Interview with Expert Freelance Writer: Ali Hale

Ali Luke(Ali Hale, is now Ali Luke as she got married in September 2010 ) is one of my favorite writers. I have been following her blog from a year now. And I enjoy all her writings, especially when she writes series articles. They are so catchy, sticky and yet so simple to follow. You can improve your writing kills just by following her writing.


She is a blogger, writing coach, she provides jury service, staff blogger and an inspiring human being. Recently she teamed up with Daniel Scocco and started Freelance Writing Course at DailyWritingTips.

With out much ado, lets get started with the interview.

1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Hey! 🙂 I’m Ali Luke, a writer and writing coach. I live in Oxford in the UK. I write for a number of big blogs, and I’ve also written for magazines. I also run my own blog, and sell my own ebooks and ecourses.

2. How did you get started with freelance writing.

I started out by writing guest posts for big blogs, and landed a couple of paid gigs from that. I had a full-time day job in technical support/testing at this point, so pretty soon, I was getting up before 6am to write before going to work. It was hard for a few months, especially once my paid work really started taking off — but then I was making enough to quit my day job.

I saved up for several months so that I had an “emergency fund” which really helped – not just because I had money in the bank in case I didn’t get much work, but also because I changed my spending habits. Most freelancers don’t earn all that much to begin with, so it definitely helps if you can live fairly frugally.

3. Do you promote your freelance articles? How important is it to promote it or is it not that important

I’ll often tweet about an article, but not always. I find that the blog’s editor tends to do any promotion, and they usually have a much bigger following than me! So it’s not too important, though there’s no reason not to.

Sometimes I’ll link to my freelance pieces from my own blog, if they’re on topic. Again, I don’t think there’s any real need to do this, but if it’s useful to readers, why not?

4. Writing articles for your blog v/s writing for other blogs as a freelance writer. What’s your view ?

Well, I love doing both, as you might have guessed! 🙂 Writing as a freelancer is great, not just because you get paid, but because you can learn so much from working for an experienced blogger. Plus, you’ve got access to a big audience — great for feedback.

On the other hand, I love writing on my own blog, Aliventures, where I can put a bit more of “me” into my posts and write about anything I like. If a post doesn’t do too well, it’s no big deal — whereas in my freelance work, I want every post to be a hit!

5. How much profitable is freelance writing. As an industry, how is it growing and where do you see it in the future.

I believe it’s a growing industry. More and more people are devouring online content — and there’s a constant demand for new writing.

One problem is that there’s a lot of poor content out there, and editors who’re just paying as little as they can in order to get any content. This harms good freelancers, and creates a bad impression on readers.

It can take a bit of time to find good writing jobs. In my experience, the best jobs come from personal connections — getting to know editors on Twitter, sending them guest posts, and so on.

6. Being a freelance writer means it involves a lot of writing. How do you find time(along with your masters degree studies), topics, motivation to keep going. Basically, how do you deal with the deadlines ?

I’ve finished the masters’ now, so that helps! I had to be quite organised, with my masters’ degree deadlines and with client’s deadlines — I usually set aside particular days for particular tasks. For instance, I’d do my paid blogging on Mondays, and generally have Thursdays and Fridays for course work.

In terms of motivation, I think it helps not to get behind or overwhelmed! When you feel on top of things, it’s easy to keep going.

7. How to land big freelance writing projects which pays more.

Build up a strong relationship. Few people will hire you for a huge project without knowing a bit about you. So look for smaller jobs first — for instance, I started by guest posting for one particular blog, then worked there as a regular paid author, then stopped doing regular work but took on occasional higher-paid blog pieces for them, and finally launched an ecourse as a joint-venture with them. (That’s slightly different from straightforward freelancing, but not very different!)

8. What’s your advice to over come “writers block” ?

I personally never get writer’s block. I do sometimes get “writer’s laziness” though 😉

It helps to take breaks. No-one can write for hours a day, seven days a week. Give yourself the weekend off, at least once in a while! When you’re really struggling to write, it’s often best to just stop for a bit.

On the other hand, if you just feel a bit reluctant to sit down and get started, the best thing you can do is sit down at the computer, open up that document, and get going. Often, you’ll find that initial resistance just vanishes. You might want to use a timer (e.g. and tell yourself that you just have to write for 15 minutes, or even 5 minutes.

9. Your top 3 secrets to be the best freelance writer and to be ahead of the competition.

1. Always deliver good work. If a job is badly paid, don’t take it — even if you think you can turn out some piece of scrappy content in ten minutes. It harms you to have bad work out there with your name on it.

2. Be professional. That means meeting deadlines, replying to emails, and approaching editors in a polite and respectful way.

3. Build up good relationships with other freelancers. They aren’t necessarily your competition — how about viewing them as colleagues? If you get offered a job that’s not quite right for you, perhaps you can pass it on to a fellow freelancer (and they may well return the favor in the future).

