Word Up 2015 - A Day Dedicated To Blogging

An IndiBlogger meet in the city is always an excuse to catch up with old and new blogger friends. No matter how many meets you end up attending, there is never a dull moment at an IndiBlogger meet. So how could the Word Up 2015 be possibly any different!

Guess who was the first blogger to reach the venue? Well, no prizes for guessing. Yours truly.

Big Rock Sponsored the Word Up 2015

Coming early to an event isn't necessarily a bad thing. In my case, I got to network and even click the "Selfie of the Day" that won me a cool Sennheiser headphone from Big Rock, the main sponsors of Word Up 2015.

Selfie of the Day

Here a BIG shout-out to my new blogger friends from Word Up 2015:

How The Day Unfolded

The host of the day, Vivek Rawat, welcomed and thanked the .Me domain folks who flew all the way from Montenegro for this event. 

Vivek Rawat - Emcee

For the uninitiated, Montenegro is a small Balkan country bordering the Adriatic Sea. 
  • Montenegro got its independence on June 3, 2006; .Me domain came into inception in 2008.
  • Having a .Me domain can boost your online identity or presence, as it is considered to be the most personal domain available on the Internet.

The Guy from .Me Domain

Keynote Address by Pops

The keynote address was delivered by KV Sridhar (a. k. a. Pops). You can read about him here.

KV Sridhar (a. k. a. Pops)

What Pops Said

  • Has advertising experience but is not a blogger or an analyst.
  • Loves telling stories; pays to produce stories (Example: INR 30 crores for a mere 30 sec commercial).
  • Writes regular columns in newspapers.
  • Knows how brands work.
  • Client's perspective: "How do you connect brands to people?"
  • Internet has changed the world, brought people closer, and empowered people. Anyone can publish now.
  • User-generated content is bigger than what the entertainment industry created in the last 50 years.
  • Marketers were born at the same time when typewriters were born.
  • Companies like Unilever and P&G rely on paid advertising. Companies like Google and Apple don't believe in advertising. In fact, people don't believe in advertising anymore.
  • Companies cannot afford to live in this world by hiding something/anything.
  • Relationships work on two things:
    • Trust
    • Mutual values and interests
  • You cannot put anything inside a full cup.
  • Marketers are hanging on to an old system when the world around them is changing.
  • Television is powerful in our country and will never die.
  • Buying a car used to take 3 to 4 weeks earlier. 20 years ago, it used to take 3 years. Now you can buy a brand new BMW on an 8 year EMI in less than 24 hours. Create a desire for the brand that you're associated with.
  • On "Understanding people":
    • Start and end with people.
    • Compartmentalizing people is downright silly.
    • People and their feelings are two things to learn.
    • No difference between brands and people.
  • On "Brand's purpose and values":
    • We are shifting from 'valuing' brands to 'developing' brands that are valued.
    • It doesn't matter who you are; it's what you can do for me.
    • There is no difference between how people behave in normal life versus how brands should behave.
    • The more brands give, the more they get.

Example: Volvo Life Paint

  • Volvo is one of the safest cars in the world. The brand values safety and life - both inside and outside of the car.
  • Volvo's purpose remains higher in life; it is also concerned about safety of human beings on the street.
  • The best way to survive a crash is not to crash.
  • Life Paint is a unique reflective safety spray. Invisible by daylight, it shines brightly in the glare of car headlights.
  • Making the invisible, visible.
  • The higher the purpose, the more you connect.

Example 2: Intel and Toshiba's "The Beauty Inside"

  • The Beauty Inside is a story about a man called Alex who wakes up every day with a new face in a completely different body, meeting the love of his life. He is the same person on the inside, but always someone new on the outside.
  • The highly acclaimed social film was developed by Intel and Toshiba on the premise that "Will he be able to tell her the truth? Will she be able to handle it?"
  • Communication shifted from my story to your story when Facebook users were asked to add to the narrative.
  • Directed by Drake Doremus, the film is broken up into six filmed episodes with interactive storytelling. All events take place on the main character's Facebook timeline.
  • It's Hollywood's first social film that gave the audience a chance to play the lead role throughout the story.
  • The higher purpose that Intel and Toshiba wanted to convey through this film: it is the beauty inside that count.

Example 3: Coca-Cola Small World Machines - Bringing India & Pakistan Together

  • March 2013. Coca-Cola sets out to remove political barriers by creating a simple moment of connection between two rival nations - India and Pakistan (higher purpose of the brand).
  • The initiative "Small World Machines" was a live communications portal between people in India and Pakistan.
  • Central idea: What unites us is stronger than what sets us apart.
  • People in India and Pakistan were asked to complete tasks like touching hands, drawing peace, love, and happiness symbols -- together.
  • 99.9% people in the world are good and optimistic. The question is whether you want to talk to these 99.9% or remaining 0.1%?
  • Values must be shared at both ends. 

