Monthly Archives: July 2015


This is from a Facebook post by Mr John Thomas (JT) – conveys some important ideas about journalism and journalist requirements (call it ‘conditions of becoming a good journalist’)


Remember that poem by Rudyard Kipling (who incidentally was also a journalist) you may have learned along the way here? Here’s a Sydney journalism professor’s inspirational adaptation for his students. (JT)


By Mark Pearson

If you can make some sense out of a complicated mess
And craft a bright, clear lead of 20 words or less
If you can take pride in the words that stand beneath your name
But know a byline carries more responsibility than fame

If you can stay well beyond your shift and burn the midnight oil
Just to get the story done, expecting nothing for your toil
When all your friends are partying the wee small hours away
While you’re still at the office – just because you want to stay.

If you can realise journalism holds a place for every type,
The quiet golden retriever and the terrier with its bark and hype
That there are many ways to chase a story and do our very best
We match our methods to our type and aim to beat the rest.

If you can drive to work not knowing where you’ll finish up that day
And accept that some disaster might be just an hour away
Or that you might be with a sporting star or chatting with Tom Cruise
Or editing the tidal charts and checking crossword clues.

If you can interview a president and then a homeless soul
And learn to listen to them both to make your story whole
Because listening and questioning are the golden pair
Then accuracy, a nose for news, and a commitment to be fair.

If you learn writing is important, but it’s not the florid kind
“Keep it simple stupid” is the motto to bear in mind.
There’s scope for creativity with the angle, not the facts,
And adjectives and adverbs are bound to get the axe.

If you shelve your own opinions, despite how heartfelt they may be
Allowing others their full say, erasing that word “me”.
Remember readers own the press – it’s not there for you
It’s not your job to impress, but to seek another view.

If you can rise above the pressure of all your precious peers
And snatch a story from beneath their noses which burns their lazy ears
But still realise that sometimes you need to hunt in packs
Ever mindful of the need to keep arm’s length from all the hacks.

If you can take a newsroom full of cynics – crusty, gnarled and tired
And ignite them with that passion for which you have been hired
And see them reinvent themselves and restart their careers
All because your zest for life is music to their ears.

And then if a disaster strikes, if you can set aside your fears
And focus on the story amidst the blood and gore and tears
While many of your readers may be floating upside down
You get the presses rolling with the news to that wet town.

If you can defy the speed of sound and take a steady note
When all around are struggling to record a simple quote
And sit and watch the television replay those words you heard
Quoted on your own front page – exactly word for word.

If you can convince the toughest source you are someone they can trust
And don’t go off the record unless you truly must
And if you do, assure them that your honour will not fail
Even when you’re threatened with a lengthy stay in jail.

If you take yourself to places you would normally not go
In search of fresh new contacts – people you don’t know
Because stories lie in wait of you in clubs and shops and bars
Folks with different interests, who might well come from Mars.

If you can build a contact book others would kill to access
And keep it safe because that may be truer than you guess
Double check the spelling of even the simplest name
Cos even Jonny Smyth might not be spelt the same.

If you know when to knock upon the door of a grieving mother
And, equally, when to leave that same job to another
Yet show her it was worthwhile letting others see her tears
Because that’s the way we change the world and allay each other’s fears.

If you can stand at the dinner table among the chattering classes
And defend the freedom of the press as they snigger in their glasses
As they try to shoot the messenger for all and sundry ills
Remind them that it’s not the pen, but the crooked sword that kills.

And finally, if you can craft a masterpiece,
and have it chopped from the end
Yours is the world and everything that’s in it,
and – which is more – you’ll be a journalist, my friend!

© Mark Pearson 2005

Watch Video: Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh ‘Condoles’ PM Modi’s Demise

Published: 29th July 2015

CHATTISGARH: As the nation mourns the death of late President and missile man Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Chief Minister of Chattisgarh Dr Raman Singh has courted another controversy.

While speaking to the mediapersons, Singh said that, “I express my condolences on the death of respected Modi ji.” This is especially shocking as Singh belongs to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the same party as PM Modi.

This incident comes in the heels of a similar shocking event where the Education Minister of Jharkhand Neera Yadav paid floral tribute to the photograph of former President APJ Abdul Kalam. This incident took place when Kalam was still alive. Read more about the story HERE.

The people’s president collapsed yesterday while delivering a lecture at IIM, Shillong and was mourned by millions of Indians.

Raman Singh’s faux pas will be seen as derogatory as it is an indication that he neither knows who died nor has bothered to apologise for his mistake, as of now. There has been no comments from Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Narendra Modi himself.

BJP Chief Minister Raman Singh condoles Modi’s death!

Beginner’s Guide to Running Facebook Ads That Convert

Written by Neil Patel on July 25, 2015

facebook ads

Getting traffic is easy. Improving your conversions, however – not so easy!

If you’re looking for the best platform to reach your customers, then you should consider Facebook. It’s a huge, ready-made market with an estimated 1.39 billion active monthly users, according to B2C.

