Author Archive

The journey of a ‘Blog’

Posted by on Dec 07 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting

Blog has become a buzz word that can be seen everywhere on the internet. Like a ubiquitous identity, it has become a part of our lives and our internet friendly work environment. It is highly improbable that you open a page and do not notice the word- ‘blog’ written anywhere.

Rather than discussing how a blog can promote and affect a business let us find out what exactly it is and what has been its journey so far (but briefly).

Meaning or definition: According to Wikipedia a blog is a “Website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.”

The above definition might work in the exam paper but I would rather call a Blog as a means to communicate and share personal perceptions about the world and to the world. It is a collective voice of opinions and ideologies that does not restrict or hinder anyone. Generally web users find the highlight of a Blog with ‘Knowledge’ but another important facet that make it a rage is its aspect of ‘Interactive-ness’. Blogs empower people to leave comments and send each other messages via widgets on the blogs which distinguishes it from other stagnant websites.

Origin:

The first term was ‘Weblog’, coined by Jorn Barger in 1997 which was further shortened as ‘Blog’ by Peter Merholz. Before becoming what a modern Blog is today, it passed through various versions of digital communities and Internet forum software. Initially, blogs were updated manually but as time passed various tools allowed posting of Web articles in a reverse chronological order.

Popularity:

Blogging gained momentum in the year 1999 and onwards as five major blog tools were launched.

  • Open Diary in October 1998 which started the ‘Comment’ feature in the blog entries.
  • LiveJournal in March 1999
  • Diaryland in September 1999 that allowed the users to write more on a personal diary format.
  • Pitas.com in July 1999 that facilitated maintaining a news page on a Website.

  • Blogger.com in August 1999 that included a variety of options to the Bloggers to write.

What followed was a fusion reaction as every industry whether political, religious or commercial started using Blogs to outreach the masses. As per the latest records there were over 156 million public blogs operational in February 2011.

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A World Beyond Reality: Tech-rich films

Posted by on Nov 21 2011 | Content Writing, SEO Copywriting

One of the most prominent aspects of India, after Taj mahal would be Bollywood, if I dare say that. Apart from the celebrities visiting continents and working in other foreign films and some serious cinema, what do we really have to boast about? We spend multi crore dollars on our films but somewhere it still doesn’t come through. Well I’m pointing towards animation, cartoon, action, science fiction and horror films. These movies come to fruition after conjoining technology and creativity.

The Bollywood cartoon flicks doesn’t look like actual characters but hand drawn caricatures, horrific ghosts look more like comedy and animated movies doesn’t quite match up the level. I cannot think of a single movie that managed to evoke “Woaaooo” expression in me. Don’t mistake me for a Bollywood hater but I’m not a lover too. Some of the most valued films that I relate my childhood with are unfortunately Hollywood’s. Worth reminiscing would be: Ice Age, Finding Nemo, Up, Happy Feet, Lion King, Home Alone, Jurassic Park, Die Hard, Transformers, MI, Die hard, Inception and many more.

The question lies not in the aspect of creativity, which we already have in ample amounts here, but in the level of technology. We definitely are growing in terms of experimentation and infusing special effects but there’s a long tread ahead if we wish to produce world class cinema. In a globalised era as today, where information is transferred easily why not move beyond traditional cinema to more innovative styles including 3D.

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My List Of Favourite Quotes

Posted by on Nov 17 2011 | Content Writing, SEO Copywriting

Mulling over what to write, my mind is fiddled with thoughts, so I thought to share some of the most inspiring sayings that I have come across. They have made me laugh, given me strength and taught me the value of knowledge in the most brief encounters. So here it goes:

1. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. —Ambrose Redmoon

2. Work like you don’t need money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one’s watching. —Unknown Author

3. Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. —André Gide

4. When you look at yourself from a universal standpoint, something inside always reminds or informs you that there are bigger and better things to worry about. -Albert Einstein

5. Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. -Alexander Pope

6. Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. —Will Rogers

7. Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. —Lao-Tze

8. You must be the change you wish to see in the world. —Gandhi

9. For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

10. Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is. —Oscar Wilde

11. I never think of the future. It comes soon enough. -Albert Einstein

12. Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian. —Unknown Author

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Multidirectional dimensions: Advertising

Posted by on Nov 08 2011 | Advertising

“Wherever you go, we follow” a tagline adopted by a popular networks co. not just aptly takes forward its brand but so subtly defines the whole essence of advertising. Buyers are always accompanied or so to say followed by sellers, they can never be alone. This definition is holding more truth and significance, especially today.

A traditional definition of advertising would say “It is a means of communication to persuade buyers to purchase the offerings of the sellers…” but in an evolving, encompassing and strategic era of today, this definition seems incomplete and humdrum. Advertising holds a much wider perception today and is growing by leaps and bounds in order to seep into the lives of the consumer.

Leaving apart the already exhausted channels of communication, advertising is shifting to more hybrid channels like twitter, blogging site and to company owned social media mediums like Facebook accounts and website pages. An effective communication no longer ends with a good TV commercial or an attention-grabbing advertisement in the print.

India is in a middle of a makeover where new strokes of brush define and reshape the way it has been looked upon by the world. New companies are barging-in and existent corporations are expanding to mammoth proportions. This change has started a ripple effect that is going in every direction, leaving no potential consumer in the way.

How advertising shapes up in India is going to be an interesting tale in the coming years. 1.2 billion Population, 114 languages, 214 mother tongue speakers and more than 8 major religions; need I say more?

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Responsibility As A Writer

Posted by on Nov 05 2011 | Content Writing

Knowledge is good only when it’s right and accurate. False facts, misconstrued ideas and distorted information are even worse than being ignorant. Earlier knowledge was imparted only through the knowledgeable and erudite individuals who used take up this good work with the intention of enlightening the lives of many. But today, in this fast paced world, information is easily accessible online and is flowing from all directions. Not just one way, in this constant to and fro movement of information from different sources, many times wrong facts seep in to manipulate the readers or learners.

Amateur writers do not understand the importance of facts and information and the ill-effects it can render. Not just plain writing, topics that demand accurate facts and sensitive matters demand responsible writers. Controversial issues pertaining to nationalism, religion and other issues need writers that can write from a dual perspective.

Internet’s scope is exponentially increasing with many people heavily relying on the facts and figures provided on it. Not just for commercial purpose, more and more people are using internet as a means of self expression and to reach out to a wider audience at one go. It is important for a writer to take into consideration sentiments of the people since the purpose of writing is to educate and hurt and disparage anyone.

Other aspect that imposes more stress on the responsibility is while writing technical and medical content. This specialized writing demands the writer to be attentive and wary of any mistakes. Even omitting or repeating a singer number can result in dire consequences for the reader. Patients might try remedies mentioned in an article without consulting any doctor. Whom to hold responsible for the mishap that will follow after that?

It’s high time that writer’s as professionals take responsibility and accountability for what and why they write. Internet too, requires monitoring so that it becomes more reliable and trustworthy. Today more than genuine, there is a host of false information floating on the net that ask for urgent attention.

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Rising From The Ashes Of Anonymity

Posted by on Nov 02 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting

Sometimes I wonder why people kept a pseudonym while writing a book, was it because they wrote about something controversial or because they had apprehensions if they could even write, but there was a lot more to this fact. There were times when women writers were considered inferior to their male counterparts and hence kept a male pseudonym to become accepted and read in the society. Even those female writers preferred to remain in anonymity for the fear of being rejected and admonished. The biggest example of the 21st century that comes to belittle us is, J.K. Rowling, the writer who sold more than 400 million copies for her maniacally famous ‘Harry Potter’. She launched her first book of the series with a pseudonym – Joanne Rowling. Everyone is aware of George Eliot, A.M Barnard and Andy Stack that have stirred the bestseller lists and won numerous literary awards but names such as Mary Ann Evans, Louisa May Alcott and Ann Rule are still mysterious to masses. The latter are the names of female writers behind the so-called renowned names.