Example 4: P&G: Do Things "Like A Girl"

  • Higher the purpose is, the more people will find you. 

Example 5: Lucky Iron Fish: A Simple Solution for a Global Problem

  • Why we need inspiration? To live.
  • The Lucky Iron Fish is a social enterprise that works toward reducing iron deficiency rates globally.
  • Cooking with this specially formulated iron ingot releases up to 75% of a person's daily required iron intake.

Example 6: Gisele B√ľndchen - I WILL WHAT I WANT

  • Taking a stand sparks off conversations.
  • Being a supermodel, Gisele knows what it means to live under the lens. Amongst the noise of contradicting opinions, Gisele proved that will beats noise.
  • Under Armour created this campaign to beat stereotypes and introduce the concept of uber masculine women, who are both strong and athletic.
  • By amplifying the message through Twitter, Under Armour allowed many people to talk to many people.
  • Have a belief and say the truth. 

First Session by Lakshmipathy Bhatt - Ethics and the business of blogging

Post the keynote address by Pops came another invigorating session by Lakshmipathy Bhatt. You can read about him here.

What Lakshmipathy Said 

  • Blogging is not unfrittered or on a whim anymore.
  • Random is the most common word used in a blog title.
  • As a blogger, you owe responsibility to yourself and the brands you write for.
  • Blogger
    • Yay! Money! But I have to write.
  • Reader and followers
    • Can sense your brand relationship; might feel that you're sold out to the brand but if the brand is good, they will check out nonetheless.
  • Agencies
    • Blogger outreach is the new mantra these days.
  • Brand Owner
    • I pay so I want the blogger to write my content.
  • Sources of exasperation
    • Blogger
      • Not stating the terms and conditions upfront.
    • Readers and followers
      • Questions the credentials of the blogger.
    • Agencies
      • Not doing their basic homework.
      • Using one size fits all approach.
    • Brand Owner
      • Pay peanuts, get monkeys.
  • Brands should have an idea that fits the larger frame.
  • 10 blogger tips to live by
    1. I will be transparent in my dealings and disclosures via Privacy Policy and Disclaimer.
    2. I will credit my sources.
    3. If I choose to endorse a brand, I will do a lot of homework about it.
    4. How I get compensated for it (or not) is my choice.
    5. I will be prepared for backlash or judgmental jibes when I openly endorse a brand.
    6. Being professional is not limited to demanding on-time payment alone.
    7. Writing for a brand for free - It is not an obligation from my end.
    8. I shall steer clear of any conflict of interest.
    9. I shall not steal images from Google Search.
    10. If I have to use free images, I will go to sites like photopin.com, unsplash.com, pixabay.com, and Flickr.com (Creative Commons).
  • Brand owners should create content that
    • Is interesting.
    • Is relevant to the targeted audience.
    • Is held together with a brand.
    • Uses strength and weaknesses of idea bloggers.

Second Session by Nandita Iyer

The next speaker, Nandita Iyer, writes a blog called Saffron Trail.

Nandita Iyer

What Nandita Said 

  • Most bloggers start a blog as a hobby to pursue their passion.
  • Required in blogging: sustained interest, growth, and monetizing potential.
  • What is the difference between a hobby and a professional blogger?
    • Be consistent
    • Educate yourself
    • Focus on the following:
      • Quality
      • Passion
      • Consistency
      • Originality
      • What's trending
    • Don't draw a blank.
    • Don't take yourself lightly.
    • Keep bettering your game.
    • First be creative, then monetize.
  • Smarter Blogging
    • Use Google Trends (this week, year)
  • Stay topical.
  • Use the free extra attention - going viral.
  • Monetizing your blog
    • Advertising
    • Sponsored posts
    • Indirect earnings - get an assignment outside of your blog.
  • Value yourself first.
  • Do not work for free.
  • Blog is your showcase.
  • Build your brand - offline
    • Get armed
      • Business cards
      • Press kit
      • Portfolio
      • Networking
      • Blogging community - give first and join relevant events only.
  • Building your brand online
    • Through social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Instagram.
    • Facebook pages - Make it discoverable for potential clients and media.
    • Use Twitter for brand building. 

Third Session by Rachit Hirani

The next speaker, Rachit Hirani, is an automotive journalist who writes on Motor Octane.

Rachit Hirani

What Rachit Said 

  • The key giveaway from Rachit's session was to plan and track your blogging days, months, and weeks in a calendar year.