10. Some tips to write articles more effectively.

1. Set a timer when you’re writing. I know it sounds like a tiny thing, but it makes a real difference — it helps you stay on task.
2. Plan out your article before you write. Jot down your subheadings, for instance. This makes it much easier to get the piece written (and it’s more likely to be a good, well structured piece, too).
3. Keep a list of ideas so that you’ve always got a starting point. Sitting down with a completely blank document in front of you can make your brain go blank, too!

11. Things to include in the freelance portfolio or service page/landing page

Explain clearly what you do. Ideally, pick a particular specialisation — that might be a type of content (blog posts, sales pages, SEO pieces) or a subject area (parenting, sports, health, etc).

I think it’s a good idea to give an indication of your rates, though not all writers want to do this.

Make it very clear how to contact you! I know this sounds obvious, but it’s really easy to miss out. Just having a “Contact” page on your site isn’t enough — put your email address, or at least a contact form, on your services page too.

Include testimonials, if you have any. And put in some links to pieces that you’ve written (ideally freelance ones, but they could be good pieces on your own blog).

Anything more you would like to tell our readers..

If you’re looking to get started as a freelance blogger, check out my Staff Blogging Course, The Blogger’s Guide to Effective Writing. It’s currently only $29 but I’m rewriting it at the moment (and will be charging more for the new version). Anyone who buys the current version will get the updated one for free, so it’s worth buying it now!

Interview with Dan Schawbel, The Master of Personal Branding

Dan Schawbel is a leading voice in the area of personal branding, and he is the author of Me 2.0 as well as the publisher of both the award winning Personal Branding Blog and Personal Branding Magazine.


I recommend Me 2.0 to anyone who wants to know and buildup their personal branding. I especially encourage students to pick a copy of the book, it will surely be valuable tool for your future.


Satish: Tell our readers about the idea of “Personal Branding”, and why one should care?

Dan: Personal branding is about uncovering what makes you special and then letting the world know about it. You should care because there is no job security anymore and because if you’re aren’t know for anything, then you won’t receive the same opportunities as others.

Satish: People helping us( evangelists ) brand ourselves start expecting the same help from us, while they don’t live upto the trust of their audience. How to deal with such situations?

Dan: You shouldn’t listen to people who aren’t proven experts in their field. Do some research on them first before asking for their help or trusting their content. There is an unlimited amount of people in the world, but only a select few that are trustworthy.

Satish: Some College students prefer to keep low profile, so that they do not get embraced when things go wrong. Your tips for students to fight their weakness?

Dan: You should always capitalize on your strengths and neutralize your weaknesses. The internet is now the global talent pool. If you aren’t active on it, then you have a lot of challenges in moving up in your career.

Satish: Your tips for students and employees to fight stage fear. Because we have observed that many people don’t get the confidence to face people and confidently tell about themselves. What would you suggest them?

Dan: I would recommend that students and employees really understand their subject matter before speaking in front of an audience. You can gain a lot of confidence when you’re an expert that will make you less nervous when in front of people. You should also get consensus among your audience before you speak, so that they are on the same page before you present. This makes it easier to get your message across.

Satish: How much important do you think the role of “Branding” in the success of a business/blog/service.

Branding is important for differentiating yourself from the competition, for recruiting new employees, for supporting your promotional program, and to charge a premium price.

Satish: With all the efforts to earn the Trust(for the sake of trust), when our blog readers/customers give bad personal
comments, how does it feel about the trust that we have built? And how to deal with such situations?

Dan: Trust takes years to build and you can’t force people to trust you. The higher quality of content you produce will attract more people and cause them to trust you.

Satish: Your effective tips for building personal branding.

Dan: You should understand how you want to be branded, then reserve your domain name and your vanity URL on the top social networks, and then invest time each day to connect with new people in your industry. You need your own personal mission statement, core values, and a unique design.

Satish: What have you learnt with the release of your book “Me 2.0”

Dan: I learned that if you promote other others and their books before yours come’s out, many will support the launch of your book. The lesson learned is that by helping others first, they will reciprocate.

Satish: What do you think are – some of the signs of Entrepreneurship.

Dan: If you are a control freak, have creative ideas and are very ambitious, then you’re an entrepreneur. Typically, if one of your family members is an entrepreneur, you have the gene!

Satish: Your Advice for job seekers(students who have just finished their college life and are applying for a job).

Dan: They should be networking every single day, both online and offline. They should also be specific with the type of career they want so they can target certain companies and positions. Use your current network too, including your family and friends, to make introductions to people that are employed.

Satish: Your advice to college students to fight the stress of studies, assignments, exams, seminars, projects and their little voice of “entrepreneurship”

Dan: You have to work hard no matter what the task is. If you’re an entrepreneur, then start a business in college. Don’t purposely flunk out!

Satish: If you have anything else to tell your fans/followers/readers, you can tell them.

Dan: I just launched my 3D corporate website for Millennial Branding, LLC. I also have a new blog called Student Branding Blog if you want to check that out.

