Today we have a very special interview with a very special person on our blog. He is a successful content marketer, blogger, graphic designer and a close friend.
He started his Internet Marketing journey way back in 2014. And trust me since then he has made it “Big” as a content marketer. One of his articles was shared by a well-known influencer “Guy Kawasaki” on his facebook and twitter social media accounts.
He makes a four-figure income every month just with content marketing. So we can say that he is the Real “Content King” of the Internet Marketing Industry of India.
So let us do some quick chit-chat him. And let us try to know something more about him and his outstanding journey so far.
1. I would like to request you to introduce yourself to the readers of BloggingScoops blog.
Ans. My name is Ahfaz Ahmed and I’m a content marketer and a graphic designer. I have a personal blog named ahfazahmed.net where I write about blogging, SEO, and internet marketing in general.
I’m currently pursuing computer science engineering in Bhopal.
2. How, when and why did you decide to start this digital marketing journey and who inspires you in this industry?
Ans. I started my journey back in 2014 when I discovered blogging. My brother, Iftekhar Ahmed was already blogging at that time and I also decided to get in.
At that time, I was learning graphic designing and hence started a blog on the topic. I used to write about the different things I learned in graphic designing.
3. What were your first few projects on which you started working? (Graphic Tunnel)
Ans. Graphic Tunnel, my graphic designing blog was my first project. I started this in October 2014.
4. How did you teach yourself digital marketing in your initial days?
Ans. When I started blogging, I learned digital marketing from various blogs. Some notable ones are the Moz blog, Quicksprout, and Hubspot.
5. How much important is relationship building and how newbies should pull it off well?
Ans. If you want to survive in this industry, you have to build relationships and connections with people in the industry. And this is crucial because there literally thousands of blog started every day and no one really will care about you or your blog if you don’t have any connections or relationships with people in the industry.
Newbies can pull it off easily by making a list of people in their industry. This list should be divided into three parts.
- A-list influencers: The topmost influencers in your industry.
- Micro Influencers: These are the people who have an influence in their industry but not as much the A-list influencers.
- Shared Circle: These are the people who are like you. Either they are starting out or are doing a little well. People in the shared circle usually have the same goal as you. They also want to achieve growth and be recognized by micro and A-list influencers.
Once you have created this list, start from the bottom and reach the top. Reach out to people in the shared circle and build connections. This can be done by commenting on their blog posts, tweeting them, or simply sending an email.
This way, reach your way to the top. It’s a very slow process but it’s worth it.
6. What were the biggest challenges in your online marketing journey?
Ans. Email outreach. I really sucked at it. And this evident by this case study.
Email outreach is something you cannot learn in a day. There are many helpful guides on email outreach but are they really helpful?
Yes, they do help in understanding the fundamentals of outreach but the rest is your job to understand who you are reaching out to and how you should do it.
It’s all about understanding human behavior and mapping out patterns. Although I’m not best at outreach it’s safe to say that I’m not as bad as I was when I started out.
7. How to do the personal branding the right way in today’s scenario.
Ans. I’m stealing this one from Gary Vaynerchuk. Keep creating as much content as you can. If you want to build your personal brand, you have to be everywhere.
Social media, in people’s inboxes, on blogs. Everywhere.
Create a brand marketing strategy (which I’m working on a lot lately) and start executing it. To succeed at personal branding, you have to be omnipresent.
And yes, of course, don’t forget to provide value to your audience.
8. What is the scope of digital marketing according to you in India?
Ans. Businesses are spending more money on digital marketing than ever before. Indian businesses especially small businesses are betting on digital marketing.
And since they are winning from digital marketing, they are spending more. So it’s safe to say that digital marketing in India is going to have a good journey in the coming years.
1. Tell us something about your WordPress Plugin (SmartContentFilter).
Ans. Smart Content Filter is the first content filter for WordPress. This plugin lets you create filters for your blog post content.
It’s like Table of contents on steroids. Your readers can hide/reveal the content they want to read using interactive buttons.
This plugin is really helpful for bloggers who write long guides, reviews, and list posts. Also, I feel Smart Content Filter is the plugin all affiliate marketers should start using on their blogs.
2. How was your product launch experience? Any tips you would like to give to others out there.
Ans. I learned a lot by launching my product. I anticipated a much better reaction to the launch but it wasn’t bad.
The biggest tip I could give is that when you’re launching a product, never focus on sales. If you’re launching a premium product, make sure you know it’s valued and focus more on making your product a premium reputable product in the industry instead of getting some quick sales.
1. How to know what’s working and what’s not working in SEO. Because there’s a lot of overwhelming and crappy information out there.
Ans. It’s simple. Focus on the most important things. And that is content and links.
