Running a Blog Takes Effort and Planning. A Few Lessons Learned.

Blogging has been a part of my professional life for many years. I started off writing for corporate brand blogs and quickly realised I enjoy the creative process of putting content together. But in the last year or so I’ve had to think of blogging from a more strategic perspective because it is actually an incredible marketing tool for businesses and also offers revenue potential. I’ve learned some great lessons along the way (and still learning more) and I wanted to share the ones that really inspired me with anyone who’s curious about blogging, personally or professionally.

Full disclosure: I woke up this morning and set this photo up keeping this post in mind ūüôā


Purpose: Answer the simple question ‘What do I want my blog to do?’
The great thing about a blog is that you get to decide what you want it to do. It can help generate revenue or be your personal diary. Once you have identified this, blogging becomes easier because you are focused on achieving your goals.


Success: Decide on how you will determine the success of your blog. Will you look at engagement i.e. the number of comments and shares? Or number of pages visited? Is there a revenue-generating mechanism such as online purchases? 


Numbers: When it comes to blogging, thinking about numbers may seem…counter-intuitive or even boring. But ensuring your blog is linked to Google Analytics will be one of the best decisions you ever make. It will let you set measurable goals and teach you so much about your readers’ behavior that you can make well-informed, strategic decisions for your blog.


Quality, not quantity: There is a reason to the order of my lessons. Once you have set your purpose, decided on what success is to you and the numbers you want to achieve it, then planning content becomes a lot easier because you’ll do it with a clear purpose in mind. And yes, it is about quality, not quantity. Churning out multiple posts a week is less effective than a posting a carefully planned, well-written post once a week or even every two weeks.


Content calendar and stick to it: You’re probably beginning to see that careful planning is a recurring theme because it is important for every aspect of making a blog successful. Having a content calendar is not only great for keeping you organised but it also motivates you to meet deadlines. I’m serious – get one of those huge monthly calendar posters or even a whiteboard and fill in your content ideas a month in advance. This is a creative process so don’t underestimate the time and effort it takes to turn a “whiteboard brainstorm squiggle” into a sexy post.


Distribution and promotion: To get an audience for your blog is arguably easier with social media but it is also much more complicated because you are competing for attention in a very saturated ‘content market’. This is why looking at your blog analytics will help you see things like where in the world readers are coming to your blog from, what channels (Facebook, direct visits, Google) and what devices they’re reading your content on. So you have to really consider how to get an audience for your blog:

  • Social media is a great way way to supplement the content on your blog and attract readers.
  • Sponsored posts on social media is another way to go if you’re willing to invest some money and it’s a great option because you have sophisticated targeting options i.e. by location, interest, age, gender. Simply posting a link won’t get you readers. Think about the way your post is packaged when shared on various platform. Large images and engaging captions are key.
  • Another way I particularly like is linking with other bloggers or social media influencers and doing a ‘post swap’, this way you can organically reach a new audience.

High quality images that are not stock photos: While stock photos are always a great option, I think they’re a bit dry and boring. Using your own photos and images makes your blog truly ‘your blog’. High quality, well-composed and engaging images are the key to attracting readers to your blog and keeping them there. It’s a simple fact: everyone likes looking at pretty things. So I can’t stress enough how important it is to think carefully about what kind of images you want to use and how they can enhance your posts. You don’t even need a fancy camera or advanced photo editing skills to achieve great images. Grab your phone, watch a few YouTube tutorials on how to compose and do simple edits to photos, and you’re all set!


Readability: Attention spans are not what they used to be because the way media is consumed has changed so drastically in the last decade. Now you have maybe 5 seconds to grab someone’s attention as he or she is scrolling a newsfeed or browsing the web (believe me that’s already a long time in the digital world!). Even if you do get a reader for your post, if it’s not structured in a way that is easy to read and understand, he or she will be gone before you know it. So think again about the purpose of your blog and research other blogs that are doing similar things. Ask yourself: Is this blog readable? Why or why not? You’ll learn so much by studying how others make blogs engaging.


Be yourself: There’s a reason this piece of advice is towards the end of the post. It’s because you’ve probably already heard it before and it’s pretty self-explanatory: your blog is about you so it’s pretty obvious that your voice is the one people will expect to hear when they read your posts. The planning and strategic thinking lessons are higher up on my list because these are the things that can actually make a blog successful.


