“If it’s not organic, people will not appreciate it,” says Ruhee Dosani on content creation and influencer marketing

The 12th edition of TechSparks 2021 saw some of India’s top content creators take the stage to discuss their journey as digital content creators, the opportunities on the internet, and the struggle of doing what they are doing.
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The current generation is witnessing a new crop of entrepreneurs in the form of digital content creators and influencers — who have excelled the social media and are now leveraging its potential to build themselves as a brand. 

From beauty, tech, culinary skills to dancing, singing, acting — the opportunities on the internet are endless, and Millennials and Gen Z have it all figured out.

According to GroupM INCA, the Indian influencer marketing industry has grown exponentially over the last few years, estimated to reach Rs 900 crore by the end of 2021. 

The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25 percent till 2025 to reach a size of Rs 2,200 crore.

The 12th edition of TechSparks 2021, YourStory’s flagship startup-tech event, saw some of India’s top content creators take the stage to discuss their journey as digital content creators, the opportunities on the internet, and the struggle of doing what they are doing.

The panel included Ruhee Dosani, Chef Sanjyot Keer, Focused Indian aka Karan Sonawane, and Abhiraj Rajadhyaksha and Niyati Mavinkurve aka Abhi and Niyu. 

The panel included Ruhee Dosani, Chef Sanjyot Keer, Focused Indian aka Karan Sonawane, and Abhiraj Rajadhyaksha and Niyati Mavinkurve aka Abhi and Niyu. 

The journey of a content creator

Dancing sensation Ruhee Dosani — whose capsule dance videos on Instagram have garnered millions of views — started her journey on the internet while having fun with her friends and family. 

She said, “I work a full-time job, and during lunch breaks, we would all come together and record dance videos that we would post on our accounts online. And, one of those videos went viral.” 

Ruhee added, “In the initial six months, I was just overwhelmed with all the love we got for our dance videos. Then, I decided to learn everything about it and am still learning.” 

Karan and Sanjyot say they followed their passion mindfully and navigated through different platforms and forms of storytelling, including long-form videos, memes, capsule videos, reels, etc. 

Karan started his acting journey in 2012 when he dropped out of college. And, after venturing into different forms of visual content, he found Instagram Reels excited him the most.

Sanjyot — a professional chef — had to quit cooking professionally in 2014. However, he decided to film videos of him cooking recipes, which he posted on his YouTube channel “The Food Lab” in 2016. 

Luckily for him, his third video blew up. Since then, he kept posting a video every day for three years, and consistency became his key to success.

For Abhiraj and Niyati — who are known as ‘Abhi and Niyu’ on their social media channels — bringing a positive light to India was their sole motivation. 

“In 2019, when we started making content regularly, we discovered there is negativity around India, and that negativity stems from lack of knowledge. We usually don’t have an answer to what is it that we love about our country. So we wanted to discover what we love about India and show it through our videos, and that’s why we started our journey with a series called ‘100 Reasons to Love India’,” recalled Abhiraj.

The comment section impact 

The influencer and digital content creation market is still an upcoming space with rules and guidelines drafted as we speak. There is a lot of scope for cyber-bullying, with the cancel culture gaining influence over society. 

“There’s a lot of positivity showered upon creators on the internet, but there are also people who don’t like our content, and it’s okay. We also get hate comments, and when I’m having a bad day and I read a bad comment, it bothers me so much. There are pros and cons to every job, and if you know how to balance it, you’ll ace it,” Ruhee said.

However, Karan said people’s comments have never affected him because he never took the positive and negative comments to his heart. 

He added, “I feel happy every time I put out a piece of content. After that, whatever people comment on it is their lookout. But for me, I derive happiness by presenting my work to people.” 

When Sanjyot decided to create cooking videos, he started with what he likes to cook and eat, and that has been the primary step in his ideation process.

 

“There’s a certain personality with which I cook. So even if there are 10 recipes of the same dish, my recipe will look different, feel different, and be watched by different people. It is never about going with trends for me,” he said.

Reflecting on the fame and success on social media, Abhiraj said, “Fame is easy to get because we are exposed to so many people in such a short while. But success takes time to earn and it’s more concrete, and that’s going to dictate how relevant you are in the long haul.” 

The big revenue question 

With big brands finding advertising opportunities among digital content creators, they, too, are expanding their revenue prospects. At present, content creation has become one of the most sought-after professions. 

Karan, who is currently working with brands like Netflix, Marvel, Sony, had no idea how to approach brands about five years ago.

“When I started, I didn’t even have money in my mind. I just wanted to create videos and share them with the public. I worked with a regional YouTube channel, where I learnt how to present myself to brands.

However, the brands I’m working with approached me because they loved my content. I take brand integration seriously now and put more effort there. That’s why most of my branded content has crossed a million views,” he said.

Sanjyot busts the myth around the number of followers versus the revenue generated. 

He explained, “People think once you gain followers and start getting views is when you start making money. But that’s not how it works. You have to decide your niche, and in the long run, you build a community, viewership, etc., and this is when brands come into the picture.” 

“Since I’m a chef, I collaborate with appliances brands and FMCG brands mostly,” he said, adding that he wants to add value to his viewers' lives through his videos.

Ruhee urged fellow content creators to not post branded content just for the sake of it. 

“If it’s not organic, people will not appreciate it. A lot of people think once you gain some kind of fandom, people will love everything you do. But that’s not reality. If I love a brand, I’ll put my heart into the video, and that content will show my effort and full potential,” she said.

As the influencer community expands and better guidelines are formulated to bring structure to the industry, we may see more and more young millionaires across the country positioning themselves as brands in the influencer marketing industry.


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Edited by Suman Singh