Driving customers – not just visitors – to your landing page is the best way to make sales. A great way to start is with a conversion-based Facebook ad campaign.

With Facebook’s advertising platform, you’ve got access to an audience that shows actual interest in your offer. You can bring them to your site by crafting irresistible ads.

Ultimately, your Facebook ad campaign will only be effective if your landing page is optimized for the user. Otherwise, you’ll most likely struggle to generate leads with your Facebook ads.

When it comes to raising your conversion rate, you’ve got to thoroughly research your audience. No matter how much you have to invest in your ad campaign, start by making sure that you’re targeting your ideal customers.

Without further ado, let me show you how to run a conversion-based Facebook ad campaign that’ll grow your revenue: 

Strategy #1: Interest-Based Targeting

Facebook ad targeting is unrivaled in its versatility. You can target your ads based on user location, age, gender, interest, relationship status, education, and more.

For example, Adidas launched a soccer-related (football, to my non-American readers!) campaign during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. They used Facebook ads to target users based on their interest in the sport.


During the campaign, their Facebook page reached over 1 million fans and brand awareness grew in between 8% and 21% in different countries. You’ve a lot of potential when running a Facebook ad – the market is huge.


Or let’s say that your organization recently introduced a new coffee brand. You could target Starbucks fans with your ads and maybe entice them to give your product a try:


When you target users based on interest, you’ll notice an increase in the number of email subscribers, Facebook fans, brand advocates, and buyers. Overall, you’ll convert more users into customers.


It makes logical sense. If someone isn’t a college graduate, that person won’t likely be interested in taking a grad-school level course online.

In the same vein, if I’ve expressed an interest in table tennis, and I see an ad promoting a course promising to make me a better table tennis player, I’m much more likely to click than if the ad was pitching a course about basketball.

And a non-profit organization can easily target users based on interest:


Once you define your ad objective, the next step is to select an audience based on one or more interests. These people are usually pre-qualified leads, because they’re already interested in your topic.

Interest-based targeting is especially effective in increasing a Facebook fan base. Here’s an example: the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy created the “Above the Influence” campaign in order to educate teens on the dangers of substance abuse.


They used Facebook ads to target users based on interests and age. Here are the results they generated:


Remember to set up a lead nurturing system at the backend if you want to maximize your leads, because the vast majority of them aren’t ready to buy your product yet. You’ll have to educate and persuade them first – and to do that, you need a system in place to communicate with them regularly.

Strategy #2: Craft a Compelling Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is basically an ethical bribe. It’s what you offer to your leads to persuade them to give you their email address and other contact information.

You can choose from lots of options when you’re deciding what to give away. For instance, Ryan Deiss, founder of Digital Marketer, gave away the social media swipe file below. Within 45 days, he had collected over 28,500 leads.


Bidsketch, a SaaS proposal building application, uses a unique style to ask for your email address before you start the free trial:


If you operate an online store, you could give away discount codes or offer free shipping to your customers. Other lead magnets that have been proven to work include:

  • Ebooks and articles
  • Video training
  • Email courses
  • Free tools
  • Checklists and templates

Strategy #3: Build High-Converting Landing Pages for Facebook Leads

The moment you create a landing page, your mindset will shift towards conversion rate – which is where it needs to be. After all, that’s all that matters once you start attracting Facebook clicks and visitors to your page.

Your landing page should have elements – such as the headline, subtitle, and call to action (CTA) – that can be tested and improved.


Changing your CTA button color or position can have a significant impact on your conversion rate, but it’s just the beginning of building a high-converting landing page. Your page itself needs to be focused on conversions, with persuasive copy that’s relevant to the readers.

According to Instapage, over 1,000 landing pages are designed with their software on a daily basis and this number keeps growing. This illustrates that marketers are embracing landing pages and understand their importance.

The bottom line is this: Whether you’re doing search engine optimization or running a PPC ad with Facebook or Google AdWords, you need a high-converting landing page.

You can’t possibly expect people to convert if you’ve got nothing useful to share with them.

Jayson DeMers said that if you create landing pages properly, you may even enjoy increased SEO benefits, even though your main source of targeted traffic is Facebook.

Hiten Shah, co-founder of KISSmetrics, discussed in his newsletter a few months ago that more marketers are creating landing pages for reasons other than new product features or releases.

A recent study by MarketingSherpa agrees with Hiten’s assertion – 67% of marketers are creating unique landing pages for various marketing campaigns or brands.


When a new product is added, these smart marketers also create a new landing page in order to target a different audience and its specific needs.

When it comes to design, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. In fact, the landing page where you drive your Facebook clicks should look similar to your typical landing page for running a different type of PPC ad. Instead, focus on the anatomy – the elements that make up the page.


When you come to a well-designed page, you’ll notice the headlines, subtitles, bullet points, and more. They’re all important elements on any meaningful landing page.

However, the real concepts that produce a high-converting landing page are always evolving.

Your target customers are used to old techniques and advice. They want something simpler, straightforward and interesting. So how do you ensure that on your landing page?