It’s difficult to imagine a world of literature sans female authors whose books we repeatedly read and regard as classics. The saddening part is that despite all the accomplishments, writers’ credibility is still judged on basis of the gender. But can we only blame only those narrow minded publishers? After all, they act according to the mindset of the masses. Female authors have constantly challenged the stereotyping and still do. People somewhere question these unnecessary beliefs that they have associated themselves for no obvious reason and for those who still firmly believe in the orthodox and sexist perception; it’s time for them to feed their century old starving brain cells.

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A Two Line Story

Posted by on Oct 28 2011 | Content Writing

How difficult it is to describe a story in 200-300 words? Sounds like a not-that-a-big deal? Sure it does, but if the same description has to be written in two lines, brimming with emotions and inclusive of every detail, then? An instant retort would be “idiotic impractical demand!” Writing slogans, taglines and creating website pages that have minimal phrases and maximum expression is no runaway victory.

Imagine a campaign without a slogan, a product that has no definition so as to say, tagline and a company page that has nothing to welcome its visitors. None of them will appear to look an iota appealing and likeable to the patron, neither to the eye nor to the intellect. Expressing the inexpressible, ideating the unthinkable and making apparent the woolly matter with the help of words is what I would like to call ‘ a two line story’. There are millions of meanings and stories that can be weaved with the help of words. While some words are incomplete without the other there are some that represent an entire lineage of the connoisseur. It’s all about mating them together in a manner that the offspring not just symbolises their communion but describe a gamut of stories of their romancing.

To get a final outcome that is wholesome and speaks a hundred words rather than just a few apparent visible lines requires the writer to form a multitude of associations and interweave them. Starting from understanding the basic ideology, which is stemming to another offering that in fact will express and define the final goal of the company, is what- slogans, tagline and website home pages aim to achieve. The more a writer will love to do it, the more craftily ingenious will be the outcome.

The writing is an amalgamation of contrasts: crisp yet all-inclusive, comprehensible yet refined, witty yet subtle, and relatable yet goal oriented. Not to forget, these two lines define, represent and market a company and its products.

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Infusing humour in your blog: A good idea?

Posted by on Oct 25 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting

Blog writing is often perceived to be synonymous with free flowing writing ornamented with a personal touch, vernacular lingo and with colours of humour as well. But, is it so? Writing is an activity that comes to full bloom when the reader is able to read, understand, relate, get astonished and even smile while glancing on the content, and of course, exactly in the same manner as what the writer actually meant! To accomplish this rather easier-said-than-done feat, writer hopelessly tries to incorporate things that invoke nothing else but boredom. Instead of relating, finding it astonishing and smiling, the writer gets a hollow stare, soporifically treated eyes and yawns.

It’s always good to read something that is infused with humour, however, ineffective humour is an impending doom waiting to engulf the writer and thrown behind the bars for the crime of spending the reader’s valuable minutes. The reader also on the other hand never forgives the writer for the rather heinous crime and might even leave presents containing words, which in a different sense are not appropriate for a public platform. Humorous writing is not everyone’s cup of tea and unnecessary inclusion of it kills the quintessence of the content.

Leaving apart light topics; issues and offbeat matters that demand utmost attention are also addressed by bloggers. Blog writing manages to reach a section of people that honour individuality and personal perspective that is tricky in today’s ‘imposed perception’ by the channels and media. Leaving behind gobbledygook language and giving readers an plain interesting read should be enough in any way.

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Writers Lament- Deadlines v/s Quality!

