Last few weeks/months have been good for Dial-a-Book especially as far as the press mentions are concerned. While January saw coverage from Inc India (Dial-a-Book to be chronicled by Inc India), February saw the coverage in Yourstory.in (My Interview with YourStory.in) and Rediff
and this month its First City Magazine that carried a story on us
It’s a great story but apparently they don’t have it online so you’ll have to grab a copy of March issue of First City to read
March 12, 2011 No Comments
TiE Delhi is organizing its first StartUP event titled “SmashUP!” at IIT Delhi on Jan 23rd. So if you are a startup looking for a platform to showcase your product/service “SmashUP” is just for you. Given the scale at which TiE operates it would be a great opportunity to network and spread the word.
I’ll be attending “SmashUP”, would you?
January 9, 2010 No Comments
If you are a blogger from a metro Indian city with decent online presence chances are you might have been contacted for some brand sponsored blogger meet or the other. While I am not sure about how things stand in other parts of the country, Delhi is definitely seeing a lot of activity on this front. The PR firms and Social Media agencies are increasingly going all out to woo the bloggers to help them spread the word about their clients new product, service etc. Given the fact that me and my fellow blogger friends get invited to an event/meetup every ten days you can imagine how things stand today and where they can go from here.
While being a Blogger and Social Media guy I am quite happy to be a part of the new scheme of things but I am not exactly happy with the way ‘Bloggers are being pitched’ by PR, Blogger relation firms and Social Media agencies and I am not alone in feeling this way about the way we are approached and followed up.
While a lot has been said about this already. I’d like to share a quick list of Do’s and Don’t s for approaching us (Bloggers) and hope the local agencies/individuals will learn a thing or two from it and in turn make things better for everyone involved.
The below mentioned list is for people who want to do their jobs better and are willing to make an effort for the same. So if you are one of those lazy guys who don’t want to make an effort, skip the post.
1) Don’t Send Bulk Emails/SMSes: While it might be the easiest way or the only way you know of to send email to a dozen folks, it is counter effective. Such bulk emails trigger the spam alert which I am sure would be the last thing you want. Also, being personal in your emails shows that you have spent some time on those emails and most bloggers would appreciate that. If you are new to the job or need to further fine tune the sending email bit, you can checkout ‘5 Tips for Writing Better Emails‘. The same applies to SMSes also.
2) Don’t Spam: Contrary to what you might think, sending multiple emails or smses about your client’s product or the agenda/reminder for your meet don’t guarantee any results. If I am interested in learning more about your product I’ll ask for it and the same goes for attending the meet or reviewing the product. If I am keen to attend the meet I’ll attend it, sending me reminders every 2-3 days. Bombarding me with information about your product/meet might make me lose all interest.
3) Don’t Instruct: I am not sure how it works with journalists but telling bloggers what they should and shouldn’t write isn’t the best thing. Giving them pointers or sharing key points is good but telling them you should write ‘this’ or you can write ‘that’ isn’t.
4) Don’t Act Desperate: Yes, it’s plain stupid when PR/Agency folks start acting desperately to ensure a bloggers attendance or getting them to write about something. If a blogger finds your event interesting and they can fit it nicely in their schedule they will attend it, asking them to send a cab or pay for conveyance generally doesn’t help. Similarly asking them to test a product or share it with their friends multiple times ends up doing more bad(though not easily visible) than good.
1) Know the Blogger: It might sound obvious but I am sure most people who approach bloggers have almost no clue about them. You need to spend some time researching about the person behind the blog. The least you can do is to find out some background of the person and what he/she likes to write about.
It helps you to verify if the blogger in question would be interested in learning/reviewing your client’s product.
2) Plan Reasonably: This is another aspect that needs some fine tuning. Bloggers are people too and majority of them(at least the one’s I know) are not full time bloggers and don’t make their living out of just blogging. Some have 9-5 jobs, some have businesses to run and thus a bloggers meet scheduled in the middle of a work week and that too in afternoon is unlikely to find any takers and pestering ‘em won’t help much. So it’s a good idea to take these things into consideration before planning a meet.
3) Build Relationships: If you are serious about your job and are thinking of long term associations you should definitely spend some time and effort in building relationships with bloggers that you’d like to involved with. Assigning blogger(s) to an individual is a good way to approach this unlike anyone from the PR firm emailing or calling any blogger at random. My response would definitely be better if I know the person approaching me beforehand and have had interactions with them before.
Here are some of the links you might want to read
How has been your experience as a blogger or PR/Agency person pitching bloggers like?