1).  Borrow credibility: The Stanford Web Credibility research project found that credibility is the most important element of any site.

If you don’t have much credibility online, it’ll affect how people perceive your brand, product, and advice. If you’re an author, you’ll find it a lot easier to trust Seth Godin’s publishing advice than mine. He’s got more credibility and experience in that field.

On the other hand, when it comes to digital marketing techniques and strategies, such as SEO and building profitable blogs, more people will trust my recommendations since that’s my speciality more than Seth’s.

So what do you do when you don’t have enough credibility yet to persuade potential customers?

Simply borrow credibility from other trusted sources. Here’s how:

i).   Showcase customer badges: This is a relatively new trend in landing page design. To make your landing page trustworthy and professional, leverage other people’s credibility.


An effective way to borrow an expert’s or brand’s credibility is to showcase their badges on your landing page – assuming that you’ve worked with them in the past. A potential customer who’s still skeptical about your brand will be reassured if they recognize the brands on your page.

This is called the halo effect, which simply tells us that one positive association increases another. You’re in charge of creating the first impression you make on your prospects.


So if they see a credible brand that you’ve actually worked with (it’s utterly crucial to be honest in this regard), they’ll have a more positive impression of your brand.

An example of a landing page that showcases other brands’ badges is the one from Getresponse, an email marketing solutions company that displays their customers’ logos.


I’m sure that you’ve seen several sites and marketers using customers’ badges on their landing pages. When you see the logos of Coca-Cola, Apple, AirBnB, and Unicef on Campaign Monitor’s landing page, aren’t you more willing to do business with them?


ii).   Showcase detailed testimonials: You can also build credibility by showcasing the impact of your product or service in people’s lives through testimonials.

Credibility drives sales and helps you retain your customers (assuming your services or product are worthy). According to Douglas MacDougall of MacDougall Biomedical Communications, “without credibility, everything you say to investors, potential partners or even your employees can be questioned.”

The typical Facebook-ad landing page contains at least one client testimonial. Here’s an example from Ontraport. Note the testimonial below the form:


A recent statistic from Spectoos found that 90% of customers’ buying decisions are influenced by customer testimonials and customer reviews.  What’s more, over 80% of consumers admit they’re more likely to buy from a brand that displays reviews and testimonials on its site.

Do you know why Amazon generates more sales than any other brand in the online shopping industry? Take a look at 2013 worldwide figures for online sales:


Granted, Amazon is a very popular and highly credible brand,. But another reason for  Amazon’s results is its in-depth, thoughtful and clear customer product reviews, like this one:


One word of caution: don’t even think about faking a testimonial on your landing page. Trust me on this: your visitors will know. And they’ll leave, without a second thought. Even worse, such deception can destroy your credibility. In short: be honest.

Showcasing detailed testimonials is a great way to boost your credibility. Xoom, a web payment solution, knows how to strategically place customer testimonials to boost conversions:


How have organizations and marketers benefited from your offer? It’s very hard to tell the success story with just a logo or photo, but in addition to the testimonial copy, make sure your images display clearly.

According to Kinsta, publishing testimonials on your web page is one of the best ways to build trust. Client testimonials are an integral part of social proof – a phrase that simply means “people are more likely to do what they see others doing.”

If others in your industry got results with your product or service, proof of those results on your page will stoke more interest in your ideal clients to subscribe to your list or buy your product. For example, Wiki Jobs added detailed testimonials to their site and boosted their conversion rate by 34%.


2).  Give your landing page a SINGLE purpose: What’s your primary motivation for setting up a landing page for your Facebook clicks? If your answer is “to drive traffic, get email sign ups, and make sales,” you’re making a big mistake.

There is no way you can successfully accomplish multiple objectives with a single landing page. Instead, you should create multiple landing pages, each of which appeals to a select group of your ideal customers.


Another benefit to single-objective landing pages is the relative ease of communicating and testing your value proposition. A value proposition is simply a promise of value to be delivered for a given offer, site or brand. MarketingSherpa’s research showed that 64% of marketers find it easier to test value proposition on a landing page.


Take Ramit Sethi’s Six Figure Consulting landing page, for example. It has only one purpose: to promote his course on how to become a consultant earning six figures per year. But before someone can get Ramit’s insider secrets, they have to subscribe to Ramit’s email list, which is the real purpose of the page.


Ryan Deiss, founder of, knows how to define the purpose of his landing pages. If you want to become a certified customer value optimization specialist, Ryan doesn’t want you to just subscribe to a list. He wants you to enroll, if you’re ready.


3).   Optimize your landing pages for conversions: According to David Masters of Tutsplus, “landing pages are the equivalent of your sales team in the online world.” With that in mind, the purpose of your landing page has be well-defined from the start.

As a Facebook advertiser, you have to remember that generating leads is the ultimate purpose behind running an ad, no matter what kind of ad you’re running.

