The Sparrow predicts ‘Patience’ for Content: Week 12 (T.C.O.A.W.E)


img_20161221_182744I woke up in the evening to the sounds of mynahs communicating with each other on my window sill. After a gap of three days, my friends were back and it was indeed a pleasure to hear them. However, I missed the one sound that my kids and I have been yearning to hear for quite some time now; the chirping of sparrows. In fact, just a week ago, we bought a sparrow house from an e-commerce website. As it hung empty on the window grille in the other room, all I could mutter to myself was to have patience.

http://www.natureforever.org/house-sparrow-facts.html

The worrying aspect is the impatience of my daughter. She made a very cute drawing of different birds in the hope of attracting the sparrows. She had decided to stick the drawing on the sparrow house and only relented when I explained that the drawing may get torn and worn out and dissuade the sparrow from coming to a dirty house. A true portrayal indeed of an honest, imaginative and colourful mind thinking and implementing different ways to save the sparrow species from the urban decaying environment.

As I shared earlier, my worry is that she may lose patience and give up on experimenting with different things to make the sparrow feel secure, comfortable and maybe ‘wanted’ enough to build its home in the sparrow house.

Eerily, this thought or process holds true to the adage ‘Content is King’. As the 2017 predictions keep on coming and as I went through various articles and white papers published related to content throughout the year, I realised that this adage is hollow. It is a bankrupt thought process and a lip service if it is not followed up in true spirit along with adequate patience. Often short-cuts are made to release Content to appease the stakeholders and in the process the Content becomes a pauper. So, my prediction or the only principle for the year 2017 in the realm of Content is to have patience while keeping on experimenting.

The reasons are four-fold:

  1. The sparrow needs to spot the house: The number of houses, buildings and complexes are increasing daily and so is the competition amongst birds. The pigeons, crows, mynahs are the front-runners in our area to spot vacant lucrative spaces and they hardly leave anything for the poor sparrow. This is what happens to our digital content against the might of bigger players who use SEO/SEM techniques quite effectively and efficiently. However, we need to hold on to our niche’ and keep the website, the content as clear and trustworthy as possible so that sooner or later it is consumed by the target audience.

 

  1. The sparrow will eat what it likes to eat: We’ve kept a small water vessel on the top of the AC compressor unit next to the sparrow house. Well, the results are awaited. However, interestingly a month before my daughter started keeping pulses on a tray on the AC unit and soon enough it was devoured by different birds including the sparrow. As I googled today, I realised the Content it needs. The bigger realisation was how often our content through different mediums differs. What we speak through blogs, publicise through social media or release through different campaigns often speaks different Content Marketing languages. It is then bound to attract different audience who are not exactly our target audience and the entire objective is lost.

 

  1. Did you hear a chirp today? If it sounds like analytics then you are correct. Often digital content is not evaluated post its release in a scientific manner. How many impressions were generated, what was the reach, is CTR the right metric, is the medium or campaign really working? The chirp indicates that yes, the current combination of many variable parameters is effective. The next step is to tweak a variable and look out for more chirps. Nearly 70% content we create does not hit the intended target, so, it is imperative that we don’t lose track!

 

  1. Chirp, Chirp and No chirp: This happened with us around 2 months back when we made a make shift home out of cardboard for the sparrow. Maybe it was the season change that attracted many sparrows. The best part was that the makeshift model was tried by different couples on many occasions and yet it was never occupied. Then we forgot about it. It was a premature victory that we celebrated and forgot the big picture. I’ve experienced the same in the world of Content. There are newer concepts, tools, techniques available and the first success goes right through the head. It is extremely important to sustain the process and continuously reinvent the wheel as in the first three steps. The below link is an indication of what’s coming up next and what we need to be updated with so that the chirping stays put.

http://effinamazing.com/blog/analytics-predictions-of-2017/

If  Content is King, then treat it like one. It can’t be duplicated and used as and when required as the world is looking for originality. Content can be replanted as part of the campaign, however, any honest digital marketer will tell you that it can’t be reused across campaigns. Build some patience in the process while experiementing and let the sparrow fly in the house:) Amen.