We appreciate Dan for taking time to participate in the interview. Hope you all enjoyed it. You may also like to read my review of the book Me 2.0

Interview with Chris Brogan

Chrish Brogan’s blog is ranked by Technorati as one of the top 100 blogs in the world. chris-brogan
Advertising Age’s Power 150 ranks him in the top 15. He has been blogging since 1998. He is also co-founder of PodCamp and part of many other online projects. He works with large and mid-sized companies to improve online business communications like marketing and PR through the use of social software, community platforms, and other emerging web and mobile technologies.

Chris is co-author of the book Trust Agents, with Julien Smith, which was recently released. If you run a company/organization, then please get a copy of this book, spend some time to read and understand it and order some more copies for your employees/members/co-workers if you think its of use for them.


1. Do you think using your real name (or surname) in your Twitter ID (or any other profile ID) is good or using your company/brand name is good?

I believe you should use your real name. People want to connect with humans for the most part, not just brands. That is, unless your brand is widely known, and then you should manage two accounts. I think that having @coke *and* @bobjones is smart, because you can be the big brand, and/or you can be offduty.

2. With all the efforts to earn the Trust(for the sake of trust), when our blog readers/customers give bad personal comments, how does it feel about the trust that we have built?

Bad comments are golden. Value these like you value nothing else. They are moments where you must reflect on the value of what your customers have told you, and decide what you must improve, or whether it’s just someone complaining. In either case, thank them. They’ve taken the time to voice their concern.

3. Do you think having a forum helps in building the “Army”? As we can interact with the blog readers at a personal level in the forum. Do you think the time spent in the forum is well worth or is there any other more efficient methods to connect with our readers?

I think you can connect with blog readers on a blog, so I think forums are a way to “share the stage.” They’re a way for others to be able to start threads and be the host of a storyline. They don’t improve or diminish the ability to build an army, except insofar as the content they provide.

4. What components do you think makes a blog successful

Equipping your community for success makes your blog successful. Be helpful. Be consistent. Be mindful of people’s time. Give them unique ideas and your best thinking. Give away your secrets (you’ll make more). Provide them links to materials and ideas that others have done that will improve their learning. Comment frequently and reply to the people who speak with you (as often as you can).

5. Your advice for new bloggers

Write from the most unique possible perspective that you can. Writing a me-too blog is wasteful. Others have already done the work. See if you can find a unique voice and vision, and get that done. There’s so much more left to cover.

6. Your advice for students. We read in the book about how we can play the role of “Trust Agent” in a company, now would love to know, how students(who are studying in university ) can apply it.

Students can learn about trust and how to use these new tools to build relationships in ways that will improve their connectedness coming out of school. Building networks of passionate collaborators is a powerful way to apply what trust agents do, and will be beneficial to students who often need these networks for jobs and more after they’ve left school.

7. What have you learnt with the release of your co-authored book “Trust Agents”.

I learned that what people relate to the most is that we’ve written a book about common sense for the Internet age. It’s like 7 habits meets the web. I’m really passionate about the fact that common sense seems to have gone missing in business, so maybe that’s what people need right now.

8. What do you feel about Google Adsense? Do you think adsense ads make a blog look unprofessional? And what do you feel about the over all blogging for money concept.

I use Adsense for RSS with my RSS feed. I get about beer money worth of value. I think that blogs that stripe themselves with Adsense end up looking like NASCAR vehicles and not useful content. I love blogging for money, though. I think there’s nothing wrong with it. I’m certainly not part of the kumbaya crowd.

9. What do you think about Twitter(In general and for business purpose). How bloggers can use it the best.

Twitter brings me quite a lot of business. I love it.

10. What were the 3 major mistakes you did on your blog?

In the old days, I talked about me. Now I equip others. In the old days, I wrote a lot more. Now I write brief pieces. In the old days, I got really snippy. Now I try to keep it professional (though with a personality).

11. What were the 3 major mistakes you did while learning about Social Media?

None really come to mind. Not that I’m perfect, but nothing major.

12. Do you think that a hard cover book is worth more than a ebook?

No. I think a useful book is worth more than fluff.

13. How many hours do you dedicate to blogging? How did you manage time for writing the book? Please share about the records made by your book at some of the places, like Wall Street Journal, New York Times etc. And please share about, monetizing the blog with your own product rather than 3rd party advertising. How do you manage sponsors on your blog. How has this book added to it etc.

I write about two hours a day, though not all of it is for blogging. I wrote 1000-2000 words a day with Julien Smith. Writing’s my #1 business, basically, when it all gets said and done: writing and thinking.

We made the New York Times Bestseller’s list in 2 days and the Wall Street Journal bestseller’s list in 2 weeks, which isn’t that shabby. I still want to hit the USA Today and the BusinessWeek bestseller lists, too.

