Archive for the 'From the Writer’s Desk' Category

A Miracle called ‘Bhutan’: Diary of a Content Writer

Posted by on May 19 2012 | From the Writer's Desk

Blessed by the universe to flourish as an independent country, Bhutan is what one can call ‘a miracle of life’. The dragon land is known for the simplicity of life that it offers to each and every citizen and to the tourists. The Buddhist country claims itself to be the happiest in the world, and indeed it is. Rich in architecture and diversity in culture, it is where one can find all the goodness stored for each person.

Having called myself a frequent traveler for over a year now, it was about time that I gained some nature consciousness and allow my creativity to enhance as a result. What else could be better than a land enveloped in passion and enlightenment from all sides. Bhutan is where I explored my sense of being and found a sensitive side towards the flora, fauna and avifauna.

After four days of hectic travelling in trains and buses, I touched upon Thimpu with the image of green mountains and blue rivers resting in my eyes. Far away from the hues of a hectic city life, it is situated in the lap of nature amidst the flowing rivers of faith. A trekker’s paradise as it is called, the city is home to some of the ancient Buddhist monasteries built years ago by the monks.

On the first day, I was given the instructions to carry lots of water, warm clothes and oodles of physical strength. At 6 am, as the bright sunlight played hide and seek with my feet on the roads, I was made to climb a 1000 feet high mountain.  What seemed impossible at that time, turned out to be an enlightening experience, much to the inner peace of my soul.

The next city to conquer was Paro. A three hour drive from Thimpu, Paro has the only airport in the country and indeed a spectacular one. Imagine stepping out of a plane to witness the beauty of mountains and the rivers even before getting out of the airport.

Waking up every morning to the sight of crystal clear water washing the white stones at the riverside can be such a pleasant experience for anyone. Life got happier as I went for evening walks with the sound of white water running across clear streams hitting my senses each day. This is what Paro had in store for me, a solace to accompany me all the time and an ocean of belief to take a deep dive in the enigma of life.

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Stay Alive With Your Clients – The Dos And Don’ts

Posted by on Apr 19 2012 | Advertising, From the Writer's Desk

When it comes to clients, frowning is the initial expression that develops in our face. That is of course not the same story for everyone. Yes, some people can take a sigh of relief on that, or pacify their hard feelings which was about to brew in! Dealing with clients is supposedly the most challenging task one can imagine in his/her lifetime. To generalize it, one of the toughest jobs in the world of business and marketing. Effective communication is what drives an interaction with a client. If you are bugged with amount of good work that is being reflected on your website, you are likely to end up with an extremely raised bar of expectations from the probable clients.

Few of us would definitely agree with the fact that sometimes, the frequencies of thoughts of the clients tend to change. Communication stands to be the sole tool to read the mind of the client. However, loopholes and gaps in this communication are bound to occur. We just can’t pretend to be anything else than humans! So, arguments and agreements are a part of this entire story. In order to avoid embarrassing and outrageous situations while interacting with the clients, here are some dos and don’ts

  • Start with a bang – Initially, it is extremely important to know each and every inch about the business of the client. The products and services, corporate culture and the USP of the client are the few features one needs to study before even starting the communication process. Understanding their needs and the sole purpose for the meeting also holds an important place in the interaction session. Some clients would stay a little skeptic before devoting time to the interaction. Staying with the passive mode of the client won’t help in making the encounter a fruitful. It is important to make them feel that this entire project aims at developing and refurbishing their entire business enterprise.
  • On the record – It is always a huge headache to get back to the client and retrieve all that was demanded. Moreover, it is extremely embarrassing. Keeping a good record of what the client has said is extremely important in order to focus upon the work lying ahead instead of going back and irritate the client for no reason! CRM systems have come up as the best weapon to deal with multiple clients at the same time.
  • Do the listening – A website and the business of a client is all about them, their marketing strategies, their customers and their take on the market. Sitting mum is absolutely not a solution, but it is important to be patient enough to listen to the requirements of the client.
  • Speak up Doubts are the biggest bug that can haunt you while interacting with the client. Do not let that bug grow itself inside you. Puke it out to wipe out all your confusions. There are a lot of facts which won’t be provided to you unless you ask for them from your client.
  • Be patient – You are good at what you do and this is the reason you are interacting with your client. Clients are not necessarily replete with the knowledge about your job. Pacify your hump of knowledge and experience in order to suit the needs of the client. Listen to them first and then explain them the entire scenario.
  • Make your communication count – The clients may not be available for reverting back your reply all the time. Thus, in order to make things easy for the client, it always advisable to collect all your questions and doubts in one single mail and send them. Since clients value their own time, they will appreciate if you increase the time that you have in communication.