Posted by on Oct 19 2011 | Content Writing

One of the biggest challenges of any content writer arrives at the doorstep, obviously unwarranted and uncalled, when s/he is made to jump from one boat to another, heading for different unknown destinations. I say unknown because as soon as the writer can smell the air, s/he is shooed for its quest in another one headed to a completely different direction. Sailors are not the only one who lament because of parting with their loved ones, there are copywriters who mourn over their ordeal where they commit the sin un-writing the art of writing. With each line written having mere sentences and less of cerebral-ism, the writer questions the relevance of its existence.

An attention longing article clings to the writer and cries for meaning and a well structured identity rather than a fat humpty dumpty piece of content with superfluous flab deposited on every wrong part of the body. Articles writing is a craft that is sowed with seeds of love, thought and intellectuality and are not churned out like loafs of bread in a factory, that the famished can gorge on. The fine line of craftsmanship is gobbled up by gluttonous ogres and the writer is left starving.

There are various facets of a copywriter’s work that no ordinary professional can handle. From writing along with hundred different noises hitting the eardrum, although this way the brain learns the art of selective hearing to writing thousands of words and loosing track of what s/he even wrote in the beginning of the day. At the end of the day a copywriter is also a professional who deals with deadlines and emerges victorious. A writer’s utopia might seldom come but this hope keeps him or her going in wait for a day where their mind will not famish and will get to savour the dish created out of love and not necessity.

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E-mail etiquettes – time to pull up your sleeves before you commit it!

Posted by on Oct 14 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting

Another bad day in the office – how many of them did you have till date? There would be some obvious collar raising expressions as a reply, but there would be some frowned up facial disambiguation too! I don’t mind them because that was, after all, inevitable. It was more than enquiring about one’s salary and age. However, writing an e-mail for a particular reason may carry its own pains. The necessary ointment of common sense and presence of mind needs to be explored by the writer himself/herself. It may sound too direct and harsh, but that’s how you spare yourself from another ‘bad day’ in the office.

E-mail etiquette is supposedly the most important part of business communications. ‘Too formal’ and ‘too casual’ are the two clichés which should always be done away with while writing an e-mail. Wait…..it would be better to put all of them in a list, rather than cramming all of them in one place –

Dos

Beating around the bush never helps. If you think that you can explain everything, you are probably right, but you need to remember that people have other work too. Get to the point as soon as possible and finish up in style. There are other ways to explain things!

Never forget to answer all the questions that were asked by the client. I don’t need to tell that if that’s not done what the forthcoming consequences are going to be!

The subject line included in the composition of an e-mail must be short and explanatory. The subject line is the only element which asks for attention. It tells the reader whether it needs to be clicked on or not

Instead of CCing everyone, do keep in mind that this function is meant for those who are associated with the information that you want to disseminate. The ‘CC’ button should always be used on priority basis

Punctuation and grammar may sound a little irrelevant, but they play an important role in quality business communication. A decent e-mail must be error free from these two perspectives

You should be careful while using HTML and attachments because all e-mail tools may not read the HTML text due to the absence of necessary tools

Finally, do check your mail before sending. It is always better to be on the safer side, as our forefathers have said so!

Don’ts

Quick response always helps in building a healthier business communication. No one has the patience to wait for a surprise. Avoid delaying for a reply as much as you can.

Each letter in the mail written in CAPITALS signifies the insanity of a person who may appear to shout out loud, and an e-mail written in all small letters mows down the importance of the mail.

Public service is not a bad idea, but when it becomes annoying, it is always better to pull the curtains. Similarly, one should be careful while clicking the ‘Reply to all’ button until it is necessary to do so.

Stay away from sending chain mails. Often they are viruses which bog down servers

E-mails are not for confidential information dissemination. Many of you might have thought it to be, but unfortunately its not. Stay alert!

Including a signature line with name, title, company and phone number at the end of every mail always helps in making the mail attain a standard look.

Tell your friends to have a look on these points before they carry on with their silly mistakes after hitting the ‘compose’ button in their mail.

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