I make very little money off my blog by contrast to my consulting and agency work. I make some money promoting Chris Pearson’s Thesis WordPress theme, and some from the occasional sponsored post, but that’s about it. I think that sponsors are great if you build relationships between the sponsors and the community. I can’t just take money from people. I say no to about 95% of the sponsor offers I get.

We had a great time talking to Chris Brogan, and learnt a lot with this interesting interview. Hope you all enjoyed it and learnt a thing or 2 from Chris Brogan. You may also like his book Trust Agents. If you read it, please tell us, what you liked and what you didn’t like in the book. I am sure, Chris will also be eager to know.
Thanks to Chris, for this fabulous interview.

Interview with

Differences, controversies ( v/s apart, today we have Mesiab Labs Chief Operations Officer Tyson Quick. We thank Tyson for taking time for this interview.

For those who don’t know about As you might have already guessed by its name, it is a new service that shows popular links being shared(tweeted) and re-shared (retweeted) mainly across Twitter.

They surly have got a killer domain name and a super URL shortner

Here is the interview:

1. Please tell our readers about yourself and service.

Retweet is the official place to find real-time news on popular stories, images, and videos. We provide this service by scanning thousands of updates on the worlds most popular micro-blogging service, and with the help of users like you whom have added our retweet button to your blog. The word retweet has now become one of the most popular terms online and describes the action of repeating or sharing someones original tweet / story. We now live in a world where for the first time in history real-time news is possible thanks to modern web technologies and crowd sourced content creation, retweet is here to leverage this modern way of announcing and discovering news. We pride ourselves in providing “news for the people, by the people”.. meaning we do not decide what news finds it’s way to the home page of our site.

Retweet is still a baby ( thus the BETA ), expect to see many improvements over the next few months as we have great things in store. In the mean time, help us improve the service by adding our button to your blog.

2. Some history behind the service is a side-project, as our software products are priority. We purchased the domain name 4 months ago for a substantial amount of money knowing exactly what we were going to do with it. At this time tweetmeme ( our main competitor in this arena only had around 200k monthly visitors ).

3. What inspired for the creation of a service around Twitter.

I ( Tyson Quick – COO ) thought up the idea around the same time the plane crash happened in the Hudson river and it was first reported via TwitPic… real-time “crowd-sourced” news was being born. I was also a fan of at the time and saw how twitter could essentially be used the same exact way. Believe it or not, our team had this idea before we ever saw tweetmeme.. although they were obviously the first ones to jump on the bandwagon.

4. What are the long term business plan and business model for

I cannot expose our business plans for at this time, although we do have a well planned business model ( note: this does not rely on us ever passing tweetmeme in traffic ) – Although this is one of our long-term goals.

5. What new features can we expect from in coming days?

We will first be matching our competitors features 100% and then adding additional features we thought up ourselves. I also cannot release these details at this time. But, i’ll assure you our users will like them.

6. How big or small is, as a company? is run by Mesiab Labs: Mesiab Labs is an LLC established and registered in Boise, Idaho. The company was initially funded by the now dissolved software company Easy Ad, owned and operated by Kevin Mesiab. The executive team consists of Kevin Mesiab ( CEO ), Tyson Quick ( COO ), and Sean Boone ( Director of Design ). Mesiab Labs builds market leading software and web based applications in various markets. We have a total of 4 people on Staff. All our projects are self-funded, we have never accepted VC or outside funding.

7. How important do you think the numbers game in Twitter (I am talking about the follower count)? Do you think it matters?

If you are a Business, then numbers are extremely important. When it comes to marketing, businesses rely on how many potential customers they can reach.

8. What do you have to say about Twitter banning @retweet account.

We believe Twitter Banned our @retweet account because they are trying to trademark the term ( we have a pending trademark as well ) and because of their up-coming launch of their internal retweet function. From Twitter’s standpoint they might be worried about a 3rd party owning an account on their platform that is associated with the 2nd largest twitter term ( 2nd only to tweet )

9. What are your thoughts about Twitter getting the copyrights on Tweet and ReTweet?

Well the term tweet has already been denied and we believe the same will occur with the term retweet. We are confident that we will be granted it if anybody gets the trademark because of the related domain name and the fact that the domain has been registered for over two years before we purchased the rights to it.

10. How do you think, you stand out from your competitors?

Right now we have not added many features that differ from our competitors, we first have to play the catch-up game. We have many features planned that have yet to be implemented. Right now the main thing that stands out about our company is our brand power and our extensive experience in online marketing. We also own our own url shortner that is being implemented with retweet, as well as

11. If you want to tell something else to our readers, you can tell will remain an extremely social site, holding monthly competitions, etc.

Its left to you which service you use on your blog, but its always good for bloggers to know the alternatives and its pros and cons. Take the interview positively, and we love to see a positive competition between and, Wishing them best of luck. Hope you enjoyed the interview.

Related: An Interesting Interview with TweetMeme

Interview with Leo Babauta ( )

Leo Babauta is the author of the Book “The Power of Less” and the creator and blogger at Zen Habits, a Top 100 blog with 125,000 subscribers — one of the top productivity and simplicity blogs on the Internet.

