Wanderlust Update 2: Puducherry/ Pondicherry

1st SOLO TRIP

2 DAYS

7th – 9th AUGUST, 2017

48 HOURS

* LATE POST *

Pondicherry often colloquially called as Pondy is a union territory situated in Tamil Nadu. The place has stayed famous for it has a cultural blend of the French and Tamils. The city is small, well kept, green and not densely populated compared to other cities of India.

Near the beach

I had booked a hotel with Fabhotel Esparan Heritage. The hotel had an antique, old house, fresh wood smell to it. What I loved about this particular hotel were the vibes. Before I share my travel updates, I want to share a misadventure I had at the beginning of my trip (which I conveniently chose not to share with my parents in Bangalore).

Fabhotel Esparan Heritage

Yeah, I started from Bangalore late evening at around 9:30 – ish. I was supposed to reach Pondicherry before sunrise probably at 4 or 5. The thing with me and buses is that I get uncontrollably sleepy and disoriented when I am on them. Early morning at around the same time that I was to reach Pondicherry the driver passes down the bus aisle and yelled “PONDICHERRY” in a thick Tamil accent. I woke up a bit startled wondering where I was when I realized the driver must have howled a few minutes back and that the bus had started moving again. I picked my luggage, rushed to where the driver was seated. I informed him that I had to get down at the Pondicherry bus stop and if he could take me there. Only to find he couldn’t understand a word of Hindi I was speaking.

I tried, again and again, telling him to stop the bus and take me back to the city in vain; he, on the other hand, was so adamant! He drove fast on the highway and dropped me a good two kilometers at the outskirts. At that hour early in the morning, I felt weirdly uneasy and extremely insecure. I did locate an autorickshaw nearby but felt skeptical to board it.

It took all my courage to ask the autorickshaw driver to take me to my hotel and just like the bus driver he didn’t understand Hindi or English! He looked cooperative though. Which helped me clear my mind off apprehensiveness. Racked my drowsy brain to come up with a solution through which I could get him to understand where I wanted to go.

I CALLED THE HOTEL. They didn’t pick up. I tried four times in vain. They picked up eventually. The hotel operator thankfully understood English! Aaargh! He explained the autorickshaw driver in Tamil where to take me! AND I finally reached my destination.

According to my plan, I stayed for two days one night at my hotel. The places I visited are:

ROCK BEACH

PUDUCHERRY MUSEUM

MANAKULA VINAYAGAR TEMPLE

Manakula Vinayagar Temple

AUROBINDO ASHRAM

FRENCH COLONY

Yellow PhotographerYellow photographer 2

GANDHI STATUE

Gandhi statue

BHARADHI PARK

SACRED HEARTS CHURCH

Sacred Heart Church    Interiors of Sacred Hearts     Church plantations 2

LADY OF ANGELS CHURCH

As this was my first solo trip to any given place, I went well-researched. The first events of my trip left me vigilant for the entire trip. I visited most sightseeing places (according to the print-out given by my very cordial hotel operator) on the first day.

According to the natives of Pondicherry, the climate was ‘pleasant’. Although, I felt nothing close to pleasant till evening on both days. It was humid and sticky. Unlike, other tourists I didn’t go to Auroville. I am one of those people who are not fond of meditation centers and spiritual theories, to say the least.

Pondicherry has a relaxed, retired vibe to it. It gives solo writers what they crave the most – solitude from the noise and a fast-paced lifestyle. I had a ball of a time eating alone, observing people and the streets.

PLACES I VISITED TO GRAB A BITE

Le Chateau

Le Chateau

Cafe at the rock beach

Cafe near Rock Beach

FOOD CLICKS

Pondicherry has many stores and shops that sell antique and craft goods. Most of my second day went shopping for trinkets and souvenirs. I bought mini books of quotes from SABDA, fragrances, candles, and incenses from AUROSHIKHA, paper goods from an Auroville community-managed store. Also, JANAKI sells environmentally friendly goods. I purchased a smart bag from there.

Sabda store

I rented out a bike in Pondicherry as I love riding. It gave me the freedom to explore most of Pondicherry on road. Will I visit Pondicherry again? Probably no. Oh yes, but just for the beaches. Some might ask why I didn’t indulge in any water activities or sports activities. Well, I experienced all of it in Andamans (read the blog) in July.