Even if you’re sponsoring a blog post, you still want to convert more visitors into blog readers. So conversion is the ultimate by-product of any PPC ad.

Continually optimize for conversions. Many people don’t really know what optimization means. But it’s actually a pretty simple concept. It boils down to two things:

  • Do more of what works
  • Quit doing what doesn’t work

There are two ways to optimize your landing page in order to improve conversions:


About all, you should remove every distraction on your landing page. Make it easy for your site visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for. Use explicit cues to guide users to your offer or call-to-action.

Most successful marketers use directional cues on their opt-in boxes. For example, Copyhackers uses a cartoon-like character that points at the opt-in call to action button.


Marie Forleo uses a white arrow to direct users to her email subscription box. It helps the visitor avoid getting lost on the page.


Another way you can use directional cues is to include a short (one or two sentences) and appealing message right before your subscription box.

Write the message persuasively. Here’s how Expert Photography crafted directional cues in one sentence:


In the landing page above, you’ll notice there is a video. Adding a video to your landing page will position you as an expert in your industry. After all, if you can show it, then you’re different from those who who can only write about it.

Video is an integral part of visual marketing and the brain responds to it better than straight text. saw an 80% increase in its conversion rate after adding a video to a landing page.

Many people prefer watching videos over reading plain text. What’s more, videos will keep more people on your page for a longer time.


Removing navigation from your page is another way to optimize and achieve a higher conversion rate with your landing page.

For example, Career Point College removed the top navigation on its landing page and modified the form layout. The result was an increase in conversion rate of 336%.

And SparkPage increased its conversion rate from 9.2% to 17.6% in the month they ran a test and removed the top navigation.


Removing navigations on your landing page will lift your conversions. A lot of authors, information marketers and public speakers are doing exactly that.

Before we wrap up landing page optimization, we have to address the call to action. If you’re using a CTA button on your landing page, the words you use will either persuade people to act or chase them away. Avoid boring copy on your buttons.

If you’re still using the word “submit” on your button, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Instead, clearly describe what the users stand to gain by taking the action.

HubSpot recently tested landing page CTA buttons to compare the effect of buttons that use the word “submit” against buttons that didn’t use the word “submit.”

The “submit” button didn’t perform very well. The button with a more descriptive wording got a 17% conversion rate.


Bryan Harris, founder of, removed all the top navigation and sidebar on his landing page, and crafted clear copy for his button. Here’s his landing page:


To save time and build professional landing pages for your Facebook ads, you’ve got several options. You could use one of the templates from Leadpages, Instapage, or Optimizepress. But if you want to carry out A/B testing, Unbounce may just be the best option for you.


Strategy #4: Drive Qualified Traffic to Your Landing Page From Facebook

Facebook PPC advertising is a great source of traffic for your landing page. Smart content marketers leverage the #1 social media platform to generate high-quality traffic and convert those visitors into customers.

If you’ve got the requisite marketing budget for both organic and PPC traffic, you’ll see better results, compared to using one platform alone (such as PPC or organic search).


Glen Allsopp, founder of, received thousands of qualified clicks at a cheaper rate using Facebook ads, as opposed to Google AdWords.

He spent $2 with Facebook to acquire a customer, whereas Google took $40 to get the same client to his site. Of course, there are ways to get a cheaper CPC on Google AdWords, but many marketers and PPC advertisers prefer Facebook.

More importantly, Facebook team will approve your ad within 15 minutes and start sending traffic to your landing page. Google AdWords can take 10 – 15 hours.

In a recent test to determine the effect of PPC on a landing page compared to free sources of traffic, Melissa Mackey saw a 17% increase in site visits after setting up a PPC campaign. Her sales increased as well.


Of course, you need to know the cost per acquisition (CPA) when running a Facebook ad – that’s how much a particular click will cost you.

This means that if Facebook deducts $1.43 from your account for every click, your cost per acquisition (CPA) is $1.43. Assuming that you’ve got the same budget for both organic search and PPC, this research shows that PPC will yield the better ROI for you.

If you’ve got a high-converting landing page, a compelling offer, and clickable Facebook ad copy, PPC traffic will convert 3.5 times better than non-PPC traffic.


1).   Setup conversion tracking: Since conversion is the ultimate goal, you’ve got to set it up properly for easy tracking.


From your Facebook ads setup environment, you can optimize and track conversions by placing a conversion pixel on your site and then adding it to a Facebook ad. This is a simple and effective way to know exactly which ads are converting the most.

If you use WordPress, you can download and install the Facebook Tracking Pixel plugin, which adds the Facebook conversion pixel code to your WordPress landing pages.

You can also use optimized CPM to target your ads to the right audience, so that you don’t waste your clicks or your money. Optimized CPM (oCPM) is an integral aspect of conversion tracking best practices:


Here are the simple steps to setup a Facebook conversion pixel:

Step #1: On your Facebook Ads manager, click the conversion tracking tab on the left side.


Step #2: From the drop-down menu, give your conversion pixel a name that’s easy to remember. Then select a category that best describes the kind of conversion you want to see.


