definitely love to make it a part of your travelogue! There will be a few raised hands for a unanimous response to the question of “How many of you do not like travel writing?” No one would bet on this issue and I can bet on this, very surely.

Who will hate to soak in some fresh air just by reading a travel article on a particular hill station? No second thought can compete for it, but fiction has always been the most loved and the most demanding genre of writing, and this is not new to the human civilization. Truth may be stranger than fiction, but when both of them merge upon, you get to see hybridized form of human perception. Surprisingly, this particular outlook of looking at things has already brought a lot of kudos for people who have resorted to this particular style of travel writing.

When the spice of fiction is sprinkled all over a travel experience, the entire plot of the story takes a different turn altogether. Now, there is an obvious question which may linger around now in your mind and that will definitely be about the necessity of dragging in fiction in travel writing. There can be an end number of reasons behind it. Different people may have their own reasons. For some bunch of travel enthusiasts, fictional travel writing has come far away from the art of creating fictional cities, villages and civilizations in the universe. Today, fiction-fused travelogue is a nascent description about real life experiences.

Not all experiences are pleasant for a human on this planet. Each and every travel enthusiast must have gone through some untold terrain of fantasies which he/she might have kept enclosed in their minds. All they want is the right time and the needful platform to brush away the rust and give it a shot, bring in some interesting account of their weird and interesting experiences. Fictional travelogues these days are just like entertainment capsules which are considered to be necessary to strengthen a refined taste of creativity. So, it is not necessary that you vomit your real life experiences while travelling to place ha been highly embarrassing. Put in someone else as the travel protagonist and let it take all your pains, though you may not completely get out of bitter experience!

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Resurrecting your old blog posts

Posted by on Sep 16 2011 | Content Writing

At some point in a bloggers life, we write something that we aren’t proud of.  It could be because of a tight deadline, you could have been very tired, or maybe because you had a severe case of writers block. As a result of this, the blog post looked like something that was written by hyper active 5 year old. But don’t lose hope, there is a chance that the topic was right, but only lacked the content and execution.

Re-writing old blog posts is a great way to garner more traffic to your blog. It also improves the quality of your blog as the old and (let’s be honest here) rubbish blog posts are replaced by better ones. But before you go about playing Frankenstein with your blog posts, you need to keep a few things in mind.

Make sure that the blog post is actually worth being brought back again. There are some topics which are dreary to begin with. If you wrote a blog post about ‘how to clean your kitchen stove’, then there is absolutely no point in trying to beat a dead horse.

Try to see if there is any way to add more content to your old post to make it more up to date. Maybe there was something you missed or something new and exciting has happened since you wrote that blog. Think of that blog as a rough draft that needs to be edited.

There is a chance that the post was quite well written, but it doesn’t show up on search results. In that case, you could try and optimise the whole thing. You could even add an image or two to try and improve its SEO. Who knows? Your ‘kitchen stove’ post could be really awesome, but only problem is that people can’t find it.

You could try and push your old posts on your social networking site if they are still relevant. Maybe there are some people who are really interested, but don’t know about it. Maybe bringing that post back into the limelight is all that you need to do.

Resurrecting an old blog post is a really satisfying thing to do, especially when it becomes really popular. When that happens, you have all the right in the world to throw your head back and exclaim, “It’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!” while assuming your best Frankenstein impression.

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