Dear friends, Welcome again in our Meet the Blogger series. Today we are here with one of the most avid & dedicated blogger I know in this blogosphere. Archana Chaurasia Kapoor is the front face of Drishti.co where she shares the screen with her husband – Desh Kapoor, a veteran blogger. She also runs her travel blog Travel with Archie with great enthusiasm and passion.
Being away from your circle and comfort zone is not an easy job. So, it is truly commendable how she is managing all her ventures – Drishtique Worldwide, a human resource consulting firm, 5 running blogs and needless to say her ‘home & family’ According to Archana, ‘she is born with wings and has many stories to tell’. She loves reading, writing, travelling and all other ‘finer aspects of life’.
In this interview with GROWBLOGGING, she has discussed about her blogs, her journey towards fulltime blogging and shared some tips on writing quality content and social media engagement. We are very much thankful to Archana for taking time to answer all the questions. So, without much ado, let’s go through the discussion now.
Question: Could you please tell our readers about yourself in case few of them may not know about you?
Archana: Hello folks, I am Archana Chaurasia Kapoor. Originally from Mumbai, I now live in Atlanta in the United States. Have been a career Banker with specialisation in Learning & Development and Human Resources. I quit my nice and cushy job at Citibank and started my own Human Resource Consulting Firm – Drishtique Worldwide. Apart from coming from a business family, much of the inspiration to start off on my own also came from INSEAD – my B school.
At a personal level – I love all the small and finer aspects of life. I am passionate about writing, reading, traveling and dancing. I am a complete family person and thoroughly enjoy my time with my family.
Question: When did you start blogging and who inspired you to do so?
Archana: I’ve been writing off and on since childhood. Years back I also started a blog (the name of which I can’t even seem to remember now) for writing poetry. It was fun then but somehow I lost the inspiration to continue on it. But I think writing was always in my DNA, so before I started writing on Drishti, I used to write on my Facebook notes section –once in a while when I felt compelled to do so. But officially I started blogging full-time last year in January. 29th January 2015 to be precise! I was very reluctant then and my husband Desh pushed me into it. He created Drishti himself and since then it has been a fun journey.
Question: How many blogs do you run currently? Could you please share a bit about them?
Archana: Personally I write on Drishti and Travel with Archie. But along with my husband, we run 5 blogs – the others being:
Drishtikone.com – This is my husband’s signature blog that he has been writing on since 2005. It talks about geo-politics, spirituality and the Indian perspective on various topics.
7rcr.com – (which essentially is the abbreviation of 7 Race Course Road which is the Indian PM’s official residence in India) – This blog is all about the Indian political scene.
Zbytz.com – This is our Technology blog.
Question: Drishti is a multi-niche blog. How difficult or convenient it is to manage a multi niche site?
Archana: The niche of blogging plays an important role. But managing Drishti is far from difficult. In fact running Drishti is an absolute delight. I mentioned that I love the finer aspects of life, and hence it is a pleasure to talk about it all and share some inspiring stories with the world. Also, the fact that Desh and I both write on Drishti makes it even easier to maintain. Though Desh primarily loves writing on politics and spirituality, he is also known for his smashing researched articles. So it is fun to write along with him on Drishti on any and every topic under the sun.
Question: You are also actively running your travel blog. How different is travel blogging and what characteristics one must need to start a travel blog?
Archana: Oh yes, and I am loving every bit of it. If Drishti is my passion, Travel with Archie is my object of lust – something I desired to start ages back. It’s my temple of love and experimentation. Like recently, I participated in the worldwide blogging challenge called – A to Z. I decided to explore American cities alphabetically and about 15 of them are places which I haven’t visited yet. So it required a lot of research, collating data and information as well as choosing pictures from the work of some amazing photographers across the globe. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though it was back breaking because each post took me a good 5 – 7 hours depending upon what I wanted to cover in it.
Creating a blog in Travel niche is a bit different. One has to have to ability of taking the reader to that destination virtually, such that the reader also aspires to visit that place soon. One may argue that story –telling is also about taking the reader on a journey and that is true. But with travel blogging the visual impact is very powerful and that makes the difference.
I always maintain that ‘love’ is the most important ingredient and characteristic in any pursuit. If you are passionate about something you will excel at it. Travel Blogging is no different.
Question: Did you face any obstacle, Archana? Please share about your early blogging mistakes if any.
Archana: I have been extremely lucky on this one, because my husband is a prolific writer and blogger who has been in this space for over a decade now. He loves the tech side of blogging too and hence barring the initial teething problems of adjustment to a new hobby, there were no issues. Yes, I did of course make some silly early mistakes in blogging like uploading copyrighted pictures, putting actual urls instead of hyperlinks etc., but that was hardly for a couple of weeks. I learnt the tricks of blogging pretty soon. To be honest it isn’t difficult either. You know Manidipa, you are inspiring me to start a course on this topic
Question: You have been very active in many top social media sites. How challenging is it to manage and engage in multiple social networking sites? According to you, which one is the best for a beginner to start with?
