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Content is Key to Internet

Internet landscape in India is transforming very fast thanks to mobile penetration. The latest IAMAI report says India has 200 million internet users. As of June 2013, India had 873.36 million mobile subscribers of which 176.5 million users accessed internet through their mobile device.  Every month India adds three million mobile internet users.

Trends

The media in India is focusing a lot on e-commerce portals for the past few years but there is a considerable amount of activity in the content space too.

Content portals are not limited to news and entertainment alone. That was true a decade ago but now there are several speciality portals, or verticals, in content space – lifestyle, automobile, education, sports, health. Comscore reports repeatedly demonstrate that the consumption of content portals is on the rise. This is expected because internet now is used by all sections of the society – students, professionals, retired people and women.

But there is a huge misconception even today that internet is largely for English speaking people. We at Oneindia have been investing in the language space for over a decade now. Language portals did not take off for a long time because internet penetration was limited to Tier-1 cities. Today, with mobile internet being available at affordable prices, we see a huge surge in consumption of various online services, leading to a number of trends as described below.

1. Infographics

The attention span of readers is shrinking by the day. Alerts from Facebook, Twitter, SMS, and phone calls all interrupt you while reading long-form content. Users want to get the same amount of information but not necessarily in text form – especially as an infographic.

Creating good infographics can be expensive as you need resources with various skills. A designer cannot create a good infographic unless an analytics person presents the information.

2. Content for mobile

Earlier we created content for the desktop user. Mobile data in India became popular by way of SMS; many SMS companies grew aggressively but they died because of the government regulations (SMS limit and DND list).

According to the latest reports, the mobile internet user base is bigger than the desktop internet user base in India. The presentation of content has to be different for a mobile and tablet device. Are publishers geared up for that?

3. WhatsApp replaces SMS

We love anything that is “free”. WhatsApp was the perfect product we were looking for. BBM from BlackBerry offered a similar functionality but limited the circle to BlackBerry users. The cross platform availability of WhatsApp is very attractive. Major political parties are using WhatsApp for interacting with their volunteers. Content publishers should look at generating content to share on WhatsApp with the hope it would get viral.

4. Responsive design

Responsive design (RD) is one of the best ways to render the same content differently depending upon the type of device. While RD is not difficult for simple sites it can get tricky while implementing for complex sites. The best way to tackle RD is by coming to terms with what will be displayed for desktop user vs. a mobile user. It is not necessary to display every pixel of your busy homepage for a mobile user; instead render a simpler version of your homepage for a mobile device while still maintaining the same URL.

5. Content for social media

Content publishers will have to pay a lot of attention to social media users. Facebook penetration in India is very high and the digital marketing team has already started treating it as an important referral source, may be even more than Google.  This means you will need to have a dedicated social media team, just as you have SEO team.

6. Local language

The mobile internet penetration is increasing in non-urban areas. These consumers will want to read content in their local language. In fact, many e-commerce services will need to have a language version to serve this big user base. Local content in local languages on the mobile will be a truly amazing combination.

7. Elections and social media

I have written on my blog about the effect of social media in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The election fever can already be felt on social media. Political parties and politicians will be using social media mainly as a two-way communication tool. They will keep a tab on the voter pulse through this medium. The advantage of social media is that politician can see the reactions first hand and in real time.

8. Video

The user base for online videos is very large because literacy doesn’t play a factor here. According to Google, almost one-third of the YouTube viewers in India access videos on their mobiles and spend over 48 hours a month on the website.  The popularity of online videos among all age groups is immense.  Earlier, YouTube was the primary platform to watch videos; today Facebook and Google+ have considerable amount of video content. Video has always been popular it will only get more popular in 2014.

Overall 2014 will be an exciting year for content players in India because of the growth of mobile internet, upcoming elections and increase in use of social networks like Facebook. Content publishers have a lot of work to do in 2014!

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Are You Creative ?

They say genius and madness often overlaps. In fact, numerous studies have been done on this. For instance, research done by Shelley Carson, an associate of Harvard’s department of psychology, an expert on psychopathology, has found a connection between high levels of creativity and strange behaviour and actions.

In his book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, seminal professor of Psychology and Management, also the Founding Co-Director of the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont, writes about nine traits he found in creative people. Matthew Schuler has quoted it in his blog.

