3Ps of Blogging – Purpose, Polish and Publish

A purpose firmly established decides the impact on the kind of blogger that you are, the contents you provide, the update frequency and maintenance of the same. A synergy of these activities would drive you towards the established purpose of blogging.

Establish a clear purpose : Common mistakes any blogger do (atleast early on) is not to define a specific purpose. Decide at the earliest, purpose of your blogging and ensure that you build relevance and a good fit as you continue building over it, lest it become an odd brick in an otherwise Architectural Marvel

400057-old-red-brick-wall-with-one-odd-blue-brick
Else what? A big woolly Mess. What Else 🙂 You have a messy place. To draw an analogy it would be a miner’s nightmare. They hunt for Gold (very expensive, just like contents in your blog) but a messy dredging is unpleasant.

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The Reverse Possibility: Blogging for a Purpose

Be honest to yourself when you answer this question. If it is for money, so be it. Be clear! In any case the blogs would reveal the purpose (a clutter of Adsense Keywords in your blog content is a big give-away). By the way, there is nothing to be ashamed if it is for money – it is your personal space and efforts, none can grudge you this purpose.

may-adsense-earnings
Now that importance of purpose is realized, the task is easy if you started the blog with a purpose – say, for promoting a business, or a person, or for critiquing – Here the goal of blogging is predetermined, the contents and update frequencies get defined by the purpose itself – for e.g if it is promoting business, it is pretty sure that it may not do anything with the blog itself but to do draw attention of target audience and channelizing that interest. This is where SEO pressures rules the roost and define the contents too. Similar is the case with any blogging that has a clearly defined purpose.

We have yet another purpose for blogging, which predominantly is where AOL bloggers can be classified. Blogging for hobby. It is generally assumed that it can be “free for all”, “no-hold barred”, “stress-free” blogging and has no purpose. Let’s get this clear. If there is no purpose for putting your thoughts on paper (or on a blogsite) it has no business to exist in the first place. Determine and brand even a hobby blogging – Humour, Current Affairs, Health or alternately I can suggest an easiest branding – Art of Living or His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. For one, you have so much that you can write about. Added to it, it can get you a lot of traffic (AOL is a world by itself).

This brings a new dimension and purpose to your blog. From Blogging as hobby, it now gets positioned as Blogging for Others/Someone (I will call it AOL, hereafter). Again, writing something on Gurudev or AOL doesn’t ensure success, it has to be formatted, designed and executed for Success.

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The Goals, Objectives and Values that represents AOL has to be factored before we Publish the blog.
The next few steps are specifically in respect of Hobby Bloggers writing about AOL/Gurudev. http://justconnect.artofliving.org does this for approved bloggers and the underlying philosophy can be adopted and applicable to your individual blogs too
Having established the purpose of a blog, it now needs to be reached out to the world viz Marketing. It involves two components

1) Identifying target audience
2) What is Written

This is a double whammy. Audience is automatically decided by “What” is written or you have to specifically write keeping in mind your target audience.

As any marketing person would know : Reaching out in any manner including Advertising is an aerial attack, but the war is won only on the ground. You don’t win readers or traffic to your blog from aerial attacks. You have to win them on the ground.

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Even in the age of internet, products (your blogs) are bought and sold online only if the customer (reader) has some advance knowledge about it. To explain better, in any modern war the Air Force is used to hit key targets, destroy capabilities and soften the enemy’s forces. But the war is won only when soldiers on the ground move in and capture lands, kingdoms, enemies or whatever their target was. No matter how superior an air force a battle is never won from the air. Marketing a blog (or for that matter Social Media itself) is similar to an air force, an aerial attack. No war can ever be won through just Marketing. It may soften the adversary, score a few major points or victories, win a few battles, but it will never win the war unless there is action and stuff on the ground. Therefore, Having Exciting Stuff to aspire for on the ground is the first step and a good start.

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About what is Written, or having a good stuff now calls for a dream or a vision for your blog itself. This also brands your blog and also entails being able to see the “finish line”. Blog on a whole has to have a vision and mission to be accomplished by each individual article/post needs to be aligned to this vision. In other words, all members in a group can share a “mission” but all may not have the same “vision”. It helps if the your blog can outline the vision and the finish line and ensure each post on it subscribes and aligns with it. (Extend this logic to a group blogging site, like http://www.artoflivingsblog.com or http://www.artoflivingsecrets.com) In order to achieve this, we need to have a STRATEGY.

Strategy is a much abused term. In cricket you will hear the commentator frequently talk about strategies, that is pure rubbish. The strategy in cricket is simple: Bat, ball, wicket, 11 players, bowling batting, boundary lines, pitch and higher run scorer wins. Simple! These don’t change every over or after every four or six as commentators keep asking. What can be changed is “Tactics” based on a particular situation of advantage or disadvantage that forces us to publish a post on the blog. However to start the game we need to adopt the best tactics that will suit our strategy once we have decided on the “WHAT I WRITE”. Once those tactics mature and keep producing good results they can be hammered to advantage. As marketing guru Al Ries says: Tactic is the nail, strategy is the hammer.