 

Rishi Arya

About: I am an evolving Content Marketing Strategist who is currently pursuing certifications in Content Strategy and Digital Marketing. I’m also setting up my own venture called ‘Content Masala’. T.C.O.A.W.E (The chronicles of a Wannabe entrepreneur) is the blog series that captures my feelings in this process.

My blogs tend to reflect on my journey of 14.5 years of corporate experience in Sales, Marketing, Product Mgmt and Content Mgmt and my passion towards Writing and Content. I’m also co-authoring my 2nd book post releasing the first fiction novel on corporate love titled ‘Always Yours’.

Read my blogs – https://contentmasalaa.wordpress.com/

 

 

Week 11 – The 5 corporate mantras – T.C.O.A.W.E


win_20161214_10_18_10_pro-2

It’s been a busy week. Project submissions, new project understandings, submission of pilot work has been the order of the day. I also managed to attend an interesting session on ‘How to crank up your Content Marketing career’. Though it’s over, I’m still sharing a link so that interested Content Marketers can get an idea how to go through the recording of the webcast.

https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/webinars/16/12/live-webcast-how-to-crank-up-your-content-marketing-career?src=e-evt&cid=70132000001JFcgAAG

Now, this webcast and another interesting blog that I read the other day made me recall the interesting times of my corporate life. I had my highs and lows like all of us do during my professional stint. At times, I miss it:) However, post emerging from the shadows of that experience, I can now clearly visualise what really were my “Gap” areas in dealing with the highs and lows.

Let me share my 5 corporate mantras for “MANAGING” corporate life.

  1. NO HOPE: At the end of the day you have signed a contract with an Organisation. So, don’t hope for promotions, increments every year and Chairman’s award for every project that you successfully accomplish. Let me explain. Imagine the Organisation to be a person or rather a proprietor who is running the shop. Due to uncertainty in the financial ecosystem, the economic crisis and maybe the competition, the guy does not do well. Maybe s/he must shut shop. So, where does that leave you … with hope?

Pink slips are order of the day and there is nothing to feel bad about it.

Not getting promotions or that significant raise in salary is not an indicator of your performance alone. It’s an indicator of your Industry’s performance, Company’s performance and your function’s performance. So, be practical and stop being hopeful of goodies because the Organisation is not Santa Claus. 🙂

  1. DON’T COMPARE: This is a primary reason why we end up sulking and become over dependent on hope. We end up justifying our efforts and the work done by us and belittle the other person’s work (she is a bitch, he is a sucker, luck). In one of my earlier blogs I had clearly emphasised that if you sleep with the BIG C (comparison) then you are surely going to get three Small C for free (Crib, Complain, Cry). Sleeping with them is not a good feeling to have:)

It’s a mad world and every corporate employee is trying to make a perception of his work. Maybe s/he is not good enough to do that work but s/he makes a perception that the work completed by him or her is phenomenal. Getting into the details of why that person and not you will only lead to a lose-lose scenario and you’ll be the bigger loser.

Remember, if you are that person who really can’t create perceptions as demanded by your Manager, then please don’t. Be happy with your work, your salary at the end of the month and if you are still unsatisfied then move on. No one is stopping you because at the end of the day as I said earlier, it’s a contract. No feelings please.

  1. UPGRADE SELF: This is the most important mantra as this can stop the vicious circle of being in hope and complaining and comparing. Alas! Not many believe in the concept of upgrading self-skill sets. We know there is immense competition, we know that demand for newer skill sets is the order of the day, we know that we shall become dodos of the corporate world if we don’t change and yet …

The common excuse for not doing is that I don’t know what to do. More often than not, the answer is point no.5 and a practical and plausible way is taking feedback from colleagues, seniors, juniors .. everyone. If you are too shy or egoistic to do that then there are assessment centres to help you in this regard. You must spend money on yourself to gain money. Again, let me remind you that it is a contract and if you are expecting a wonderful, effective training program sponsored by the Organisation to upgrade you, then please do note that the L&D function will do as much as to fulfil its KRA. Period.

