Thursday, September 18, 2014

What You Must Know If You Are Searching For Content Jobs

Yes, content writing, or being a digital content professional, is really a vibrant segment of careers today. And yet it is one of the most competitive arenas to set a foot on. Many a time I have come across professionals from different sectors of the industry wanting to become a content writer. 

Whenever I have been in a position to give them a chance, I have always done so. One of the reasons I did so was because I felt writing is a creative pursuit, and not something one can develop. If you are good at it, you need that one chance to establish yourself. And if you are not that good, your readers will tell you that, and then it will be difficult to for you to get a second chance.

Photo Credit: CreativeCommons

But the bottom line is, not everyone can become a writer. Just like not everyone can become an artist, or a singer, or a photographer, for that matter (although these days people think that buying an expensive DSLR is the first step towards photographic greatness). So the most important thing you’d need to make a cut in this field is your talent. Just make sure you have it in spades. This cut-throat competitive job market has no space for a mediocre writer. Even if you are good, you have to consistently polish yourself, learn new tricks, and keep yourself up breast with the latest content strategies. In other words, you need to be in top of your form, always.

These days even the best of the writers need to showcase their talents and keep a ready portfolio of their writings for that competitive advantage. Blogs are actually a very good way to share your skills with the world, and it helps if you have a strong presence in the Internet. Personal branding matters a lot these days. Get your personal brand out in the open and keep it strong. Find out your niche and talk about your domain expertise. Make sure you stand out as an expert in at least one thing, rather than a jack of all trades.  

Experimenting with different genres is important. I am amazed with Amish Tripathy, who became the pioneer of writing mythology based books through his Shiva Trilogy. Who would have thought that it is possible to sell novels based on mythological character of the Hindu God, Shiva? Apparently, no one, not even publishers. So he self-published his first book, The Immortals of Meluha, and today these are some of the best sellers and most talked about  literary fiction work in modern Indian literature.

I always felt reading is important. And not only the genres you enjoy the most, but even genres you are not that keen. Reading improves the way we think and the way we write. I don’t know about others, but I write because I read. For me, reading goes hand-in-hand with writing. The more I read, the more I am bursting with ideas to write. Can it be the reason why I have never ever felt a writer’s block till now? Is it because I read? Well, I am solely tempted to say, yes, definitely.

Sometimes I wonder who reads my work? I started my blogs with the sole aim of finding my space, giving back all those things I learnt in my career in the digital content industry, and to help others who wish to set a foot in this ever growing industry. The digital content space is filled with noise. Everyday thousands of people write, post, and share content. Some are read, others often languish in obscurity. Making an impression seems to be the most elusive of the rewards of writing. And yet I saw my blog grow. So may be if you can find your voice, you can grow too. 

So next time you are on a job hunt for in digital content space, here’s my advice:

·         Make sure you are talented in this field. There is no space for the mediocre.
·         Build your online portfolio and create a personal brand.
·         Experiment with different genres to express your creativity
·         Reading everything you can get your hands into.

·         Find your voice and stay committed.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Social Media for Small Businesses

I always felt small businesses in India are doing a far better job of using social media to actively engage with their customers than the bigger brands.

Republishing my post from LinkedIn:

How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media to Generate Business

 A friend of mine has a small jewelry boutique she runs out her house. The store stocks really stylish and fun pieces, and she uses social media platforms as her main source of advertising. Looking at way the small businesses use social media to sell their products, it makes me wonder at the scope of business these platforms offer to their users.

Exposure to a Larger Audience 

Even when these businesses are not using the paid promotional posts, social media platforms are the best places to showcase their niche products to a large audience. A ‘like’ on the update and ‘share’ on the product photo actually works wonders for these businesses, which only depend on their organic reach of these posts for popularity. I guess it’s easy to be a big brand and pay your way to popularity on these pages, but if you are a small brand, it’s your unique posts and strength of your designs that carry you through. For a small business, even a thousand likes can turn into actual sales at a ratio far more favorable than inorganic reaches of promotional posts.

User Engagement Matters

 I am often amazed by the way small businesses get users to engage with them. My friend’s page, for her brand Adorjo, is always a vibrant discussion of a day’s schedule, or a new trend, or even a discussion of the latest design. My very creative friend often uses mystery as an ingredient to a product launch. Her posts often read, ‘A sneak peek of our next collection, stay tuned,’ and is often added to an expertly designed product photo, that keeps the audience guessing about the nature of the upcoming jewelry designs.

 Effective Use of Contests

No, the boutique page doesn't use the social media contests as blatantly as the big brands. But often it coaxes its users to post photos of them wearing a designer piece, and I am always delighted to find a whole lot of buyers actually complying with the idea!! Yes, contests can have many forms, so long as you hit the pulse of your audience, the prize may be in participation itself.

Pictures Speak a Thousand Words

 A food blogger friend of mine, who wanted to get some good shots for her own food blog, decided to master the art of photography, and now successfully runs an extremely popular and award-winning food blog as well as her own agency for food photography. Rekha’s social media presence is all about amazing photographs of food she has cooked, or arranged and designed. A set of good photographs can often take your social media presence to great heights.

Build Your Brand by Sharing Yourself

 In this day of content strategies and automated posts on the social media channels, my friend Monica successfully has turned her social media page about her baking venture into a discussion about her likes, her taste in food, and the events she attends as a food entrepreneur. She keeps her audience hooked into her creations by sharing tit bits about her life. Her pages are full of everything that is her, and her brand’s page stands tall with a neat 6,000 followers waiting to hear the next thing from her.

 I tend to agree that small entrepreneurs of today has got their social media pages so right, that too without any dedicated professional help, as they believe in one single most important thing, that it’s all about their audience, a point which some larger businesses are surely missing at this time.

(C) Moumita Basu