Exposure and goodwill don’t pay bills: Oendrila De

Oendrila De

Oendrila De finds it funny how pitch emails for collaboration have detailed information on deliverable but miss out on commercials.

Oendrila De never writes about anything she doesn’t believe in. Stating how blogging is not a business for her yet and even if it were, she wouldn’t write about anything she didn’t find to be true. Use of disclaimers for objectivity is something she likes to practice.

Looking back, where did it all begin?

If I have to think of a starting point, I guess I’ll have to talk about the days after my graduation when I used to start a new blog every other day on blogger.com and start writing. Someday, it would be a coriander chicken recipe, on the other about the government’s decision to give monetary compensation to rape victims. In 2016, a workshop helped me meet a bunch of bloggers and eventually sometime around Pujo that year, Just-OD-Things happened.

What’s in the name? 

My blog, Just-OD-Things, is a place where I write about things that fascinate me and help me feel ok as I cope with this world, its people, and my life. It’s a place where people can just find a piece of Oendrila De, i.e. OD, and feel, “Wow, this girl could be my friend.” Hence, the name! It’s all just my thoughts and opinions.

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

I keep things relatable and regular. I call myself the friendly neighbourhood blogger, with recommendations that fit the budget, advice about real problems, a healthy dose of everyday feminism, ideas for getting off the radar… Basically, I’m approachable and very real.

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

Like I said, I keep things real. I only talk about things that I believe in. If I am not going to a restaurant again, I am not going to write great things about it. Honesty is the key. My target group is women of my age, and when I write about simple things I do in my life, they find me and my blog relatable. 

If I have to write a promotional content, I create a story around the product or establishment I’m promoting. I have to dig down inside me to find that story. As a result, I either end up giving people a chance to connect with that product or that establishment or make people realise that this is not for them. In the end, readers, as well as the brands I’m working with, get what they want.

Of course, a lot depends on the strategy and technicalities, but I still believe that content is king.  

How do you make moolah with your efforts?

Honestly, I have recently started monetising my blog and social media platforms through sponsorships. I promote products, brands, boutiques, restaurants, etc. on my platforms. My job, as a blogger and social media marketer, is to bring a business to the notice of its target group, which I do through social media. Simultaneously, I ensure that they have a place on Google because of my blog. So, it’s a win-win for the brands. I also offer photography services. Social media marketing advice and blogger outreach programme is also part of the job. 

So far, I’ve only blogged because I love writing and clicking pictures. But, now, after being exploited for the same love for writing and clicking, I am trying not to do anything for free anymore. I still make sure that the honesty of my opinion is not compromised. That’s very important for me when it comes to blogging. 

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

It’s simple. I don’t write about what I don’t believe in. Blogging is not business for me. At least not yet. Even if and when it becomes a source of income, I’m not going to write about what I don’t believe to be true, or add my disclaimers about products that I don’t or won’t use. If Kangana Ranaut can turn down an ad for Fair and Lovely, I can turn down offers from unhealthy Keto supplement brands, or restaurants that only serve good food at bloggers’ meets.

Also Read: Thought for two years before starting my blog: Bhoomika Pachauri

One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile

I think it’s when a piece of writing touches people and they can relate to it, or find help in it. I remember when I wrote about how to get over old memories, or why it’s important to eliminate toxic people. Strangers thanked me, and it felt good to know that people found these helpful.   

Weirdest brand brief/request ever

Where do I begin? Honestly, it’s funny when I receive a professionally composed email which has a dedicated section with a detailed list of deliverables, but conveniently misses out the commercials, or even a simple line requesting my media kit and expectations. Most of the times, these are either for barter deals or just for some free service.

According to the PR agencies, such ‘free service’ is supposed to give us ‘exposure’. I think I can speak on behalf of every blogger when I say that it’s aggravating that brands and PR agencies think that they can get service out of bloggers with an active blog or social media influencers with thousands of followers in exchange for ‘exposure’ and goodwill. Neither of these pays our bills. 

If not blogging, you would be?

Well, I’m not a full-time blogger. I am a copywriter at a film production company. Before I joined this company, I have worked as a web content curator, social media manager, and copywriter for seven years. If not blogging, I would still find a way to express myself.   

A day in your life…

I’m a simple woman with a day job that keeps me busy in the office. When I’m home, I enjoy watching the reruns of old comedy shows or simply browsing through my Facebook feed. I also have a thing for some strange hobbies, like knitting, jewellery making, etc., and watch tutorials on Youtube. Some times, I spend the evening with my fiance.

Message/tips for upcoming bloggers

Stay passionate. Stay confident, and have faith. Remember that you only get to count on yourself. Develop networking skills — something that I’m terrible at — but, don’t sell your soul for favours. Don’t do anything for free. 

Your Favorite Influencer

That’s a difficult question for me to answer, especially because my interests are varied. Melyssa Griffin and Neil Patel are two of my favourite bloggers. I also follow a huge number of Youtube influencers. Off the top of my head, I have to name Joanna Soh, Bong Eats, and of course, Superwoman. 

The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand

I feel like a hyper-imaginative kid, saying so, but I hope to blog and vlog on a full-time basis, working mainly in the travel and health and fitness niches. I also wish to start my own content writing agency with my partner.