Archana: The only reason I am able to manage it is because I treat it like fun. Engaging with people has been my forte and I love keeping in touch, hence it isn’t very challenging. Also, like my husband always says I am much disciplined about sharing our blogposts. So that helps too. But frankly speaking, sometimes it does get challenging due to personal commitments and travel. But with a disciplined approach and a bit of time management, nothing is impossible.
When I feel overwhelmed with all of it at times, I shut myself completely and immerse myself in other hobbies like reading, movies and traveling.
For starters, Facebook is the best. That is a place people usually have enough connections that can build over a period of time.
Question: Anyone following your blog is aware about your love towards ‘Haiku’. Were you into writing poems earlier? How did you fall in love with this form of poetry?
Archana: Someone once challenged me that Haiku needs profundity and isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, after I made a first failed attempt in writing one. My brush with Haiku was in 2014 when I was running a theatre-based workshop for an Insurance company and my co-facilitator used Haiku to teach people the power of expression. I fell in love with the form instantly, but I wasn’t blogging then.
Yes I was always into writing poetry, but the long rhythmic ones. I wrote my first Haiku on March 19, 2015 (your question made me check the date) and I got more brickbats than praises. Like I mentioned, some people told me to be away from it because I didn’t have it in me to compose one. You know I love throwing such people off balance, so I studied the form in totality, and started my journey towards writing ‘profound’ Haiku. And I think you know where it has taken me now. There are many people who say Haiku is synonymous with my name as I write so many. It is also flattering to see that so many bloggers got inspired to start their Haiku writing journey because of me. I feel blessed to have so many readers who follow my Haiku regularly.
Incidentally someone requested me to write a lesson on Haiku writing for their site. You can read it here.
Question: Being a fulltime blogger, how do you manage your time? Would you like to share your daily blogging routine?
Archana: In the US you have to manage everything on your own, so I ensure I have a focused 3 – 4 hours at least for writing. The month of April has been strenuous because of the blogging challenge, but otherwise is not difficult to manage. All you have to do is ‘be disciplined.’ For being a good writer, one has to be very well read too. So I split my time to read and write. Reading helps a lot as it broadens your horizons and gives you newer perspectives to ponder upon. There are times when I am hooked to reading the whole day and I am very happy to let go of writing that day.
Question: Writing is the most important task for any blogger. What are your tips to write engaging content?
Archana: Just right now a newbie blogger requested me to review her content – a guest post on the site of a popular blogger. She happened to mention in the passing that she had the ‘fear’ that it may not impress other influencers. Now that is a very wrong trigger for writing. Never write to impress. Write because you want to, write because you need to, write to give your own opinion how much ever it may offend someone else, write for yourself not for others. If your writing is genuine, it will show and it will automatically pull readers towards it.
Of course one has to take care of basics – like the language, logic, credible content, visual appeal etc. But I take it that this is a given for someone who wants to blog, right?
Question: Are your blogs earning for you now? What are your plans to monetize them better?
Archana: Now this is a space where my lips are sealed, not because I don’t want to share the stories of the millions of dollars my blogs are fetching us but, because all those millions are still ‘castles in the air.’ I guess you got the answer. The blogs aren’t really making much money apart from writing some sponsored content. Advertisement and affiliate income hasn’t started kicking in yet, but we are working towards monetizing them. Maybe at a later date I can share once we master this angle as well, just like Haiku.
Question: You have recently shifted to a different country. How challenging was the transformation and what are your ways to cope up with them?
Archana: The United States is a place I have loved, and it wasn’t new to me because I travelled here often on work and leisure. But of course, moving countries does create challenges, especially when you leave family, friends and a budding career behind you in your home country. Atlanta is a beautiful city and luckily our house is in the thick of it all, just like my South Bombay house. So it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
Also, the fact that I was blogging full time and managing my Indian company from here helped tremendously, because that meant I didn’t have to look for a job and could take my time to settle here. I have a very supportive husband and together we manage the house and make time to manage our hobbies as well.
Question: What do you love to do when you are not blogging?
Archana: Thanks to my husband I have become a Netflix and Amazon Prime buff. We keep watching seasons of various TV series as well as the movies. Desh and I cook together as he is a great foodie and loves experimenting, so I am his assistant. I love catching up on reading. We have a house full of books that are yet to be read, so when I can make time I pick up a book. But most of all we both love travelling and exploring new places and that’s what we do. We just sit in the car and drive off on a long road trip.
Question: Would you like to share some tips for the newbie bloggers who are trying to get a foothold in this blogging world?
My biggest tip would be: Focus on writing and, writing well. The audience, comments, money and fame will come in good time. Learn to engage with people and get social media savvy. As a blogger you are expected to be an Influencer. Most of all write for yourself first, the world comes later!
Thank you Manidipa.
Thanks again Archana for being an inspiration and sharing your story with the readers of WPB360. Please feel free to share your comments in case you want to know anything else about her blogging journey.