People land on your website to consume content. So, make sure your content is valuable and solves users query.
The next important thing is links. If you have no links, you’re going to have a hard time ranking on search engines.
Then there are other factors like technical and on page SEO you should focus on.
2. Your thoughts on “What is SEO in 2018”
People now get results on Google based on their location, search history, and interests. You have to work on ranking in situations where these variables are involved.
This can be done by focusing on long-tail and LSI keywords.
3. Suggest some best SEO practices including your favorite “Link Building Strategies” which works well for you.
Ans. All I will recommend is creating 10x content and making sure your on-page SEO is on spot. For link building, I prefer guest posting and more specifically the guestographics method by Brian Dean.
1. How to create content which catches eyeballs of Influencers? (Just like you do)
Ans. Before you start working on an idea, look at the top 50 results for that particular keyword. Analyze the content that’s already out there.
If the content out there can be improved, keep working on that idea or else drop it.
Also, before you begin writing, you should create an outline of your content. My outline is often changed when I start writing but it still gives me an idea of what I should write.
Writing a blog post without an outline is like painting something with your eyes closed.
2. What was your feeling when Guy Kawasaki Shared your post on his facebook and twitter accounts.
Ans. I can’t even describe those feelings. I noticed my website traffic increased suddenly and then noticed that Guy Kawasaki tweeted my article. Later I found that he even shared it on Facebook.
It really made me happy because when I was starting out in digital marketing, I was consuming a lot of content by Guy Kawasaki. And to see him sharing my content was very motivating.
1. How bloggers and digital marketers should approach Facebook and other social media platforms. And what kind of social media strategy do you follow (Strategies to win at social media)
Ans. Context > Content
Understand the context of different platforms and proceed accordingly. Create content in such a way that it is relevant to your audience on that platform and still aligns with what you do.
For example – I recently started sharing small nuggets of advice on Facebook and my audience really loved it because it was relevant to that platform and most importantly easy to consume.
1. Which resources do you use to keep yourself updated about blogging and digital marketing trends?
Ans. Actually, I don’t these days. I just occasionally check some of my favorite blogs like Moz, Neil Patel blog to read something new.
But mostly I get news about new trends from Twitter. Also, I consume a lot of content on Medium. And most of the content I read on Medium is about the industry and the trends.
2. How to outstand yourself in such a competitive environment?
Ans. Keep providing value to your audience and make connections.
3. Tell us something about your future projects.
Ans. I am working on a brand revamp of my personal blog. I kind of left behind my graphics designing journey when I started my personal blog. And after getting many requests about people to write about graphic designing on my blog, I decided to bring my graphic designing journey back on track.
But it’s a lot more than that. I have more projects on my mind and I’ll hopefully start working on them soon.
4. How to be a successful freelance content writer in India?
Ans. Succeeding as a freelance writer in India is very difficult. Clients outside India will try to hire you for cheap. And most of the Indian clients will pay you very less.
You have to know your worth and be confident of your work. When I tell people that I’m charging $100+ for an article they tell I’m very expensive.
But that’s not true.
I was writing monstrous articles on my blog for over a year and that’s how I got to this point.
So, work hard on your skills and always know your worth.
5. What tools do you use?
Ans. There are many tools and I honestly don’t remember all of them. But here are the tools I use a lot.
Google Drive: I would be nothing without this. I write articles on Google Docs, plan my work on Google Sheets. It really saves me from keeping my files stored on my laptop. Google Drive lets me work from anywhere on any device without any hassle.
Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Illustrator: Everything I design is using these two softwares. From blog post images to Instagram posts, I use these softwares only.
Grammarly: Grammarly helped me a lot in improving my writing skills. If you write anything on the Internet, you need to get Grammarly.
Buffer: I use Buffer for scheduling my tweets.
Grum: I schedule my Instagram posts using Grum.
Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule: Before publishing any post, I check my headlines using this tool. I usually test 10-15 headlines and pick the one that’s perfect.
Hunter Chrome Extension: For finding out anyone’s email address.
Mailshake: For email outreach
Elementor: For designing awesome pages.
Astra: Probably the best WordPress theme I’ve ever used.
6. Final words to our readers.
Ans. If you want to succeed in online marketing, keep providing value and be patient. Focus on the long-term instead of the short-term.
Thank You Ahfaz Bhai (Brother):
Thank you Ahfaz bhai, for sharing your experience and knowledge with us. Hope you keep shining always and your product (Smart Content Filter) becomes successful.
Note (For Readers of BloggingScoops):
If you would like me to have interviews with any of your favorite “Youngpreneurs” then just let me know about it in the comment section below.
I will try my best to make those interviews possible for you. And please do share this interview with those who can find it useful.
Thanks in Advance!