In a panel discussion at #SMLive 2020, some of the leading content creators from the social media spectrum, attempted to decode the secret sauce of quality content and share tips on content creation that brands can emulate.
Moderated by Hitesh Rajwani, CEO, Social Samosa, on the occasion of World Social Media Day, the perceptive & fun session on 'Attention Economy: What can brands learn from leading Content Creators?' was kickstarted with full gusto as the penultimate discussion at #SMLive 2020. The panel included some leading content creators such as Ankush Bahuguna, Content Creator at Times Internet, Radhika Bangia, Content Creator, Sakshi Sindwani, Content Creator at stylemeupwithsakshi, Dhruv Shah & Shyam Sharma, Co-Founder, Funcho.
As the candid conversation progressed from secret sauce to content creation, cardinal sins, and more, the creators shared some crucial tips for brands and marketers in the world of creativity & content.
Secret sauce for creating good content
In a world that is overloaded with content leading to a deficit in attention, the session attempted to gauge the world of content through the lenses of the content creators. Rajwani commenced the #SMLive session with one of the most asked questions- the secret sauce to creating good content?
Bahuguna responded by highlighting that all the content put forth on social media and other channels, needs to be authentic with a personal touch & slice of life from the content creator. "I have managed to collect an audience that can understand my humor. Your experience, your humor, your ethos work. Beyond one funny video and more, people want to know who you are".
He further explained that following any specific formula doesn’t help. "Brands are creating content with an agenda. We are trying to genuinely entertain you."
Content creators agreed to Bahuguna's point of view. Bangia asserted that as creative people unless one brings a twist to the content, there's only so much one can grow.
Challenges & Opportunities
What are the challenges & opportunities during lockdown period for creators. Sindwani shares, "Personally, I went on a journey that I have to post every single day." With minimal resources, she says, relatable content works. "My followers grew 3-times during the lockdown as everybody is on social media", she further stated.
The period seemed to be like a massive opportunity for most of the content creators. Adversity sometimes brings the best out of us.
Most of the speakers in the panel also highlighted that while it is fun to create their own content with a twist, in case of branded content, they have very strict briefs & rules.
Leveraging trends with platform alignment
With newer platforms paving their way and navigating towards the new normal, it is sometimes tricky to align and adapt to the changing times. So, how do creators manage to adapt? To which Shah & Sharma, pointed out that being YouTube-rs, while sometimes they create a piece of content of 7-8 minutes of duration, they create concepts of 20-30 seconds, too. In such scenarios, it is not possible to post that content on YouTube as the platform. They, then, have to steer towards Instagram. The creators often have to align with the platform depending on their content & concepts.
Right mix of Branded & Original Content
What is the the right mix for branded content & original pieces for creators?
To this, Bahuguna stresses , "When choosing a content creator, brands have to understand that what voice does the content creator have." Some brands want their advertising to be 'in-your-face' and some brands are happy with aligning their 'ethos' without showing the product, he shares.
"I believe it depends on the brand tonality. As long as the piece of content can survive without the advertisement, it can be touted as a good piece of content."
The magic happens when brands give the content creators the liberty to create content without restrictions, add Shah & Sharma.
Sindwani reiterates that using your own USP as a creator for branded content becomes crucial in today's day and age when the consumers are so aware and have a plethora of content at their disposal.
Mutual learnings & appeal to brands
What is the one thing that the content creators have learned from the brands and vice-versa?
Bangia shares that in many cases, not all brands will resonate with you, as a creator. Hence, it is sometimes okay to turn them down and make less money. She also pointed out that the content creators need to draw some ground rules to maintain a balance between their creativity and brand guidance & rules
Sindwani agreed and clarified that creators need to shamelessly promote themselves and lay down the rules for their own brand. Also, she highlighted that brands need to make more videos. " I am more attached to the brands when I get to see videos from them", she says.
Another glaring issue pointed by the content creators was to communicate with brands over content through 'multiple agencies'. In this context, Shah & Sharma explain, "It is difficult to communicate with the brand through multiple agencies", as sometimes the agencies don’t know what they want to communicate. "We need to have a one-to-one conversation with the brand", shares the duo.
Bahuguna emphasizes that the one thing brands need to know is that as content creators we would need the money to provide our services." It is our profession and not a hobby", he concludes.