Fourth Session by Kiran Manral

I had been meaning to see Kiran in action. Besides being a celebrated author, she was also a judge for one of the blogging contests I had participated in awhile ago. I spoke to Kiran minutes before her session to ensure if she had read my entry for that particular contest and she had asked me to tweet the URL. I am still to hear from her! 

Kiran Manral

What Kiran Said 

  • Provocative content makes you:
    • Read
    • React
    • Ponder
    • Respond
  • Find your niche and then go even more niche.
  • Tell a story. Tell it well.
  • In your blog post, reel them in, fling them out. Have a sense of closure.
  • Give anecdotes - your blog is intimate.
  • Listicles work. 

Stand-up Comedians - Srijan Kaushik and Manik Mahna

I thoroughly enjoyed both the stand-up acts, although Manik had to cut short in between.

Stand-up Comedians - Srijan & Manik

Fifth Session by Vishal Shroff - Content Consumption Trends and Monetization

Vishal works as a Senior Strategist - Channel Partnership Team with Google.

Vishal Shroff

What Vishal Said 

  • 30 million Indians are online today.
  • Those born in the last or current decade - Screenagers.
  • Mobile has changed everything today.
  • 65% of users in India access Internet via their mobile device only.
  • Mobile-only users are very different.
  • Mobile data plans in India are the cheapest in the world.
  • Telcos make money on the volume.
  • YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet today.
  • Feel connected, express yourselves, and share experiences.
  • Content consumption has changed.
  • Advertiser may become publisher.
  • Huge opportunity to create quality content.
  • Create localized content (especially in Hindi).
  • Digital spends are increasing. INR 10,000 crores will be the digital spent in 2017-18.
  • Monetization opportunities:
    • Affiliate Marketing
    • Sponsored Content
    • Advertising Revenue
    • Direct Sales 

Sixth Session by Arun Nair 

Arun is the founder cum author of IndianEye.org.

What Arun Said

25 Problogging Tips
  1. Match the tonality and persona of your blog to match your professional aspirations.
  2. Write more about what you want to know and get better at it.
  3. Show up. Half of blogging is consistency. The other half is focus.
  4. Keep your blog content fresh by staying on top of news.
  5. Create a blog schedule. Compile blogging ideas in advance. Go to Quora and research topics you want to write on. Google Alerts is another option.
  6. Check out popular topics on other blogs. Check on Alexa.com - Top Keywords section (go for 7-days pro version).
  7. Build a bank of evergreen content.
  8. Keep headlines tight, as every word counts. Average length of a blog headline should not exceed 40 characters.
  9. Write great headlines.
  10. Bullets and numbered lists are easier to read.
  11. Provide image and table captions.
  12. Provide a beginning, middle and ending - rational approach.
  13. Pull a quote out from your blog and make it stand out.
  14. Write an excerpt for a blog article.
  15. Include the rel=canonical tag in the HTML at the top of your page to point copied versions of article.
  16. Optimize your URL for search and readability.
  17. Include pie charts and other stat data in blog posts.
  18. Time it well (betweenn 10 am to 6 pm). Engagement happens after 6 pm as there is less clutter.
  19. Tweet with different intros.
  20. Re-purpose content and publish on different channels.
  21. Publish an eBook (free on Amazon).
  22. Create a presentation from your blog and publish it on Slideshare.
  23. Share your posts with niche LinkedIn groups.
  24. Co-created context has social promotion built in.
  25. Give your blog time. Be patient.

Seventh Session by Aashish Chopra - Learning from Viral Video

Aashish Chopra is an award-winning viral video marketer, who works for ixigo. He makes and markets videos with millions of views.

Aashish Chopra

What Aashish Said

  • Overwhelming content density and too much competition in the blogging space.
  • Attention span of readers is 8 seconds only.
  • Topical content works (newsjacking).
    • What is the news that works?
    • Make it share worthy (tag friends).
    • Inspire action.
  • When making a viral video, ensure that the video is:
    • Fast and engaging (2 to 3 mins).
    • Solving a problem (make it useful).
    • Telling a story (storytelling beats production values).
  • Facebook is the new game changer. Focus on the following:
    • Conflict and Context
    • Action
    • Resolution
  • 5 thoughts to leave behind
    1. Blog like no one else is reading.
    2. Medium may come and go.
    3. Blogging is so much more.
    4. Stay inspired.
    5. Brands and businesses are increasingly relying on non-advertising content.
Thank you IndiBlogger and Big Rock for organizing the Word Up 2015 in Delhi-NCR. Can't wait for the next edition!