Social distancing has become a compulsory curfew, but content creators can take this time to innovate!
‘Content Creator’ is a buzz term that has overtaken the internet in the last few years. Beyond being a strange new nomenclature though, it has turned into a sustainable and profitable career path for many.
But with the national lockdown in effect, content creators (especially those who work with teams or associates) no longer have access to the outdoors. This means no photographers, no travel, no interesting locations for shoots, and no access to products sent by brands for promotional deals.
But being shut in doesn’t mean shutting your work out.
In comparison to people from other industries, content creators, social media influencers and other people who run their businesses online, are privileged in the fact that they can continue their work.
Here’s how you can keep working while social distancing as an influencer.
Boost useful information from recognisable sources
In such difficult times, you might feel the urge to contribute by doing what you know best: sharing information. However, when doing so, it is necessary to ensure that the information you are disseminating is verified.
Panic-mongering and spreading misinformation can be deathly during pandemics.
Be cognisant of the fact that you have an audience at your command, who will likely be big enough fans to take you at your word.
Social responsibility is something that we should possess as citizens, but when it comes to influencers, the use case of the career is in the very name. If your job is to influence, then do so in an informed manner.
Talk about mental health
If there is one feeling all creators have faced, it is performance-related anxiety.
Usually, this anxiety is rooted in the growing numbers of one’s audience; today, it is rooted in the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the world. The reality of death and recession, obviously, looms heavier than the number of followers you have.
It is in these times that community becomes a pillar against which we can lean when the going gets tough.
Take for example Sukhnidh Kaur, student and activist, who recently did a live session on Instagram with trauma therapist Ruchita Chandrasekhar. The response was phenomenal, to say the least.
In the few minutes that I was tuned into the conversation, it did not escape me that the overall environment of fear, people were grateful. They felt validated in their worries and absolved of the idea that they were alone in this.
This small example shows how discussing mind matters is akin to filling a void.
The void is the lack of awareness about mental health; wherein we don’t realise that we don’t have to already be suffering to feel weighed down by the threat of something as unpredictable as a pandemic.
How can we not be affected, is the question. And talking about our mental state in these times is the answer.
Reinvent your content: For yourself and for growth
You might be homebound, but your creativity is not.
Let your imaginative juices flow: work on developing and planning fresh content. It could be content you can work on from home, or work you want to pursue once all this is over.
Think about it. There have to be ideas you have always wanted to try, things you’ve done before but not enough times, or interesting ways to collaborate with fellow creatives. Take advantage of this unstable time, and reinvent yourself.
Swati Chaturvedi is a travel content creator. “I love showcasing the world through my travel pictures, inspiring people and helping them plan their itineraries,” she tells me. “My daily life also makes its way into my content, so people realise that everyday life can also be fun!”
With the pandemic, Swati is obviously not travelling, so she has been spending her time digging up old pictures, completing pending blogs, and more interestingly—simple cooking videos!
“People love it, and in fact, my views get doubled whenever I upload any food stories. It’s an interesting way of learning and spreading positive vibes. I also recommend shows, web series and portray my daily life in exciting videos to my audience.”
Like Swati, if nothing else, you will learn whether your audience is open to this kind of experimentation. If everything, your audience will expand, because new viewers will join your follower count.
Don’t lose out on new avenues of brand deals
A lot of creators generate income through brand deals, in particular physical products. These collaborations are likely to reduce while borders are closed, flights and trains are down, and the postal system is limited.
So hand-in-hand with reinvention, I would recommend reaching out to brands with non-tangible products, like online courses, apps, and other such platforms. Quarantine is a good excuse to learn, upskill, and just generally devote time to better oneself.
Pairing up with such brands can also help you explore new horizons when it comes to your creativity. Plus, it might motivate you to upskill for your own career as well!
Make new content without leaving the house
Coming up with brand new ideas when your mind is full of worry about the future is hard. We get it. But don’t worry, because content creators are part of the select group that can work from home.
Swati is an excellent example of this: “One of my top learnings is to invest in more than one medium. I am on Instagram, YouTube, and my blog!”
She also likes to keep her work content dynamic, so that sudden changes in circumstances don’t interrupt her passion (and income!).
Four content strategies to keep working while social distancing
News, art, comedy, and commentary content creators can use this time to discuss relevant concerns and topics surrounding this issue. Educational events can also be taken online, such as Kool Kanya Instagram live events with industry experts; ranging from Ayurveda to Creative Writing to Networking.
See: Tik Tok users around the world making easy explainer videos about washing hands and social distancing, or late night show hosts across the USA recording their shows in their own homes.
Visual creators, musicians, and artists know that content is not just invigorating. It can be created to soothe and calm. Photographers and videographers can combine old and new footage to create amazing audio-visual material. Musicians (see: Prateek Kuhad) can create alternative versions of their songs. I’ve even seen embroidery accounts film themselves needle working complex designs, which has to be some of the most calming stuff I’ve ever witnessed!
With the over-saturation of the news cycle with COVID-19 information, we all need a little distraction. A lot of influencers, especially fashion and lifestyle folks, can easily adapt their older content formats to work in these times. Want examples? Makeup challenges and filming side-by-side fashion videos as collaborations with other creators.
See: Komal Pandey, who has taken her high production Fashion Therapy videos and pared them down to less production-intensive videos with the same format!
This kind of content includes self-care, mental health tips, home workouts, and even listicles of books and movies to watch. These are full of useful information which can be immediately worked into our daily lives to help make us all feel a little less copped up!
Revive old content, while focussing on engagement and community
Here’s a content secret: no one will be mad about a throwback!
It’s really easy to repurpose old content and work backwards till it works in the limited framework of your home office.
Pro-tip: Like Rega Jha, share old work which can educate or entertain, because self-promo can keep brands hooked and audiences reminiscent.
I am no influencer, but I visited a lot of museums while I was studying abroad last year, and I am posting little virtual tours of various museums on my Instagram art incubator. These virtual museum tours, as I like to call them, are a great way to explore spaces without actually changing your geography.
At this time, while our world feels like it is limited to our homes, this sort of content can help us feel less distant and more in touch with the world around us.