Komal Khulbé reflects on how things have changed in the industry since she started blogging ten years ago when they were paid in cupcakes.
In conversation with Social Samosa, Komal Khulbé shares her decade long journey that began with a purpose to express her opinionated-self. She reminds all the budding influencers to remember their worth by staying honest to their content. It can take them places!
Looking back, where did it all begin?
I have been always been extremely opinionated even when I discovered blogging in 2009. It seemed like the best platform to put my perspective. It was an extreme shift as bigger media conglomerates had access to industry information at that time. Starting from a jewellery blog and changing into a fashion one and now to a lifestyle and beauty platform, my content has transformed exactly how I have changed. In 2011, I thought my animated and opinionated self should start a YouTube channel. It felt more personal and the right step with the transition of content. So I was right!
What’s in the name?
My first name was inspired by my obsession with jewellery but within a year, I realized it was extremely specific and did not leave enough room for my opinions on other things. My love for commentary on new fashion shows pushed me to create a better and more generic name which would let me dabble in all lifestyle genres. Little did I know that it would be so keyword-heavy!
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
My honest to the bone perspective and the ten-year-long relationship that I share with my audience is what makes me different. I always put my audience first. I believe we’ve grown together, staying connected with my content and while sharing a bond of friendship and trust.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
I create a variety of content ranging from reviews, opinion pieces, Q&As and other interactive videos. Each content idea needs a separate process. I believe in creating content that the audience needs. Most of the time, the reviews are based on requests. But the #KomalTalks videos are based on my own need of putting out an opinionated video which creates a dialogue about issues I see around me. I know these issues will be important to the audience as well. But Q&A’s take more time since the questions need to be accumulated for a week. You cannot be a good blogger without listening to your audience.
How do you make moolah with your efforts?
In 2009, we were paid with cupcakes (literally). Things have changed dramatically since I became a full-time blogger in 2015. There are different ways now. Most of the brands go for the head-on sponsored videos that showcase their products on the channel. Some of them want you to speak about the products only on social media platforms. Whereas some want you to attend events and amplify the event. You can charge the brands according to your worth as well as your interactions. A lot of people think the bigger the number, the more the money but that’s false. In this age of fake followers, always see your interactions and demand your income!
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
It is extremely simple, I have certain ground rules that are unbreakable. They include – NO fairness products and NO gimmicky products. I read every brand brief that comes to me and I question the brand about the smallest details. Then, I think if my audience benefits from it. If these factors don’t match then I deny the collaboration. Every blogger should know their brand and brand value. Always remember why you started and remember that the trust of your audience is the most prime thing!
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile.
It was my first ever meet and greet where I got to meet all of my subscribers and got a chance to put a face to all the comments. Meeting my followers and talking to them made me realize how important my work is and the difference it makes in someone’s life.
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
A specific brand kept sending me the same brief over and over again from different email addresses. They offered 5 clothes and wanted to collect 3 out of them back, in exchange for content on all social media platforms with ‘professional’ pictures. It made me question the sanity and professionalism of the brand because their way of doing things seemed ruder than the rookie.
If not blogging, you would be?
Most probably a vocalist, working part-time at an animal shelter and baking sourdough bagels as a side hustle!
A day in your life…
Wake up at 7 am and read business news while doing vocal exercises. I read and reply to all the emails by 11 am and think of new content ideas until noon. Then, I shoot and edit until the end of the day.
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers.
Know your brand and your value. Your audience should be your priority and always remember why you started!
Your Favorite Influencer.
The Future you foresee for your Brand.
I foresee more interaction with the audience and educating the brands more. I would also want to start my own branded merchandise and help to educate the new bloggers on — How the blogging cookie crumbles!