Update: The findings of a Global Blogger Survey done by Text 100 a few months back should make things even more clear for PR folks
October 4, 2009 11 Comments
If you’ve been to a PVR cinema ever you might remember their movie schedule. Here’s a screenshot for your reference (sorry for the low quality picture).
Did you notice anything?
The listing/sub-section for PVR cinemas in South Delhi looks exactly like the subsection for West Delhi. Exactly my point.
Every time I pick up this schedule I invariably feel there’s something wrong about its design and the problem is that it’s really a pain to find out where the theatre in question(the one(s) you want to check) is located in the schedule i.e. Unless you’ve ingrained the complete movie schedule layout in your head you will have to spend time locating the cinema of your choice (middle right or left bottom or extreme right top) and the PVR guys haven’t helped us a bit with this problem. Their approach is simple, list all the PVR theatres in NCR, categorize them according to locations, put them class wise (PVR Premiere on Top) and mass print it for each of these theatres.
While this might sound obvious(and most easy) way to go about this situation, it certainly isn’t the best (it takes some time to locate your theatre of choice) and many of you might agree that folks at PVR could do a better job at it by customizing their schedules a bit.
Wouldn’t it be nice for them to print 5-6 different schedules for various regions (North Delhi, South Delhi, Gurgaon etc) if not for all theatres and highlight the show timings for each one of them (for ex: the movie schedule for North Delhi has first/top most space for North Delhi cinema listings)?
October 3, 2009 2 Comments
It’s been about a year and a half when I first wrote about Meow FM. For the uninitiated Meow 104.8 FM is an Indian talk based radio station that’s aired across Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkatta.
I’ve been thinking of reviewing Meow FM again to understand and share how it has evolved since then but it was only after one of the hosts at Meow emailed me to know “what I feel about the station” that I finally got down to write .
It took me about a week or so to listen to Meow at different hours to see what exactly they are upto and here are a few things I managed to gather.
1) The “A-Stars” Migration: Ever since last year there has been quite a few A-Stars that have left Meow FM for various reasons. Those who’ve left include Hosts Jaishree(last year?) and Rochie(July 9th) and COO(and host) Anil Srivatsava(June 2nd). The roots of migration of A-Stars in this fashion can mostly be traced down to the boardroom (bad policies or management, or both) and I assume that’s the case with Meow too.
Given the fact that the business Meow is in, the loyalties are almost equally(if not more) associated with the Hosts and the station, the station would have definitely felt the heat.
2) Talks are making way for Music: While during its initial days Meow was as much about conversations as one could be but I feel things are changing. Possible the Host exodus is the reason behind it. With just a few quality Hosts (Ginnie, Divya ,Manisha and Ved?) to handle about 14 hours of airtime(7 am – 9 pm), playing more music is inevitable. I remember listening to non-stop music for about an hour yesterday around 12-1 pm.
As it turns out Meow is mostly about music on weekends, which isn’t particularly good for people like me.
If in case this music fever spreads to weekdays, Meow will lose out on a good differentiator and even if Meow has to play more music they can try to make the whole process of the music selection a bit more interactive. A simple thing could be to ask listeners to SMS songs they’d like to listen(not sure if they do it already)
3) Diluted Positioning: While I don’t have any official word on this but off late I’ve started to feel that Meow is no longer aimed at just women. Be it the fact that they now have a male host for their 7 AM show or the fact the hosts no longer re-iterate Meow is India’s first ‘Just for women’ radio station. Also, unlike previously where male callers were allowed on just a couple of show(Tu-Tu Meow Meow & Top Cat) and on weekends(?) you can hear them on practically every show now.
If there has been a change in their target audience I am afraid Meow will find it increasingly more different to survive the competition and if there isn’t such a change they should try to leverage their positioning a lot more to do more tie-ups and eventually attract more women to them.
4) Focus on Quality: While other radio stations are still busy doing silly spoofs of Sholay’s Gabar or Sunny’s Papa ji dialogue, meow continues to add value by talking about meaningful things. Meow 104.8 FM offers by far the most intelligent conversations across the radio frequencies. Not sure if most RJ’s(from radio mirchi to fever) are stupid or they pretend so to sell to the masses but I am quite happy to note that Meow has a better lot of Hosts which continue to talk sensible stuff.
It’s not surprising that Meow has Dr Kiran Bedi as a co-host on one of their shows and they can also boast of having a great weekly book club.
