Rants and Raves has been Nishita’s virtual space for sharing her experiences around books, food, travel, and shopping.
Over a decade ago, Nishita started Rants and Raves, concretizing her desire to be a blogger. Over time, she learned the little things in the mix and found ways to keep her readers hooked. It meant saying no to brand briefs that didn’t make sense for her blog or interfered with the authenticity she craved to express herself with.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
This started way back in the dark ages when the Google blogging platform Blogger started to gain traction. I was stuck in a boring job and was looking for something that sparked my creativity and thus my blog was born in 2007.
What’s in the name?
My first attempts at blogging were crude. I really didn’t know what I wanted to talk about. It took some hits and misses for me to understand my space. In 2009, I set up the blog in a more professional way – decided it would focus on food, books, shopping, and travel, and gave a proper name to my blog – Nishita’s Rants and Raves.
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
My in-depth book reviews have been very popular and are the backbone of the blog. In the past few years, I have travelled a lot as well, and have blogged in detail about my travels. Those posts are starting to attract interest. I am a very fast blogger and have been able to keep a steady rate of 2-3 high-quality blog posts per week, and that always keeps readers coming back.
I have also developed my skills in photography and now illustration, so there is added visual interest as well.
My blog has a neat design and is easily readable and loadable, and that’s another key reason why it remains successful.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
My content creation process is organic. I carry a notebook and jot down all my thoughts. When I first started blogging, I didn’t have much of a filter, but as the blog has grown, I actually have to restrict myself to posting only about my chosen topics – books, food, travel, and shopping.
How do you make moolah with your efforts?
I have a good Google page rank and domain authority, due to which brands have approached me with requests for sidebar advertising and promoted posts. Depending on the request, I have accepted these offers and they provide enough cash to keep the blog running successfully.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
There was a time when my head got turned with all the brands approaching me, and I think I accepted too many brand briefs. I noticed that readership had started to drop because of the sponsored content. And so, I cut back. Now I accept only books and products that I know I will like and that my readers would be interested in.
I no longer go for each and every event I get invited to. It’s a waste of time and it drained my energy. My blog is a hobby and I enjoy it very much, and I want to keep it that way.
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One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile
My blog has always been worthwhile for me. But I really appreciate some of the opportunities it has opened up for me. I got the opportunity to travel to some really exotic places, dine at fine dining hotels, and treat my family to unexpected luxuries.
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
I’ve received too many honestly and I don’t want to specify any one request here. One generic weird request is of brands asking to be featured on my blog without any kind of payment or product. You sometimes say yes as a favour, and then they bug you about deadlines and timings. It sucks sometimes that PRs use blogging and social media as free advertising.
If not blogging, you would be?
Very happily continuing with my day job as a writer in a prominent IT firm.
A day in your life…
My life is a mad scramble. Weekdays I get up early — get breakfast, pack kids off to school, head to work, late-night meetings, and so on. Weekends are a little more leisurely. After kids go to sleep, I crank up the blog and start working on it — getting my rough notes and photos into some sort of readable content.
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
Focus on your content before trying to make it big. SEO is key, and yes never neglect your social media. These days, they are bigger than the blog sometimes.
Your Favorite Influencer
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
I really don’t know. I hope my personal brand becomes more popular. I don’t really know where blogging and social media is going right now, but I’d like to be able to enjoy the ride and hope that my blogs continue to remain popular.