That is a wrap. I hope you liked reading about my travel experience. If you wish to know more, let me know in the comments below. Follow my social media to get updates on content writing and blogs I update not so frequently. LOL. Ok but seriously, follow.

FACEBOOK . TWITTER . INSTAGRAM

Bye for now.

 

What Makes Email Marketing Sought-after?

Email, back in the day, fascinated most of us because digital letters could be sent to someone or anyone via the internet. I was in school when the thrill to have an email ID stood above and forth other milestones of making friends.

Yahoo! was a thing back then, and chatting with a supposed ‘pen friend’ living across the country’s borders was cool.

We have changed and diversified how the internet is working for us. Especially, when it comes to emails, the origin of marketing via email, has become a norm for businesses and companies.

Most of us have our emails configured and synced with all our devices- Laptop, iPad, Smartphone and Wearable Gadgets. That being said, companies and businesses have a potentially huge audience which receives emails.

Which makes having an email ID like having a passport. The two reasons why having an email ID important is;

  1. It is easier for any company’s website to trace back the user.
  2. The email ID received as an authentication to access service, downloads, configuration, or newsletter list, gives any company’s website permit to send emails to users who have willing consented.

Knowing how interactive the concept of email is; email marketing is about creating engaging email campaigns for clients, users, and people online. When I say engaging, it involves all my favorite elements that make a great quality email – good branding, well placed CTAs and peppy, catchy content.

To get started, an online email marketing service will help and guide newbies to create followers and client lists; the online email service company also have great bundles of template designs for emails and an integrated report system to track user behavior, conversions and open rate of emails.

Amazing that now, we are able to find all kinds of solutions to interact with clients and followers. Email marketing isn’t just that. Communication even if happens through a company channel shouldn’t be obnoxious, pompous and superficial.

The idea is that content of emails should flow unhindered, like a conversation that continues with consistent emails, either every week or every month.

Mailchimp is a profound online email marketing service and there are many others which can be used for creating eye-candy emails.

Thank you for your time. This brief blog touches upon bits of email marketing. If you wish to know more about email marketing and creating email campaigns, post it in the comments below.

Beginner Tips To Start Writing

Writing is an art you master only when you write consistently, every single day. It doesn’t happen overnight. To share my experience, in the beginning, I would become weak-kneed each time I would propel myself to write.

And, I think it has to do with me being an Indian; English is not my first language. It’s a language I have grown familiar with, understood it and have come to expressing it over the years. I speak fluently so to say but writing in English, is an endeavor.

As I happen to think in English with a sensibility of an Indian, I have acquired a uniqueness to my writing, which has greatly helped with fighting writer’s block. There are different types of writing, for different audiences; where each reader consumes information in an exclusive fashion. What I advice most beginners who see themselves forming a career into writing is to look out for the following traits within, to help tackle fallibility.

a. Patience

Why has writing been perceived as a daunting task, makes me ponder sometimes. Whether it is society or the education system,  or it could be the English Literature faculty at school? I will research deeper into this phenomenon and probably write an article on this website soon. We lose our patience way too quickly at the first stormy onset of writer’s block. Take a deep breath, be well hydrated and clean. Make sure your body posture is comfortable. Start away,

Think about a topic, situation or event you feel strongly about. Let, the comfort zone of your chosen topic soothe you to craft a copy which flows like water on a smooth surface. If, you are making grammatical mistakes or structural errors; don’t look back. Let that flow of thought find its way on paper or on your MS Word draft.

My tip, play a soft background song to soothe your nerves. Don’t let anything stimulate you towards distraction. Trust me, you will let go easily on paper. Continue, till you have reached the end of what you want to say. Then start proofreading and editing your copy.

I hope this sweats out the best out of you.