Mobile first: Look down at your hands. In one hand you may have a cup of coffee, the TV remote or your dog’s leash and in the other is most likely a mobile device or smartphone. Think about the fact that most readers encounter blogs and other content first on mobile. Whether it’s a news article, a funny animal video, or a photo of a friend’s baby, it’s viewed through a smaller screen. Think about how your blog will look on a mobile or tablet. Is it mobile friendly? Google the phrase “responsive blog template” when you are designing your blog and you’ll see design templates that are designed for all types of screens.


What are some of the lessons you have learned from blogging? Am I missing anything? Do you have any questions? Please share your thoughts, questions and comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

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Digital Dudette: Meet Richa – Fashion Blogger, World Traveler and Ph.D.-Certified Mom

Family pic

With my husband and son at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

I met Richa¬†through my sister-in-law¬†a few years ago and very quickly realised that Richa is also¬†a Bangkok baby like me. After connecting with each other on social media, I started reading Richa’s personal blog Urban Mantra, which focuses on a variety of topics including fashion, travel, fitness, food and more. I always look forward to reading her posts because they are fun, personal and I always learn something new! But what I truly admire is the elegant way in which Richa wears so many ‘hats’ at the same time: she is working full-time in¬†pharma/healthcare and mother to an adorable two year-old son while also focusing on fitness, managing a successful blog and staying active¬†on Instagram and Snapchat with strong fan following on both!

Read on for my in-depth chat with the multi-faceted, multi-talented Richa:


Tell us about yourself: I’m an Indian who grew up in Thailand, then studied and lived in the U.S. for 15 years, and now lives in Singapore. And yes, I can speak Hindi, Thai, and English. I’ve picked up Singlish too (some would argue it’s a language in itself). I did my PhD in oncology, which ultimately paved the way to a career in the research and pharmaceutical industry.

Laos pic

Doing things beyond the typical touristy stuff. This picture was taken on a visit to a tribal village outside of Luang Prabang, Laos where the little kids came running out to greet you.

Having lived in different countries, I am innately interested to learn and try new things. I seek unique travel experiences. I enjoy fitness and new, challenging workouts. Whichever city I live in, I like to explore its little corners and hidden spots. Now that I have a 2-year old, I often like to take him along when possible. I have varied reading interests; my recent book reads include Modern Romance, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, The Girl on the Train, and The Ominvore’s Dilemma.


What makes you a Digital Dudette:
 
I started my blog Urban Mantra about 4 years ago. Having a job in the pharma/healthcare industry where you have to be bound by rules, regulations, and facts, I sometimes felt the need for a creative outlet. My blog is my platform for sharing on topics related to style, travel, fitness and Mommyhood! I’m also active on Instagram and Snapchat which I use as an extension of my blog, sharing aspects from my blog posts and snippets from daily life.

Most valuable skills learned: Naturally, there was a big learning curve when I first started my blog. Suddenly, I had to read up on coding to personalize the look of my blog, get up to speed on blog Analytics, discover how to increase blog traffic, and all that good stuff. Four years later, I’m still discovering and trying out new things! The 3 most useful skills I learned related to my blog are the following:

1. Web design: I scoured numerous blogs and spent countless hours reading up on this topic. How to build an eye-catching and uncluttered look to the blog? How to create a personalized header with your own font? How to develop your own social media buttons for your blog page? I did it on my own and enjoyed every minute of it. The current look and design of my blog is done by myself with some credit to a Web Designer that I engaged with for the header. I’m quite proud of it!

Railway pic

I love exploring unique spots within Singapore. This is an old abandoned railway which has been converted into part of a green nature corridor.

2. Photography: A blog is as much about content as it is about good photography. In fact, I’m of the belief that if your photos are well-taken, you minimize the need for heavy Photoshopping or editing. The first step is investing in a good, DSLR camera and learning how to use it. I took a course on photography a few years back and plan to upgrade my skills with another course later this year. Another tip, which has worked very successfully for me, is to collaborate with established or budding photographers for your blog.

3. iPhoneography: I sat in a class on this topic and was inspired! You could almost do your entire blogging through an iPhone, if you chose to do so. Yes, the latest iPhones can take amazing pictures. But beyond that, there are so many apps for editing and formatting photos, creating short videos, and increasing your social media presence outside of the blog space. I use these all the time in relation to my blog.