Overwhelmed Blue Person Holding A Hammer And Nail While Standing In A Patch Of Many Nails Clipart Illustration Image

Let me demonstrate the difference using the example of India Against Corruption in its earlier avatar. Arvind Kejriwal’s overall strategy was change in fighting corruption through Lokpal bill. Tactic was hunger strikes, gheraos and building local chapters of IACs in many metros. But when the tactics failed he decided he will go political. His strategy Lokpal failed. With a new political strategy, he has now made strange un-measureable and unrealistic “whats” like Direct people rule, laws to be made after direct consultation with people, prices to be decided by people, no unpopular laws blah blah etc. It’s destined to fail. Do his tactics back up his strategy? No. His current tactic is to expose corruption of individuals, allegations against top names and politicians. There is no match between his strategy and tactics. Those are, of course, his stated strategies. If there are certain hidden strategies, we don’t know. While he may manage to expose some individuals, his political strategy is destined to fail. It’s like George Bush saying: “We are not doing well in Afghanistan, let’s go bomb Iraq” – Our blog should not be like Aghanistan/Iraq bombing cited above.

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Now that the Strategy and Tactics are executed and first finish line is reached a newer finish line will get defined. It’s an on-going journey, an on-going process. It then becomes easier to define how, when and where our blogging journey leads or any course correction is needed.

This Blog of mine : Originally Published on http://justconnect.artofliving.org/blogging-tips-3ps-purpose-polish-publish/

Be Yourself – The biggest gift

A lot of people I meet seem to be overcome by desire and seem to revel in misery where none exist. Even when they get something for gratis they wished they got something better especially if someone else got it better.  “People seem to enjoy things more when they know a lot of others have been left out of the pleasure”  We don’t realize that we are blessed as you are till something hits you hard…Wearing other’s shoes’ pinches harder is a lesson that we seem to learn the hard way. Read on

Once upon a time there lived a stone-cutter, who went every day to a great rock in the side of a big mountain and cut out slabs for gravestones or for houses. He understood very well the kinds of stones wanted for the different purposes, and as he was a careful workman he had plenty of customers. For a long time he was quite happy and contented, and asked for nothing better than what he had.

Now in the mountain dwelt a spirit which now and then appeared to men, and helped them in many ways to become rich and prosperous. The stone-cutter, however, had never seen this spirit, and only shook his head, with an unbelieving air, when anyone spoke of it. But a time was coming when he learned to change his opinion.

One day the stone-cutter carried a gravestone to the house of a rich man, and saw there all sorts of beautiful things, of which he had never even dreamed. Suddenly his daily work seemed to grow harder and heavier, and he said to himself: ‘Oh, if only I were a rich man, and could sleep in a bed with silken curtains and golden tassels, how happy I should be!’

And a voice answered him: ‘Your wish is heard; a rich man you shall be!’

At the sound of the voice the stone-cutter looked round, but could see nobody. He thought it was all his fancy, and picked up his tools and went home, for he did not feel inclined to do any more work that day. But when he reached the little house where he lived, he stood still with amazement, for instead of his wooden hut was a stately palace filled with splendid furniture, and most splendid of all was the bed, in every respect like the one he had envied. He was nearly beside himself with joy, and in his new life the old one was soon forgotten.

It was now the beginning of summer, and each day the sun blazed more fiercely. One morning the heat was so great that the stone-cutter could scarcely breathe, and he determined he would stay at home till the evening. He was rather dull, for he had never learned how to amuse himself, and was peeping through the closed blinds to see what was going on in the street, when a little carriage passed by, drawn by servants dressed in blue and silver. In the carriage sat a prince, and over his head a golden umbrella was held, to protect him from the sun’s rays.

‘Oh, if I were only a prince!’ said the stone-cutter to himself, as the carriage vanished round the corner. ‘Oh, if I were only a prince, and could go in such a carriage and have a golden umbrella held over me, how happy I should be!’

And the voice of the mountain spirit answered: ‘Your wish is heard; a prince you shall be.’

And a prince he was. Before his carriage rode one company of men and another behind it; servants dressed in scarlet and gold bore him along, the coveted umbrella was held over his head, everything heart could desire was his. But yet it was not enough. He looked round still for something to wish for, and when he saw that in spite of the water he poured on his grass the rays of the sun scorched it, and that in spite of the umbrella held over his head each day his face grew browner and browner, he cried in his anger: ‘The sun is mightier than I; oh, if I were only the sun!’

And the mountain spirit answered: ‘Your wish is heard; the sun you shall be.’

And the sun he was, and felt himself proud in his power. He shot his beams above and below, on earth and in heaven; he burnt up the grass in the fields and scorched the faces of princesas well as of poorer folk.