Start with the simple mantra: I am going to speak my mind and let my thoughts spray on a piece of paper without reluctance.

b. Belief In Oneself

Man! But you gotta believe in yourself. Shoo away the negativity and absurd thoughts. Know, whatever that is you write, will be taken in both good as well as bad spirit. There is no end to cynics and skeptics. Your people who love and appreciate you; will push you towards writing more often and will like, every silly, non-sensical tidbit you write. Don’t look for the audience right away. Write for you. Because your greatest motivator stays within.

c. Never Lose Hope

You will eventually land yourself in a good place. Being hopeful is key. Success knocks at the door of the ones who never give up. Be a hustler. Optimism in your spirit, mind, and thinking will reflect positively on your writing. Remember, You need to count on yourself for the world to count on you.

d. Make Your Own Rules

And stick by them. What making your own rules, do for you? To begin with, they are yours and are not dictated to you. You are the boss of your own content, writing or craft. By following others’ set of rules to write right; this is what you will likely miss out on-

  • Great flow of thought
  • Your writing sensibility
  • Your writing comfort zone
  • Your passion for words

Be unrestricted.

Be a writer.

Know What Inbound Marketing Can Do For Your Business

Inbound Marketing

You may have found this term floating around the internet and are not quite sure about what it entails and how you can use it. But again, marketing is a term you understand.

Inbound Marketing is precisely what you think it is. It is an umbrella term for all kinds of marketing, content creation and promotion done online; like Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media, Blogs, Websites, Discussion Forum, etc.

Whereas, Outbound Marketing is done through TV, Magazines, Newspapers, Hoardings and Sponsorships.

I stumbled upon a really amazing blog written by Vital. The blog postulates differences between Inbound and Outbound Marketing in good vocabulary.

Inbound Marketing happens in circles; to draw an example from a product based brand, diversifying across India: Chumbak.

Chumbak in 2010, started out as a small retail kiosk in Shopper’s Stop, Bangalore. The company hasn’t looked back. Chumbak acquired customers and received great feedback; their product philosophy was cherished as it was unique; colourful. What did they do next?

They built their e-commerce website and started extended their product range and stores in different locations of Bangalore. Today, they have stores in all major cities of India. They got the youth hooked online on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Customers receive updates about new product launches, sales, events and programmes through creative, quirky emails. Surprisingly, Chumbak doesn’t invest at all in outbound marketing.

What do they invest in?

  • Design, Concept, Colour and Illustration
  • Targeting the right audience
  • Branching out; Stores
  • Social Media
  • Word-of-Mouth Marketing
  • Email Marketing

Chumbak is growing since.

In the same manner, many companies and brands find investing in inbound marketing crucial for the growth of their business. Why is that? Because each one of us is a potential customer who has gadgets at their disposal to browse, locate and discover what is trending locally as well as globally.

Our immediate response or reflex to acquire information has become searching for it online, or to use the lingo, Googling it. Our brain and behaviour have channelled us to incessantly quest knowledge by browsing or reading feeds.

Fun stuff; audiences’ search behaviour and virtual existence can be tracked and located online. Which gives companies realistic figures about their marketing ROI.

What keeps companies and brands ahead in the game?

Content stays as the highest authority for Inbound marketing. But for prospects to convert into effective leads or customers, inbound marketing has to be strategic and planned.

Content relies on keywords, but not heavily so. The written copy must effectively and coherently speak to, talk to and relate to the audience receiving it. The company or brand must have a sure management strategy as to how it plans to attract a potential client. The content Marketing team should vouch for the content to be:

  • grammatically flawless
  • coherent, clear
  • audience specific
  • meticulous
  • well – planned

Inbound Marketing will have dominance over all forms of marketing in the near future. Businesses and start-ups who plan to grow steadily with an assured customer base should look for the best content strategy, right away.

Market the Right Content

In the day and age of hashtags and ‘U versus you’, when e-commerce is taking over 3D shops, content marketing can be a total game-changer for your business. Good quality content represents all that is your company and its products/services, it establishes your brand ideology. With just a few well-chosen words, you get to directly communicate with your consumers.

What exactly is ‘good content for marketing‘?

When your content is getting too long, too boring or too filled with grammatical errors – that is when you have officially lost the good content tag.

While looking at product or service descriptions, advertisements, captions etc; consumers will generally gravitate more towards concise yet clear content. The better you portray what you write, the more people will not mind reading and in turn having a look at it. With retail dynamics shifting online, sellers are devoid of physical contact with their customers.

Good content is like your online window display, it attracts people towards your business and piques the interest of passers-by.