Favourite digital resources:

Bruised Passports is a blog by an unconventional Indian couple capturing their exotic travels to unique locations

Carrie Bradshaw Lied is a blog by blogger Kathleen who shares her super chic and cute outfits on a real girl’s budget

MedicomOncology for keeping up with my scientific updates and medical news

Favourite animal:¬†I like animals in general but don’t really have a favorite animal per se.

Favourite local spots: Living in Singapore, there’s no shortage of picturesque spots. Among my favorite activities is biking with my 2-year old along the East Coast Parkway and the open beach. If we’re talking about places to dine and lounge, my new favorite spot is Smoke & Mirrors, a bar located in the historical National Gallery with an amazing panoramic view of Singapore.

Let’s connect:

Blog: www.urbanmantra.blogspot.com

Instagram: @richatiwari81

Snapchat: richat81

Read about more Digital Dudettes here.

What is Social Commerce and Why It’s So Popular in Thailand

socialcomAfter working in the digital space for the better part of the last decade, I have noticed that while the internet creates a neutral playing field for almost anyone and everyone to do business locally and internationally, the act of shopping (online and offline) is still very culturally influenced and it affects the kinds of digital / online business models succeeding in different parts of the world.

Benefits offered by a business have different perceived values in different parts of the world

For example, in the West with the dotcom boom of the mid to late 90s, e-commerce came into existence with early players like Amazon and eBay, launching as an online bookstore and an online auction site, respectively. Over the last two decades the convenience, speed, low prices and comparison shopping e-commerce sites offer are benefits that consumers increasingly value because it can save time and money and as a result shopping online is now a part of everyday life.

When I was living in Boston as a student online shopping was a huge life and time saver; I loved it (especially in the winter) because I could visit my local grocer’s website to order my weekly groceries to be delivered to my doorstep in 24 hours or that my last minute “I need flip flops for my holiday” request was instantly satisfied by an online Black Friday shopping spree.

Cultural values cannot be forgotten when it comes to understanding consumer behavior

However, growing up in Thailand was a different story: I had to leave home to get my errands done whether it’s supermarketing or banking because doing things online wasn’t even a realistic option until a few years ago. When I moved back to Bangkok in 2011 e-commerce and online banking/payments¬†started to gain traction. But it’s interesting to see that even though e-commerce has spread like wildfire through Asia, especially in markets like India, China and Singapore, this not the case with Thailand. Shopping in-person is still a very normal activity — I daresay it’s preferred to online shopping and I strongly believe it’s¬†due to cultural influence.

In Thailand the¬†bazaar and bargaining concept is still alive and kicking, whether it’s inside a mall or on the street, locals enjoy shopping as an activity because they like to touch and try products and haggle for the best prices with vendors.¬†Shopping is¬†not about a quick, efficient transaction; it’s about building the relationship and trust: customers like to know they’re getting the best deal and vendors enjoy selling and interacting¬†with customers. Not to mention that there is still a lack of trust in credit cards and online payments so people still prefer to make payments via cash or bank transfers.

Social commerce boom in Thailand as a result of cultural influences

To put it very simply social commerce is completing business transactions and buying goods over social media or social networks. The quickest and easiest example of this is the rapid rise of Facebook, Instagram and Line as marketplaces for products. The social commerce boom in Thailand happened as a result of several cultural and behavioral factors:

  • Instagram and Line mimic the popular bazaar concept because all the products are laid out in photo galleries for the consumer to peruse and choose from
  • The personal interaction aspect of the buying and selling experience is also present with customers and vendors having to chat before a purchase is final
  • Credit card payments on social apps like Line and Instagram have yet to be implemented properly so the only option to pay for goods is either bank transfer or cash payment, which are the preferred payment options in the offline marketplace anyways

All said and done, social commerce offers the benefits most valued by both consumers and vendors in Thailand and that’s why it is growing at such a rapid pace. This is a contrast to the West where social media is still more commonly used for branding and awareness; social commerce is still up-and-coming.