But in a short time he began to grow tired of his might, for there seemed nothing left for him to do. Discontent once more filled his soul, and when a cloud covered his face, and hid the earth from him, he cried in his anger: ‘Does the cloud hold captive my rays, and is it mightier than I? Oh, that I were a cloud, and mightier than any!’

And the mountain spirit answered: ‘Your wish is heard; a cloud you shall be!’

And a cloud he was, and lay between the sun and the earth. He caught the sun’s beams and held them, and to his joy the earth grew green again and flowers blossomed. But that was not enough for him, and for days and weeks he poured forth rain till the rivers overflowed their banks, and the crops of rice stood in water. Towns and villages were destroyed by the power of the rain, only the great rock on the mountain side remained unmoved. The cloud was amazed at the sight, and cried in wonder: ‘Is the rock, then, mightier than I? Oh, if I were only the rock!’

And the mountain spirit answered: ‘Your wish is heard; the rock you shall be!

And the rock he was, and gloried in his power. Proudly he stood, and neither the heat of the sun nor the force of the rain could move him. ‘This is better than all!’ he said to himself. But one day he heard a strange noise at his feet, and when he looked down to see what it could be, he saw a stone-cutter driving tools into his surface. Even while he looked a trembling feeling ran all through him, and a great block broke off and fell upon the ground. Then he cried in his wrath: ‘Is a mere child of earth mightier than a rock? Oh, if I were only a man!’

And the mountain spirit answered: ‘Your wish is heard. A man once more you shall be!’

And a man he was, and in the sweat of his brow he toiled again at his trade of stone-cutting. His bed was hard and his food scanty, but he had learned to be satisfied with it, and did not long to be something or somebody else. And as he never asked for things he had not got, or desired to be greater and mightier than other people, he was happy at last, and heard the voice of the mountain spirit no longer.

As His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji of  The Art of Living says “Accept People and situation as they are” – it includes accepting ourselves the way we are too.

Tulsi Vivaha

tulasi-dala-matrena
jalasya culukena va
vikrinite svam atmanam
bhaktebhyo bhakta-vatsalah

[Sri Krishna – affectionate toward His devotees, is partial to a devotee who offers Him merely a tulasi leaf and a palmful of water]

Uttana Dwadashi (12th day in the Waxing phase of moon) in the month of Karthika is Celebrated as Tulsi Puja (or Tulsi Vivaha with Vishnu). It is also called Ksheerabdi Dwadashi Vrata. It is the day where the Chaturmasa vrata ends (Chaturmasa vrata starts on Ashada EkadashiPandarapur Ekadashi)

Tulsi Brindavana at Home

The story behind this Vrata according to Aparna (my better half):

Tulsi known for her utmost devotion, piety and unflinching loyalty to her husband, Shankhachuda makes him extremely powerful. Shankhachuda falls into evil ways and starts harassing the world but was invincible due to Tulsi austerities. He has a boon that he can be killed only if chastity (Pativratata) of Tulsi is violated. Lord Vishnu appears in the form of Shankachuda and Tulsi mistakes her for her husband and serves him as loyally as always. Tulsi’s chastity and loyalty thus gets diluted making Shankhachuda weak and gets killed. Tulsi realized her folly and immolates herself on a pyre. Despite the devotion towards Lord Vishnu she was distressed that Lord was stone-hearted to trick her and curses Him that he turns into a black stone – Lord Vishnu thus turns into Saligrama stone. She also curses that Lord Vishnu suffers separation from his wife (Curse gets effected in Ramayana where Lord Rama and Sita are separated).

Puja at home (Wife on the left and Son on the right)

Lord Vishnu however blesses tulsi to take the form a Tulsi plant and insists that she forms an essential part of worshipping Him. He takes the form of Gooseberry plant and marries Tulsi. It is believed that Tulsi was born as Rukmini and marries Lord Vishnu’s incarnation – Krishna on the 12th Day (Dwadashi) on the shukla paksha (waxing phase of moon) in the month of Karthika. Tulsi puja is celebration of this marriage.

It is also believed that Lord Krishna who goes to sleep on Naraka Chatudashi day (first day of Deepavali) wakes up on the Twelfth day (hence called Uttana Dwadashi)

Tulsi with Gooseberry Plant

Worship include lighting of lamps with Ghee Wick held in a Gooseberry and Deepa-Daana (Donation of Lamp) in the evening. Gooseberry Stalk along with Tulsi plant to signify Lord Vishnu and Tulsi and the usual Puja samagris.

Ghee Wick Lamp in Gooseberry

Thanks to His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji after a Blissful Art of Living Satsang in Jeevan Sandhya Home for Aged, what better way to sign off the day – with Tulsi Puja

Guru Puja and Satsang in Jeevan Sandhya -Home for Aged