Creativity

Tell us if you agree.

01

Most creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but are often quiet and at rest. They can work long hours at great concentration.

02

Most creative people tend to be smart and naive at the same time. “It involves fluency, or the ability to generate a great quantity of ideas; flexibility, or the ability to switch from one perspective to another; and originality in picking unusual associations of ideas. These are the dimensions of thinking that most creativity tests measure, and that most creativity workshops try to enhance.”

03

Most creative people combine both playfulness and productivity, which can sometimes mean both responsibility and irresponsibility. “Despite the carefree air that many creative people affect, most of them work late into the night and persist when less driven individuals would not.” Usually this perseverance occurs at the expense of other responsibilities, or other people.

04

Most creative people alternate fluently between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality. In both art and science, movement forward involves a leap of imagination, a leap into a world that is different from our present. Interestingly, this visionary imagination works in conjunction with a hyperawareness of reality. Attention to real details allows a creative person to imagine ways to improve them.

05

Most creative people tend to be both introverted and extroverted. Many people tend toward one extreme or the other, but highly creative people are a balance of both simultaneously.

06

Most creative people are genuinely humble and display a strong sense of pride at the same time.

07

Most creative people are both rebellious and conservative. “It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. So it’s difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic.”

08

Most creative people are very passionate about their work, but remain extremely objective about it as well. They are able to admit when something they have made is not very good.

09

Most creative people’s openness and sensitivity exposes them to a large amount of suffering and pain, but joy and life in the midst of that suffering. “Perhaps the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake. Without this trait, poets would give up striving for perfection and would write commercial jingles, economists would work for banks where they would earn at least twice as much as they do at universities, and physicists would stop doing basic research and join industrial laboratories where the conditions are better and the expectations more predictable.”

Most entrepreneurs we spoke to agree to this completely. They share all the nine traits. What do you say?

Offline Retailers Launch Online Protest “We Will Act’ For Price Undercutting By Ecommerce Sites

I have heard this from number of my friends who run physical stores – This year they have experienced much lower footfalls from consumers, especially in the electronic and apparel segment. And many of them believe it is due to rise in ecommerce in India. People now increasingly prefer shopping online rather than going to physical stores.

And this trend will only increase…and why not, consumers buying online are getting much better deals, sometimes nearly half the price at which local offline retailer will offer you.

While this is great for consumers, have you thought how this is affecting lakhs of local offline businesses? Obviously, they now see online retailers as their biggest enemy.

So what do offline retailers do to overcome this?

These physical store owners are now getting together to protest against the undercutting of prices by online retailers. They have launched a website – We Will Act – that condemns the business practices undertaken by ecommerce sites (mind you, in very strong words). They have also written to the Competition Commission of India, complaining that their online counterparts are selling goods below cost and skirting Indian laws on foreign direct investment in retail.

We Will Act | Offline Retailers Launch We Will Act Protest For Price Undercutting By Ecommerce Sites

The website wewillact.com have put up Appeals to Government of India, Political parties of India, to consumers, to manufacturers and vendors and even to Venture Capitalists who are putting millions of dollars of investment.

Sample this – Here is what “We Will Act” asks consumers to do, in their own words:

?Let’s take some small steps

We will not purchase or supply anything to these unethical online retailers. ( XKart, Ydeal, KBong..)

?Lets boycott them.

Let’s now punish them:

1- Let’s place Cash on delivery orders for Rs.40000.00 rupees items every alternate day and cancel when delivery boy comes to delivery. This will make them to lose their fat by Rs.1000.00 at least.

2- Whenever you are free call to their customer care and waste their time. This will increase their customer care expenses.

Here is what they say about online retailers:

Some online retailers in India are like BIGDE BETE of their BIG PAPA of USA. They are getting so much money for doing so much of experiment in India and kind of playing GAMBLING. Every six months they are changing their business models, spending heavily on advertisements, selling everything to everyone at much below their cost prices, running business in huge operating losses and that is adversely affecting the traditional physical retailers.

There can be possibility if some enemies of our country or terror outfits giving funding to these MONKEYS to do so much drama and make lakhs of retailers loose their piece of mind and livelihood.

Will This Protest Help?

