Aren’t you blogging yet?

India is poised at the tip of a digital revolution, and leading the charge is social media. The number of people going online to search, review, browse or simply Facebook, has been quietly and steadily on the upswing: A comScore report for March 2013 says that 73.9 million Indians went online via a computer at home or at work; the figure was 56.3 million for March 2012. And that doesn’t count the thousands who check into the World Wide Web via their trusty mobile devices. Indian Internet users numbered 205 million in 2013, and industry observers expect it to hit 350 million by 2015. A lot of these users search for brand and product related information online. More than ever before, people are engaging with the brands they love (and occasionally, hate) online. Social media makes for an open forum where people can reach out to brands and hope to be heard.

While India is now officially Facebook’s second biggest market, poised to overtake the US by end-2014 to become the largest market, there is another quiet-yet-steady revolution brewing in Indian Internet-land. Blogging has found a large audience in India, and blogs are the new ‘reader’s digest’ for those who want news and views at their fingertips.  The data for March 2013 showed that blogs added 11.6 million new users in a year! So why aren’t more companies out there, blogging and letting the world know their point of view, the story of their brand, updates about new products and more?

If you thought ‘do people really spend time reading such stuff on the Internet?’, do know it is most often ‘the first place’ people turn to for information, for entertainment, for news and for just about anything. Companies and brands can increase their visibility, build brand image and reputation, create a trust factor and even drive sales via blogging. If your company does not have qualified people on board to write the right kind of stuff for your blogs or you are looking for expert help for high-quality or keyword blogging, you can always seek help from an agency that provides focused content solutions. An experienced blogger can help you find your brand’s voice and will be an asset in your digital brand-building exercise.

If you aren’t blogging yet, what is holding you back? And those who have tried blogging, what are the benefits you have derived and the challenges you face? We would love to hear from you, so do leave a comment.

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And…. we’re back!

Yes, it’s been nearly a year since our website has been down for revamping. Now it’s bright and shiny-new and tells you how we can help you use content to build and promote your brand.

In this past year, the world around us has changed by leaps and bounds, spurred on by giant strides in science and technology. We are now on the precipice of Internet for everyone, wearable technology is part of everyday fashion for many and Yahoo!, which reinvented itself under CEO Marissa Mayer, is thriving with its renewed focus on content. Which brings us to the importance of using the right content and the appropriate content platforms for your brand, whether you are looking at brand-building, marketing or building yourself as a thought leader in your space.

Over the coming weeks, we will bring you news and updates from the sectors of social media, PR, writing and more. And yes, also news from our wonderful home city, Kochi, and once in a while, interesting stuff that catch our eye.  So happy to be greeting all our readers once again, and look forward to meeting new audiences.

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Lit candle,cupcake for first birthday celebration

Whoa… it’s nearly a year!

Nearly there, nearly there, I think to myself as I sit before the laptop; and that applies both to the increased frequency of blogging I am charting out for our official account as well as the upcoming FIRST birthday of our start-up. See, I am already beaming as I write this!


Image courtesy: Corbis Images



Thinking of all the ways in which we are to mark the anniversary, which is, of course, a major milestone for us in more ways than one. DropCap Media has evolved in so many ways, from our fledgling–sometimes sure, sometimes quavering but never faltering–steps we took in April 2010. Wow! So much seems to have changed in a year, from the time I sat in my living room on a Sunday afternoon mulling on names that ranged from exciting-but-irrelevant to plain uninspired. A few months after the launch, DropCap went from being a proprietorship to a partnership with Sreedevi, and there’s been no looking back since.


We have gone from strength to strength, learning from our mistakes and mis-steps, doing things we have never done before (like marketing, presentations, accounting, and so much more) and getting better at the stuff we were good at. We are happy to have our clients keep coming back to us, and all those who have stood by us even when we were starting out need special mention here.


As a lot of our work is focused on an industry that is changing by the day–social media–we have had to be on our toes to keep ourselves updated and to keep innovating. Glad to say that after months of app-related heartbreak, we have been able to tie up with excellent third-party vendors for technical support.  So watch out for some exciting features on our clients’ FB, YouTube and other social media spaces!


