+91-80-42023484 contact@sincera.in
Amplifying Reach of Your Posts – The Blogging Fundamentals

Amplifying Reach of Your Posts – The Blogging Fundamentals

If you can create good content and have mastered the blogging fundamentals, you have a skill that is highly prized (not to mention lucrative) in the market today. Whether as a job opportunity, or simply because one is passionate about writing, blogging is one of the most popular mediums of expression in the present times. We only need to look toward the various forms of social media we use on an everyday basis, to realize that a good 40% of what we see in our ‘feed’ is in the form of blogs.

What sets apart good content from not so good content? Originality, grammar, accuracy and engagement are some of the crucial factors for what qualifies as ‘good content’. To know more, read our post on “what qualifies as good content?”

One of the most commonly used platforms for blogging is WordPress which has a simple interface, and also guides you towards making your posts more readable, and optimizing it for the search engines. In this post, we introduce you to certain techniques of blogging fundamentals that will help you gain more engagement and traffic on your content – the lifeblood for your blogs.

Blogging Fundamentals – The Title of the Post

It is very important to put thought into what the title of the post should be, because your title should be a 5 second takeaway which convinces the reader to click on the link and proceed to read the post.

Ideally, your title should:

  • convey the essence of the post, i.e., give the reader an idea about what to expect from the post.
  • not be very lengthy – a title between 5 to 9 words is great.
  • contain the focus keyword: Say you are searching for something particular on the web, you would enter one word, or a phrase which will then link you to search results containing the word or the phrase. A focus keyword is nothing but the main topic or issue being spoken about in your post. For example: ‘personal branding.’ For your content to be visible and picked up by search engines, it is crucial for the keyword of your post to appear in the Title/ Headline, and at least 4-5 times throughout your post.

Blogging Fundamentals – The Post

(a) Making your post ‘readable’

How your post fares on the internet is largely defined by how the post scores in two categories – No.1- If it is readable, and No.2 – If it is Search Engine Optimized (SEO).

 When we speak about readability in the context of web metrics, it does not just mean how effective the substance of the post is. It is also about how it is laid out for the reader in terms of how easy to read it is. Here are a few pointers to help make your post more readable –

  • Keeping your sentences short – Anything more than 20 words is a long sentence. Keeping your sentences short also helps the reader retain his focus on the piece, and makes your post more understandable on the whole.
  • Sub Headings – Wherever, and if possible, including sub headings lends to the readability of a post. While desirable, this isn’t a pre-requisite as you may or may not choose to write a post in a way that accommodates sub headings.
  • Paragraphs – Split your post into paragraphs to increase legibility. The size of one paragraph should ideally not be more than 150 words.
  • Use Focus Keywords – The more you use your focus keyword in the post, the more ‘visible’ on the web it becomes. Using it between 4-5 times throughout your post is a great number to ensure visibility.
    Google picks up on these focus keywords and points the readers towards what they are looking for, when they search for a particular topic. For example, if your focus keyword is ‘Personal Branding’, using it in your post a couple of times makes your post visible enough for Google to pick it up. And then it directs a reader who may have searched for ‘Personal Branding’ on Google, towards your post.
  • Include Links – Including links to the research that you may have done for your post is a great way to help increase traction for the post you are putting out. This is also a great way to share more knowledge with the reader, and a good practice to help gain visibility for good content – even if you may not have created it. Remember, what goes around, comes around. 🙂

(b) Search Engine Optimization or SEO

  •  Simply put, SEO, as its name suggests, is a way of ‘optimizing’ the reach of your post on the web to make it more ‘visible’.
  • Writing a ‘Meta Description’ for your post –A meta-description is nothing but an abstract of your post in not more than 156 characters. This meta-description is what appears under the title of your post when posted on social media sites. What you write in these 156 characters to describe your post, helps the reader decide whether or not he clicks on it and reads it.
  • Remember to include your focus keyword in the metadescription – This is a huge plus in increasing the visibility of your post.

Blogging Fundamentals – Image for the Post

The image you choose for your post is very important because in this case, it is especially true that ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’. If there were 3 things that added up to determine whether or not a viewer will click on your post, they would be the following –

  1. The title of your post
  2. The meta-description of your post
  3. The picture along with your post

Choose an apt picture to go along with your post, and as the writer, you would be in the best position to relate a picture to your post, so it is worth spending a few minutes on.