  1. WORK LIFE WHAT: You can replace the word ‘What’ by ‘Balance’ or ‘Integration’ or ‘Nothing’ … it all depends on you. Whichever way you look at it, work Is part of life. Home is part of life. Family is part of life. Whether you agree or not, your life today includes a bigger portion of work than anything else. Either you are travelling or carrying work at home or working in office, it all tantamount to the same thing.

Give yourself and your family a couple of decent vacations in a year and DO NOT work at that time. The portion of spending time with your family significantly goes up in your life. Make peace with that.

Still for those who are unconvinced, how many times do you engage in personal chat or search online for buying something for home or talk with your friends, relatives, kids while at office? An hour maybe? So, if we can carry home to office then carrying office to home shouldn’t be a burden, right:)

  1. FOLLOW THE VOICE: If you are in the wrong job, then you are leading a wrong life. It’s like you want to be in London but you board a flight for Singapore. Then obviously, you will find fault with the air hostess, the cabin crew, the seats will be uncomfortable and the flight will seem to be delayed … because you are not at peace with yourself. Your thoughts are in London and your body or rather your actions are not aligned with your thoughts. You may end up liking the movie, the food and even your co-passenger, however, deep inside you are yearning to jump off that plane. All you can do is to wait for the flight to get over and take the journey back home. Shit happens. Be patient. We can’t control anything, so don’t fret over it. Just go with the flow.

Unfortunately, many just accept that the destination is Singapore and stay put. They are too scared to go back basis their experience. What if I board the wrong plane again?

We don’t give credit to the inner voice as much as we should. Take a pause and listen to it. It’s risky but then in today’s corporate world, so is life.

Remember the interesting blog I talked about. It’s a good read. Personally I’m over such beautiful descriptions of corporate life.:)

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-bullshitters-just-survive-thrive-until-atul-mathur?trk=hp-feed-article-title-comment

 

Rishi Arya

About: I am an evolving Content Marketing Strategist who is currently pursuing certifications in Content Strategy and Digital Marketing. I’m also setting up my own venture called ‘Content Masala’. T.C.O.A.W.E (The chronicles of a Wannabe entrepreneur) is the blog series that captures my feelings in this process.

My blogs tend to reflect on my journey of 14.5 years of corporate experience in Sales, Marketing, Product Mgmt and Content Mgmt and my passion towards Writing and Content. I’m also co-authoring my 2nd book post releasing the first fiction novel on corporate love titled ‘Always Yours’.

Read my blogs – https://contentmasalaa.wordpress.com/

Week 10 – Speed Breaker – The chronicles of a wannabe entrepreneur


blog-1

I’ve just finished a recording of my first episode on life insurance policies in India. It’s going to be an offering from Content Masala for all the customers who have bought a life insurance policy and are blissfully unaware about the returns or rather the benefits of the policy. In India, unfortunately most of the policies are still bought from tax benefit purpose and it’s only on the renewal premium payment day we come to know about its existence.

It was a painful task on a physical note. The weather change and sudden temperature drop laid me low for a couple of days. The entire yesterday was spent on the bed. The positive outcome was that I could read up a few articles on Content and trending topics. Sharing an interesting article

https://mention.com/blog/humanize-your-content/

And this one is surely a must go through. I simply loved the GE podcast.

http://www.outbrain.com/blog/best-native-advertising-2016

So, speed breakers have their own role to play. It was my speed breaker day yesterday. It helped me reflect on my journey and above all relate to the one sound that gets lost in the noise every moment of our lives. The voice of my soul. No, I wasn’t meditating or doing a Bikram Yoga or anything of that sort. It was mere listening to my thoughts, anxieties, worries, smiling on the happy memories, looking up to a pleasant future and being in the moment.