Babauta is one of the leading experts on productivity and simplicity, and has also written the top-selling productivity e-book in history: Zen To Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System. It has sold thousands of copies and has reached tens of thousands of readers.

Babauta is a former journalist and freelance writer over 18 years, a husband and father of six children, and lives on the island of Guam where he leads a very simple life.

Its a great opportunity to interview him. So here we go:

Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Leo: Hi everyone! Nice to be here. I’m Leo Babauta of, a blog about simplicity and productivity with more than 125,000 readers … I’m also the author of The Power of Less, a best-selling print book about how to simplify and focus on the essential. I’m married and the father of six kids, a runner and a vegan, living a simple life on Guam.

How do you feel when lot of people recognize you these days as one of the most successful people? How was life just some years back, when you were in your day job? How do you feel and manage this “recognition” that you have earned?

Leo: It’s a bit strange, as I just feel like the same old Leo, not anything different, but there’s no doubt that people treat me differently. Still, my wife and kids and friends and other family still treat me the same — and if I start to brag a little, they will make fun of me, which reminds me not to get a big head. 🙂 Life is different now than when I had a day job, of course — it’s amazing being your own boss, being able to set your own hours and have all the freedom in the world. I love it. I recommend it for everyone!

What do you think of Twitter? Many people use it as marketing tool and someothers for timepass. How and why do you use Twitter?

Leo: I think Twitter is an amazing communication tool. I didn’t get it when I first used it. But I’ve found that just like with any communication tool — the phone, email, blogs, etc. — it can be used in an infinite number of ways. You can use it to stay in touch with friends, network with colleagues, follow celebrities, get information and news, market your product or website, anything. Today, I mostly use it as a way to connect with my readers. I share useful links and info with them, share a peek into my personal life, ask them questions, respond to questions, share inspirational or thought-provoking quotes or thoughts, and of course keep them updated by linking to my latest post. I’ve found it to be an invaluable tool for staying connected with my audience — I’m glad to spend 20 minutes a day or so using it. Also, I find a lot of useful links and info on Twitter.

How much time do you spend online?

Leo: More than I’d like to admit! I usually start by writing a post in the morning, and write other content later (like for my next book), and check email and Twitter and do some online reading. Sometimes I’ll get so absorbed in online reading, if I’m really getting into a topic, that I’ll spend 8 hours online altogether. But other days I might only be on for 4-6 hours — that’s my entire job, really.

I am a student and want your advice for my academics. How do you think we can apply “The Power of LESS” to our studies. Sometimes the assignments and the work load are heavy and we must multitask.

Leo: Pick the most important assignments and focus on them first. Put away all distractions — especially your online connection — and really focus on getting the task done, not on multitasking. Repeat with the next most important task, and so on. Limit your time to connect — perhaps 2-3 times a day, for 30-60 minutes, or something like that, so that you have time to focus.

I don’t have pets in my home. But I love them. After reading your book, I feel that I must do things that I love to do. But having a pet comes with commitments. I am already fixed in lot of commitments. What do you think I must choose … the thing that I love or stick on to my present commitments? Do you own a pet ?

Leo: I’m not much of a pet guy myself — kids are commitment enough for me! But if I were you, I’d simplify my current commitments first, and see if you can lead a simpler life, before adding another big commitment like a pet. Also think about what emotional need a pet is fulfilling — why do you need a pet to be happy? If you’ve simplified your commitments and have really thought about your emotional needs and how to be more content with life, I think you should pursue the things you truly love, whether that be owning a pet or creating something amazing or whatever makes you happy.

Tell us about the financial freedom that you are enjoying with your online ventures. And how was life when you had a day job.

Leo: Well, I’m not rich, but there’s no doubt I have much more financial freedom now than when I was receiving a paycheck. I couldn’t have imagined it back then, when I had a job — to me, there was nothing like the financial security of having a paycheck and a retirement plan, because I had a family to feed. But these days, I’ve learned that I can make more than I could with a day job, and have much, much more fun doing it. I highly recommend it to anyone — pursue your passion and your dreams, and see what comes of it.

Blogs that you recommend. Your recommendation for bloggers.

Leo: There are way too many to recommend — for every blog I name I would be leaving out 10. For blogs on changing your life, check out the Life Remix network of blogs ( — it has as great a collection of blogs as any out there. For blogs on blogging, I would recommend Problogger and Copyblogger and of course Fitness blogs I’m into include Fitness Black Book, Mark’s Daily Apple, Zen to Fitness, and many more. Of course, Lifehacker is indispensable, and I love Seth Godin and Daring Fireball and Alex Payne. I could go on and on!

Books that you recommend.