5) Community: Meow’s ning community started by Anil reflects its listeners loyalty. With about 10,000 members @ ning they have a wonderful community of their customers available for free. This goes on to show that people love the station and want to stay connected.
While I haven’t noticed extensive efforts aimed at making the most out of their community they can do a lot of things and make the most of it though I am not sure how it’ll work out with their ning community as it was created by Anil who is not associated with Meow anymore.
I’d like to conclude by saying that Meow has definitely not reached the place it should have given the strong grounds it started with and it’s a very crucial stage they are in and if they don’t do the right things game could swing either ways.
PS: Meow please get your site re-designed and if not at least update the content. It looks like the site hasn’t been touched for ages.
Update: This post is also available on radioandmusic.com (http://bit.ly/5eT7Z)
September 23, 2009 1 Comment
It isn’t often that you get a chance to listen to the likes of Alok Mittal and Pramod Bhasin and TiEcon is one of those very few platforms that offers you a chance to not only listen but also to interact with successful entrepreneurs and connect with them.
On 18th and 19th of September I attended my first TiEcon at Delhi’s Taj Palace. Being a first time attendee I wasn’t really sure of what to expect from the event which looks as serious(boring?) to a 26 year old as it can be but thankfully I gave it a try, for it was well worth it.
Five minutes into the registration I happened to bump into Amit Agnihotri (Director-Exchange4media) and there was no stopping to meeting new and interesting people. As mentioned in my previous post I was invited to the conference as a blogger and as it turned out we were to register(and enjoy some privileges) as press which included reserved seats in the second row, dedicated room with continuous beverage supply etc.
Day 1 had quite a few interesting and relevant panel discussions on
- Starting Up – Is there ever a right time?
- Biggest “Marketing” Bang for the Buck
- Smart Innovation
It helped that the panel members were experienced entrepreneurs and professionals from big brands like Pepsi, Samsung and Microsoft. The session on Smart Innovation led by Prof Anil Gupta was particularly interesting. It was wonderful to learn about various innovations happening in the country at the grass root level.
In parallel to the main sessions/panel discussions there were small ‘Guru Sessions’ happening in another hall. These sessions had 2-4 VC’s or Successful entrepreneurs answering questions to a small bunch of 25-30 people. These session due to their small size were more personal and gave the attendees a very good chance of networking with the speakers.
If you thought the event was all about successful people sharing entrepreneurship gyan with young entrepreneurs or wannabe entrepreneurs, you couldn’t be more wrong. While learning a thing or two from seasoned entrepreneurs would definitely be on the agenda the real deal was NETWORKING. Acting on the feedback from last TiEcon the TiE folks had smartly booked a separate hall(or two?) for just networking and there were other small sessions happening in parallel to the main panel discussions. So sitting through a session which you aren’t finding interesting for whatever reason is not mandatory and there are about 5 other halls where you can go and randomly bump into someone and get talking.
In just a matter of minutes you can sense the fact that TiEcon 2009 was designed to facilitate networking and to be honest it did the trick. A look around any hall will confirm the same, you could see numerous 2-5 people groups scattered across the Taj Palace(even in the Lobby) interacting and/or exchanging business cards. I too tried a bit to meet some new people and ended up collecting some 40 odd business cards(gave lesser cards than that).
The exchange of follow up mails has begun, let’s see where things reach eventually.
All in all TiEcon Delhi 2009 was worth every bit of energy and effort spent. Shall look forward to the next years conference.
September 22, 2009 8 Comments
Road shows are a common marketing activity in Delhi and rest of North India. It’s not uncommon to find big brands like Spencer’s, Horlicks, etc doing road shows to promote a new store or a new product. Road shows are also excessively used during political campaigns. A typical road show looks like this
While there’s nothing new about road shows, there’s a new(and low cost) variant of road shows that’s increasingly getting popular for doing promotions. Rickshaw Road Show or Cycle Rickshaw Road Show as it’s called consists of a branded cycle rickshaw(regular or a different small one custom built for such activities) with a rickshaw puller driving it within a given area for about 8 hours a day. Driving is the core activity with addons being parking for some time at certain key points like metro stations, bus stops and distributing leaflets/pamphlets .
(Promotion for a Jewellery House)
( Promotions for an automobile showroom and a satsang)
Ricksaw road shows are generally done at least for a month(2 days monthly off) and they cost anywhere between Rs 8,000 – Rs 12,000 per month ($170-$250). The costing includes rent for richshaw, branding and the fees for rickshaw puller. A rough break up for the total cost would be
Rickshaw Puller: Rs 4,000 – Rs 5,500
Branding : Rs 800 – Rs 1,500
rest would be the rent of rickshaw and the owners profit.
