These days, content is king.
As someone who's been in the industry for a fair share of time, having seen some of the biggest creators grow from scratch, having fought their battles to enable growth, and helped groom budding creators build their brand online, here's my two cents on the seven things you should avoid during your journey of content creation.
1. Avoid overthinking about starting off
There is no secret sauce. There is never going to be a better time to start than now. There is no shortcut to reaching a million subscribers. The only hack you need to know is: JUST START.
Start off with some basic planning. Pick your genre. Pick your channel name. If you are terrible at staying organised, bank enough content before you launch your channel. You will hit many roadblocks initially; it will not be a smooth ride. But you will learn to figure out things along the way.
2. Avoid signing up with an MCN or an agency too early
I cannot stress on this point enough. If you're only just starting off, DO NOT sign up with a multi-channel network or a talent agency just yet. They will claim to make you reach the coveted one million-number faster, make you a millionaire overnight, and make you the biggest digital star in the country, but trust me, you will be in for a massive disappointment if you sign a contract in your early days.
Initially, learn everything about content creation - recording & editing videos, creating thumbnails, working out your finances, hiring and firing people, negotiating brand deals - by yourself.
Once you're on a growth spurt, pick the right agency to work with. Pick an agency partner that has their fair share of know-how of the space and can help catapult your growth. The right agency will not piggy-back on you; instead it will collaborate with you to ensure your progress. Hire a lawyer or consult a lawyer-friend before signing any contract, so you can ensure the deal is not one-sided.
3. Avoid falling in the trap of buying followers
The journey you have embarked upon is one that needs a lot of patience, perseverance, and will power.
At many stages, you will be tempted to take short cuts to gain short-term fame, money, and applause. One of these shortcuts is buying bots to increase your followers or engagement. There are a plethora of services at very affordable rates offering the option of buying bots in terms of followers, likes, and even comments.
This may seem like the easier and more enticing route to take initially. It may feel like the brands are now paying more attention to your work and paying you more. But once you do it, you will find yourself doing this for the rest of your content life. You will end up building an echo chamber for yourself, thinking you actually have real influence. Avoid big time.
4. Avoid letting hate get to you
In the journey of content creation, you need to learn one hard fact. You are putting yourself out there on the internet. You will never be able to please everyone with your content. Learn to differentiate hate from genuine feedback. Then, learn to tackle hate/trolling. Because haters will only increase once you get more popular.
5. Avoid being inconsistent and playing it safe
If there is secret recipe to a long-lasting career as a content creator, it is consistency. Creating content is a marathon, not a 100m sprint. While you're running it, you will need to ensure you produce regular doses of entertaining and/or value-adding content with consistency to build a loyal follower base.
At many stages of your journey, you will have to take risks and be innovative with your content. Look at your comments section; it’s your single-most effective way of gaining constructive criticism (ignore the trolls!). Some will like it, some may not. Take risks, anyway.
6. Avoid being insecure about others
If there’s one tip almost every big creator will give you, it’s this: stay focused on your own game. Don’t try to compete with others; don’t be bothered about what feats they are achieving or the kind of progress they are making.
In a country as vast as ours, we’re honestly not competing with each other’s audiences. A billion people have access to your content; you will find your audience in the long run.
You also need to understand that while numbers are important, they are not everything. It is easier for a regional comedy channel to rake in views, as opposed to a gardening channel in English. Hence, don’t limit yourself to a number.
Use your digital clout as a stepping stone to build on to multiple products/ideas in the long run.
7. Avoid being unidimensional in terms of content
Don’t be an influencer; be a content creator. If you’re joining the digital creator bandwagon, it is because you’re genuinely passionate about the industry, not because you are seeking freebies from brands.
As a rule of thumb, I believe content creators should be active on more than two platforms at least. Limiting yourselves to only one platform is setting yourself up for failure. No platform is invincible; everything comes with a shelf life.
I recommend one must build audiences on multiple platforms to stay relevant. The goal of a digital content creator should be to become an independent content powerhouse, instead of chasing the influencer life. The more content you create, the more you are prone to discoverability, and the more you are inclined to monetise your various forms of content.
These are some fundamental weapons I believe you must carry in your arsenal if you are to embark on this wonderful, long journey of being a content creator.
Wishing all budding creators all the very best.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
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