Transactions start on one app and end on another — and that’s totally normal¬†

Recently I wanted to order custom cupcakes for a private party so here’s what I did: I got in touch with a local pastry chef who I follow on Instagram after seeing amazing photos of her work and then we exchanged numbers so I could contact her on Line chat app to give her the full order details, delivery date and complete payment (via bank transfer and sending her the transfer slip as an image!). We exchanged many messages over a few days about the details of the cupcakes, when and how to deliver them, and price negotiations. While this shopping experience was¬†nowhere near quick and convenient, it was well worth spending the extra days¬†because I felt so well taken care of and satisfied that the vendor understood what I wanted when I made the final payment.

What are your thoughts on social commerce? Are you a fan or a foe? What is the e-commerce vs social commerce situation in your country? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

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Instant Guide for Everyday Makeup Products that Match Dark, Olive Skin Tones

I have dark, olive skin and finding makeup products in Asia to match my skin tone is challenging to say the least. Most beauty blogs and product reviews are centred around what’s available in the US and Europe. After much hunting around Bangkok (Thailand) I found¬†some great products for everyday makeup — especially for work, long days or while on-the-go. I thought a post on my discoveries might be useful for other girls out there with similar skin¬†tones and crazy daily schedules. So here’s my everyday makeup stash in the order to be applied with links (some to product pages from¬†other¬†country because the local Thailand ones aren’t great) and info on where you can find it in Bangkok (I’m sure it will be available in similar places for our Asian neighbors).

Concealer
NARS Costmetics: Radiant Creamy ConcealerNars concealer
Shade: Biscuit
Price: THB 1,290
Buy: Sephora or NARS Cosmetics counter at department store
Why: It melts into my skin! The coverage is amazing with very little product. I have dark circles, dark blemishes and acne scars on my cheeks but with a few dabs of NARS Costmetics: Radiant Creamy Concealer my skin looks flawless. This is my must-have, apply before anything else, secret weapon when it comes to daily makeup.¬†One tube for me lasts 5-6 months so its definitely worth the¬†investment and the shades are great for medium to dark skin tones. When you’re applying it, use the applicator to place the product onto the problem areas and then use your fingers to dab and blend it into your skin — this motion ensures maximum coverage with just a little product.

Powder Foundation

Benefit Cosmetics: Hello Benefit Custom Powder Foundation SPF 15
Shade: “All the world’s my stage” – BEIGE
Price: THB 1400
Buy: Benefit Cosmetics counter in department store
Why: The packaging is so cute! Plus packed in the small compact is a brush AND a sponge applicator. Most cosmetics brand won’t even include a sponge or brush with its powder foundation compacts (you have to purchase separately) and for me that’s a big no-no. When you’re on the go 12-14 hours a day you need easy-to-use-and-stash-in-my-purse makeup just like this¬†Hello Benefit Custom Powder Foundation SPF 15. The coverage is great even without concealer, it’s very silky and brightens the skin, and the best part is even after a few hours I don’t have pools of oil on my T-zone.

One and DoneLiquid Foundation
Urban Decay: Naked Skin One & Done Hybrid Complexion Perfector
Shade: Medium
Price: THB 1500
Buy: Sephora
Why: This product is great if you have dry/combination skin without blemishes and need an all-in-one solution for everyday light coverage.¬†The coverage is light so don’t expect dark acne scars to disappear — you will need to use concealer before applying Urban Decay: Naked Skin One & Done Hybrid Complexion Perfector.¬†But I do really like the product because it’s¬†something between a BB cream and a tinted moisturiser with SPF, making skin feel hydrated and look radiant. The shades available match medium – dark skin tones really well. I would recommend setting it with loose powder so it lasts longer in warmer climates.

Powder and Liquid Foundation: Why both?

I keep both in my makeup bag because we live in warmer climates but work in freezing offices. The way your skin feels can change from your morning commute to the moment you walk through the office doors. I prefer powder-based foundation for my combination skin because it helps keep the the oiliness to a minimum and it’s a one stop shop to getting my face ready for the day. I keep the liquid foundation as a back up (again personal preference) in case I forgot my compact or the skin needs a hydration day. Liquid foundation does take slightly longer to apply because you ideally should use a brush and set it with powder after.¬†

