A corporate communications professional at Lenskart and a blogger at ChicLifeByte, Shilpa Arora is a dedicated person who shares her secret of leading a double life.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
I had been working for 10 years in PR and Corporate Communications and had reached a saturation point. I wanted to do much more in my life which wasn’t confined to my 9 to 5 job.
That’s when I joined hands with my siblings to start ChicLifeByte.com. Both Nidhi and I work together to make ChicLifeByte a success but have different Instagram handles for the distinct personalities we are.
Our brother Shubham ensures everything goes smooth by handling the Tech part of the blog with his photography skills. He extends his Social media skills making sure we are always trending and up to date.
What’s in the name?
We wanted a name that resonates with what we do. CHIC in fashion means- the hot & happening; LIFE means Lifestyle – getting your life spruced up and BYTE for us resonates with all the delicious food as well as the news bytes.
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
When we started off, we looked at pages of other bloggers too. What we realized was that most of the blogs were pictorially driven and didn’t have much content.
A prospective customer does not want to look at 10 different pages to make a decision and hence we made sure we would give equal importance to both pictures and content. Most of our blogs are 1000 words plus and are written in an interesting manner for a good read.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
We cover a wide spectrum of things to keep the readers glued and entertained. All the aspects from Food to Fashion to Lifestyle to Travel to Beauty to Lifestyle Tech are important aspects of one’s identity.
If one goes out to eat (food), he/she dresses up (fashion), gets into a car (lifestyle) or when they go on holidays (travel), dresses up (fashion) and drives (lifestyle) to the destination, travel around, eats (food), and clicks pictures (lifestyle tech). Hence, most of our content is consumed in the multiple requirements for an individual.
How do you make moolah with your efforts?
Bloggers are also seen as influencers. I get a lot of e-mails and calls from brands. Money is important and all requests for free collaborations are declined but for me, it’s the brand/ assignment that drives me more than the compensation.
For eg: Men still look down on women who drive and I was very happy to join hands for an automobile assignment and flew down to Mumbai for the shoot. I have been driving for more than 13 years and love playing an influencer for cars.
I also do a lot of non-sponsored content for my followers which are driven by what I want to promote or what the followers request. These are not PR led.
A lot of it includes some interesting sightseeing destinations. For eg: When I went to Nepal I visited Bat Cave which had bats all over. I would ideally want my followers to know about these interesting places. For me it was so adventurous and a real eye-opener.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
I talk about my experience with the brand and the product. only after experiencing it. My honest reviews are what our readers look for and hence translate into business for the brand.
While putting down our experience, there are times when food isn’t according to my preference or something is different from my needs so I write accordingly. For example, if a Pizza has a lot of cheese or a dish is too spicy, I would say it’s a must-have for Cheese lovers or a must-have for spice lovers. This is done keeping in mind everyone has their unique choices and preferences and it’s not the same for everyone.
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile
For me, it’s my passion that drives me and not money. Every time a reader gives their positive feedback on an article/post has helped them in some way, it gives me a kick to do more.
I would also like to share three major instances which motivate me and drive me to do better:
- A brand like Google invited me for their media launch as well as influencer party during the launch of Google Pixel 2 XL. They even gifted me with the gadget.
- I was the only lifestyle blogger to travel to Dubai for the launch of a mobile phone brand.
- I planned a trip to Thailand in January 2017 and had a couple of brands on board from an outfit partner, makeup partner, hospitality partner, health partner, skincare partner, lens partner. It was summed as a business and pleasure trip.
A day in your life…
I am a corporate communications professional on weekdays and a blogger on weekends. So my typical Saturday starts with waking up on my usual office timing, getting ready and heading my mother’s place (I am married and stay with my husband) which is a 15 minutes drive from my current residence. I am fortunate to have my siblings as my partners.
My mother would have already prepared my favorite dishes for breakfast and I indulge in them catching up with mom on the breakfast table. we head for our assignments for the day-shoot, events, food reviews, meetings, strategy, planning, editing. My Saturdays are the busiest days of the week but full of passion and drive.
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
Don’t run after money. Follow your passion and let money run after you. Create your own Niche.
Your Favorite Influencer
I follow a lot of influencers across the world because both my profession and passion are co-related. I will not be able to name any influencer but all of them are doing great work in their own domains.
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
I try to put my 100% in whatever I do and want to keep growing each day, learning new things and keeping my followers inclined to what I do. I also love to hear what they like to read and I am open to experimenting on that front.