In 2006, when the blogging culture was beginning to take shape worldwide, Rahul Prabhakar's blogging journey was commencing in South Korea.
And when the muse struck, he was invited to write a column for magazines like Eloquence. In this interview, he shares his journey.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
I relocated to South Korea for work in 2005. My blogging journey started only a year later, in 2006, the same time when the blogging culture worldwide had begun to take shape.
In those days, I treated my blog more like a journal posted initially English content catering to a niche expat audience who lived in Korea.
Since I was employed full-time with Samsung Electronics, my blog visitors asked me to post about the latest breakthroughs in technology. I suddenly found myself communicating and engaging with a completely unknown international audience!
The blog opened up many avenues for me; I was invited to write a column for top expat magazines in Korea.
What's in the name?
I christened my blog ‘When The Muse Strikes!’ for two specific reasons. First, the name was catchy and self-explanatory. Second, I wanted to post ONLY if I had something interesting and significant to share.
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
My USP is taking responsibility, keeping things original and providing a unique perspective, posting honest opinions about both the good and the ugly, and communicating clearly about my experiences.
Since most of my blog readership comprises people residing in top cities of the world, I produce content which is contemporary in nature and easy to consume.
What gives me an edge is the depth of research I undertake and the variety of subjects I cover.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
I keep abreast of what’s happening/trending in the world of lifestyle, travel, food, etc. by attending events and networking, whenever possible.
What I generally do before collaborating with any brand is to study their brief and set clear expectations in terms of messaging, deliverables, cost (if paid), go live dates and channels the brand wishes to use.
Once an agreement is reached upon, I request the brand to let me experience the product/service firsthand just like their targeted end customer would.
I promote my blogs on different social media platforms to ensure it’s read and shared by more people. I also post stories and short videos to provide more visibility.
To stay relatable, I ask people to provide feedback about my work through surveys. I also go live at events to tap on real-time engagement.
How do you make moolah with your efforts?
I feel it is essential for PR agencies and brands to value my time and pay adequately for my work and efforts. I maintain a blog media kit that I distribute to anyone who wishes to work with me. The media kit highlights my blog’s reach, influence, and engagement, along with my accomplishments as an award-winning lifestyle blogger.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
I don’t publish press releases on my blog. Even if I receive a concept note from the brand, I will repurpose it to make it relevant for my blog.
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One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile
In December 2014, after a lot of deliberation I mustered up the courage to blog about the painful subjects of physical abuse and bullying and share the deep-rooted psychological effects it continues to have on my own life. Only my wife and a few close friends were privy to the details of this bitter truth, but I still chose to write about it on the blog anyway.
In response to my post, I received a flurry of comments. One, in particular, was a touching mail.
It was only after a particular response that I started to realize the real potential of blogging. The fact that it could touch so many lives in such a positive way was very comforting and reassuring.
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
I was invited to cover Delhi Times Fashion Week 2019. The agency, for some reason, assumes that bloggers and social media influencers will provide coverage for free!
Imagine it’s not one, not two, but a three-day event and they wanted me to cover the same for free.
If not blogging, you would be?
Blogging provided me a voice and an identity in the world. If not blogging, I would have been a journalist for sure.
A day in your life….
Is super exciting. It’s not easy to step inside my shoes since I wear multiple hats during the day, like that of a father, a program manager at a leading agency, a colleague, a friend, and a blogger. I religiously give my blog/social media pages the fodder it requires to grow, i.e. at least two hours daily.
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
Stop being impatient and grow your personal brand by working twice as hard. Don’t be short-sighted, focus at long-term associations. Also, don’t quit your cushy full-time job to pursue blogging. Blogging will not pay your bills!
Your Favorite Influencer
I used to like Simon and Martina from eatyourkimchi.com, a happily married Canadian couple that lives in Tokyo, Japan and makes food and adventure videos.
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
This year my focus is to create engaging YouTube videos on travel and food.