Nars blush

Blush
NARS Cosmetics: Blush
Shade: Orgasm
Price: THB 950
Buy: Sephora or NARS Cosmetics counter at department store
Why: I will admit this blush is actually quite light for darker skin tones but what I love is that for daytime makeup it’s just the perfect shade. NARS Cosmetics:¬†Blush gives your skin a healthy, pink glow with a subtle highlight on the cheekbone without being too obvious at all. You never have the fear of applying too much (especially when you’re still half asleep at 9am!) and the product lasts for a very, very long time.

mascara wet and wildMascara
Wet n Wild Beauty: XXL Lash Thickening, Amplifying Mascara 
Shade: Black
Price: Approx. THB 200-250
Buy: Boots or any local drugstore
Why:¬†So here’s a fun secret: you don’t need to break bank for a good, effective mascara. It’s the one makeup product you can purchase at a drugstore and be confident in its effectiveness. I like the¬†Wet n Wild Beauty: XXL Lash Thickening, Amplifying Mascara for its reasonable price point and with a few strokes my lashes go from “where are they” to “hello there!” — the mascara applicator fills and curls lashes really well.

UD lipstickLipstick
Urban Decay: Matte Revolution Lipstick
Shade: Matte Stark Naked
Price: THB 800-900
Buy: Sephora
Why: I will admit it’s expensive but I love it because it’s hard to find a nude shade that works on darker skin tones. For daytime / work makeup you need something subtle and sophisticated and the¬†Urban Decay: Matte Revolution Lipstick in¬†Stark Naked is perfect. I love the matte finish and because its a nude shade you can mix any other shade of lipstick on top to get another colour. And it lasts for ever – the quality of the lipstick is silky and doesn’t dry out your lips.

Sephora-Travel-Brushes

Brushes
Sephora: Travel Brush Set
Price: THB 440
Buy: Sephora
Why: It’s reasonable, stylish, and compact enough to fit into my makeup pouch and purse. I use the blush brush from the¬†Sephora: Travel Brush Set¬†kit every day and I love how soft it is!

 

 

Do you use anything from the list above? What do you think about the products? What’s in your everyday makeup stash? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

I Will Never Stop Learning

teacherpetsfeatimgI came to this realisation the other day: I’ve spent 21 of my 30 years on this planet learning. And the first 3 years of my life don’t even really count because I was too busy either admiring¬†the fish laid out at the supermarket every week or counting the¬†ones lucky to be alive and swimming in any aquarium or pond I walked by¬†and telling my parents about them because, well, how could you not be interested in fish?

Photo credit: memecrunch.com

So¬†even¬†after 21 years of education and counting fish, here’s why I still jump at any chance to learn:

Making connections that turn into friendships: I met some of the nicest, coolest and most helpful people through the courses and seminars I’ve done. Check out my Digital Dudette series to learn about some¬†of the amazing people I connected with. You never know when later in life you might need some advice, a connection, or simply want to catch up. The best part is you’ll always have a common memory and remember when and how you met.

Class

This is me learning basic product photography at an e-commerce class by www.webcoursesbangkok.com

Building¬†skills to pay the bills: Yes, I made a lame 90’s reference. Let’s move on. We live in a very¬†competitive world and that’s a fact. Gone are the days when a Master’s degree (unless you’re a doctor, engineer or lawyer – some things never change) was enough to set you apart from the crowd and make you an attractive hire. Having a unique set of skills is what will set you apart and most likely land you a job you actually want and like. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would know how to build a website, interpret¬†analytics and data, manage¬†digital marketing campaigns, or use¬†Photoshop and actually enjoy all of it. But these are all skills I learned¬†in addition to¬†my university¬†degrees through¬†web design classes, certifications in Google AdWords and Google Analytics,¬†YouTube tutorials and stalking my graphic designer colleague (I’m serious) and they have played a bigger role than my degrees in helping me get¬†a job I like. There’s a big difference in doing a job you’re good at and a job you enjoy; I think it’s important to recognise the difference for yourself.

Boosting self-confidence: Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone to learn something new will improve your self-confidence and help you overcome any professional or personal fears. I still remember the first time I worked with Google Analytics and thought “So much data and I don’t get any of it! This isn’t for me. I will never last in digital marketing”. But with a little guidance, asking a lot of questions and accepting that it’s totally ok to be clueless, I’m at the other side of the fear tunnel, confident and happy that I stuck it through. And, once you master a new concept or skill, it’s a great way to boost your resume.