Step #3: Click Create Pixel.

Step #4: Copy the code that appears.


Then paste it within the opening and closing <head> tags of your web page:


You could also use the Power Editor to create a conversion pixel that will help you track conversions on your Facebook ad clicks. Follow these steps:

Step #1: Go to Power Editor.

Step #2: Click the Manage Ads dropdown in the top-left corner and select Conversion Tracking.


Step #3: Click Create Pixel.

Step #4: Select a category from the dropdown menu and give your conversion pixel a name.

Step #5: Click Create Pixel.

Step #6: Copy the code that appears and add it to your web page as above.

2).   Craft a powerful Facebook ad design: Is it the job of the landing page or the Facebook ad to convert clicks into leads? Well, I think they both play a vital role.

When you’re creating an ad design, consider the experience of the user. Here’s a recent comment from Filip Galetic:


What the commenter needs to understand is that none of these elements (landing page, cost per click, amount of traffic, conversion and ad) will function independent of the other. They should all work together to generate the best results.

Throwing money at Facebook to drive visitors to your landing page will only work if you’re smart. I know a lot of people who have lost money running Facebook ads. Yet others, such as Ryan Deiss and Jon Loomer, are seeing great results from Facebook advertising.


When writing your Facebook ads, be clear and concise about your offer. You won’t come off as being too promotional if your ad itself delivers value. Save fancy introductions for later.

This means that if your brand is not known yet by your target audience, you should not use it in your ad copy. Amazon, Ebay, Seth Godin, and Guy Kawasaki can use their brand names because you and I (their target audience) are familiar with those names.


When writing your Facebook ads, make sure you include the four elements below:

i).   Visual: Visual information is valuable in the Facebook algorithm. In the ever-evolving News Feed, visual information will engage your target audience more than straight text.

But you also have to know the difference in picture quality and composition.


Since the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text, include clear, professional, and relevant visuals (e.g., image of objects, humans) to entice your audience.


Here are great examples of clear & relevant visuals used in different Facebook ads:


Since your Facebook ad is going to appear on the right side of a user’s homepage, make sure that your images and photos are attractive, easily understood at first sight. and align with the ad copy. See examples below:


ii).   Relevant ad: Your ad headline, visuals, ad copy, and call to action all must be relevant. Depending on your settings, you’ll be spending money when someone views or clicks your ad. Make each view or click count.

An example of a relevant Facebook ad is below:


Facebook recently launched a feature similar to Ad Rank in Google AdWords. This Facebook feature will give you a relevance score after evaluating your ad.



Work to increase your Facebook ad relevance score. Make your headline, ad text, ad image, copy, and destination page relevant and appealing to your audience.

If you can do that, Facebook will give your ads higher priority, which ultimately means more highly-targeted users being sent to your landing page.

iii).  Value proposition: Make a promise of value in your ad. The value proposition will set your product or offer apart from the competition. This chart explains it better:


If you claim that your latest book is useful, not many people will simply give you the benefit of the doubt on that point. But if you give away a few chapters for free, it’s easier for people to draw their own conclusions.

In the same vein, offering a 30% discount on your meal plans if you’re a fitness trainer will quickly boost your credibility, and change how people perceive your ad. Here’s a powerful value proposition from a recent AirBnB Facebook ad.


iv).   A clear call-to-action: There is no shortcut to getting people to act – you have to include a call to action.

Unfortunately most marketers aren’t doing it. According to SmallBizTrends, 70% of small business B2B sites don’t have a CTA.


You need a call-to-action button on both your ad and your landing page. Without it, your best headlines, professionally-looking and relevant images and compelling ad copy will be wasted.

Yet many Facebook advertisers totally ignore that ad CTA.

Here’s a Facebook video ad with a strong call-to-action:


Whether you’re running a video ad or photo ad, what matters is that you persuade users to click and visit your landing page. From there, you can follow up with the leads who indicated interest in your ad, and persuade them to buy.

Strategy #5: Low-Friction Conversions

Improving your conversions is the ultimate goal of every PPC ad campaign. Little wonder that 85% of search marketing experts will pay more attention to CRO this year.

Many people are using Facebook advertising the wrong way. If you haven’t created a way to capture and nurture your audience, you’ll waste a lot of money.

Low-friction conversions are the best approach when running a Facebook ad campaign. Smart Facebook PPC advertisers don’t come to Facebook to make sales. Rather, they offer a high-quality lead magnet to their users in order to get them to subscribe to an email list.


From there, it’s a lot easier to offer great value, eliminate pushback, and give users exactly what they’re asking for: education.

Of course, if you’re an ecommerce store owner, you could simply send people to your product pages and convert them to sales there.

But for information marketers, business consultants, freelancers, and others who aren’t selling a physical product, you’ve got to get people onto your email list first. That’s why autoresponders exist.


Your landing page visitor didn’t come to buy a product, but to learn about you. What matters is the environment that you’ll create for them. Will that environment inspire them to buy from you, or repel them from your offer due to excessive pressure or greed?