Leo: Again, too many to name! I’m a huge book lover — my favorite fiction includes Vonnegut, Joyce, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Ann Patchett, Douglas Adams, Jonathan Lethem, William Gibson, so many more. Non-fiction includes: Slow Down to the Speed of Life, anything by Thich Naht Hanh, The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama, Walden by Thoreau, the Life of Gandhi, Your Money or Your Life, Stephen Covey, simplifying books by Elaine St. James, and many many more.

Some words for all your fans and followers.

Leo: Just thank you. I’m extremely grateful to everyone who reads Zen Habits, who has commented or send kind emails of encouragement. It really means a lot, and honestly, I wouldn’t be living my dream if it weren’t for all of you. So again, thank you, for everything.

Thanks a lot to Leo Babauta for this interview. The Power of LESS has been extremely helpful for me. If you have not yet read the book, here is the link to get it – “The Power Of LESS“. Note for readers: As Leo Babauta is a “A” list blogger, you can find his interviews on many blogs and even main stream media. So I wanted to make sure to ask only those questions that were not asked before. Hope you all enjoyed.

An Interesting Interview with TweetMeme

This is one of the interesting interviews we have on our blog.
Sarah Blow, from was kind enough to answer our questions. And importantly, answered so accurately. Its interesting to see a business built around Twitter.

TweetMeme is a service which aggregates all the popular links on twitter to determine which links are popular. TweetMeme is able to categorize these links into categories and subcategories, making it easy to filter out the noise to find what you are interested in.

TweetMeme was built by a small web company called who are passionate about twitter, social media and a whole lot more. You can read about what the team are up to on their blog
A glimpse at TweetMeme office space!
All the photographs of TweetMeme looks interesting, we have chosen one for this interview. You can look at the rest @ flickr.

Here is the interview:

Please tell our readers about yourself and TweetMeme service.

TweetMeme is a service that aggregates the most re-tweeted stories on twitter and makes them accessible to people in one central location. The service also includes it’s re-tweet button which helps users quickly engage their readers in re-tweeting interesting and relevant content to their twitter followers. Other offerings around TweetMeme include the Widget and API.

Some history about TweetMeme and company of TweetMeme!).

TweetMeme started out around 8 months ago as an extension of the original service but specifically created with a focus on the content from Twitter rather than the web at large. The company is owned by Nick Halstead who is passionate about technology and entrepreneurship. was founded about a year before TweetMeme and TweetMeme is a brand owned by Ltd.

What inspired for the creation of tweetmeme.

TweetMeme was a natural progression of the original concept of centralizing and aggregating interesting and most importantly relevant content from the web. The focus on Twitter came about as Twitter became more main stream showing that it may yet become a tool for the masses.

Many people around the world, all over the blogs are talking about “Is Twitter a Good Marketing Tool or yet another Time Waster” ? Tweetmeme being in the business, I can guess your answer, but would like to know it from you. And please tell us the reason for your answer.

You ask an interesting question here on Marketing. I would say Twitter is a tool that you MUST understand before using it for Marketing purposes. If used correctly such as for the Twestival campaign which raised hundreds of thousands of pounds around the world for the charity Clean Water then yes it is an excellent marketing tool. However if companies just use it as an extended RSS feed and don’t actively engage their brand in conversation and support then it’s no where near as useful as it could be. We try to help companies understand this when they come to us asking about using our featured tweet offerings or asking for a custom channel to be created for them. We think it is incredibly important for companies to understand both the risks and the rewards that can come from using social media tools such as twitter for marketing their brand but also for public relations.

What are the long term business plan and business model for TweetMeme?

Now that would be telling wouldn’t it…. We are already making money through our advertising revenue, featured tweets and custom channels but look out for other interesting things in the coming months. I’m going to leave that question there and leave you all guessing to find out what comes next for us.

How addicted are you and other employees at TweetMeme, to Twitter?

Addicted… that’s a strong word… that would suggest that we can’t keep away from the tool. We use it a lot but not to the detriment to our health or happiness. We understand that there is a healthy balance to be had between online and offline communications. I think you would class all the employees at TweetMeme as Twitter enthusiasts!

Do you think Twitter is becoming more of a main stream media now a days or do you think it will be a main stream media soon.

I think Twitter is fast becoming a common communication channel much like SMS however it will still take some time for the majority of the general public to find a suitable way of it working for them. Mainstream Media here in the UK already use it on local and national radio stations, within some TV programs for feedback and major celebrities both in the UK and the US are using it to engage their fans. As an engagement tool it is powerful but I’d love to see it used on programs such as Top Gear and National News Programs. So all in all I’d say it’s coming but it will take time.

Do you think, the presence of a company on Twitter, will positively help in their business or is just a distraction.

I think it depends on how the company has a presence on twitter and what the purpose of it’s presence is. If it is individuals on Twitter just to communicate on a personal level then that is very different to say a large medical company interacting with other businesses or key business influencers within their industry sector. Twitter has the power to connect people that would otherwise never manage to communicate with one another without intervention.