LikePNG1Busting FOMO stress:¬†I think apart from the usual stresses we feel at work and / or at home, there’s a new kind of stress we encounter in today’s always-on, always-connected lifestyle. Every second of every day there’s someone posting or sharing something you wish you could be doing and it’s stressful when you can’t. So I found that if I focus my ‘FOMO stressy’ energy on myself instead of the ‘Like’ button on someone else’s photos I feel way better. I joined¬†Zumba classes and diligently went every week for a few years and just recently switched to Strength Training + Muay Thai a few times a week and I love it because that one hour class is all about me: my stress is busted and I have no FOMO because I am totally engaged in something that is not a Facebook or Instagram feed.

So here’s a selfie after one of the make up YouTube tutorials. (I wasn’t going to share a raccoon photo here!!)

Learning doesn’t always have to be related to work:¬†So here’s a valuable resource I think a lot of us don’t take seriously when we think about learning: YouTube. It’s¬†an amazing, free, 24/7 online visual tool you can access anywhere, anytime to learn literally anything.¬†I have always wanted to be good at applying makeup so I started watching YouTube tutorials after a friend recommended some to me and after many, many failed attempts of looking like a raccoon / Joker from Batman, I mastered some basic techniques, learned about products and I did it all of it for free. (This obviously does not include the crazed Sephora shopping sprees that followed). Makeup has nothing to do with my professional life; it’s just a personal interest of mine that I enjoy learning more about.

The key takeaway here is never give up an opportunity to learn because lots of awesome things can result from it ūüôā

I’m very interested to hear your thoughts, please share your comments and experiences below.

 

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New Kids Smartwatch with Pre-set Reminders for Bathtime, Meals and More

Source: http://www.octopus.watch/joy/

Octopus by Joy watch. Source: www.octopus.watch/joy/

Digital technology is disrupting almost every aspect of our lives — fitness, health, travel — and it’s about to disrupt¬†parenting! I think the¬†Octopus by Joy watch¬†is a powerful concept with great revenue-potential. It’s an icon-based smartwatch for kids aged 3 – 8 years with multiple functions:

  • Tells the time
  • Schedules daily routine with pre-set visual reminders (which parents can set by syncing up smartphones with the watch) to pop-up throughout the day reminding kids to take bath, eat, nap, play etc
  • Serves as an assistant to parents
  • Comes with an optional virtual rewards system

The product is borne from co-founder Sam Hickmann’s personal parenting experience and he shows a clear need for the Octopus in the video at the end of the Kickstarter page. I like the product concept¬†a lot because it leverages digital technology in a smart, helpful and fun way to teach children¬†good habits, instill a sense of independence and help parents be more efficient.

Octopus is set to launch in March 2017. Watch the video, see the photos and and be sure to visit the Kickstarter page to get more information.

Octopus by JOY from JOY on Vimeo.

Octopus watch works with iOS & Andriroid phones (Source: http://www.octopus.watch/joy/)

Octopus watch works with iOS & Android phones (Source: www.octopus.watch/joy/)

The charging station is adorable! (Source: http://www.octopus.watch/joy/)

The charging station has a magnetic connecter and it’s so adorable! (Source: www.octopus.watch/joy/)

Available in bright colours (Source: www.kickstarter.com/projects/octopusbyjoy/)

Available in bright colours (Source: www.kickstarter.com/projects/octopusbyjoy/)

Parents can set reminders and alarms to sync with the watch (Source: www.kickstarter.com/projects/octopusbyjoy/)

Parents can set reminders and alarms to sync with the watch (Source: www.kickstarter.com/projects/octopusbyjoy/)

Parents get notification when a task is completed. (Source: www.kickstarter.com/projects/octopusbyjoy/)

Parents get notifications when a task is completed. (Source: www.kickstarter.com/projects/octopusbyjoy/)

What do you think about the Octopus watch? Will you back the Kickstarter campaign? I’m very interested to know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Digital Dudette: Meet Zoe – Digital Account Manager with a Black-Belt in Taekwon-do

I’m fluent in three languages – English, Mandarin and Japanese – and want to pick up a fourth soon, German… I also have a black-belt in Taekwon-do and love playing tennis.