Thus, following these precautions will always help you in making your interaction with the client a fruitful one. Moreover, they are not that tough to follow. You knew each one of it, but it’s just that you never wanted to implement it. Now is the time.

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Healthy Foods for Winter Season

Posted by on Dec 05 2011 | Blogs, From the Writer's Desk

Generally, few individuals are aware of the healthy food that should be consumed during the winter season. Almost all of us tend to eat unhealthy foods when winters are round the corners. It is true, even if we try our level best we tend to get tempted to the warm and fattening winter food. People who love winter season are also crazy for the seasonal foods and why not, it is proved that winter season improves our digestive system. It also keeps us healthy and save us from falling sick too often. The body temperature in winters is low due to which we require more energy that is provided by the food we eat, therefore it is important to take care of what we consume during winters.

Start your winter morning with a cup of herbal tea with Tulsi and ginger in it. Try and avoid caffeine, though it provides instant kick to start your morning, but makes you lazy as the day proceeds. Rather than fruit juices go for vegetables soups, mushroom or chicken soup. Soups are good to increase immunity during winters, especially to fight against cough and cold. Brown rice, chapatti, lentils, vegetables along with coriander, onion and ginger is a good idea to satiate your cravings during winter season. Ginger should be added to all vegetables and pulses you cook, because it helps in maintaining the body temperature. To end your day a glass of warm milk with honey and little turmeric powder is the best that you can give your body to maintain the metabolism all night long. This will also help you avoid gaining weight, which many of us tend complain during winter season.

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Curtain Call: From The Desk Of A Departing Writer

Posted by on Oct 07 2011 | Content Writing, From the Writer's Desk

I have always liked to think of myself as just the writer, having abhorred attaching any prefix to it. I had no real convictions when I got a call from a friend to accompany him to an interview from a content writing company. Having just exhausted my quota of books to read and entertainment options to pursue, I agreed to tag along, just for kicks as the phrase goes. An undemanding test and relatively more strenuous interview later, I was picked (My enterprising friend wasn’t, hasn’t kept in touch for some reason).

As I started getting acquainted with the day-to-day workings of a content writer, I realized that merely a shapeless excuse for a cauldron holding a few pails of garbled writing skill does not a bucket of content writing make. There are scores of good writers out there. Not all of them master the reins to their own unbridled imagination and a choice few are able to appreciate and implement the tempering of creativity with compliance. Content writing is not a field where you can rut around like a bull in stud by delivering copies that are selectively pleasing only to your eyes; you must instead be the trusty steed, serving the purpose of your client and your audience. I won’t be presumptuous enough to claim that I came to terms with the notion of ‘audience first, self later’ without guidance. There were many stumbles, many a vehement nays of refusal to edit my content and better align with client requirements. As becoming an unruly horse, my boss and senior colleagues had to play the role of a horse-whisperer, advising, cajoling and berating me into a professional writer. Thankfully, I can say that I have wised up.

I also realized that clients are more or less open to suggestions and that a content writer who takes the initiative to think of the project as his/her own will reflexively come up with better, more thought-evoking content. Passion is the operative word here. And contrary to popular opinion, creativity does not burn out even if one’s engaged in writing 23 articles around the same keyword as some writers are wont to deplore. In the artsy milieus of writing, a flame of passion will persist through storms of writer’s blocks and showers of monotony, provided you use the right match.

Coming back to the present reminiscences of the past, my more-than-just-a-stint as a content writer has matured me in many ways. An ability to evaluate client requirements, looking at the bigger picture, a sense of accountability and a revitalized zeal for writing have gradually been unearthed, like muscles making themselves known after a gruelling run.

As the departure date looms unnervingly closer, I can remember flashes of events that occurred these past few months, and the consequent nuggets of wisdom that have mercifully been ingrained. Few people can experience turmoil and exhilaration at the same time, I experienced a palpable mix of both, throughout. Most people complain of being stuck in a single, monotonous job for what feels like a lifetime; I was one of those lucky scamps who got vistas into the mind of a businessman one day, a builder the other, a cola maker the third day and a traveller the next.

There’s much more to say, many experiences more to recount, with evocative half-smiles at times, but there’s a word count to consider and my parting act will be to stick to it. Adieu folks!

