Dramatics time

It is Aug knocking again. SOCH is over and I have no other additional responsibility for Aug 15 except preparing the themes and quiz. This year I am planning to take up a serious role in skit. I used to do guest appearance so far, either a malu in English skit or a weird villager confusing people (I think it was fun).

I met our Assistant director yesterday (at 10 pm) and discussed a little more about the skits. We will have the alpha meeting this Sunday and I might take 2 roles. After the camps this is Rocking time again! I will keep you all updated.

SEO a curse for Content Writers

Oh God! Back to SEO topics after almost 6-12 months. I am not a big fan of SEO (anymore). SEO can really be harmful to many, esp talented (web) content writers. They end up learning the worst way of presenting good content. Is your content making tom cruise ugly? This post will help you understand why SEO can be a curse for content writers. Also this will help you design an exclusive SEO training session for Content Writers.

SEO a curse for content writers (Thank God, we can’t do SEO on an image)

  • Are you a content writer?
    No, but why did you ask?
  • Why are you then putting your nose in?
    (Laughing with Anger &^%$%$^$ ) A very good question to start with. I am a Maths wonk, a computer nerd and an align to English Linguistics. IMHO mathematics can create better brain friendly content than plain English Linguistics and Computer can make it organically interactive. Moreover I have always believed in the following equation:

    Value of content = Value of Author (information) x Productive Time Spent x Platform Used.

    An experience Author can bring in the simplicity but a hardworking author can compensate for his inexperience. Moreover a good platform (e.g. wiki) can bring in more collective intelligence. This needs a complete new post and will be doing it soon. Most of the time users are in need of information. As 70% of programming is algorithm and understanding the need, writing content is also about understanding the user requirement. SO I WILL HAVE MY SAY :).

  • Ok, ok, :). Why do you feel SEO is bad for Content Writers?
    I know my SEO post is due but let me put my SEO equation:

    f(SEO) = a x f(onpage Optimization) + b x f(offpage optimization) + c x (some minor factors).

    Here I will be exclusively talking about Onpage Optimization. Many companies teach (excessive) Onpage optimization to their content writers. Such onpage optimization is killing the real content representation skills.

  • I know you will be writing a post on SEO but can you brief Onpage Optimization?i
    Yeah, sure. Search Engines rank the pages on the basis of many factors including the content of the page. Based on the keyword occurrences, its placements and its representation, the page can appear under the Search engine results (SERP) for the resp keyword search.

    Onpage factor (may) includes (who cares):

    1. Keyword in URL, Domain name, title, meta (kw, desc) tags
    2. Keyword density in content section (SEs can separate the real content and the template content.)
    3. Keyword in headings (h1,h2,h3,…). (Many follow the following pattern, one h1 for main section and h2’s for other sections).
    4. Keyword font sizes. (Bold, italics etc)
    5. Keyword proximity, phrase order, prominence (placement, earlier the better).
    6. Keyword in alt text, anchor text of internal and external links. (Learn why a link is called a hyperlink. As that text becomes hyper text).
    7. Freshness of the content, Page Theming, Keyword stemming, Applied Semantics, LSI and blah blah ..
  • Thanks
    No probs, Now have a look at the following quality content (written by an attorney with over 30 years experience) on chapter 13 bankruptcy:

    “A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is useful in following three cases:

    1. If you own a house that is near to be foreclosed upon, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop such foreclosure, and allow you to repay mortgage payments during the 3 year plan.
    2. If you have a large amount of taxes due, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you force the IRS to take a 3 year payment plan without any additional interest or penalties.
    3. If you need chapter 13 bankruptcy protection due to some lawsuits or other creditor issues, but don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or want to avoid a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for other reasons. Some choose this approach because of their ethical viewpoint to pay their creditors something rather than nothing.”

    When you are asked to review such highly paid SEOed article, you have no option other than offering a prayer to Internet Lord’s rep Matt Cutts. Content writers need to follow the following points:

    1. You need to make a content scan-able.
    2. You need to establish the credibility to get user’s permission for further marketing.

    SEO has corrupted the art of decorating a content. We have started pleasing Google over users. Let me redo the above content.

    A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is useful in following three cases:

    1. If you own a house that is near to be foreclosed upon, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop such foreclosure, and allow you to repay mortgage payments during the 3 year plan.
    2. If you have a large amount of taxes due, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you force the IRS to take a 3 year payment plan without any additional interest or penalties.
    3. If you need chapter 13 protection due to some lawsuits or other creditor issues, but don’t qualify for a Chapter 7, or want to avoid a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for other reasons. Some choose this approach because of their ethical viewpoint to pay their creditors something rather than nothing.”