We can see TweetMeme buttons on many websites now a days. It makes me curious to know, how much bandwidth does it consume each day or each month? And what server configurations do you use to manage them?

We serve over 46,000,000 buttons per day but this isn’t the only thing that we do and as such our bandwidth usage isn’t something that is easy to split down to specific usage functions. We use Sun Micro-systems servers and are supported through the Sun Startup Essentials program. It’s a great program that we would encourage other startups to consider.

What new features can we expect from TweetMeme in coming days?

You’ll have to wait and see… that’s part of the fun of following us on twitter @talktweetmeme or following our blog we announce all our latest releases of information over there, so you’ll just have to wait and see.

How big or small is TweetMeme, as a company?

I guess size is very much dependent on how you measure it. As far as number of employees, we’re a small team of 9 people but as far as our reach and traction, then I guess you would say we are pretty large.

What do you feel about Twitter. What might be its future?

Unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball but Twitter’s future is bright and I look forward to seeing where it leads in the future.

How important do you think the numbers game in Twitter(I am talking about the follower count)? Do you think it matters?

Does the follower count really count…. now there’s a question that thousands have tried to answer. I think the most important thing with follower counts is that you follow people that you find interesting and people who find you interesting follow back. I don’t believe that any good can be had from following the whole of the twitter population and at some point you reach a personal maximum where the number of people you follow is so large that the stream of information is just too vast and varied that you miss interesting conversations and as such will end up following less to keep useful information flowing. As far as finding followers goes, be interesting, engaging and of value. If you are those three things you’ll get followers. You don’t need to be the most followed person in the world to have a large influence just a good strong network with links to other key influencers if you want to get a message spread far and wide.

Best practices at Twitter.

I’m assuming you mean when using twitter with this question:
Be honest, block spammers, don’t feed the trolls (those people deliberately out for an argument), be careful about telling people your location when you’re out and about, think about personal online safety (don’t publish your address details, bank details etc!), be reasonable, engage, inspire and enjoy!

Worst practices at Twitter.

Advertising, spamming, explicit images, rss to twitter only, excessive tweeting, uninteresting or irrelevant content,

Finally, how ofter do you re-tweet, at least when you see the TweetMeme button on a blog/website, which is interesting?

I re-tweet anything I think is useful to my readers when I see it, be that through the tweetmeme button or copy and paste. I don’t re-tweet excessively url’s as my users like conversation as well as links. Links without conversation are largely irrelevant. It’s all about meaningful, relevant and reliable conversation!

Thanks to Sarah Blow,
Community Manager For being so generous to agree for an interview with us. You can follow TweetMeme with these links:

Thanks for reading. And I hope you can see a TweetMeme button below this article. Use the button to share about this interview with your friends, if you find it interesting.

Interview with SEO Expert – Mani Karthik

Mani Karthik is a professional blogger and SEO Consultant from Cochin, India. And he had previously worked in a full time job, as a in-house SEO Specialist with an MNC for 5 years.
He has worked for many big companies so far, to help them optimize their website. You can see the list of them, in the about me section of, which is his primary blog.

Now without hurting your curiosity, here is the interview:

Satish: Please introduce yourself and about your online ventures, to our readers.

Mani: I’m an SEO / Social Media Consultant and a professional blogger. So that means I earn a living out of blogging and helping people sell things online with the help of SEO.

Satish: When did you start blogging seriously? What motivated you to choose internet business?

Mani: Started off back in my office days where I was working as in house SEO consultant. Started blogging as a part time fun thing, but it soon grew on me. Made many mistakes, and ultimately settled down with my blog, for which I’m known today.

Satish: Do you have any other day job (9 to 5 job)?

Mani: No.

Satish: With a popular SEO blog, you might be a busy man. How does your day look like?

Mani: Starts off with my regular work out, then scanning through emails and rss feeds, then blogging, tweeting, then SEO work, project reports , client calls and meetings. Then I hop on to social media and pretty much remain there till the end of day. I do keep a schedule and try to remain as organized as possible, but I also love it when I’m having a handful to deal and is overwhelmed with it.

Satish: 3 things that you consider a waste of time, which you do.

Mani: Nothing at the moment, but as I find something I’d be quick to quit it.

Satish: From your experience, what do you think are the 3 most misunderstood SEO myths?

Mani: The myths about link exchanges, meta information and page rank.

Satish: Your best 3 SEO tips ever.

1 – Build content that will force people to link to you.
2 – Build your brand on the Internet that your target audience won’t miss seeing.
3 – Develop authority to your domain.

Satish: With all these years of SEO consultancy experience, what are the common mistakes that you see your clients making on their blogs or business websites.

Mani: Lack of content. And sometimes people expect results to appear over the weekend. Also there are people who approach me after having done all possible black hat stuff and expecting a come back.

Satish: What’s your take on Twitter? Many people say that it’s a good marketing tool, while many others dislike calling Twitter as a marketing tool.