Don’t rely on amateur writing; like other aspects of a business, professional help in content marketing can truly elevate the look and feel of your brand.

Charismatic writing and personality are what you look for in your sales team and is what you should be looking for, in the words of your content creator.

Online or offline, make content king; for he represents your entire kingdom!

Boost Your Brand Voice

In this post, I am going to list out few of my favorite brands and share my views on how they uphold the very image through effective content marketing, powerful images, responsive templates, and strategic business goals.

ZARA

Zara speaks fashion through a soft, and bold play of colours and textures incorporated into the design. It’s a clothing line for women, men, and children. Women and men in almost all photographs carry a strong, plucky, upfront kinda look. Maybe, Zara takes their clothing line way too seriously, and so models are expected to carry such a look too. This brand’s philosophy, I assume is to say less by saying more. Check out the website. The website layout too is very minimalistic and not peppy. They keep followers engaged through social media, especially Instagram and Youtube.

You will also find the product descriptions of each piece of clothing written in a factual, descriptive manner. No pompous extravaganza of words there. Zara is not for everybody, and in not too many words they get the message out; straight enough.

zara-collection.jpeg

Barbeque Nation

Has the most delicious, mouth-watering cuisine. Unlike most restaurants, this one has a barbecue pit embedded right in the centre of each table. They offer live grill of a vast variety of starters, both veg, and non-veg. You don’t place an order in this restaurant. You only have options to choose between veg or non-veg. Once you have belted enough of the endless starters, they invite guests to savour their taste buds with a delicious buffet. It is truly a nation for barbecue lovers.

You need to book your spot beforehand and choose from their pre-meditated time frame; the time which suits you the best. Speaking of brand, the management is very, very hospitable. The starters keep pouring in; through the course of my visit there, the attendants kept asking many a time, if the food was good, was I comfortable, would I like anything off the menu and the like.

The restaurant is truly charming and optimally uses technology. They have their own mobile app. What I like best- unlike most commercial fast food brands is that this restaurant maintains the quality of served food.

Barbeque Nation is booked out most of the time! They keep their customers engaged and wanting for more through networking effectively on social media and Youtube.

decorated-barbeque-nation-rajajinagar-bangalore-bappi-lahiri-launch-disco-king-shiju-sugunan-craniumbolts-food-review.jpg

Titan

Titan Company is the parent company of brands like Tanishq, Skinn, Titan watches, Titan Eyeplus, Zoot, Sonata, Mia Collection and Fastrack. Titan offers long-lasting durable products. You can trust the brand for they offer great service and have responsive customer care.

I have owned many Titan products. I love how they engage customers by evoking overwhelming, touching life stories to die for. Their advertisements are warm, affectionate and chummy.

Plus, Titan Company’s products are inspired. For instance, the Raga collection of watches for women is inspired by women who love to wear their watches as pieces of jewellery to create a fashion statement. These watches look outstanding with ethnic Indian wear.

titan logo.png

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IKEA

Is a home furnishing store. Ikea believes in organizational, movable, flexible, sturdy, eco-friendly furniture. Ikea stores are Disneyland for working people and budding entrepreneurs. The company uses soft colours for furnishings that can be mixed and matched. Products can be easily assembled.
The brand promotes functionality of furnishing over the extravaganza of high-end interiors. The products are very reasonably priced.

About the Brand; Ikea connects with the larger customer base of working people living in smaller spaces. They use powerful images, like this picture below to state their unique taste. They engage customers through influential content that lay greater emphasis on functionality and ease of use.

ikea-catalog-2014-pages-7.jpg

Jio

Jio is a mobile network operator in India. The brand name ‘Jio’ meaning to ‘live’ in Hindi, launched its services in September 2016. It has the highest user penetration in India. Most Indians use the Jio network as it offers free 4G services, free local and STD calls; and to add to their kitty, they offer a free download of thirteen applications.

Jio speaks it brand through unlimited offers and promotions. The company heavily runs advertisements on all forms of media be it print, virtual or offline.

jio logo.png

reliance-jio-welcome-offer.jpg

Tara Stiles

Is one of the founding members of Strala yoga. This form of physical fitness activity focusses on the flow of body movements and human emotions.