    I have removed some excessive use of “bankruptcy” word as chapter 13 will imply chapter 13 bankruptcy. Now you decide which is more appealing and scan-able. Also you can see writers using links unnecessarily to get additional boost.

  • Thanks, so do you mean a content writer should not go through SEO course at all?
    No, as I mentioned there should be a white-hat SEO course for content writers. When I say white-hat I mean the actions which will help you avoid the unwanted penalties and will help the dumb Bot understand your content.
  • What will be the course?
    I think this post is already too long to cover another topic, I will cover it in my next post. good night

What is your opinion about teaching a SEO course for Content Writers? What will you cover in that?

Why a Link is called a Hyperlink?

I was writing a bigger post “SEO is a curse for content writers” when I remember a very interesting question. Recently while training new recruits, I was asked this question that “Why a Link is called a Hyperlink?”. I did not had a proper answer when she asked me this interesting question. I had to go through some documents to give her an answer.

  • Waiting for your new blog post.
    Sundays generally keep me busy with Bible classes. These days we are studying about Hell, Heaven, Angels e.t.c. Very interesting topics. I hope to complete the post on SEO and Content writers by tomorrow night.
  • “Why a Link is called a Hyperlink?
    Lets look at the definition itself, which says, “blah blah **$#&^%”. Sorry, I could not get a good definition. Let me define it myself. Hyperlink is the reference point for a hypertext. This leads us to another question, “what is hypertext?”. Hyper implies excess and thus hypertext implies excess content. A hypertext is a super text which can create another layer of content on the top of the existing content. In other words a text (hypertext or anchor text) which refers to another document is of more value than the traditional text.
  • Interesting!
    Yup, it is basically because of the power of the text which acts as a text with excessive hidden power. Hidden, as it remains like a normal text, with just an indicator (generally underline and blue color), unless demanded with a click or mouse action.
  • Cool!
    To keep the short story short, a hyperlink is a reference point for an excessive hidden and powerful text known as hypertext. And don’t forget to read about link titles and how users can be benefited from it. I call it a meta for the hyperlinks.

Web without hyperlink is beyond our imagination. World’s best websites (be it Yahoo or Google) are more or less a collection of hyperlinks. In Search Engine algorithms these hyperlinks play a very important role as it builds a layer of additional content for the visitors. I think this post will help us answer one of the most debatable SEO topic, “Does outbound link help in SE ranking?” (Wow! this WMW thread has my opinion too, so do check the hyperdoc).

Make your product talk – Cow coloring – part I

ideas that spread wins“, “the purple cow is noticed” and the product that can talk, can market itself. Being normal is boring but trying different is risky and not allowed most of the time (unless you are at Google or Grmtech). So, what is the safest way to try risky cow coloring.

  • What do you mean by talking product?
    Oh, any product that can make other talk about it is a talking product. Its presence is felt and talked about. Also it keep shouting, “talk about me! talk about me!”.
  • How does it help?
    Recently I met an ad doctor and he explained me a common disease with among of the new born kids, a blindness, ad blindness. Most of us have developed blindness toward ads. We know how to ignore ads; the billboard ads, the tv ads, the banner ads and online ads. Even the adsense is ignored, I don’t remember clicking on any ad for last few months. Interrupt advertising is going less and lesser effective. Some are taking the Permission marketing route. I still feel evangelistic marketing is the right way. We just need to make our products talkable to help these evangelists/consumers.
  • Aji, wow but too confusing for me. Can I have an example?
    Oh yes, why not. Let’s take an example. I am off today so was in kitchen, so lets take an example from kitchen itself. Let’s talk about Pillsbury atta.
    Pillsbury atta

    Is this product talkable?
    No, as it is hidden in kitchen and we don’t host more than 5 dinner gatherings in a month (I doubt Chappaties being a part of such dinners. Even if Chappaties are there, we will still have many other topics to talk about. People will always complement Mom’s special fish fry or chicken curry). How to make it talkable? Here is my 5 mins idea, how about giving a dough boy free with every Atta pack.