Mani: Its unfair to label twitter, because it has developed (by users) over the time into many forms starting from a simple communication device to many different uses. Like once the mobile was, its a communication tool for many, while some use it for tele calling, some even use it for texting, while some use it as a device to browse the web. Similarly Twitter is different things to different people.
For me, Twitter is a great tool to communicate and connect with like minded folks. And the good thing about it is that it isn’t complicated like many so called social networking sites.

Satish: Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious, Yahoo Buzz! etc — Order them according to your priority ?

Mani: Digg > SU > Mixx > Delicious > Reddit – But they are not on the same stage. Each of them have different character and uses, its just that I use one more than the other according to my preferences.

Satish: What are your 3 main strategies for blog promotion?

1 – Content.
2 – Brand.
3 – Communication.

Satish: What repels you the most from a blog/website(animation at your face advertising etc)?

Mani: Stale content.

Satish: Your tips, advice for newbie bloggers/webmasters.

Mani: Keep consistent, dont lose your cool. On the internet, success doesn’t happen overnight, its a gradual process. If you’re looking for making money overnight, try stock trading.

Satish: One more question of my personal interest.. I have heard the podcasts on your blog, they are really of high quality. What devices/hardware do you use for the purpose?

Mani: Skype and some free sound editing software like Audacity. I record all the podcasts/ video / talks from my Mac.

Some personal questions:-

Satish: Your Personal hobbies and interests?

Mani: Movies, music, and traveling.

Satish: Life before blogging, blogging life, where you want to see your blog in next 5 or 10 years time? And how do you feel about it.

Mani: After 5 years, I want to be doing the same thing as today and earning five times as of now. Honest.

Satish: Some of your life’s ambitions?

Mani: Setting up my own publishing agency.

Satish: How does your family and friends react when you say “I am working in Internet, from my Home!”

Mani: The reason I’m working from home is my family. I don’t want to be feeling guilty staying away from them, working for someone else. So they’re cool, in fact they help me very much with their support. Friends mostly don’t understand the idea except for the Internet savvy ones.

Satish: Please tell something, to all your fans and followers ..

Mani: Feel free to add me to your social networks. 🙂

We take this opportunity to thank Mani Karthik for the interview. And wish him a greater success in coming years.
Hope you have all enjoyed the interview and would practice, some of the practical things shared by Mani Karthik. Hope to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

Mani Karthik has moved his blog to a brand new domain called DailyBloggr, to focus on a broader topic. Make sure you visit the new site.

Interview with Vanae

Today we have Vanae from on our blog for the interview..
The purpose of is to empower yourself and nurture your soul, in order to succeed in your dating life! A splash of hip. A splash of personalness.Much more..
If you are having problem with your love life, confidence level or any other personal problems or if you want to expand the joy in your life, then is for you.
I personally know Vanae from many days. She is a nice person, she gives the feeling of a good, close friend while you are talking to her. And more importantly, she know well about what she talk on her blog. So give her blog a try, I am sure you will be glad after visiting her blog and watching some of her videos. And you will surly tell me, hey man, why didn’t you interview her before.
So here is a small interaction we had some time ago:

1. Where did you first hear about blogging?

Live journal (community built on personal web journals) a few years back.

2. Who is your blogging idol?

I definitely have favorite blogs but not quite blog idols.

3. Whats the inspiration behind your blog?

To share positivity, change lives by empowering people.

4. What are the long term goals of your blog?

Developing into a coaching business and perhaps have a TV show. 😉

5. Do you think, being a woman you have any positive/negative influence on your blogging?

Being able to share the female perspective sets my advice apart from i’d say, it had a positive influence.

6. Are you a full time blogger?

Not yet, working on it =)

7. Devices that you use for blogging[we see that all your videos are of high quality]

I have a macbook pro, Sanyo Xacti HD camera

8. Biggest opportunity that you have got from having

Being able to do what I’m passionate about- coaching and helping people, networking with super interesting people and solidify my branding.

9. Whats your main source of income?

One on One coaching and pretty soon, my workshops

Personal Questions:(Just for Fun)

10. Whats your favorite food?

Oh SUSHI, vietnamese food and ramen (healthy foods)

11. What are your favorite Pass time?

Going to a lounge or see live shows, have great conversations with my girlfriends over wine.

12. What are the “things to do” for a person, to be happy?

Carpe diem! Take charge and take balance. Do everything you want to, that makes you happy. Do good – through volunteering and charity. Take time to get in tuned with yourself and be in a place where you feel that you dont have to date to feel happy.

13. 5 things which you want others to learn, by seeing you?

1) You control your life. 2) Being happy is in you so choose to be happy 3) You impact others lives, more than you realize 4) You are your best investment 5) It always start internally, so work your way inside ..out.

Vanae enjoys blogging and helping people with her valuable suggestions. We need to develop such a passion towards our work or start working on something that we are really passionate about!

Hope you all enjoyed this short interview.

You may even like this article: Feeling Good Can Enhance Your Performance