Why did you start your blog?
I started blogging in 2006 to spread awareness about the technical communication profession, which seemed like an uncharted territory for many Indian graduates or working professionals. Back then, I was disappointed to find substantial information on the web for someone wanting to break into this field. People wanted to know the real deal, you know, not the usual beaten-up fluff you read in books! Also, traveling so much and meeting like-minded folks from all over the world did it for me, since everyone whom I bumped into during this time asked me to write about what I did.
Guess a blog was long overdue!
How long have you had the blog for?
It has been eight years already. My first blog post was published on February 21, 2006. I have written close to 50 blog posts. A good hard look at all these years would reveal more. Like I inflicted a self-imposed exile from 2012 to 2013, a period of time when I thought I hit the writer's block.
Do you see yourself still blogging in 5 years? 10 years?
Abso-fucking-lutely. I wouldn't mind becoming an old fart but still not give my right arm for anything else in the world. I blog because I care to provide a voice for issues that concern. I might not be blogging often, but each blog post of mine is a goldmine. No kidding!
Generally, I spend more time in researching, writing, and editing my blog than I would be in doing an article or a story for a publication.
How does your blog make money?
I don't blog for money. Period. I loathe posts that are laced with advertisements. That's clearly not the motivation. Besides, I was living and working in Korea from 2005 to 2012, a time when blogging seemed like the only way to connect with the folks in India and let them know about my travel exploits. I do acknowledge that as a result of blogging, I have been invited to special events like product launches or celebrity talks. Some of my best friends are bloggers, and it's very obvious why.
How do you get people to come to your site?
That is a very good question. When I started to blog, I didn't potentially realize the reach, relevance, and resonance of the content that I was producing. A lot of bloggers were leveraging the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote their content. I realized quite late that in order to make everyone read the stuff I produce, it was important to get the word out first. Marketing was the game changer, so I actively started to socialize online and allowed my network to get access to my content. I am more like a content curator now, who cherry-picks the best content to share with the community.
How do you decide what content to produce?
Some ideas to write would directly come from the community. Others would come from life experiences and such. For example, a lot of people who stumbled on my blog requested if I could do a post on working in Korea, more specifically, working for a Chaebol like Samsung. A lot of the blogging that I do centers around telling the plain effing truth. What the traditional media publishes may sometimes be a contorted version of the hardcore reality. I don't like that, and obviously, don't want to stereotype my blog.
How many hours a month do you put towards the blog?
The muse strikes at least 3 to 4 times a month, but I am hoping it will be a thing of the past this year. I spend at least 4 to 5 hours in researching and writing a blog post of about 500 words. The editing may take an additional hour, depending on the length.
What's the best part about being a professional blogger?
Blogging is addictive. Your content resonates with people almost instantly. Even if they don't like what you've published, you will still get an opinion. And I think that is important for growth! I consider the audience of my blog as my best critique. The part I like the most about being a professional blogger is that there is never a dull moment.
What's the worst part about being a professional blogger?
The flip side about being a professional blogger is the time and effort it takes to write and maintain a blog. Because you have to research, write long blog posts with photos, captions, and such, editing is required. Not just any editing but extensive editing. Also, blogging cannot provide immediate results. I find that taxing at times.
Would you recommend that people try their hand at becoming a professional blogger?
Give me a reason why they should not, and the drinks are on me! Everyone has a story to tell, and they should do their own bit in contributing.
Do you have any advice for someone who is trying to start a blog?
Take a methodical approach. Choose your topics wisely, and ditto with your audience. Also, don't undermine the power of reach, relevance, and resonance.