Remember to give credits to whosoever the picture belongs to. Google penalizes the web pages which use pictures which are not open source (free for all), without attributing credits to the same.

Besides the techniques of blogging fundamentals elaborated above, which will help your content gain more visibility, to help you make your content more robust, there are certain common errors you should avoid. These are what we call ‘the 5 cardinal sins for a content writer – content writing mistakes’.

  1. Not knowing your audience –
    versus knowing your audience can do a world of difference to the quality of content you put out + enhance engagement.
  2. Errors –
    of any kind. Grammatical, punctuation, plagiarism, irresponsible articulation of your thoughts (i.e., misuse of your freedom to express) – all of these contribute to making your content a recipe for disaster.
  3. Writing without a synopsis or summary –
    stick to a summary of what you are writing and exactly how you are going to tackle it – point by point. Make a short synopsis before you get started and try not to deviate. This synopsis should be drawn up at the research phase itself.
  4. Being verbose –
    It may be tempting to use big words and fancy phrases, but what use if they are lost on your readers and scare them away? This connects to what we said earlier about knowing your audience. Have a thorough sense of “who” you are writing for, and write in a simple, effective language that will put your point across. Besides, what makes a piece of writing very attractive is how simply, yet effectively it has been articulated.
  5. Not making enough use of your creative talents
    Sky is the limit when it comes to experimenting with your creativity through the content you create. Feeling like writing a food blog post on healthy summer eating? Google fruits and find out what citrus based recipes could trickle into a post on light-hearted salads and smoothies. Use analogies and make your piece truly shine, truly come alive. Try adding texture where none is possible – yes, even in that straitjacket report on the financial outcome of the latest IPO to have come to Wall Street. Make it resonate and let your words really talk.

Creating good content online is both an art and a technique. While the content you write may be absolutely great, without a basic knowledge of blogging fundamentals, you may be stumped as to why your ‘great content’ isn’t receiving any engagement. Investing time in learning about certain basic skills and techniques about web metrics, and incorporating them into your work is a certain way of gaining success in the world of content creation. Have you tried out these great tools for content writing? Give it a go! Wondering what a career in content writing would entail? Read our short guide to a content writing career, here.

The Five Cardinal Sins For A Content Writer – Content Writing Mistakes

The Five Cardinal Sins For A Content Writer – Content Writing Mistakes

Content, like many things in life, has its good days and bad days. This directly reflects on the content writer, who is the creator of said content. There are some mistakes that we can avoid to ensure that we do not end up churning nondescript, error ridden or downright, mediocre content. So here are the five cardinal sins/ Content Writing Mistakes that a content writer must avoid at all costs:

  1. Not knowing your audience:

    Before you start writing, always ensure that you know who you are writing for. Remember, the way it sounds in your head when you are writing it, may not be the same way it sounds in the head of your potential reader. Part of not losing the plot, includes knowing who you are writing for. If, for example, you are writing a blog post for a bar of soap, ensure that you know what that soap manufacturer is after. Is he looking for a piece of the 30 something, more mobile upwardly market, or the nascent, “just started earning, so have to feel good instantly” market? A short questionnaire swap with your prospect before the start of a project can do the trick.

  2.  Errors:

    Error 404 is a commonly made mistake in any content writer’s life. This can mean anything and can cover any range of errors from plain and simple grammatical to errors in reporting. Remember, accuracy is key here. You need to get your facts right before you set on writing that engaging and thought-provoking piece of news or blog post. Check and double-check to ensure that you have the facts you need on hand. Do not write a haphazard piece, or a piece ridden with ill-informed and erroneous views. You will shoo away your audience and lose all credibility. Ditto for grammar.

  3.  Writing without a synopsis or summary:

    This can spell suicide from the word get go. As a writer, you will come across many situations that distract and make you entertain multiple thoughts. This is especially true in our social media driven times, where distractions are dime a dozen and perspectives (differing, nonetheless), even more commonplace. So, to ensure that you do not lose the plot, stick to a summary of what you are writing and exactly how you are going to tackle it – point by point. Make a short synopsis before you get started and try not deviate. This synopsis should be drawn up at the research phase itself.

  4.  Verbose, much? Now, this can be a virtue:

    If you are writing a novel. Not when you are sending out a blog post into the great, big void called the Internet, where scores of people inhabiting different rungs of literacy and exposure can stumble upon your piece. So ensure that you keep it simple. Use one adjective per sentence. Do not repeat prepositions. And ensure that you use smaller, simpler words wherever you can. If you tend to go around in circles, proof read twice – once for grammar, and once to come to the point faster.

