Interview: Storytelling, helps me break the clutter: Lakshmi Sharath

Lakshmi Sharath

Moving on from a flourishing decade-long career in media, Lakshmi Sharath commenced her journey of travel blogging and there was no turning back since then.

A strong believer of storytelling, Lakshmi Sharath believes that is what sets her apart. She weaves products’ purpose with her stories to create a strategic brand fit. In a candid interview with Social Samosa, Sharath takes us through her journey.

Looking back, where did it all begin?

It all began in 2005 when I was still having a day job in media and I wanted to get back to writing which has been a passion since school days. And there was travel, another passion since childhood. And so I decided to marry the two passions. Blogging was something new then and the idea of having your own little space on the big wide world of internet was fascinating. And I just started travel blogging without any thought on where this new journey would take me

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Just another morning at Sankey Lake, in my neighborhood in Bangalore. It’s a simple humble tank which has now become a small park for the residents and is buzzing with life. It’s my go to place when my energies are down and when I need to reinforce my faith in the ways of life . Standing there I was looking at the reflections and it helped me clear my mind a bit . I have been slowing down , winding up my work and hoping to start afresh next year . I have also been taking a lot of refuge in silence , withdrawing from the world and relooking at everything including travel, work, goals, relationships, friendships from an entirely new perspective. Distance helps me to observe more and get better clarity than I would have otherwise got. Every moment teaches you something new . And am grateful for these moments .

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What’s in the name?

Names don’t mean much to me. I started off as a backpacker and hence the blog was called so. Eventually, my travels became less of backpacking and I realized that I would rather focus on telling stories as a traveler than just talk about a type of travel. It was easy to have a simple identity – my name. Social media was just taking off and I was known as Lakshmi Sharath everywhere. I felt that it would be easier for people to recall the name than have different identities. And I have been building brands for different media companies that I thought why not take a shot in building my own brand. Narcissistic maybe, but I let it be

What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?

Storytelling. This helps me break the clutter. My content is not always focused on I, me, myself. I like to tell stories of people, places, myths and legends, food, arts, crafts – anything that I think is fascinating.T hey maybe quirky, funny, hard-hitting, emotional, interesting .. call it whatever but I believe that stories make a place.

Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?

I don’t think much about relevance. People love stories and I hope that they also like my style of storytelling too. Even if I am sharing a listicle I tend to weave stories around them. And stories are always fascinating – they never die.

How do you rake moolah with your efforts?

Well, I work with brands like everyone else but I try my best to weave them into my content. It doesn’t work all the time but I ensure that the brand is relevant to my audience and the content is useful. Money is good sometimes but I don’t rely only on influencer marketing to make money.

Also Read: Interview: If you keep at it, it will become better: Mridula Dwivedi

How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?

There is nothing more important than credibility and I will never compromise on that. I am very picky about the clients I work with. They give me complete editorial freedom especially when it comes to the blog. If I am working with a tourism board or an airline the content is entirely based on my experience and interest. I do very few FAMs and fortunately, no one has dictated any brief to me.

One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile

Every day in the life of a traveler/travel blogger is worthwhile, whether it’s getting to meet Roger Federer or meeting a priest called Seshadri Dixit living in an obscure village in Karnataka who had cycled the entire country over 4 decades ago. The second story was not a brand activity by the way. But every story, conversation, experience is worth it

Weirdest brand brief/request ever

Oh, there are so many. I don’t want to embarrass clients here

If not blogging, you would be?

Sleeping. Jokes apart, I will be a traveler for sure but I might be running my own outfit in the media space. I was in media for over 12-13 years and I have launched FM radio stations across south India. I was a TV producer as well and I made a transition from a functional creative and content head to a business head. The experience had helped me groom my career here as well.

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I see them, insignificant and virtually invisible trudging uphill like ants. For a moment I wonder if they are real or just an illusion. The bright afternoon sun lights up the stark landscape almost blinding me. Standing atop the 700 year old Leh Palace, I look at the bright blue sky and cover my face so that the ultra violet rays do not burn my skin. The massive mountainscape fans out in front of me as the Namgal Tsemo Gompa stands like a dot in the scenery. As my eyes scan the landscape I see them. They are just a microcosm in this entire universe. But their quest is important. They are trudging uphill, to reach the summit, to meet their goals. They don't know that am watching. I am just an idle observer, looking at life around me. Sometimes I want to be out there, trudging along , pursuing my goals with determination and single minded focus. At other times I want to just let go, be free spirited, watch life pass me by and be just an observer, taking in life's valuable sessions.. Thoughts from my travel diary penned during the #highestbloggermeet in #Ladakh. Photographed by #canon1300D

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A day in your life….

A day in my life – I have done a blog post on this for Microsoft. I must confess that I am not so organized these days. I am learning to slow down and focus on other aspects of my life. Passion is great but I don’t want it to consume me.

Message/tips for upcoming bloggers

Never give up on your credibility

Your Favorite Influencer

Every influencer influences me in some form or the other

The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand

I take one day at a time but am here for the long haul. However, as I speak I am planning to rework on my strategy next year. It’s been over 14 years of blogging and it’s time to sharpen my focus a bit. But like I said stories will never die.