Your Facebook ads will yield the best results if you set up a conversion funnel, then create useful content that your leads will benefit from. Then nurture your leads on a regular basis before asking for the sale.


Remember, you need to continually test your performance to determine what’s working for you and what’s not. The Facebook ad terrain is always changing and you’ve got to adapt to it.

Here’s an excerpt from KISSmetrics on testing and tracking your metrics:



If you create Facebook ads, you need to set up an ongoing system to review and analyze your ads. Then you can effectively make tweaks to your campaign. This is how you pin down what works best for you.

But if you abandon your ad and lose focus, you may end up driving the wrong people to your blog, and waste your money in the process.

So what’s the most important factor of every Facebook ad?

As I said earlier, the landing page offer, the landing page itself, the ad copy, the image, the call to action – they’re all vital, and they all work together to help you reach your target audience.

What other strategies do you use when running a Facebook ad campaign to improve your conversions?

Guide to Facebook ads that convert

Continue reading Beginner’s Guide to Running Facebook Ads That Convert

Miscellany – Early years of Kannada journalism

Some useful information for students of Mass Communication and Journalism, especially those studying in Karnataka. So also, some media “management” perspective (if you call it that way).

Above all, look at the way the German missionaries, without any background in Kannada or any Indian language or tutors, could work miracles! So many of them (while we struggle to learn and speak a language decently!)


A S Balasubramanya, July 28, 2015

pioneer Hermann Frederick Mogling launched Mangalura Samachara, the first fortnightly paper in Kannada.

Early years of Kannada journalism   
When Hermann Frederick Mogling arrived in Mangalore with his Basel

In Absentia Where are India’s conservative intellectuals?

By RAMACHANDRA GUHA | 1 March 2015
Romila Thapar is part of a generation of Indian historians who were influenced in varying degrees by left-wing or liberal thought

Continue reading In Absentia Where are India’s conservative intellectuals?

The missing conservative intellectuals

The missing conservative intellectuals

According to media reports, the RSS had even set up an informal committee to come up with saffron-friendly candidates to head various academic and cultural institutions. File Photo | PTI

The appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan — described by some sections of the media as a “C-lister” — to the chairmanship of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has once again raised questions about the scarcity of credible, right-wing intellectuals.

G. Sampath

It is no secret that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has been struggling to find intellectuals to head various academic and cultural institutions. According to media reports, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had even set up an informal committee to come up with saffron-friendly candidates for some 680 positions.

But it could come up with only 160 names. Even these 160 people, one presumes, included the likes of Mr. Chauhan, Y. Sudershan Rao (made chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research), Baldev Sharma (chairman of the National Book Trust), Pahlaj Nihalani (chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification) and Chandrakala Padia (chairperson of Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla).

“ Hindu conservatism, whose nationalism is a curious amalgam of revivalism, xenophobia and triumphalism, can never attain respectability except in a self-contained discursive ghetto… ”

None of these names has inspired much confidence in the constituencies these bodies serve. Many have charged the NDA with not just saffronising but also degrading the country’s premier institutions by appointing underqualified candidates to the post.

The eminent historian, Ramachandra Guha, was so distressed by these appointments that he penned a column lamenting “the closing of the Indian mind”, where he draws the “melancholy but inevitable conclusion” that “the present government despises writers, scholars, artists and film-makers.”

Other commentators have been less melancholic and more pragmatic, either faulting the RSS for not having created its “own cadre of intellectuals”, and/or challenging it to produce “a saffron Amartya Sen”, whatever that means.

Conservatism infused by religion

The most systematic study of the crisis of talent facing the Indian right has come from a liberal. In an 18-page essay titled, “Where are India’s conservative intellectuals?” published some months ago in Caravan magazine, Mr. Guha provides a considered answer to this question.

He begins by making a fundamental distinction — between intellectuals and ideologues. Intellectuals contribute to the growth of knowledge, whereas ideologues are “more interested in promoting their political or religious beliefs”. By this definition, which no one should have a quarrel with, most of the so-called intellectuals, including RSS sympathisers on the Narendra Modi bandwagon, would automatically fall into the category of ideologues.

Mr. Guha’s explanation for India’s missing conservative intellectuals is fairly straightforward. In his preferred formulation, conservative ideology is characterised by a shared “first person plural” that privileges the status quo as an emanation of a cherished past. Typically, this “we” signifies a national imaginary.

But in India, unlike say, in the United Kingdom, the conservative vision of the national community (the “we”) “is intricately bound up with religious affiliation.”

Clearly, this Hindu conservatism, whose nationalism, as Mr. Guha points out, is a curious amalgam of revivalism, xenophobia and triumphalism, can never attain respectability except in a self-contained discursive ghetto, which is precisely what has happened. Indeed, it is hardly conceivable that an ideology which consigns a few hundred million non-Hindus to second-class citizenship can ever form the basis of serious scholarship.

