How to become a successful creator: The Manish Pandey way

Manish Pandey, one of India’s leading brand consultants and mentors to many successful content creators, says, “It's a long-term game. You have to be consistent.”
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Until a few years ago, nobody thought social media could create monetary value. Now, companies are repurposing their platforms to create value for ordinary people to transform content creation and consumption processes. 

Platforms, including Moj, MX TakaTak, Chingari, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram, have provided opportunities to people—from metros to India’s Tier II, III, and beyond towns and cities—interested in bringing forward their talent and making a living out of it. 

In this interconnected world of social media, experts suggest that the content space is saturated. 

Manish Pandey has a different take on it. He says, “Nearly 550 million people use the internet and 230 million watch YouTube daily. Every day, new people enter the ecosystem in search of content. So, there's no saturation. The demand-supply scale is still unbalanced and tilted towards the demand side.” 

Because of the interconnectedness, a seemingly random post can go viral overnight. However, creating viral content is not easy, and it's difficult to get noticed. And navigating the murky waters of social media can be challenging for a content creator. 

Manish, one of India’s leading brand consultants and mentors to many successful content creators, says, “It's a long-term game. You have to be consistent.”

In a recent interview with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO, YourStory, he touched upon the tricks to making viral content. 

A much sought-after brand consultant and social media evangelist, Manish is a consultant to new-age digital brands and influencers. 

While there’s seldom a fool-proof formula to getting million-plus shares or turning into an overnight YouTube star, Manish—part of the leadership team at Josh Talks—has been long in the game to know what works. 

He demystifies this for upcoming creators into four broad strategies — creation, packaging, distribution, and dissemination.

Content creation strategy

First comes content creation, and be aware it's a long-term game. Content marketing, or the art of storytelling, comes later. And it may take up to two years to establish yourself as a creator. Here’s what you can do: 

  • Follow a strategy for at least six months or 180 days.
  • It could take up to two years to establish your brand. Perseverance and consistency is the key to success. 
  • Select your topics wisely, and don't worry if someone else has already done it. Every storyteller is unique. 
  • Select your topic by visualising the content.
  • Every content creator, mainly the new ones, should have a content backup of a minimum of two months or 60 days.

Packaging strategy

Striking the right chord with the audience takes time and, even more so, an incredible amount of patience. 

Manish explains the need to avoid the temptation of clickbait as part of one's packaging strategy. How one packages content on a platform constantly plagued by the fear of 'saturation' makes the ultimate difference. 

He dissects the packaging into the four elements of any YouTube video:

  1. Thumbnail: The thumbnail represents your entire video pictorially. Through the thumbnail, you communicate with your audience and tell them about what’s inside. You can achieve twin objectives with it: bring and retain the audience. If the audience doesn't find the coherence between your thumbnail and the entire video, there is a risk that they may not come back. Additionally, while it is essential to play with emotions, it's more crucial to show the right emotion inside the content. Manish suggests, "Be authentic with your audience."
  2. Title: The channel name should be a keyword within the 100-character limit, which we usually find in titles. The genre can also be mentioned with a short phrase describing the video content. (Use up to 60-80 characters, depending upon relevant keywords).
  3. Description: The description can be classified into three segments: first, a Call to Action (CTA) that asks viewers to perform a specific action —subscribing to the channel, watching a video, liking, sharing, and commenting on the video, or affiliate marketing. Second, a short description or content of the video, and third, about the channel, with a link to the playlist of your top videos.
  4. Video tags: Well-curated video tags have great potential to boost video engagement. Using the right hashtags and relevant links with each content piece is also vital. Video tags have a 500-word limit, and Manish suggests dividing them into three layers. The first layer should have the tags of the brand or tags relevant to it. The second layer should be about the person or the subject matter. The third layer should tag similar videos from other creators. 

A video's title, thumbnail, and description are the most important pieces of metadata for the video's discovery. In the age of data tracking, each like or click provides search engines and social media sites with uniquely accurate viewer patterns. 

At the macro and micro levels, creators should leverage the existing YouTube, Instagram, and other social media analytics to analyze their marketing strategy.

Distribution and dissemination strategy

An organic community of loyal followers would increase the chances of a post going viral and sets up the brand for success in the future. 

Here’s how you can distribute your content better:

  • Build your community of subscribers through various social media — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp groups, Telegram channels, newsletter community, etc.
  • Use analytics to find out what's the best time to upload your content.
  • Set the premiere of the new content based on the analytics, and the audience can set reminders.
  • Periodicity and consistency are the keys.
  • Make the best use of YouTube data analytics.

YouTube analytics has become extremely powerful. One can assess metrics, including geography and demographics of viewers, watch time, average view duration, retention, engagement rate, subscribers lost and gained, and many more. 

Creators should leverage it to analyse the data periodically and learn the areas of improvement in their content. 

Best time to start monetising

To young creators, Manish says not to be stuck in a race of monetising every video. He says, “You shouldn’t think of monetising your video immediately. First, you should build a community of loyal and organic subscribers.” 

Once the channel is established, there are multiple ways to monetise it, namely advertisements, live commerce, influencer marketing, shoppable commerce, paid partnerships, personal merchandise, and virtual gifting. 

The non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have come up as another revenue stream for the entire creator economy.

There are four primary sources of views: browse, recommendation, suggestion, and external. Getting results directly from search is better than browsing, which is better than suggested. It brings more organic viewers to your channel. 

Data also indicates that people drop off in the initial one to three minutes of videos. It is crucial to analyse this data, understand the pattern, and add exciting and engaging content where people are dropping off. 

It is often challenging to experiment with different formats or themes for creators with a niche audience, and rightfully so. However, if you have something valuable and original to say, people will find it if they look hard enough. 

If one's content generates enduring value, it is bound to resonate with the audience and, ultimately, generate value for both the creator and the audience.

(Video Courtesy: Sahil Khanna/Intellectual Indies)

Edited by Suman Singh

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