  • Aji, but every other company is giving free items. How will this make it talkable?
    In fact a very good question. You are absolutely right, this is not creating the purple cow effect to the expected level. How about giving size#1 dough boy with every pack. With pack number #2, you can replace your old dough boy with bigger one, size#2. And a bigger one with the next pack and a bigger with the next and so on and on. Let there be dough boys of 150 sizes and when your dough boy reaches a noticeable size, people will start talking about it. It will surely spread.
  • Hmm.. Interesting but it is risky too
    Oh yeah, everything new is risky and everything old is boring. You need to be a market leader to achieve something. You can’t follow Australian team and beat them too.
  • But?
    Sorry, just to add one point here. People talk more about my red leather cut shoe (Rs 200 only) than my other Nike shoe (Rs 5,000). It is about how talkable you are. I still love to talk about the comfortable provided by the Nike shoe but hardly I get the opportunity to do so. With the red leather shoe, every other person is forcing me to talk about it. I saw this leather cut shoe in our office and order one from the same person. I think that day itself the shoe had 4 sales. I wanted more :).
  • What all products can be made talkable? Can all product do this?
    No, not all. It can be categorized into different categories. In one word non-commercial products (or add-ons) will be talked. I think I should do another post to complete this subject.
  • Why not today?
    Today, I had a sleepy day. Also I has to stand 3 hrs to process my voter ID card to next level. Now its drizzling outside and I have taken an off to sleep and sleep. First sleep -> 1 am – 11 am, second sleep -> 3 pm – 7 pm and again going for one :). Don’t be jealous I can sleep for continuous 24 hrs. I don’t want to think before going for sleep. Please post the comments and encourage me for part II.
  • What all will you cover in Part II?
    I will be covering following topics:

    1. How to make your commercial and boring product talk?
    2. How to use web platform for loud talks (bigger reach)? (I have seen many companies doing it, Sunsilk, ponds and now Pepsi). I will also give an idea for Pepsi web.
    3. Can we give incentives for talking? (On web many have tried to poison the talking, I am against it. See my post on “Pay per post is a sweet poison for bloggers“.
    4. Why people talk this way? (As they are born this way)
    5. Will this stop ads? (No, ads will be used to introduce an idea. Ads will create a little more talking nodes. People will start using ads to create viral stuffs than for sales.)

Add comments if you liked this post and do ask related queries.

Changing my writing to conversational style

I am finding it extremely difficult to find time for blogging. These days I am working with a CA based startup Law firm, a great learning experience but very hectic schedule with no offs :). Sorry if some of your mails are unanswered (unread mail count is 500 now) or some comments are in moderation. I will be taking an off this Friday to finish off the pending tasks. I will be changing my writing style to conversational way for quick blogging.

  • What is this about?
    Instead of writing a long post I will write it in a conversational way. This makes my life easier as at work this is what I do most of the time.
  • Won’t it make the post boring?
    I don’t think so. I think, it will make my posts rather more interesting. Anyway as usual I am going to give it a try :).
  • How will it save you time?
    I used to spend (a lot of) time in organizing my thoughts in paragraphs and headings. Now I can just ask some questions and answer it myself, this will (might) make it faster for me.
  • Good, when are you going to blog next time :)? Any thought for the day?
    I will try to blog as soon as I find some free time. I have 6 to 7 posts under draft. My next post will be about “Right approach can make wrong right” followed by a post on “Secrets to blog magic“.
  • Looking forward for the posts, what about the thought of the day?
    Hmm.. here we go, “If I am defeated by myself then I am the winner” (hey thats my copyright 🙂 ). Keep defeating yourself, be it your work, be it TT or be it impressing your friend. If my today is better than yesterday, I am sure my tomorrow will be better than today. Keep fighting with a smile. Happy new week!

HR managers are fashion designers

I like the way fashion designers shop. They will not pick the best ready-made cloths (like most of us do), they sometimes shop from streets, they sometimes have very odd selections, sometimes they will buy the costly pearls. It is the variety that is admired but it is the clear vision of a creator that makes them so special.

HR managers are fashion designers

A fashion designer

  • Right team members instead of great individuals. Fashion designers shops the most fitting cloths that can be stitched with other collection for the final product. They look for different qualities of cloth unlike a consumer, who looks at the final rigid product.
  • Source is chosen carefully – Fashion designers will travel miles to get the right cloth. White cotton from one vendor (may be from rural areas) and silk from a branded vendor. They know where they can find the specialized vendors. They will not rely on naukri.com for all of its recruitment.
  • Constructive destruction (Mentoring): Fashion designers will redefine the individuality to make it a part of the product. Some part of the cloth will be cut short or recolored to fit in better. When they select a cloth they know what part of it is needed and what need a cut. During recruitment the candidate is made aware of such possible cuts and during mentorship it is done in detail.
  • Flexibility – Fashion designers know which cloth will react badly to some alterations. They choose it accordingly, the flexibility is highly checked. A candidate who can’t be mentored or changed may not work out as a good team member.
  • They see before they choose – Fashion designers can see the overall product (team) before choosing different cloths. When you accompany them you will not understand their moves as you can’t see what they can. They ensure the diversification in a team.
  • Specialization is valued – Gold can’t replace diamonds but Gold has its own place in designing. HR managers will always choose the missing specialization for a team with some other compromise to complete the team for an optimal output.
  • Taking risks – Fashion designers job is all about creativity and thus experimentations and thus taking risks. I had selected some team members completely under this scheme and today they are pillars to the team.
  • Ownership – They take ownership in what they do and are highly passionate about the work. I like people when they say my team was great, my company taught me many things. I sometimes ask them, “What all will you miss if you leave your current company?“.
  • Take pride in what they do – They take pride in what they do. Their explanation will reflect the pride.