I know it’s gonna sound Oscar-ish, or even worse Miss World-ish, but I just have to thank all the people who have given us unstinting support from the word ‘go’. Our families, of course, will find a mention when we do our respective personal blogs; the curious can find my personal world here and Sree’s here. This is for the rest of the gang out there, including our two team-mates Vidya and Anuroop (for laughing with us, hearing our rants, for doing everything that needs doing, and of course, for being there), our team of fabulous writers (hats off to each one of you for pitching in with your best every time, on time), our design partners (especially Anoop, who takes time off for from his lovely caricature works for us), my mentor Jacob who torments us with mock threats of acquisition and of course, Sree reminds me, a special mention for all the coffee shops in and around Panampilly Nagar–our preferred venues for client meets, discussions (of the intellectual kind and otherwise too), and some much-needed venting. 


Phew! That was some list, and I can still add to it, but I am not going to! Leaving you with some good news: DropCap Media is moving to a bigger, better space in April; in fact, we will be celebrating our anniversary there (putting all my faith in the carpenters working there as I write this).


Do you have any ideas as to how we should mark our first birthday? Do leave a comment here, or mail us at info@dropcapmedia.com.

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human-beings

Boost Your Efficiency: Seven tips for freelancers and those working on a SOHO basis

There is a compelling reason for this post and it is perhaps best exemplified by a Google Images search for ‘working from home’. Just two pics on the first results page (excluding the illustrations) feature men in it! The rest are all women in various stages of undress, juggling a child or two and a laptop or more innocuously, keying into a laptop while relaxing on a bed.

In my three-plus years of freelancing, I’ve actually had associates call me up to discuss work and then playfully say ‘Now you can go back to sleep’ before hanging up. Was that supposed to be a joke? Well, I am still pondering the punchline three years hence. It’s just that people tend to assume that since you work from home, you are
a) generally whiling away your time and pausing to work once in a while
b) cooking/bathing your kids/sleeping/other random activity while talking on phone to clients
c) always available for shopping sessions, lunches and other non-work activities at any time of the day

And in my experience, this sort of negative bias applies more to women than to men. Agreed that most women take a break from their careers to manage home better and freelancing fits right in with flexible working options. But to automatically assume a freelancer is less professional than her employed peer is to assume the worst. I personally feel a freelancer brings that extra bit of professionalism, commitment and dedication to work simply because, even the smallest error reflects badly on her, as opposed to the organisation one works for (in case of employees).

All of my clients were happy with my decision to launch DropCap and get a ‘proper office’. This, despite the fact that there was going to be no tangible difference in the services I offer them! So I guess it’s not just enough to be professional but essential to also be perceived as being professional. Of course, getting an office is not a solution for everyone.

So here are some useful tips for freelancers and those working from home to boost productivity and maintain professionalism in all aspects. These tips are slightly tilted to suit women but men are free to take away a lesson or two.

  • Change out of your PJs and get into something that spells smart-casual. No, you needn’t doll up in a sari but do wear something half-way decent. A tee and jeans are perfectly acceptable. This helps you shift your mental gear to work mode; plus, you don’t have to run to change every time the courier comes, thus saving precious time. Rule of thumb: Choose something that you wouldn’t mind wearing to make an emergency trip to your bank.
  • If your home has a room isolated from the rest by design, choose that for your office. Saves you from many a distraction.
  • Have to work from a corner of the bedroom? Close the door, tell your maid not to disturb you unless it’s important. Keeping your child out of the room is even more difficult, and kids have the knack of materialising at your elbow and yelling away just when you are on a call with your most important client. If you are going to make a call, lock the door. Kids banging on the door? Escape to the bathroom! Essentially, do whatever it takes to maintain that degree of professionalism.
  • Decide how much time you are willing to work and stick by it! Can do only two hours a day? Draw up a schedule, incorporating the time slots that you are willing to work and just do it! Even if you don’t have actual work that day, find an exercise you can do or use that time for professional networking or catching up on industry news. This is also an exercise in instilling self-discipline, a quality the freelancer needs in huge dollops.
  • Keep learning! The freelance professional has to always be one step ahead of her employed peers when it comes to knowledge base and expertise. Give clients a reason to hire you and not the competition!
  • Associate with others in the same field by joining professional groups in your area and attending group meetings and get-togethers. Helps you gather leads, make new associates and keeps you updated on what is happening around you. It also gives you a chance at peer interaction, which is vital for someone working alone most of the time.
  • Get a mentor. Find someone whom you respect and would like to emulate. Keep in touch with that person on a regular basis for valuable tips, ideas and advice.

Word of caution: these tips are only applicable to those who are serious about freelancing. If you are undecided or unsure about freelancing as a career option, weigh your options before you plunge in. Believe me, halfheartedness shows up clearly in your work, and it is not a pretty sight.

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