I'm a Social Media Entrepreneur, Professor of Digital Marketing, Author of 5 books, Podcaster and an Organic Farmer.

More

Kiruba Shankar

The Status of my Blogging One Week into 2018

2018 is eight days old. So, how am I doing in my 365 blog posts challenge?  Lagging behind already by 3 posts.  I know the problem. It’s not lack of ideas. I have lots of them. It’s not the writing bit. I can write freestyle with no problem. The problem is discipline. Actually the lack of it. The solution is to write down my ideas as soon as I get them and not hold it for later. Once I start doing this regularly, the habit will start to stick. So, how is your new year goals holding up?


Write a Letter to Yourself in the Future.

I recently discovered this site http://www.FutureMe.org which lets you send emails to yourself in the future. We can’t talk to our past self but we can speak to our future self. An interesting way to visualize the person you want to be and describe the achievements you want the future self to accomplish. An interesting novelty worth a try. I sent three letters to myself and am conscious I need to accomplish certain important tasks before emails reach me in the future.


New Year Resolutions: 3 Tips from Science

Its the second week of January 2013. The time when our new year resolutions lose steam! Read these 3 tips by my friend Ramnath Subbaraman.

New Year Resolutions: 3 Tips from Science

1. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF: Because, announcing your goal gives you a “premature sense of completeness”, and you are less likely to work hard towards achieving it, according to a study – When Intentions Go Public – by New York University professor Peter M. Gollwitzer. (Via)

2. KEEP IT SMALL: Because, small things – such as doing 10 push ups as soon as you wake up, or playing guitar for 3 minutes everyday – are more likely to become a habit, says Stanford professor BJ Fogg. Check out his site tinyhabits (Via)

3. KEEP YOUR COOL: Because, a relapse of an old habit doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. “It’s like learning to ride a bicycle. Almost everybody falls at least once,” Alan Marlatt says. If you fail once, pick yourself up, fight the abstinence violation effect and keep going.

And, one more, KEEP A SCORECARD: Because, Hawthorne Effect suggests you’ll do better when you are being monitored. (The Nike Experiment: How the Shoe Giant Unleashed the Power of Personal Metrics | Wired)

Have a great 2013! Original article here.


Make Your Blog Awesome: 7 Key Lessons from TIME’s Top 25 Blogs

TIME Magazine Logo
Time Magazine has made a list of the Top 25 blogs in the World.  I came across this list today and the timing couldn’t be better. I was looking for ways to get back to active blogging and this list gave me an idea. What can we learn from these successful blogs? What is it that makes these blogs awesome? Is there a success pattern that we can adopt for our own blogs? I decided to find out. And so, I patiently visited each of these 25 blogs and made notes as I went along.  Here are my findings from my 5 hour mission.

 

1) Pick a Niche Topic:  This clearly stands out as a success pattern. Almost every blog listed in the TIME’s list has focused on one particular area and focused deep into it.  Lets take a few examples.

TheBillFold is about money. The site’s tag-line says it all, “Everything about Money you were too polite to ask”!

DesignSponge has fascinating ideas and lovely photos of home decorations.

BookShelfPorn does not talk about books. It only focuses on the book shelf designs and there are hundreds of great ideas.

Well, you get the idea.  Pick a niche space that you are passionate about. Then focus on covering that area alone. Easy recipe to differentiate yourself.

 

Invite Guest Authors: There’s only so much that one can write.  A good blog requires regular dose of good content to attract and retain audience.  Mike Dang and Logan Sachon, the owners of  TheBillFold do that cleverly by inviting writers from around the globe to contribute articles on their personal experiences with money. 500px, a great photo community thrives on fantastic photos shot by its members.

A possible lesson here. Open up your blog and invite your readers to participate. This ensures that your blog don’t get cobwebs for long. And its good to have company too.

 

Use Facebook Plugin for Comments:    Commenting platforms like Disqus sucks. People hate registering on sites. Besides, they never update their avatars. See this page.    FB commenting system works great, gets repeat audience and helps build a conversation going. For example, scroll down this page and take a look at the comments below.  You can embed similar FB plugin from the Facebook Social Plugin Page.


Photos for Every Blog Post
:  Almost all the blogs in the Top 25 list use a picture to accentuate their blog post. Not only does it make your blog post look good, it provides visual relief from the monotony of text.  Even better if you can mix audio and video into your posts.


Talk About Things that Others Won’t:
  Its very rare for people to openly talk about failures, embarrassing situations or difficulties in life. When people do, they immediately stand out and earn the attention and empathy of the readers. Take Emily Rapp, a mother  who writes a blog  about her 3 year old son Ronan, who is slowly dying from Tay-Sachs disease. He can no longer move or see.  Its a very difficult situation for a mother but the fact that she is opening talking about it and how she is handling the situation is what makes people love her.


Controversy is Good
:  Take the case of Martha Payne, a 9 year old student who started posting pictures of school lunches everyday in her blog. Not many knew about her blog until the School Council decided to ban her blog. Word leaked out and this created a  outrage on social media. Mainstream press started to cover the censorship and a senior minister had to step in to overturn the ban.  Her blog helped raise over Rs.1 crore in charity money and she now has a book published. Goes to show that there’s nothing called bad publicity.


Well Researched Articles and Strongly Opinionated
: Across all the 25 blogs, I noticed that the blog posts average around 200 words. That’s about 4 paragraphs. Long enough to write a well researched piece.  Leave brevity for Twitter and Facebook. Blogs thrive on longer content. Also, remember that people come to your blog for *your* opinions. Say it the way you feel it.

So, these are the 7 trends that I found. What other trends did you notice from the Top 25 Blogs? Got any new ideas to improve our blogs? Please do share.


Getting Started on New Year Resolutions.

It’s the birth of a fresh new year. The mind is fresh and filled with positivity. It has always been a tradition for me to write down my new year resolutions in the last week of December itself. But this time, my single minded focus was in completing the 900 kms Tour of Tamilnadu. I was too tired from cycling to whip out a list.

So, I’m dedicating the next two days to jot down my New Year Resolutions list. Previous experiences and wisdom from aging has taught me not to be too strict with it. Its a friendly guideline and not a must-do list.

As with previous years, my resolutions will be kept private. But if you follow my progress, it’d be easy for you to make it out.