It’s like road travel wherein you are cruising at say 80, 90 or say 100 miles an hour oblivious to the environment or other vehicles on the road and BANG! There is a speed breaker. You’ve got to slow down and just let it go. Get over the curses and the slight bump that your car had to endure and focus on the next 100 meters.

Interestingly, while I’m writing this a LinkedIn message has just popped up that says ‘Allocate time to each task you need to get done every day. Each task of the day should be attainable, realistic and time-bound’. Sounds like SMART goal, doesn’t it? Talking of goal … And yes, every 5 minutes there should be a goal scored in a football match because each player must focus on the tasks allocated to him. When I designed a program on SMART goals, I had taken the example of a football game. Chelsea may have a higher possession ratio, more attempts on goals and a better game, however on that day if Arsenal scores the only goal of the match from its only attempt then you know the winner. The key is to be ready for the cruise mode and non-cruise mode.

Smart footballers, smart professionals always know that there is a speed breaker ahead. You can’t anticipate it; however, you can be ready for it. And yes, enjoy it!

Rishi Arya

About: I am an evolving Content Marketing Strategist who is currently pursuing certifications in Content Strategy and Digital Marketing. I’m currently setting up my own venture called ‘Content Masala’.

My blogs reflect this journey besides other Content related topics. 14.5 years of corporate experience in Sales, Marketing, Product Mgmt and Content Mgmt has only affirmed my belief in the philosophy ‘The journey itself is the destination’. I even managed to release my fiction novel ‘Always Yours’ is an example of that. 🙂

Week 9 – ZMOT – The chronicles of a wannabe entrepreneur


win_20161201_16_09_28_proZero Moment of truth (ZMOT) is a term coined by Google in 2011, actually refers to the research which is conducted by a user online about a product or service before taking any action i.e. searching for mobile reviews before making a purchase. The internet has changed altogether the way consumers are interacting with brands, products or services this online decision-making moment is termed as ZMOT.

So, I discovered this term lately and coincidentally my current journey as a freelancer cum wannabe entrepreneur is undergoing ZMOT. So what is ZMOT for me. It’s as simple as telling the inner voice to ‘Give up’. The alternative choice is trusting and backing self and saying ‘You can’. Two simple words backed up enormous moments of different emotions – happiness, angst, frustration, sadness, anxiety, pleasure, satisfied .. It’s cruel to make decisions especially when you have to make one for yourself and not for others. And this is what makes my ZMOT difficult because I can’t really quantify or compare all such moments and say, ‘Hey, 66.78% of my productive time I’ve felt good about my current journey, so, let’s continue.’ And then a voice comes and screams – EXCUSE ME. Did you say Productive time?

Precisely at this point the guy in the picture comes as a last-minute research to help me make the decision about my Zero Moment of Truth in continuing this journey. He is my son, my buddy and the one person who is the bouncing board for my thoughts. (But he loves Liverpool. Grr. I hope Arsenal wins EPL at least this year).

So, he says nothing. Does nothing. And yet, on a daily basis we observe each other’s progress without putting specific emphasis on results. We do acknowledge the efforts put in and not really being bothered about the outcome of those efforts. Amongst all the hard work, there is time to live life. And often as I recollect, at different times of life, there are different people, a relative, friend, passer by or an acquaintance or even a pet who help you make your ZMOT before taking any action.

Ishaan is like that honest reviewer of a mobile phone who will rate 3.4 / 5 and point out the pros and cons unlike many who just give a 4 /5. Such an honest review, my buddy, is my ZMOT.

This is the peril of being a freelancer as I have realised the hard way. The lure of getting away from the struggles, chaos and going to back to the salaried version of hard work is too high! Hats off to all entrepreneurs who work 24/7. The week has been hectic, full of so close yet so far projects, pending assignments and submission of projects. A silver lining – Finally we’ve got a housekeeper:) ‘You Can’, is what I am going to stick around with and fight the inner demons.