Zoe 3

I met Zoe¬†virtually¬†through the Squared Online (a¬†digital marketing leadership qualification developed with Google).¬†We were put on the same virtual team to work on a project together but we’ve never met in person. What is so special about the digital media age we live in is that¬†in a few weeks of connecting with Zoe through social media and apps, I’ve developed a friendship beyond the ‘classroom’ and we can stay connected for years to come.¬†Zoe is one bad ass, sporty and talented Digital Dudette who speaks three languages! Read on to be even more wow-ed:


Tell us about yourself:¬†I grew up in Beijing, China and completed my education in the UK at the Warwick Business School. I’m fluent in three languages – English, Mandarin & Japanese – and want to pick up a fourth soon, German. I love reading all types of books; my favourite writers are Murakami Haruki, George Orwell, Christopher Isherwood, Winston Churchill to name a few. I’m currently reading World War Two Volume II by Winston Churchill. I also have a black-belt in Taekwon-do and love playing tennis.

What makes you a Digital Dudette:¬†I take care of digital account operation and management for a global record company, which means digital service providers such as Apple and Tencent¬†are my clients and I manage the relationship with them. It’s an interesting mix of sales and people management skills; I have to convince clients to do joint promotions etc. with my company. It’s not a traditional digital job but requires a good understanding of consumer behaviour and product demand in the digital space.

Most valuable skills learned:Zoe4
1. Business negotiations
2. Strategic planning
3. Client relationships

Advice for aspiring women who want to enter the digital industry:¬†Though working in the digital realm¬†requires you to be super savvy about everything that’s digital. Sometime it helps to step away and be able to think about things in a non-digital way. This will help you think about things from different perspectives and inspire you.

Favourite digital resources:
Science Magazine
Forbes
The Economist


Favourite animal(s):
Cats, Dogs, Polar Bears, Sharks, Orca

Favourite local spot: Anywhere that serves good coffee will do

Let’s connect:¬†Facebook:¬†www.facebook.com/rongrong.yu.18

 

Read about more Digital Dudettes here.

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Digital Dudette: Meet Rupa – Entrepreneur, Biker and Mom

Don’t be afraid to be a nerd. Embrace it! A nerd might be associated with the stereotypes we see in media and¬†TV. But to me, a nerd is simply someone who chooses to use his or her time to do and learn what they love to become an expert in it.

FullSizeRenderI met Rupa (Phavika Palsingh)¬†at the¬†ClickZ Live Digital Marketing Conference Bangkok 2014¬†and we instantly connected over growing up in Bangkok and how she taught herself to code and build her own e-commerce website while expecting her daughter a few years ago. We stayed in touch over Facebook and I was really excited when she agreed to be featured in the first post of¬†the blog’s Digital Dudette series. Read on for my very inspiring chat with Rupa:

Tell us about yourself:¬†I’m a mom with interests in bicycling, social media marketing, eCommerce, startups, and yoga. My education includes a¬†Bachelor of Science & Tech (Major: IT) from¬†Assumption University of Thailand¬†(ABAC) and a¬†Masters in Business from¬†Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University.

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What makes you a Digital Dudette: I coded and built an e-commerce website on my own using the Magento e-commerce platform integrating various payment methods including credit card, Cash on Delivery (COD), bank transfers and even over-the-counter during the early years of eCommerce Thailand. This experience gave me a strong foundation in online marketing, in particular social media marketing. Today I advise individuals and companies on digital marketing.

Most valuable skills learned:
1. Focus:
Pay attention to the things I need to do and not get distracted by my surroundings
2. Agility: Build, fail fast and rebuild
3. Digital marketing skills:Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Facebook Advertising

Favourite digital resources:
TechCrunch blog (especially writer Jon Russell’s weekly emails)
MOZ Blog (Digital Gurus: Avinash Kaushik and Jon Loomer)
Apple Music (perfect for work)

Favourite animal: Dogs

Favourite local spot: Bang Krachao (also known as the Lungs of Bangkok) for cycling.

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Let’s connect: Twitter: @rupzies

Read about more Digital Dudettes here.

The 5Cs Of Using Someone Else’s Images In Your Own Digital Media

womanlaptopI jumped into blogging. Now as I’m swimming through our world of digital media, I’m discovering new pools of learning opportunities. Today I wanted to offer more clarity and insight on how to how to correctly use images and videos that belong to someone else for your own commercial and/or noncommercial use in digital media.

