Bloggers can be more than just writers and content creators.
Due to the intrinsic nature of blogging, some are inspired to run their own online businesses. Others with a business pedigree are even attracted to the appeal of blogging as a way to increase their online influence.
Vinil Ramdev of CEO Hangout is one of the latter whose entrepreneurial spirit is matched by his passion for blogging and sending his message across his readers.
Learn how Vinil used blogging as a way to open up more opportunities for his business and professional growth.
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Before you started blogging, what were you doing as a professional?
Before I started blogging, I was in the retail business. I had a chain of three stores. I then became a business consultant. The only reason I started blogging was to sell me services as a consultant. Share knowledge free of cost, position me as an authority and then mention my services to prospects.
That is how I started blogging. I then learned a bit, and other people were starting contacting me to become guest writers. This helped me increase traffic to my blog, and eventually, advertisers started getting in touch with advertising opportunities. So most of it was organic with one thing leading to the other. I eventually sold that blog in 2014 and started another one.
What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome as a beginner blogger?
Bloggers should remember the word “Momentum,” it is quite powerful when you get into the rhythm of doing things right.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Beginner bloggers need to find a niche, audience, & system that works for them. @vinilramdev” quote=”Beginner bloggers need to find a niche, an audience and a system that works for them.”]
The biggest challenge for beginner bloggers is to figure out what works for them. We tend to try too many things when we get started; it is okay in the beginning, but eventually, we need to find a system and process that works for us.
It is about developing good habits. Blogging is not as simple as it sounds, during the initial period most beginners are excited but when the honeymoon period ends, they realize that they are still struggling to get visitors, and their writing muscles are tired.
Treat blogging like a business. Understand where you are going to get your revenues, audience, and the value people get by visiting your blog. Blogging has a business model just like any other business. Understand your revenue model, and work towards it. You will be prepared to work towards becoming a better blogger only if your “WHY” is STRONG.
So get your habits and business model right, and you will be on your way.
Oh.. there are a few. However, now that I look back, they were not as horrid as I made it out to be at the time. Would I like to share them? Obviously not.
You will make many friends when you start blogging, and you will make a few enemies too. However, in my case, my experiences have been very good. I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people who are invested in their growth as business owners and human beings. They are looking to grow, get better, and more importantly they want to help other people.
Which blog posts you have written that you feel the proudest?
I wrote a blog post for Entrepreneur magazine; it was about entrepreneur burnout. Many of us as entrepreneurs and bloggers, we tend to be over-ambitious, and this causes us to burn out very quickly. Once we are burned out, our productivity drops dramatically, and we become totally de-motivated to do anything else. Anybody who has been in business for a long time knows this feeling. That article resonated with many people, and it got me a lot of attention.
Another blog post that I enjoyed a lot was on how to choose friends. I mostly blog about business, but sometimes I write about life or self-help, and it can be quite liberating.
Who among your blogging peers do you consider the best and why?
Many people are excellent. Darren Rowse of Problogger is remarkable. When I started, he was one of the people I learned from. His ebook 30 days to build a better blog is a must read for anyone who is serious about blogging.
Then, there is Jon Morrow who is an inspiration to so many bloggers. His free download on headline hacks is another fabulous resource.
Sonia Simone who runs Copyblogger is excellent too. They have a product called Authority which is a membership site for content marketers.
I am sure there are many other people; these are the three I can think of right now.
What do you think separates yourself from other good bloggers out there?
I believe every blogger is unique in some way or the other because all of us have had different experiences. The worst thing any blogger can do is to copy someone else. The old saying, “You would rather be a flawed original, than a perfect replica of someone else.”
Blogging to me is about your stories. Everybody has stories to tell. Moreover, people want to hear your stories not someone else’s.
[clickToTweet tweet=”An ideal question would be ‘Is your #blog doing its job?’ @vinilramdev” quote=”More than asking ‘Is your blog successful?’ An ideal question would be ‘Is your blog doing its job?'”]
Share your experiences, thoughts, and ideas.
I mostly have opinions on something or the other that I share. Sometimes I share experiences of my online campaigns and marketing strategies that helps them avoid the mistakes I made.
List down the blogging tools that you use and explain why people should use them for their blogs.
I do not believe in using too many tools. I use fewer tools than most other bloggers. I understand a bit of technology, but I would not call myself too tech savvy. When I first started in blogging, I used many tools. What I realized was that the tech part could take up much time. So I would rather outsource/delegate the technology part.
The few tools I use right now are:
SumoMe – A nice tool if you want to build an active mailing list. It helps you convert your readers into newsletter subscribers.
MailChimp – This is a mailing list software, quite popular.
How “successful” would you consider your blog?
My previous blog did fairly well.
My present blog is still getting there. After you have been blogging for a while, you realize what works for you. Moreover, you begin to start finding your feet. My present blog still has a long way to go. However, our business model is pretty clear, and we are working towards it every day.
The challenge is to be consistent and put in a deliberate effort on a daily basis.
More than asking “Is your blog successful?” An ideal question would be “Is your blog doing its job?”
We are quite happy and confident about the direction in which we are heading.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Be clear about your target audience. You cannot be everything to everybody. @vinilramdev” quote=”Be clear about your target audience. You cannot be everything to everybody. “]
What do you think are the upcoming blogging trends people need to watch out for?
This is a hard question. I see so many things changing almost on a daily basis.
Now, we have become mostly mobile driven. Smartphones have been a game-changer, and we see content that is mobile only.
I think the quality of content is going to become much better. Influencers are going to become critical. Moreover, I think the internet might become free all over the world. Companies like Facebook and Google might give away the internet for free. A great opportunity for video bloggers. That is an area I see growing a lot. We may eventually have more video than written content.
If there’s any one advice that you would say to a starting blogger, what would it be?
I have always believed that you should do fewer things but do them more consistently.
Beginning bloggers try too many things. They try too many blogs right away. In the beginning, start with one blog, grow it, learn from it and once it starts generating revenues, only then should you explore other niches.
Be clear about your target audience. You cannot be everything to everybody. Not having a target audience is like shooting in the dark.
Start small and develop healthy habits. If you can only blog once a week, so be it but stick to that schedule and build some consistency.