  5.  Creative expression:

    Knows no bounds. Therefore, remember to be as creative as you can be. Some content writers keep it bland – a sin like no other. It is imperative to follow your heart and do some well intended research. Feeling like writing a food blog post on healthy summer eating? Google fruits and find out what citrus based recipes could trickle into a post on light-hearted salads and smoothies. Use analogies and make your piece truly shine, truly come alive. Try adding texture where none is possible – yes, even in that straitjacket report on the financial outcome of the latest IPO to have come to Wall Street. Make it resonate and let your words really talk.

Ideas and content go hand in hand, as do various writing techniques. Ensure that you put enough tools in your content arsenal to avoid making these content writing mistakes, so that you can successfully build an author platform. Keeping these five basic things in mind while writing is a great way to start. As you grow, your own experiences will sharpen your intuition as a writer. The best trick is to keep writing!

5 Indispensable Tools for a Content Writer

5 Indispensable Tools for a Content Writer

The life of a content writer is not easy. We understand that. It sure is a tough job to produce content which is well written, well researched, factually correct and pleases Google baba enough to list it in its searches! Here’s how we’ve tried to make your life a teeny bit easier by sharing these resource hacks with you. If you were a shoe-maker, these tools would be your elves. Well, you are a writer, and these tools can still be your elves!

1. Tagcrowd

A post which is not search engine optimized might do well to not exist on internet at all. This tool helps boost search engine optimization by enabling you to create your own tag cloud from the text in your content, to visualize word frequency. It gives you an idea about what your post will look like with word clouds and frequencies.

2. Evernote 

From your grocery shopping to your research bibliography, Evernote is the ‘one size fits all’ solution to note keeping. It’s our favorite here at OBOlinx as well. The interface is easy and the layout is clean and simple with tons of useful features. It enables to create entire notebooks so that your notes don’t get jumbled up. The web clipper extension is especially useful when you are researching on something and taking notes simultaneously, instead of switching windows, it enables you to view the web clips while you take notes! The best thing – it syncs your notes automatically, allowing you to start from where you left off, on any of your devices – laptop, desktop, phone or iPad!

3. Factbrowser

The facts you incorporate into your content should always be from a dependable source and verified by you, as a writer. While people may not appreciate when the facts are accurate (because that’s what you’re supposed to do anyway!), it surely damages your credibility as a writer if they are not correct! Factbrowser to the rescue. This website is a savior when it comes to helping you find dependable sources for studies, surveys, reports, stats and other kinds of facts you need to add some meat to your writing.

4. Grammarly and Correctica 

If you are a content writer, you would know, the wrath of a Grammar Nazi is the worst thing to bring upon yourself. Especially since you are one yourself! (a safe assumption?) Grammar and spelling errors are extremely embarrassing, more so if you are a writer. We may be merciless editors ourselves, however, just to triple check, use tools like Grammarly and Correctica before you publish your posts. Additionally, Grammarly also checks for plagiarism.

5. Headline Analyzer 

People do judge a book by its cover and a post by its title. Only 62% of readers, read past the title (yes I have used Factbrowser for this one). Spend as much time, or more, as you spend on writing the content to come up with a kickass title for the post. And when you think you’ve found it, use Headline Analyzer. This tool scores the title of your post and rates its SEO value, ability to attract traffic and generate shares on social media. It also shows you how far up or down below your post will appear in the search results! Which content headlines will get you most results? Have a look at this post to crack the secret.

Did you know about these tools? Do you think there are other awesome tools we have missed out on? We are all ears!

Top 10 Career Quotes from Literature and the Finest Authors

Top 10 Career Quotes from Literature and the Finest Authors

Here at Oorja Biz Ops, we are all voracious readers. We believe that books make the world and the #WorldOfWork a much better place, and rightly so! Wisdom, imagination, hope – books have a lot to offer. They influence, they inspire, they help us understand our lives, our careers. Literature, since the beginning of time, has been able to capture some of the most intense emotions human beings feel and express. Many a times we may not even be able to recognize or describe what we feel, and find the authors putting those exact emotions into words so eloquently. We feel as if the words were written just for us, as if the author has been privy to our innermost thoughts. We relate to the characters, we look for solutions through those characters. In a very short span of reading the book, we traverse an entire tapestry of emotions and feel overwhelmed of how much sharing is possible between an inanimate object, which is the book and us as individuals. Some days are just difficult. It is hard to feel inspired or motivated to get up and get to work. To find meaning in our careers or to find a career that means something. It is during this phase that we assess ourselves the most, we are full of doubts and uncertainty, full of “what ifs”. The good news is, we are not alone. We have heroes from literature and we have writers who created these heroes, who went through the same trajectory, had the same doubts and in the end succeeded. So who better to turn to than these fine authors for some inspiration? Here are some of the best Career Quotes from Literature that the finest authors have gifted us!