Yet, this has been the track record of the Indian right — essentially the Hindu Right — till date. It might partly explain the anti-intellectual streak of India’s right-wingers, for many of whom the word “intellectual” is itself a term of abuse. Given this reality, Mr. Guha answers his eponymous question thus: “there can be a credible conservative tradition in India only if it emerges outside the ecosystem of the Sangh Parivar.”

Fantasy of a secular right wing

Is it really possible — a secular conservative tradition in India? Mr. Guha is not alone in wishing for it. Even Amartya Sen has spoken about the need for “secular rightwing” parties — like the Christian Democrats in Germany or the Tories in the U.K. Or is this wishful thinking?

The defining feature of conservatism is a belief in the organic unity of whatever it is the “first person plural” denotes. This belief serves to obfuscate the central antagonism that the first person plural denies — this obfuscation is the reason conservatism “works” as an ideology. In the secular breed of conservatism that Mr. Guha and Prof. Sen seek, the antagonism wished away is class conflict — the exploiters and the exploited are united by the soothing balm of patriotism and a nationalistic superiority over the peoples excluded from the ‘we’.

In India, which has always been, despite its constitutional secularism, a Hindu majoritarian state in practice — innumerable studies have documented anti-minority biases in the bureaucracy, the judiciary, the police, the media and other institutions — the central contradiction was, and remains, caste rather than class antagonism.

Through the caste prism

From this standpoint, it becomes clear that India’s left-liberal tradition has produced very few intellectuals whose careers and analytical frameworks were defined by an all-consuming interest in caste antagonism — in a manner analogous to how, for a scholar in the European leftist tradition, class antagonism is a foundational category of thought. Or how, for the conservative, the organic unity of society, whatever its internal contradictions, is a constitutive assumption. One Indian intellectual who comes immediately to mind is B.R. Ambedkar, but he was not what we would today call a left-liberal. Seen through the prism of caste, the real reason for the absence of an Indian (as opposed to Hindu) conservative tradition becomes apparent: the “conservatives”, so-called, did not emerge because they were already hegemonic — they just happened to go by the name of “liberals” or “socialists” or “communists”.

It would be no exaggeration to say that most of India’s left-liberal intellectuals (mostly drawn from the upper castes) are socially conservative — and conservative in the classical sense of not considering their society’s determining antagonism (caste) as the ultimate problem. While they may not defend caste, or glory in it, as sections of the Hindu Right might, neither do they believe that every sociopolitical problem needs, or could benefit from, a caste perspective — despite overwhelming evidence of pervasive casteism. In this, the Indian left-liberal tradition mirrors the Western conservative one, which denies that class conflict or exploitation is the elemental problem in capitalist society.

In other words, when the left and the liberals are themselves already socially conservative, where is the space or need for a separate, secular, conservative tradition? The question (where are India’s right wing intellectuals?) is thus a profoundly meaningless one. It’s meaninglessness obscured in no small measure by a warped notion of secularism that makes no distinction between religious solidarity and religious sectarianism.

The great British conservative, Edmund Burke, constructed his philosophy in the context of the threat to tradition and order posed by the symbolism and spirit of the French Revolution. The nationalism of the British conservative — though it had a place at the table for Christianity — was essentially a secular response to a secular threat.

Indian nationhood

India’s nationhood, in contrast, as historians of Partition such as B.B. Misra have pointed out, was intimately tied to a religious, and specifically Hindu, imaginary. Hinduism, in this context, was nothing but another name for Brahminism. As independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, summed up in his Discovery of India, “That mixture of religion and philosophy, history and tradition, custom and social structure, which in its wide fold included almost every aspect of the life of India, and which might be called Brahminism or (to use a later word) Hinduism, became the symbol of nationalism. It was indeed a national religion.” How exactly is this different from Mr. Modi’s “cultural nationalism”? Yet, Nehru, one hardly need mention, was no RSS pracharak. He is an iconic left-liberal, and a favourite whipping boy of the Hindu conservative. But of course, his utilitarian defence of the caste system need not be reproduced here.

In stark contrast to the left-liberal’s social conservatism — which is almost indistinguishable from that of the Hindu Right — stands someone like B.R. Ambedkar, who could say what few left-liberals would dare to today: “No matter what the Hindus say, Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy.” Of course, one could make a similar judgement about Islam as well. But in any given national context, the more politically dominant a religion, the greater its capacity to undermine democratic values.

All said and done, from this Ambedkarite perspective, and if we keep his “Annihilation of Caste” as a reference point, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that mainstream intellectual discourse in independent India has only ever been controlled by conservatives. The Indian conservative is not missing — he is merely Hindu, upper caste, and invisible.

