Dipika Desai steers clear off paid product reviews to maintain authenticity

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Dipika Desai

Working at an MNC through the week leaves only the weekends for Dipika Desai to work on her blog, create a bank and schedule content.

The restrictiveness of the blogs she used to write for pushed Dipika Desai into creating her blog. Today, she creates content as per her liking and is able to sustain her blog without allocating money from her salary for it. She is an electrical engineer by profession.

Looking back, where did it all begin?

In 2010, as I was looking for kajal recommendations online, I discovered beauty blogging. I was fascinated with the concept of reviewing and sharing your beauty experiments, DIYs and knick-knacks. When I got married in 2013, I received quite a few makeup products as gifts. This led me to gather courage and start freelancing with popular beauty blogs as a product reviewer. At one instance, a beauty blog decided to not publish my article for I was talking about a limited edition product that wasn't as widely available in India. It made me feel helpless and demotivated.

So, In Jun 2016, I started my own blog, Beauty Fitness Funda and published that article there. Till today, it is the most read article on my blog. It was about coloured toric lenses and helped many people who have cylindrical numbers and want to wear coloured lenses. This is how my journey as a blogger began.

What's in the name?

The Beauty Fitness Funda abbreviates as BFF, which every girl wants in her life. We share all our secrets & our tips with our BFF. I want my blog to be BFF of every girl so that they can trust AND rely on my blog reviews for their every skin AND makeup query. In short, I want my blog to be a community of BFF where we can share our mutual love of products with each other through comments AND blog posts. 

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

Honesty is key. I write my blog because I love what I do. I do share commercial posts as brand collaborations but I never write a sponsored review. My reviews go live only after I have used the product for a minimum of 15 days. I try to review drugstore brands and not high-end brands to ensure my blog is relatable for middle-class and college-going audiences.

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

I love clicking pictures of a product and I do it the moment I purchase any new products. Then, I test out the claims made by the brand. I am an engineer with a 9 to 6 job in an MNC, so I just get weekends to work on my blog posts. I prefer taking photographs on a single day and then edit them out as time allows. Making daily notes about the product while using it helps me write the blog post. I preschedule my posts during the weekdays. Before writing an article, I research and gather all related information. Comments on the blog and on Instagram help me connect with my readers and understand their expectations from my blog.

How do you make moolah with your efforts?

Making money with part-time blogging is quite difficult as I am unable to give it the requisite amount of time and dedication at the moment. I have been able to monetize my blog with Google Adsense, however, the income is not so much from that. Most of the money I make is from brand collaborations and events, which helps me sustain the blog without investing anything from my salary.

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

Brand briefs are so monotonous sometimes that simply can't use your creativity. However, I try to balance it out with creative, organic posts where I can create content without restrictions. But yes, there are some brands that give you the flexibility to create content your way.

Also Read: Content creation is a 24X7 process: Leenata

One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile

It is when readers appreciate your hard work, buy the product you have recommended and like it as well. It feels amazing when your favourite brand likes your work and approaches you for a collaboration. These are some instances where it all feels worthwhile.

Weirdest brand brief/request ever

Sometimes brands want to collaborate against 30-40% discount on their products and expect a positive review on every social media platform as well as shopping websites. I deny such offers and instead buy the products on my own to ensure my reviews are honest.

If not blogging, you would be?

I am an electrical engineer and blogging is my passion. However, if not a blogger, I would have loved to be a personal shopper of cupboard organiser. These are the job profiles I am really interested in.

A day in your life...

A day in life is just like any other working girl. In the morning, I check my phone and get ready for the office. After work, I check emails and after dinner, I watch a movie or a web series till I doze off. However, on weekends, the schedule is transformed to include product photography sessions and crafting blog posts for the upcoming week.

Message/tips for upcoming bloggers

Just be yourself and don’t get intimidated with the competition or the number games. Remember that there is no free lunch in this world and if you are looking to be a blogger for the free stuff, you should think twice for there is a lot of hard work involved in creating content and maintain a blog. Do it only if you love it and are passionate about it. Don't make it another mundane task in your life.

Your Favorite Influencer

Shreya Jain for the consistency and the hard work she puts in her work.

Larissa Dsa because I love her smile and her positive vibes. She is an example that you can learn anything if you really want to.

The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand

I really want to increase my audience, so that my opinion and views can reach to a much wider group of people. I would love to help people choose the right product online. Some day, I would really like to open my own online store where I can sell my custom handpicked designed.

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