Career Quotes #1 : Do not forget Life.

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.” ― Maya Angelou, I’ve Learned

Career Quotes #2 : You are the CEO of You, Inc.

“It is not in stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves” ― Shakespeare, Julius Caesar 

Career Quotes #3 : Find Your Passion and Make it your Vocation

“Who is willing to be satisfied with a job that expresses all his limitations? He will accept such work only as a ‘means of livelihood’ while he waits to discover his ‘true vocation’. The world is full of unsuccessful businessmen who still secretly believe they were meant to be artists or writers or actors in the movies.” ― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

Career Quotes #4 : Say No to Pressure, Take your Time

“When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn’t know.”― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Career Quotes #5 : Keep the Faith

“Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.”— Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Career Quotes #6 : Never Give Up

“When today fails to offer the justification for hope, tomorrow becomes the only grail worth pursuing.” – Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

Career Quotes #7 : Trust in Yourself

“You are your best thing.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved

Career Quotes #8 : Purpose is Everything

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” — JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Career Quotes #9 : Happiness is a Choice

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Career Quotes #10 : Do not Let Your Fire go Out


Being uncertain about your career, or not knowing where you are headed is one of those challenges that can actually be turned into a power house of opportunities. How you think determines the path you take. As John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost – “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” Dive in into the fascinating world of literature when you are feeling numb or need to clear your head. You will arise manifold wiser and humbler and ready to take on the #WorldOfWork!

We hope this post on beautiful career quotes from literature has inspired you to keep calm and keep going! Which is your favourite quote from amongst these? Did we leave out your favourite quote? We would love to hear from you!

Five Pointers to Make Your Business Proposal Stand Out as the Best

Five Pointers to Make Your Business Proposal Stand Out as the Best

A Business Proposal or Sales Proposal is often the first strong knock on the doors of a prospective client. Whether it is in the form of a word document or presentation, it has to be impressive and paint such a compelling picture that the customer just can’t wait to pick up the phone and schedule a face to face meeting with you. You get the entry that you need to pitch your product/service and abilities. Writing and reviewing hundreds of business proposals has made me realize one thing – there is a method to this madness and no proposal is too big or too complex – if you follow certain basic guidelines in the creation process:

Pointer #1: It is not about You – the goal of any proposal is to address the specific customer requirements and pain points. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and structure the proposal in the best way that answers the customer’s stated or implicit questions. Persuade them that you know the questions and have the answers through your proposal. To do this, ensure that your proposal and every section in the proposal addresses five questions Who, What, How, When and So What:

  • Who – will do this?
  • What – needs to be done?
  • How – will you do it?
  • When – will all the milestones occur?
  • So What – will the customer benefit by having you do it?

Pointer #2: Format and Template – Usually the customer specifies the format and structure of the business proposal. Comply with this religiously. Any additional information that you think would be useful in nudging the customer decision in your favour should go into the appendix. If the customer hasn’t specified the response structure, then create the template keeping in mind the questions in Pointer #1. Your proposal should be easily readable and information easy to find. Use indexing and linking within the proposal. Use headings for your sections and labels for your diagrams to draw attention. For some large RFPs (Request For Proposal), especially in government and public sectors, different departments could be given different sections of the proposal to evaluate. So it is important that every section by itself has the context and the references to other sections that might be relevant. Don’t make your customer work too hard or spend a lot of time puzzling his way through your proposal.

Pointer #3 – Optimize against Evaluation Criteria – Most business proposal requests lay out how they will score the vendor for the response. If not, ask the customer about their key evaluation criteria. Compliance to all aspects of the bid is very critical to pass the first stage. So read the fine print carefully before you start putting your efforts to it. Check the submission date and create a timeline to ensure that you meet the deadline. Focus and give more time on those aspects that are most important to the customer and will give you the scoring edge.