Summary of the post: As a HR manager, do not look at ready made talents, they are less flexible and sometimes too rigid to be a good team member. Look at following attributes above others:-

  • Learning ability over already learned. (You can give them sometime to read and explain it back)
  • Passion over achievements. (Look at the way they explain things)
  • Flexibility over perceptions. (Debate with them over their strongest areas.)
  • Job/Profile matching over individuality (For some posts you need low ambitious people and for some high, for some posts money is the only motivation so recruit money centric people.).
  • Character over personality. (Let the receptionist take a basic round of surprise interview at entrance, see the reactions. Allow her ask some stupid questions, attitude change is helpful in understanding character. Give them different situations and let them react to it.)

Overall what matters is the team, no one can be better than team. A diversified, self motivated, empowered and independent team can be the best asset a company can have.

Two extreme worlds

Had some long meetings yesterday (for Christian organization). Being a part of a professional world, where vision is taught but is well calculated with high possibility ratio, I am used to do feasibility studies before approving any plan. Yesterday was extremely different, when our team met for another small election as our treasurer was leaving for a new responsibility. New treasurer was elected and new auditors were appointed too, resolution were passed for changing the signatories at different banks. All happened in quick time and then came the bigger plans.

With a 5 digit bank balance, we were making plans for a multi 8 digit projects. I looked at the team members, all were full of faith as they have seen impossible becoming possible (sometimes on the very last day). After the meeting I started comparing the two worlds, its extremely different and different processes altogether. I am blessed to play similar roles at both levels, its truly learning experience. Here are some comparisons:-

  • Recruitment: Even with limited budget the recruitment is carefully drafted. Recruitment happens across the states on India, our representatives travel to the state for interviews. Even after selection during probation period they are made to stay with the recruiter for a month to observe them closely. Different values are inculcated during probation period. Different assignments are given. I was quite surprised when I was explained the process. Sometimes the recruitment takes 4 years too, where a passionate candidate is taught at different Bible colleges. People are extremely imp for any organization and this one is very particular about that.
  • Commitment over compensation: High attrition rate? Whats that? We have people working for years with very low compensation. They are very committed but sometimes I feel very bad for the little compensation they get.
  • Everyone a visionary – At professional space we all struggle to pass the mission (forget about visions), here everyone is so much in the line of vision that the work/missions becomes simpler.
  • Organized – If you ever feel high tech companies are better organized, change your thinking. Here every single day is documented, every single penny audited, weekly targets, monthly targets, quarterly reviews. Most of the work is done using excels and some part of it on tally.

There is so much to write about these two extreme worlds but I will give it a halt here as I am expecting some calls. I am so lucky to be associated with these two worlds, both adding different dimensions to your thinking.

Stefan Engeseth launches Detective Marketing ver 4

Stefan Engeseth (one of Europe’s most creative business thinkers and a top-ranked speaker but I know him as a marketing blogger with some great post) launches Detective marketing fourth edition titled “The book that best-selling business writers read”.

This book talks about creativity, brand living and many more detective marketing concepts. I will write few lines about this era creativity before giving you the link to free download (Yes, the book is available for free 🙂 ).

  • Creativity can be distributive. Imagine a new Monalisa painting done by 100 painters, thats the world we live in. There are many examples of this. We call it crowdsourcing, many average crowd vs experts.
  • Creativity is incremental. People don’t like perfection, they like incremental creation where they can be a part of (Stefan says, “invite you customers to participate in projects at early stage.“).
  • Value of diversification in creativity. Stefan says, “mix people in meetings, hire different talents“.
  • Be dumb – Read the post Marketers should be dumber than customer, Stefan gives a simpler way out, “Involve a person from street in your meeting“.

Let the guru himself explain the rest.
Download detective marketing

Download at http://blog.detectivemarketing.com/D-M_Freebook.pdf. Wishing him all the very best with the new edition.