The Missing Hindu Intellectual

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Brands don’t mix with bad boy

Brands don’t mix with bad boys

Salman Khan is an exception but even he had to come up with the image of a bratty boy with a heart of gold, courtesy ‘Being Human’
Urvi Malvania | Mumbai July 23, 2015
Salman Khan can do no wrong for his audiences and for the brands he endorses but the new generation of celebrities

Nothing ever seems to be going right with him and yet everything somehow, does. Salman Khan, the oldest bad boy of Indian cinema has all decks loaded against him: he is embroiled in several court cases, has had a string of girlfriends but admits or commits to none and is brash with his tongue (or at least used to before he famously claimed that he was a virgin on national television). Yet, he never seems to run short of brands that seek his endorsement. And now with his latest hit Bajrangi Bhaijaan having made Rs 150 crore at the box office already, his brand value is set to rise even further.

Do bad boys (yes, Indian actors are boys even when they push 50) sell?

Not really say experts. Salman Khan is an exception. Despite a spate of legal tangles and allegations of misbehavior, he still finds takers for his services as a brand endorser. Experts believe that Khan is the last of the ‘bad boys of Bollywood’ who holds out any allure for the brands.

Frankly Indian advertisers have always shied away from the dark side. Unlike in the West where campaigns celebrating ‘bad’ and starring Hollywood villains has worked well, the examples in India are few and far between. Most recently Tata Motors’ Jaguar’s ‘Good to be Bad’ campaign that released internationally featured Ben Kingsley and Tom Hiddleston was hugely appreciated. Catch an Indian automobile company doing the same!

While Bollywood has seen many an iconic villain capture the fancy of audiences, brands have never been drawn to their charm. Mogambo (played by the late Amrish Puri) and Gabbar Singh (played by late Amjad Khan) were household names for a generation that grew up on their movies. Even today, some of the newer villains do find cult status, but when it comes to looking for brand ambassadors and endorsers, it’s the ones with clean and feel-good images that lead the race.

Ranbir Singh modelling for Ching’s Secret noodles) can at best project an edgy/naughty image
“Everyone now wants to project a good clean image. The most they venture is having an edgy image,” says Afsar Zaidi, founder and MD, Exceed Entertainment. He explains that the bad boy image has taken a back seat, and a new and improved version – the edgy, new age brat, has taken over. So it’s good to be wicked with a golden heart. Take a look at the new generation of celebrity endorsers like Varun Dhawan, Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. They steer clear of controversies and in their endorsements and advertisements, they project an edgy/naughty image, but not even a shade of grey.

The same logic applies to celebrities beyond the silver screen too. Virat Kohli, among the highest paid brand endorsers from any sport in the country, is also seen as the aggressive and brash. He has been part of edgy campaigns from Fast Track and Pepsi, where he is seen poking fun at his co-endorser. He is seen as one who speaks his mind, or gives it back as good as he gets. Aggression is acceptable but in the end, companies want someone audiences can look up to.

Experts believe this is mainly because brands are not comfortable with controversial figures, unless it is a personality like Khan. For him the audience loyalty and his pull at the box office is unaffected by real life controversies.

Many believe that Khan has managed to keep his brands with him because of smart strategising. His sale-ability has been helped by his involvement with his charity ‘Being Human’. In fact, his image of a bratty boy with a heart of gold finds sustenance from his work with the underprivileged. Brands find it easier to capitalise on the ‘heart of gold’ aspect and add a dash of adventure and daredevilry to the mix for the edginess. Whether it is Thumsup with its Toofani campaign or the campaign for Astral Pipes the focus is always on his star power.

In India, the closest a brand came to embracing the dark side was Onida, the consumer electronic brand with the pointy-eared devil as its mascot. However, the iconic mascot was discontinued recently, even though it has become somewhat of an advertising legend. Compare this with other mascots that have lasted ages, the Amul Girl or the Maharaja for Air India and Indian industry’s reluctance to associate with anything but squeaky clean goodness is evident. “To have a sustained campaign or communication with a negative trait or persona is not easy. While in today’s day and age, a good yet fake persona will never work, people internationally are fine accepting controversial personalities as long as there is enough talent to balance it. Take Miley Cyrus. She is controversial no doubt, but is also seen as an immensely talented artist and has a niche to occupy, with a strong fan following,” says Anirban Das Blah, CEO and MD CAA KWAN, the celebrity and talent management company that handles Ranbir Kapoor.

A similar approach seems to work with the Jaguar campaign. A video that is part of the campaign and is titled “Art of villainy” features three British actors – Tom Hiddleston, Ben Kingsley and Mark Strong, all of whom have played strong villain characters in the recent past. The fleet of Jaguars is British, just as the best villains of cinema are, goes the message. Is there an Indian brand that will dare to flaunt the bad? That is a script still waiting to be written.
Brands don't mix with bad boys | Business Standard News. Continue reading Brands don’t mix with bad boy

Rakesh Kochhar: India’s middle class underperformance

It has proved hard for most Indians to better the global middle-income standard

Perhaps more than ever, India aspires to be a global economic powerhouse. This hope may have been behind the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose victory is tied by many to public faith in his economic agenda. Mr Modi, in fact, has launched a “Make in India” campaign that aims directly to boost investment and manufacturing in the country. The focus on economic issues is evident online: a Google search for “and