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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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Reader Attention is a Tricky Temptress

Posted by on Aug 22 2011 | From the Writer's Desk

Jerry Seinfeld once said that the longevity of content doesn’t matter as long as it’s good. Now, of course, he said this in his characteristic, Seinfeldic style and I vaguely remember an after-joke that had something to do with a couple of giraffes and George Carlin, but the gist was the same. However, with multitudes of web content clamouring for eyeballs, coupled with a stubbornly myopic attention span on part of the viewers, it seems that ‘I told you so’ probably isn’t on Seinfeld’s list of things-to-say-when-kicking-the-bucket.

It’s tragic really. Scores of great content, write-ups that deserve more than just a second glance are being sidelined along with other, inferior content, like a burra sahib being herded along with the rest of the flock in the general category of a Banaras local. Content writers everywhere are being hard-pressed to deliver crisp, edgy content that can keep the attention meter to a cent percent at all times. One could argue that it’s all for the better, as this would automatically translate to better standards of content. Debatable.

With the dynamic pop culture dishing out new watchwords of cool (read FTW, OMFG, ROFL, LOL and the asinine ‘muaah’) it seems the writing is etched firmly on the wall. If it’s terse, you get the cookie. Case in point: the blog is slowly but surely being replaced by the tweet (Microblogging? Oxymoron, if there ever was one!) The age of good ole’ content that would languidly sculpt a scenario before executing the much-awaited coup de grace is fighting a losing battle against its briefer, crisper progeny. Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy must be turning in their graves.

The tone of this blog will might decry suggest protest, rant et al, but for many, this has come as a good change. Conciseness is a godsend for those (read all) who don’t have the luxury of time on their hands. So, if you’re looking to wow readers with cut-the-bull content, you had best deliver in spades. Failing that, your readability can be measured in seconds, if at all.

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Content Writing, India – Things You Need To Know

Posted by on Feb 26 2010 | From the Writer's Desk

What is content writing in India?

Content is crucial on the web. Content writing in India is making its name in the global web industry. Before beginning your content writing journey, it is essential to know every nook and corner of content writing. Content writing is not the traditional text only, in fact anything that is visible to the viewers comes under the umbrella of content writing India including images, text, flash video and whatever you can imagine on a webpage. Creating a good content is a key that can get your readers to view your website or buy a product. Since every content is not ‘good content’, therefore, content writing in India is taken more seriously as a profession now. Any good content has to be keyword centric and this way you will make your website searchable. You may have an exceptional idea but if you carve it in an amateurish style, then it might be a question mark on the content writing skills of the content writer in India.

What you need to know?

You need to know grammar, you need to know spellings, and you need to know the skill of communicating with others. When you talk about content writing in India, you should know what you are talking about so that you come up with relevant and required messages. Unless you know your readers, you cannot create a good content; therefore, content writing India is about knowing readers in the picture. If you are of the opinion that you will take your own sweet time to write a readable, crisp, interesting and catchy piece of article, then just don’t relax because deadline is what defines you as a good and capable content writer. Content writing in India cannot survive without the original content. Do not plagiarize because one stolen word can hit hard on your website and your online reputation. Learn the art of making your point which can force your readers to think about what you are trying to say.

Checklist

Successful content writing in India requires a certain checklist which needs to be followed. One can flourish in the art of content writing in India by keeping the following key factors in mind while writing content for any kind of web requirement;

  1. Keep track of your deadlines – You won’t be able to master the art of content writing in India if you skip your deadlines.
  2. Check your spellings – No content writing job can be termed as a good content writing work unless you proofread it with all the spell checks.
  3. Keep the content simple – Whether you are writing a website copy, an article or a blog, the key to effective content writing India is to keep it really simple, hence comprehendible.
  4. Keep it concise and direct – Get to the point with your content because too many twists can make your readers lose all the interest.

    Content writing in India is now seen as a money-spinning profession for many writing enthusiasts but for this you need to have good command over language, great understanding of your readers and a creative head.

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    Copywriting Services – Leveraging The Content Over Internet

    Posted by on Feb 18 2010 | From the Writer's Desk

    Copywriting services have come of age. It may have taken some time for most of the businesses to come to understand the significant role that content can play in affecting the visibility across various search engines but those who have have made gains they didn’t even think existed. But it also true that it’s not ‘content’ rather it is the ‘professionally written content’ that has been developed by a copywriting services agency which actually helps you accomplish the desirable results.

