In the very recently concluded Bloggers Meet, conducted by The Times of India in association with Kolkata Bloggers for Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2015 ( Read TOI report here. ), there were a series of discussions online and off it, that has taken my circle of contacts, here in Kolkata by a storm, the latest contribution being Alok Vats’s blogpost that goes by the same title.
Why this topic? Because the speech by Shilpa Srivastava (social media manager, Compare Infobase) created a buzz. And during the event, I had placed my point of view untimely. She spoke about promoting Blog posts over the social media. There were two lines of the many that created buzz:
Your blog should be more popular than you and not the other way around.
Come out of the “I” factor!
Blogging is the tool to share your thoughts in an organised manner to connect to similar minds. If you ask me – in today’s world, from a personal blogger’s perspective –
The blog requires a face as much as the face requires a blog.
The blog should be popular. The personal blogger needs to be loved. For a business, what goods/service they deliver is as important as their blog, if not more.
Staying in Kolkata, I’d like to take 2 examples:
Iftekhar Ahsan (founder, Calcutta Walks) does not have a personal blog. Calcutta Walk’s last blogpost was in 2013 December 22nd. If you have not met him, you might not know about him. Once you meet him, you will become his fan. Calcutta Walks is hit without much online presence.
Rangan Datta is one popular blogger from the region but his name is restricted to only those who search about his domain and has keen interest in.
Why do I take these two examples? If Ifte opens his blog, at least for the first many years it will be IFTE’s Blog. The Blogger will over shadow the blog, because that is the brand. Even if Rangan gives a series of public appearances, people will first think of the Blog and then the blogger.
What is my experience?
Most of the responses I get are either from people younger to me or those who have their children of my age. And I have always advocated going offline, and talk to people to add the personal touch to your blog.
Initially the blog was nothing. Continuous interactions with friends who required help and writing about it got my first recognition. My blog was to showcase my photographs. Slowly I got connected to more people who referred to me, work.
In 2014, blog posts like Tusu, Boshonto Utshob got me recognised as “Photo-blogger”. Since then a series of offline appearances , being invited to schools, colleges and Galleries (Get full details here) made sure they know my blog through me. When they talk about me, they refer the blog. The others come to know about me through my blog.
I love interacting with people, specially the younger lot. There were young photographers asking me about F-stop value, extreme new startups or personal bloggers asking me about blogging. Young school kids with their coming-of-age problems or a few parents asking me to mentor their children. But all these discussions are not on my blog.
On my blog, I only have photographs of the recent places I went to or photographs supporting my thoughts.
I am as important as my Blog (www.anirbansaha.com) that is the brand I want to build.
What Shilpa Srivastava spoke might have been for businesses: if it is not personal blog, example – Kolkata Bloggers, Tales to Tell.. the blogger can not be allowed to be bigger than the brand. Personal example: I did not speak about www.anirbansaha.com where I was invited as the founder of Kolkata Bloggers.
And when I say, “I am .. my (personal) blog”, I am definitely not out of the “I” factor. That was a guideline, not a rule. How a person promotes himself is entirely his discretion. His strategy and way of presentation should depend on his target audience, the point he wants to make and his intent.
In Google+, the 4000+ who added me might have no clue about me. In that case, write what the blog post is about. When you share with the group mention about the place and what the viewer might expect from the blog post.
But in case of business blogging we should never write “I”. As the organisation, all points get a subtler tone. This is what she might have meant.
I refuse to remain just another entity and I believe the way forward shall involve more of real life faces than just blog content. As Aji correctly pointed out the trend – the shift has been from anonymity to identity, a lot of stress needs to be given on personal branding to establish a personal connect with the audience, which involves good amount of online and offline presence.
I would like to end this post at this very well framed response by Mr. Abhishek Rungta (CEO, Indusnet Technologies) while I was scribbling this blog post,
It is always YOUR thoughts and how it impact the target group for whom it is written is far more important than YOU or YOUR blog URL.