Pointer #4 – You do need a Super Executive Summary – Your introduction in the form of the executive summary should actually be the “conclusion” of your proposal. The rest of the business proposal serves to provide the supporting points to add credibility to your introduction. Brainstorm on what the customer needs (as opposed to wants), how you are going to satisfy those needs and why they should do business with you and none else. Summarize the salient points of this into your executive summary first and then start with the rest of your proposal; again it should be more about the customer than about you.

Pointer #5 – Keep it Simple – Minimize buzz words, don’t overwhelm with information just because you have some great content ready, make it visually attractive – sometimes a picture does speak a thousand words. Give a day or two to proofread and review the proposal. Spelling and grammar are yes, important – you don’t want to project yourself as someone who does not care about the details enough.

First impression is everything in hunting and winning business. Use your business proposal to stand out in the crowd and make a lasting impact. I would love to hear your views on what challenges you face in responding to proposals and how you tackle them….

5 Ways to Build and Improve Your Vocabulary

5 Ways to Build and Improve Your Vocabulary

Knowing how to harness the power of words for your benefit can make for a much smoother career path – be it in interviews, meetings, emails, presentations, conversations and more. If you can express yourself clearly, you have a huge advantage over most. Having a good vocabulary is crucial for written as well as spoken communication. It benefits you not just professionally but also personally. Working on your vocabulary helps you articulate yourself in a specific and precise manner, and is one of the most underrated skills. In fact, the researcher Johnson O’Connor conducted a study over 20 years, and showed that

“No matter which area he looked at, and no matter how he analyzed the data: a person’s vocabulary level is the best single predictor of occupational success.”

Read on to find out about the five simple practices which will help build and improve your vocabulary.

Improve your Vocabulary by Reading

This is one habit that will boost your vocabulary like nothing else can. Set aside at least thirty minutes of your day for some mindful reading. Read business magazines or online business journals, reading newspapers daily is a must – at least the editorials, and of course, if you enjoy fiction, nothing like it. But remember that it is not enough to just read and know the story, the whole point is to build your word power, so when you come across a word and do not know what it means, be sure to look it up. Keep a pocket dictionary handy or an online dictionary on your bookmarks menu. We would also suggest noting it down on a sticky note and putting it somewhere you can see it every day, until it becomes a part of your vocabulary!

Improve your Vocabulary by Playing

Yes, building a vocabulary can be a rather fun thing to do. Make crosswords and word games an obsession and before you know it, you will have gained fabulous language skills. It can be hard in the beginning, but the key is to keep practicing. Most newspapers have a word games section that you can try. There are several mobile apps you can play in which you can also choose to start from a basic level and move up gradually. Our favourites are Wordament, Words Words Words and Text Twist. You can also check out the FreeRice.com website which donates 10 grains of rice through the World Food program for every answer that you get right in their vocabulary quiz.

Improve your Vocabulary One Word A Day

Yes, one of the secrets to a powerful vocabulary – learn one word at a time, everyday. Subscribe to “word of the day” emails. Don’t just sign up for it, make sure you read the emails every day and don’t end up marking them as spam. While it may take you only a few minutes to read it, the benefits will truly be long-term. You can use this link to sign up for one of these programs – Wordsmith.org or Word Of The Day

Improve your Vocabulary by Listening

You might have noticed by now, the amount of stress we lay on this one point in all our communication related posts. Listening intently and carefully is a great way to improve your vocabulary and communication. If you like the way the speaker is speaking, make a note of what you like. When you listen carefully, you will also come across new words and will learn the context in which to use them. If you write the word down and use it immediately in a sentence, your brain will remember the word better. It is also very important to listen to someone who does not seem to be making a lot of sense while speaking, because that is a lesson on the mistakes you have to avoid yourself.

Improve your Vocabulary by Writing

Even though this may sound tedious, it will take you a long way in improving your vocabulary. Writing helps you form coherent sentences and is a true measure of reflecting how your vocabulary has improved. It need not be tedious, all you need to do is maintain a journal and write as little as half a page a day, even about simple things like how your day was! This habit can be really helpful if you pursue it in a disciplined and persistent manner. We can assure you that two weeks into keeping a journal, you will really start enjoying it! Start today!

Remember that practice makes for perfect. You may follow all of the above advice, however, if you don’t put into use what you learn, it doesn’t matter how hard you have been working. Incorporate into your daily vocabulary the words you have been learning. Express yourself regardless of the anxiety that you may fumble and make mistakes. Make mistakes and then learn from them, and slowly with practice, you will be perfect!