Vidya Sury is a published author, writer, editor and blogger, who writes to collect smiles, donate to charities and change the world. Vidya spoke with us recently about her blogging philosophy and how she attracts readers and book purchasers through her myriad of blogs and social media accounts.
Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you decide to start a blog?
I love to write. After more than a decade in sales/marketing/training, I decided to retire from my corporate career at 33 to focus on family with the idea of starting my own business soon. I looked at freelancing training and copywriting opportunities to give me the flexibility to work from home with a steady income. As I grew my clientele as a copywriter writing and blogging for businesses, personal blogging helped me keep my writing muscles flexed and explore different styles of writing.
Today, I have six blogs of my own (and two that I co-author with my sister) across a variety of niches, including lifestyle, health, happiness, memoirs, diabetes, cooking, and spiritual wellness.
Blogging allows me to accomplish one of my life goals, which is supporting charities. I donate my blogging income to welfare homes, child sponsorships, and causes close to my heart. Blogging has also helped to showcase my writing to the world, attracting brand alliances, connecting with the community, and building my network. And of course, I love what I do!
Could you tell us why you chose "collecting smiles" as the subtitle and goal of your blog?
I wanted to build and nurture a positive space that made visitors smile and feel good. Choosing "collecting smiles" as my tagline was easy. My goal in life is to make the world a better place by collecting smiles from those who visit and read, and also by donating my blogging income to my local welfare homes and supporting children in need.
Today, bloggers have the power to change the world through their writing, thanks to the ability to share and amplify their message via social media and through sponsored content. I am lucky to do what I enjoy because my work is aligned with my values and vision.
Which kinds of your blog posts are shared most often by your readers?
People mostly enjoy personal posts, especially those around life experiences. I have a healthy and diverse community that comments and shares my posts on social media. I see a lot of traffic for a variety of posts, although I focus on the following categories: mindful living, parenting, gratitude, happiness, inspiring stories, personal development, books, and travel.
Since you are an avid photographer, you obviously like to showcase your work on Pinterest. What kind of response do you get from people on the platform?
I love photography and find it very therapeutic. On Pinterest, I get a lot of "re-pins." These days, I post photos via Instagram and automatically create albums across my social media profiles. People enjoy my pictures, which include snippets from daily life, travel photos, food, inspiring quotes, and things that make me happy. I enjoy celebrating the little things and taking part in photo challenges such as #100HappyDays and #365daysofgratitude.
Since you have a presence on several social media platforms, could you tell us whether you have different followers on different platforms? Or do people tend to follow you on multiple platforms?
People tend to follow on multiple platforms. Almost anyone who is on social media has a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram presence. It is easy to connect across platforms; after all, we enjoy growing our friends' networks. I am also part of various Facebook and Triberr blogging groups where we support each other by sharing our content on Twitter, which extends our reach.
How has the popularity of your blog contributed to the success of your book, which is available for purchase directly from your blog?
The book Winding Road to Freedom launched on November 5. I have contributed to four other books over the past three years. Blogging has helped me connect with the community, and they are the first to know when something significant is happening with me. As a blogger, I also have a good chance of authors and publishers reaching out to me based on what they see on my blog. I am blessed to have people who voluntarily come forward to support my achievements. They offer constant encouragement that keeps me motivated.
What have you found to be the most effective approach or method of getting people to subscribe to your newsletter?
Being consistent has helped me grow. In addition to writing regularly and building a positive space for visitors, visiting and sharing others' content generously is a critical part of blogging. An interactive community is more likely to want to stay in touch. I believe that I've been able to build my list because of this.
What are your future plans? Will you write another book or start a different blog?
Yes to both! As I mentioned earlier, I love to write and I am working on the drafts of a series of books, which I will publish in the near future.