It’s not just small coaching institutes or local businesses that do richshaw roadshows, they are also being used by brands like Fastrack that are also active on the web(Twitter, Facebook et all)
So, what do you think about Rickshaw Road Shows ?
July 21, 2009 6 Comments
It’s not uncommon for MNC’s like IBM , TCS to part sponsor a medium or large scale event in India related to bloggers, techies or social media guys but there’s a new trend in the offering. Off late companies(especially product ones) have started to reach out to their target audience(bloggers in most cases) by not just sponsoring a third party event but by organising events exclusively for their target audience. A couple of weeks back Nokia organized a bloggers meetup in Gurgaon’s Trident Hotel to reach out to bloggers and share more about their latest model N97.
On the same lines Lenovo organized a bloggers(tech?) meet yesterday at All Sports Bar,CP. The meet was aimed at spreading the word about newly launched line of products by Lenovo and giving the bloggers an opportunity to check out the newest models of laptops/all-in-one’s and learn more about them from the company folks directly.
“Engagement”, said Lenovo’s product manager is what sets small/niche meets like these apart from generic medium to large scale events and as an attendee I couldn’t agree more. With more than 6 people to attend to a dozen bloggers not only everyone got sufficient attention and information about the products, we all got a chance to explore the products, test them out and learn a thing or two otherwise.
It’s nice to see PR evolve to the Social Media circles in India and would be interesting to see how things go from here.
July 1, 2009 2 Comments
Today Delhi went for assembly polls. The turnout for polls should apparently a bit higher because of recent attacks on Mumbai and high voter turnout in Kashmir and even far off US(I think it’ll effect some people). This was the second time since I turned 18(voting age) that I went to caste my vote considering it my responsibility and having faith in democracy though being skeptical about the election candidates.
Keen to caste my vote I went to vote the first thing in the morning. I was told that cell phones are not allowed inside the premises so I left them at home and picked my Voter ID and a voter slip which had details like voter number, voting center etc. I was joined with a friend and we walked down towards our polling center( a school nearby). The police constable at the gate told that phones are not allowed and we replied that we were not carrying any, which he believed easily and let us in without frisking. Apparently frisking people which is common place in metro trains, shopping malls etc is not really necessary at a polling center.
Upon reaching the room in which we were supposed to caste our votes I was surprised to see two gentlemen from our apartment seated with the voter list from our society and marking who all are turning up to vote. I certainly did not expect to see them or any familiar faces in there(on asking a friend I was told that they are supporters of two main parties and are on some sort of duty to ensure fairness). Next step was to mark my attendance their and getting marked by ink to certify that I’ve voted and to ensure that I can’t vote again. Here also, the lady on duty was marking ink on people’s middle fingers only to be told by a gentleman(who apparently came from the adjoining room) that she is supposed to mark ink on the index finger.
The last step was to caste vote on an electronic machine, which I did eventually but couldn’t help feeling really bad about the whole set up and their unprofessional approach. If we can do our duties responsibly why can’t they ?
November 29, 2008 No Comments
Absence of statements blaming the other party from any political leader on the first day of Mumbai attacks was conspicuous but if you thought Indian politicians have finally learned not to politicize the terrorist attacks you are mistaken. The second day of seize saw leaders from the opposition starting the blame game again. What’s worst is that the ministers from leading party for whatever reasons invariably end up doing “tit for tat”.
Just when I was thinking if and how “Mumbai Attacks” would reflect on the Delhi assembly elections my phone beeped. It was a sms, that read “Atankvad ke virudh apna sangharsh jari rakhen, jinhone atankvad ke liye naram niti apnayee unke virudh bhari sankhya main matdan karen. Mehengi Padi Congress” which roughly translates into “continue your fight against terror and vote out people who took a lenient approach against terrorism”
A couple of hours later my phone beeped again for another sms and this one read “har terrorist attack chunav se pehle hi kyun hota hai ? isme faayda kiska ? Aatank par vote maangne ki sasti raajniti desh ko mehengi padegi” which roughly translates into “why does every terrorist attack happen just before elections, who stands to gain out of this? the lowly act of asking for votes under the name of terrorism will cost the nation”
It’s a pity that this is the state of Indian politics, they won’t even spare terrorist attacks and shamelessly try to use them to garner votes.
November 29, 2008 4 Comments