Commercial or noncommercial use: It’s very important to read the terms of usage for any image used that is not your own because the original owner of the image can restrict the use for solely personal or commercial purposes and may require attribution or credit. Usually commercial use covers any use of the image with the intention to gain money such as using images in ads, company websites, product endorsements or videos. Noncommercial use may include use of images in presentations or personal blogs.

Copyright: Always assume images you do not own are copyrighted. Even if you don’t see the copyright (c) icon, just assume that using the image or changing and then using it can get you into trouble. Avoid getting into trouble by using images that are licensed for reuse with or without attribution¬†depending on the terms of usage. Attribution¬†is giving proper credit to the original owner of the media in a format similar to this: Title of work, author, license and linking back to the source i.e. website like Flickr, owner’s website. Here are some sources:¬†¬†

Public domain images: These are sites that collect images for others to use for free and often without attribution. Always double check.
Sources: Public Domain Archive, New Old Stock

Images from royalty-free websites: This does not always mean the image is free to use. Companies such as Shutterstock have images available with the purpose for anyone to reuse them but often for a minimal license fee depending on the terms of usage. Other websites such as Pixabay offer images for reuse for free.
Sources: Pixabay, Getty Images, Shutterstock, stock.xchng

Images under the Creative Common License: Independent photographers, video and music producers often offer their own content such as photos, videos or music¬†for a fee for commercial or noncommercial use (again, always check!). A search with the keywords “creative commons license + [object]” such will help you find what you’re looking for in Google or try the sources below.
Sources: Photo Pin, WikiMedia Commons, Skitterphoto, Stocksnap.io

Steal1Consent: Depending on the situation always be sure to get written consent to use an image which you do not own and/or features other people in it. If you are using an image of a friend from a social media profile for a personal blog then a written email may suffice. But if you are doing it in a professional or revenue-gaining capacity such as a product photoshoot then you need to get a model/talent release form signed by the person who is in the photo.

Catchability: I made this word up to stress how easy it is to get caught. Don’t assume you can hide online because you can’t. Image search by search engines is¬†much more sophisticated today because even if the file name or image is altered, it can still show up in search results. And my story above is case-in-point on how easy it is to trace someone’s digital footprints on social media.

Create or use your own images: Smartphone camera + filters + no copyright issues, enough said!
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The message is clear and simple: Be mindful when using images or media that belong to someone else because aside from the legality issues, there are feelings to seriously consider too.

P.S.: All the images used in this blog post are from Pixabay.com¬†and I didn’t have to give attribution because before downloading and using each image I read the terms of usage carefully —¬†CCO Public Domain.¬†Free for commercial use.¬†No attribution required—¬†which clearly stated the images are under the Creative Commons license on the Public Domain and thus intended for use by others with no required attribution.

Let me know if you found this post useful and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments below.

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Photo Diary: Hopping Around Hyderabad

A fabulous girl’s trip to Hyderabad with my Bangkok besties to visit our dear friend Sana who showed us the most amazing time! Here are some of the memorable¬†highlights:

The Taj Falaknuma Palace

Easily one of the most beautiful palaces I’ve ever seen and the star¬†of the visit, the Taj Falaknuma Palace is now a hotel about 45 minutes from the city centre, perched on a hilltop with fantastic views over Hyderabad. We visited in the afternoon for a self-indulgent girls high tea which also included a hotel tour. Be sure to make your reservations well in advance because you have to be on a guest list to enter the property. Stare on…

A picture perfect view of Hyderabad from the main entrance

Magnificent entrance to the palace

Ladies of leisure posing in one of the open terraces

Twirling in the palace gardens

The visit ended with this perfect sunset.

Golkonda Fort

Over 500 years old, the Golkonda Fort has a rich history and heritage. While most of the interior is damaged, there are some great photography spots and be sure to ask your guide about how the royals back then could hear conversations through walls and ceilings. Check out the photo below for a hint!

Cloudless blue skies over the fort ruins.

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Testing out the acoustic engineering marvels achieved over 500 years ago!

Fashion game strong while exploring the fort ;)

SodaBottleOpenerWala Restaurant & Bar

How can you not love a place with a name like this? This Bombay/Irani-themed restaurant serves up delicious Parsi food with a side of humor. Pay attention to the rules ūüėČ

More photo diaries here.