Payal Shankar talks about how finding your niche and creating content around it is something that would make you unstoppable.
Being a blogger ain’t easy, especially when brands are involved in the mix. It is a constant struggle to maintain a balance between client deliverables and editorial clarity. Payal Shankar tells Social Samosa about her content creation process and how she helps her audience form their opinions about the things she talks about in her content.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
I would say when I turned three. I loved playing dress, trying out stuff from my mom’s wardrobe, pretending to be a diva.
What’s in the name?
Your name is what your audience will relate to you always. My blog identifies with what I do every day — write. It literally defined me since my social media coordinates go with my name: Payal Scribbles.
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
Keeping it real has always been my mantra. I consciously try and keep it raw and take it one day at a time. My feed is a dynamic representation of my personal and work life. It is a healthy mix where my audience is not constantly bombarded with only brand engagements or just my personal space. Sharing bits about my home lets my followers know the real me and that is exactly how I present my work too. Thereby, making it a perfect fit for my audience to connect with me.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
We are all unique and what I bring to the table no one can and vice versa. I think if we all understand this fact, the whole process becomes a lot easier. I follow a lot of content creators, take inspiration and admire them for what they do. And I never for once forget what my strengths are. I know that I can only thrive if I do something different, but that comes naturally to me because I am as different as is everyone else.
So, in the case of brands, I usually follow the brief as well and add my own creative touch to it so that it is more appealing. For my own content creation, I sit and ponder a lot more. Having a plan is always a good idea. Experimenting and finding inspiration is something I follow diligently. My feed always has something new and fresh to offer each day. I know that my audience looks forward to my posts as it will be different from the last one. It has taken two years of concentrated efforts to get here.
I usually focus on writing meaningful content that I believe in. If I do not follow it, I can’t talk about it. Be it my sense of fashion, my values and beliefs, my personal life, it is all as is. Being honest and just giving it all each day is what keeps me going.
How do you make moolah with your efforts?
Though I have had my blog for five years, it is only last two years of active blogging and Instagramming that I have come to a point where the clients recognise my potential and understand the monetary acknowledgement in regards to the efforts that go in content creation.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
It ain’t easy and there is a constant struggle to add your elements without hampering the client’s deliverables. Also, there is a premeditated requirement that your audience should be able to identify and form their unbiased opinions when you put out your content.
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile.
To be on the hoarding of a popular city-based shopping mall, to be the face of a hi-end luxury exhibition as well as their blogger and influencer. To bag major campaigns without being a part of PR agencies is truly high.
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
I was asked to write adult content for a fashion magazine and while I was okay with the assignment with only a prerequisite of it being anonymous. It was all good till overnight the deliverables were changed I would get paid only if I were okay to give my name.
If not blogging, you would be?
I would have been a table tennis player for I have always had a fascination for sports.
A day in your life…
As manic as it can get. I start my day at 6 am. Send my bub to school and then the husband leaves. Post which I sit down with my cuppa and of course Instagram. Most days I step out for work meetings, shoots or just to chill with my friends. Evenings are busy with gym, homework and playtime schedules, cooking and pottering around the house. I am extremely iffy about my sleep and I am usually in bed by 10 pm, most days it is even earlier than my son.
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
I think from someone who started out in post 30s, I can definitely say this for a fact. If I can, so can you. Keep it real and as individualistic and close to your intrinsic personality. Find your niche and create content on those lines, something which you genuinely enjoy and wouldn’t stop at anything.
Your Favorite Influencer
My favourite has to be Malini Agarwal, she is one of the reasons I chose blogging. She is a true inspiration for anyone who sees their career as a passion. She makes it look effortless and yet so very enjoyable.
I absolutely love the content that House of Misu creates. It is very luxe and makes you fall in love with all that they talk about which I feel is Influencing done right.
I also am greatly inspired by Rohina Anand Khira. Her take on interiors and home decor are always on point and her brand definitely has global appeal.
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
I am still revelling in my journey so far and don’t know what the future holds for me. As a practising Nichiren Buddhist, I enjoy my current moments and live to the fullest every day. I want to eventually create a boggers tribe where we can co-exist peacefully and grow together focussing on our uniqueness and skills.