I really don’t think this it is going to make any difference. While they have a right to be frustrated with price undercutting, it is a business model which online retailers are following with a view of garnering consumer base in long term. I don’t think anyone can object online retailers’ business practices.

Rather than doing a protest like this, they need to accept the new world order and join the flow. They have to find a way to compete and probably move their business online.

Become A Social Media Rock Star !

Q: Please name the top five things that make your social media advertising strategy successful.

A: Social-media success is often a long list of little things done right. While there is no shortcut to success, the below tips will help get your social-media campaign on the right track.

1. Be a good communicator. 
Social media is really a crowd of people talking — usually to each other. So, you’ll need to figure out how to cut through the noise and really engage with people. Here are a few pointers:

  • Write well. I’m not just talking about punctuation and grammar. Write in a comfortable voice, not a formal one. Don’t use four words when one will do. Unless your social-media post (Facebook update or tweet) is time sensitive, set it aside for 10 minutes. Come back to it, take a second look and edit if needed, before hitting publish.
  • Use images when it makes sense. At my internet-marketing agency Portent, we’ve found that posts with images get about two to three times more interaction. That being said, don’t put images into your posts for the sake of having an image. Use them only when relevant.
  • Utilize video. Use platforms like YouTube or Vimeo to attract an audience. Just like images, make sure you’re sharing videos that make sense.
  • Take advantage of all social networks. While most people spend their time communicating on Twitter and Facebook, there are other networks that deserve attention. One being Google+. Yes, it’s still a small network, but it is gaining steam, and it integrates with every other Google service. Also, there is SlideShare, a community focused on slide presentations. This site can show your content to thousands. If you have a great video or article, convert it to a SlideShare presentation.
  • Respond immediately. If someone asks a question or proposes an alternate viewpoint, answer them quickly. This gives people the impression you care about their needs and are responsive.
  • Don’t get emotional. Don’t feed the trolls. As your social-media strategy grows, you may see some angry or insensitive replies. Don’t react angrily. Reply politely or not at all.

2. Buy advertising. 

Don’t be shy about paying to promote posts on networks like LinkedIn and Facebook. On Facebook, your posts won’t even appear in all of your followers’ newsfeeds without paid promotion, so promote if you can afford it.

Always use the targeting tools these platforms provide to avoid aimlessly issuing a single ad at the maximum audience size. After all, the practice won’t hit the right audience and it could end up costing you. Instead, create multiple ads targeted toward specific demographics that are a great fit for your product or service. Test and see who provides the highest-quality followers.

3. Avoid me, me, me. 
Don’t have every post be about yourself or your company. Instead, I recommend posting 80 percent non-promotional, 20 percent promotional. So what else can you share? Here are some ideas:

  • Answer questions. Search Twitter for questions by typing in a topic, a space and then a question mark. For example, “bicycle tires?” Sift through the result for great questions. Answer them directly or on other networks.
  • Also, try Google. Start typing in a question, and Google will show you a list of related ones. For example, if you sell rhubarb, type in Google search, “is rhubarb.” You’ll immediately see the question “is rhubarb poisonous?” Answer them via social media.
  • Curate content. Point out great information from other sources. This will help readers view you as a reliable resource.
  • Comment. Voice your opinion on relevant breaking news and explain why it’s important.

Related: 4 Ways to Turn Social-Media Fans Into Raving, Loyal Customers 

4. Expand beyond your customers. 
In social media, you want to attract an audience beyond potential customers. Focus on people who are compelled to respond — the “weird,” as Seth Godin calls them. Even if they never buy from you, they’ll tell others about you.

5. Flattery will get you everywhere. 
Using tools like Followerwonk or Topsy will help you find the top people in your industry and major influencers. Then find the people who follow them and follow those folks, rather than the industry celebrities. They’re far more likely to respond.

Related: Social Search: What It Is and How to Add It to Your Marketing Strategy 

If people post something you enjoy, make sure they know it with a retweet, like, favorite or share. If it’s really fantastic, consider posting a response on your own blog and link back to it. Over time, they’ll get to know you and will be more likely to spread your content.

Even with the above suggestions, there is no magic solution. For every story of a meteoric rise to the top, you’ll find 1,000 stories of slow, steady growth. Plan for that, manage expectations and capitalize.