A letter to the writers, editors, contributors of Bollykings

Hello Contributors, Writers and Editors.

First of all, I would like to congratulate you all the hard work that you have put in throughout the time you have worked on improving and growing Bollykings. I hope that the new year brings forth plenty of wealth, health and new meaning to your live and that our professional relationship grows from strength to strength.
For most of you, the ‘job’ would have been effortless since you are passionate about movies. Needlessly to say, passion and love is what one needs to raise the bar in whatever field they are working.

Our aim at Bollykings.com is to improve the analysis and criticism of Bollywood – it’s movies and celebrities. Why you might ask? Read this page for the full mission statement, our aim, etc etc.

Before the new year began, I decided to go through some of the articles written by you guys. Not that I don’t read them (I usually add whole parts/rewrite parts/add graphics to improve the readability of the content). Just that I have been a little busy preparing for my exams.

Managing a website, remotely, is something that is new in this country and we’re trying our best to improve in all aspects. To better the content (which is actually the USP of our small website), I thought it would be a good idea to collect some common mistakes that contributors/writers commit while writing a piece that I have noticed over the month. Along with this, there are a couple of mistakes which editors overlook too that can best be avoided.

This letter will outline some basic policies to keep in mind for 2011 and is a must for all writers to keep in their minds.

Before I outline our own policy and point out common errors, please take a moment and read these additional articles that I had to dig up and write up and not divert from the issue at hand in this letter.

Keep these very important articles in mind. Try applying the concepts he’s talking about to your articles and see the difference it will make. Make it a habit because rome wasn’t built in day.

Editorial Notes – 3 important guidelines

Achieving such huge targets is possible if we start taking small steps right now. These are some VERY IMPORTANT notes to keep in mind while writing and then editing the articles that you have written. Please incorporate them into all your existing articles before writing fresh ones. I had intended to point them out way back but ah well. The results can be magical.

1. The title:

This is by far the most important part of any article. 95% of the readers read the title first and then decide if they want to move ahead. So keep in mind that the title has to be closely related to what you are talking about in the movie. It has to be catchy and must attract attention!!

Examples of inappropriate titles:

  • Shah Rukh Khan – The Shah Of All He Surveys : Why? Because the second part of the title (the shah of all he surveys) does not attract attention explicitly. Why would the casual reader read it.
  • Lessons learnt from TMK … and why Akshay is more popular than Akshay : Why? For the same reason.

How do I write a better title then?

I haven’t written my own guide to it because the guys at Copyblogger have pretty much nailed it. Please read their guide here.

These guys have outlines nearly all techniques that are used by the biggies to write better headlines.

2. Subheadings:

These are equally important to improve the readability of your posts. They make articles easy to digest. Ask yourself – would you rather be facing a wall of text or a small walls separated by interesting subheadings? So please try to incorporate a subheading or two in your articles. Subheadings have to be h2 tags.

3. ‘Fillers’ and ‘fluff’

Please avoid these. Inflating your articles with unnecessary words, phrases and expressions often makes it way too long to hold the readers attention span. This is not a newspaper or a magazine.

On blogs, the attention span of the reader is way too low. So please try and make your point concisely. Edit, edit, edit unless you’re absolutely sure of each and every one word in your piece. If you’re going to be doing this, I’d rather you do the well the first time instead of revising it later.

Yes, this will reduce your income in the short run but in my experience, well written pieces tend to stick around for much longer. And if you outdo yourself, I will give you a performance bonus eventually.

How do you know how well your articles have performed? I have installed google analytics and am working out a plan whereby I can send you detailed statistics. However these reports also contain sensitive data so I cannot send them right away.

Other than that, social media response to your articles will pretty much tell anyone how popular they are. The more facebook likes and retweets, the better your article.

These are three key areas which need improvement. Otherwise, everything else is sweet music. Keep the good work up. :)

Please send me any feedback/comments that you have. Feel free to voice your concerns. I will be really happy to listen/dispel any doubts.

Peace and love,

Prateek Modi.

Oh and please subscribe to this blog. Look It’s mandatory for all who are working with me. Nothing bad will happen, don’t worry :)

5 thoughts on “A letter to the writers, editors, contributors of Bollykings

  1. Also as writers we need to add good relevant images and URL’s – whether of YouTube or of any other site to add to the relevance of the article. I notice that you add all the links after the article has been uploaded.They make the articles look even better.
    A agree with you about the headlines or titles – need to pay more attention to them!!

    • Yes, we need to add images too! High quality ones with a size not bigger than 500×500 px unless absolutely necessary.

  2. Hi Prateek,

    I completely appreciate your encouragement and team-spirit. You are a good boss and I hope we can work together for a long-ish time.

    I agree with you on certain points and strongly disagree on some others.

    You invited brickbats, so you brought this upon yourself, don’t blame me :)

    1. The title of the articles should be catchy. AGREED.
    2. Title should speak to the audience. AGREED.

    But the TMK article was rechristened as “4 reasons why TMK flopped” by you or the editors. I have absolutely no problem, since I sold you the article, you can name it what you like. Still, I would like to present my case where a popular title may not best represent the feelings of the writer or say the gist of the article.

    The article about why TMK failed, the article details why it failed and not why it flopped. As one of our readers pointed out, the movie was not actually a big flop and today I read that it is a big money-grosser in Dubai. BO success is not always the same as movie being good and I was trying to emphasize the fact that movies are losing substance nowadays – taking TMK as a case study of sorts. I realize that most readers are not so read stuff with too much discretion, still I try to write both for them as well as the intelligent reader – I only said I tried… the best I can.

    Thanks a lot for the links to the copyblogger titles’ guidelines, I will bookmark them and make sure I go through them and bring them into practice.

    One question: Is it cool to link to some external websites once in a while when I feel that the link is needed or that it will help the reader?

    Hope your exams go extremely well and the New Year brings lots of happiness and success to you.

    PS: As a reader and onlooker, I think BK is one of the best sites of its kind and I intend to keep it this way as far as my efforts go.

    Thanks,
    Mahe

    • Hello Mahe,

      Thanks for your feedback and compliment :)
      The reason why we changed the title about TMK was for technical reasons. We get quite a lot of traffic from search engines and the term ‘flop’ gets more queries than ‘failed’. SEO is another factor which I have to discuss with my writers but that requires a lot of time since this will be a new field for most. Yep, its totally cool to link to external provided:

      1 – they are not spammy (filled with sparkling ads, etc)
      2 – talk sense.
      Basically sites which will help the user get more ‘knowledge’ about the subject..

      Regards.

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