Tara built her fan following on Youtube. Her short, warm, energizing videos portray yoga to be a relaxing and easy endeavour. Her name endorses yoga, globally.

I like how they have done their website. The content preps reader to start practising yoga. They are compelling on all social media platforms.

Tara Stiles has now become an International fitness celebrity!

tara stiles.jpg

Forest Essentials

Is a luxury Ayurveda brand. I love reading through their product descriptions; the explanations are a rich mouthful of words. Use of content to promote business is their key selling point.

For example, the product description of this body cream:

SOUNDARYA RADIANCE CREAM WITH 24K GOLD AND SPF25

“Ayurveda speaks of flawless skin as lustrous, smooth, evenly coloured, firm, elastic and with a golden sheen.

Based on the age-old Ayurvedic formulation called Swarn, the Soundarya Radiance Cream uses the power of pure 24-Karat Gold to work its revitalizing magic on your skin

Gold is a metal that easily absorbs into the skin, protecting it from the sun and environmental damage, improving its elasticity and working as an extremely powerful age-defying agent.”

cat-gifting-indulgence-161124.jpg

I hope this helps you brand your business or yourself. If you have further queries, drop an email at hello@plushpenchants.com

If you have other tips to share, drop a comment in the box below.

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6 Key Tips for Writing Quality Content!

For each one of us writing comes as an extended, implausible thing to do. In the beginning, it almost feels like a forced attempt to express oneself, express feelings. Especially now, when writing has taken such a leap; virtually.

But for me, It’s more or less like committing myself to exercise. To explain myself better, I am going to draw similarities between physical health and good writing practices.

YOGA

WRITING

I started with researching upon the best asanas for my body type and then trying them out at home. And through incessantly probing the internet, I sadly discovered my fitness level to be: Beginner!

I started researching all kinds of blogs online that gave me the confidence, perspective, and understanding of quality content. And offline, I scrambled through many libraries.

I set myself a schedule to practice Yoga every day in the morning. Waking up early was a challenge I had never thought of;

I charted how to systematize and schedule writing content. I chose a topic, jotted down key elements of the article, drew a memory map of important facts that needed mentioning and lastly, the tone of voice.

To follow a routine is the most difficult task. Self – motivation doesn’t come easy. My reinforcement to doing Yoga was – “I want a slim waist to flaunt skinny jeans with my belly flashing through.”

Self – motivation to write right, happens only with practice. I always make sure I am writing every day. Not only does it hone my skills to better express the topic in hand but also improves vocabulary.

I reached my goal soon enough! Because perseverance is the key to achieving the most difficult tasks.

Well, with writing there are no measuring scales. I may write for years and still would be improvising. What keeps me going is readership engagement and feedback, at all times.

If this analogy helps you tackle your writing dilemmas, I am more than happy to help. Check this list of tips to help you fight bad content writing techniques.

  • Research

I thoroughly research the web, and books in the library for any given topic. Books are my go-to most of the times. At other times, I rely on my Kindle. Trust me, research helps! You will get to know how different people approach the topic you are planning to write. I recommend keeping a dictionary handy.

  • List of words

This tip is not mine but of my elementary school teacher. She suggested always listing out keywords, adjectives and other words that can help with writing an article. For a single blog post, I jot down 50-60 unique words. This surely helps with writer’s block.

  • The word count

Decide upon a word count. Writing can get very exhilarating, and sometimes having a word milestone can tackle overwhelming feelings. Especially when I reach the end of an article, I have a sense of accomplishment that my floating thoughts and expressions are finally in print! If I happen to cross the word limit, I am super happy with myself as I get more room to edit!

  • Tone of voice

Resounds with consistency. A good writer ensures the tone of voice to be uniform throughout the article. And that’s because it improves the readability of the work.

  • Proofreading

Check, check and check. I likely spot four to five errors and mistakes through each round of proofreading. As a rule of thumb, I proofread my article three times for errors. Later, when I think the article is good to go, I run it through Grammarly.

  • Editing

Mostly, I spot a sentence or two which are amateurishly structured. So, editing and revising those bits improvises my prowess.

I hope this helps you tackle you content writing dilemmas. If you have further queries, drop an email at plushpenchants@gmail.com

If you have other tips that help you write better; share it in the comments box below.