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Expert Blogging Interview: Cent Muruganandam

Expert Blogger Interview Series - Cent Muruganandam

There is more to blogging than just words.

While articles are the most common form of content in blogging, it is far from being the only one.

In fact, marketing (blogging included) has gone the way of visual. Lots of websites publish images, videos, and infographics to get their message across their audience.

However, not all are leverage the power of visual content in their marketing campaigns, let alone blogging.

Consider this:

Only 11% of marketers believe in using visual content across marketing channels very effectively Click To Tweet

Source: Top 10 Visual Commerce Trends for 2016 by Curulate

If you want to expedite your blogging success, then you need to separate yourself from the pack by finding a way on how to use visuals to enhance or supplement your blogging skills.

This is precisely what Cent Muruganandam is doing on his blog, Your Escape from 9 to 5.

He shares his wealth of knowledge in digital marketing by creating visually stunning infographics on his blog.

I got a chance to talk to Cent about his journey that got him to blogging. Below is the full interview.

What was the moment that made you decide to become a professional blogger?

I have been blogging casually on a sport I love – cricket which is popular in Australia, England and the sub-continent.  I stumbled upon Pat Flynn’s SmartPassiveIncome blog and saw his income reports. This gave me an idea of what is possible and got me inspired to start my own blog.

Pat is a big influence in my blogging journey and I tried to consume every bit of precious nugget he has to offer.

Before you started blogging, what were you doing as a professional?

I am an IT professional, to be more precise an Information Technology project manager. These are just fancy terms for a person who does a lot of management reporting and budgeting for software projects. The best part is you get to work with talented individuals. The bad part is the bus stops with you when projects go sour.

One of the interesting projects I have worked on is revamping Deakin University website. Universities in general are big organisations which operate in silos – as each faculty and service area operates on its own. They are good at telling the world what each area has to offer, at the same time they are not that good at presenting a cohesive front to the end user – the student or a prospective staff member.

Working with some talented SEOs, User Experience designers and content strategists has given me some inside knowledge, although I wish I had started blogging earlier so I could have used this opportunity in a better way.

What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome as a beginner blogger?

Finding a niche without a doubt was the biggest hurdle. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of other challenges – some said blog, some said just build a mailing list – no need for a blog, use a free blog. But finding the topic you can add value with is the biggest challenge. You also need to remember that the niche you select has to be a strong passion to take you through the rough seas.

Any horror client stories you’d like to share with us and how you dealt with the situation?

No real horror stories yet, touch wood.

Which blog post you have written that you feel the proudest?

50 Blogging Tips in an Infographic – My first Infographic post rounding up 50 awesome blogging tips has opened a lot of doors and opportunities for me.

40 Explosive Tactics to Increase Website Traffic – This guest infographic on bloggingtips.com has produced the most social shares to date for me.

Who among your blogging peers do you consider the best and why?

We have already talked about Pat Flynn. I am also a big fan of Neil Patel, Brian Dean and Ileane Smith.

I thank Ileane Smith from the bottom of my heart for her encouragement. She is a rock star.

I have to take this opportunity to thank another real mentor here – Zac Johnson.

Zac has been amazing to work with. He has given me opportunities that no one else has.

He is also very quick to respond to queries, provide feedback on posts and publish guest posts as well.

I learn a lot from every single email conversation I have with him. Experience will teach you more than what you can learn on your own.

What do you think separates yourself from other good bloggers out there?

I am not an expert and nor do I pretend to be one. Working in the Information Technology industry has given me some skills that are useful in blogging.

I am also a visual learner and like presenting information in an easy to consume fashion. People now a days are very busy, they want everything fast – fast internet, fast food and freeway with no traffic.

My weapon of choice is Infographic. You have to find what you are comfortable with i.e. video or podcast and produce that; mere text content is hard to get recognition with. If you have established yourself then people will give their time, if not you have to earn it.

List down the blogging tools that you use and explain why people should use them for their own blogs.

BlogEngage – is without a doubt my number one content marketing tool. For a small fee you can get your content syndicated and get in front of a big group of bloggers. If your content is awesome then you will surely get some links, traffic, engagement and hopefully some recognition. They also have paid social media marketing campaigns and sponsored competitions that can help grow your social profile.

CloudFlare CDN – Free to use and easy to setup. A Content Delivery Network can improve your website loading time tremendously. Performance of a website is very important to the overall user experience.

How “successful” would you consider your blog?

My blog has certainly grown by leaps and bounds in the last 9 months but I would rather you – the reader be the judge of that J

What do you think are the upcoming blogging trends people need to watch out for?

More visual content, more video content, more podcasts. In short, more multimedia content. Click To Tweet

There is bound to be a few new social media sites – duh that’s no big deal!

SEO is going to keep evolving – another no brainer J

The important thing is to keep learning, evolving and producing content with a twist.

If there’s one advice that you would say to a starting blogger, what would it be?

Don’t look back, Create digital assets now. @centmuru Click To Tweet

Keep the costs low and dream big. Don’t expect search engine traffic to flow through the roof, you have to work for it. Find a mentor and follow them.

If you’re wondering how good of a digital asset creator Cent is, he was kind enough to turn this interview into an infographic!

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