    Internet has its own kind of world and different kind of forces and factors play their part in making the world go round. The way content has been able to help businesses find a foothold, turn the tide in their favour and get them closer to their target audience has amazed many. And the most interesting part is that a good and professionally qualified copywriting services company is able to do wonders with words to help you get the desirable outcome from the web world.

    Copywriting services at very basic level would include website copywriting and now even SEO copywriting. But with time it has become a very specialized field with content writing domains like white papers, best practice guides, fax marketing ads copies, and others turning out to be the one businesses are looking out for.

    But that doesn’t mean that any random copywriting services company can be trusted to deliver. In fact it becomes a bigger issue than the content itself, especially when you consider the fact that your content or copy can only be as good as the copywriting services agency that you have hired is. But if you make the right decision when it comes to engaging with the most suitable copywriting services company, you can be sure that your end results would be as per your initial expectations too.

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    Getting The Persuasive Writer Out Of Me

    Posted by on Feb 06 2010 | From the Writer's Desk

    I have always dreamt about being a copywriter, convincing myself time and again that I am creative enough to be one. Also, I keep self quoting myself at several places (including this article) saying that “Words are the best way I can express my feelings with”. But wait! Isn’t that true for most people? Anyone who’s done elementary English even at the school level is able to express themselves in words. What makes the difference though is, I have to be a writer who is compelling, persuasive and convincing enough to keep my reader interested in what I write. And so I decide to be in a place where most “persuasive writers” are the center of attention – An advertising agency.

    From day one I was asked to craft catchy headlines for the endless briefs that I received. My life became a constant endeavor of keeping up with the pressure of being creative at the drop of a hat. I realized soon enough that writing was not always joyful. There were innumerable times when I found it difficult, challenging, upsetting and tearful. But nonetheless, each time I managed to surmount the expectations of a client, I felt a sense of illumination and delight.

    Writing for me thus became one filled with the uniqueness of discovering within myself a voice which is born from personal experiences and circumstances, giving me the zeal, enthusiasm and passion to be someone who constantly probes into the minds of her readers and puts across to them what they need to hear, honestly reflecting with each sentence how my copywriting aids them to get what they need, hence making my entire procedure of copywriting powerful, attractive, engaging and monetizing.

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    Understanding Content Writing

    Posted by on Jan 24 2009 | From the Writer's Desk

    When I started to write on this topic, I tried to search the internet for anything interesting that I could use for my article. I am sure any content writer would have done that. After all being internet savvy is one of the prime requisites of a good content writer. I came across a number of articles, texts and blogs suggesting a variety of things on this issue. Different people, different voices and different view-points. Finally, I decided to pen down what I think of content writing after doing it for about a year now.

    The Ultimate Goal

    Let me start by writing down one of the most clichéd opening lines- ‘As the name suggests’, content writing is writing good and effective content so that it serves purpose it is intended to. The ultimate goal is to cater to the target audience, to drive more and more traffic towards your website, webpage or blog and to help the client sell his products and/or services.

    The Need

    Basically, content writing is needed because professionals know their job. They are better at it than a layman and are actually the ones who put the plan into action. They write the world’s most creative and original content for your websites, blogs, press- releases, advertisements, brochures, travel experiences etc.

    The literary work of the company or the firm has to be at its best all the time. It is like you are ‘the’ introduction to your prospective clients. No one can afford to neglect it. The bottom line- Everyone needs content writing.

    How it’s done

    A Content Writer must assess his client’s needs. He should exactly know what he is supposed to write. After having done that, he is supposed to search the internet and use any other source of information that he has, and try and find out the maximum details about the subject. A bit of re-writing work obviously needs to be done. Knowing what is relevant and what is not is also very important. However, this only comes with practice. The more you write, the better judge you are. The final stage of work involves checking your text for any kind of errors. In the end, make the changes that your client wants to be done.

    Qualities needed

    Though content writing seems easy, but being 100% original every single time is not easy at all. Patience, dedication, sincerity, timeliness, good language skills, basic computer skills, being internet savvy, good researching skills etc are obviously needed. You also should know the limitations of the medium you are writing for. The most important thing, however, is the love for writing. You need to love what you are doing. Unless you don’t, you can’t be good at it.

    This was a gist of what I have understood about content writing in the past one year. I might have missed out on a few points but I tried to give you a basic idea of what content writing is all about. Though the job is not difficult but being good at it is also not easy. What an irony!

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