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Manish pandey, a leading content creation coach, shares his wisdom

Joined by Suraj Juneja and Meghdut RoyChowdhury the event covered topics like use of language, earning via uploads, catering to the audience, frequent mistakes and more

Urvashi Bhattacharya | Published 14.09.22, 03:07 AM

Content creators and aspiring content creators gathered in the premises of Offbeat CCU as the unofficial coach of content creating in India, Manish Pandey, had dropped in for a panel session. The event, held on August 19, was hosted by MasterMentors Interactive in association with Make Calcutta Relevant Again to inspire the youth about monetisation over content creation. Joined by Suraj Juneja (of MasterMentors) and Meghdut RoyChowdhury (of Offbeat CCU and Make Calcutta Relevant Again) the panel covered topics like use of language, earning via uploads, catering to the audience, frequent mistakes and more.

Although Manish Pandey is not a creator, he has been able to decode the use and success behind content creating. He’s a consultant with many big Indian companies and a mentor to well known YouTubers. He's the co-author of the book titled Booming Digital Stars and is also a part of Josh Talks. A chat with the mentor.


You are called the unofficial guru of India’s content creators. How does that sit with you?

(Laughs) So I keep stressing on it, I like to be called a friend rather than “guru”. The industry itself is so ever evolving that no one can be a pundit in the industry as of now. So I learn things every day and I share it. Maybe a few things I share here and there help people and maybe because of my long hair they call me “guru” or whatever (laughs). But I am a friend to people.

You used to work in a call centre, and you did social media for a company. Can you tell us about your journey?

My life was... I had to support my family really early. I wanted to become a doctor but I couldn’t do that so I started working in a call centre. So from there I did some work in the middle and somehow stumbled upon digital marketing agencies and kept learning digital and social media. One thing led to another, video came in, Ranveer (Allahbadia) aka BeerBiceps pulled me in and I started experimenting. On the side I was also a part of building Jo Stocks. So I got a lot of face time with videos and that’s how I learned the art and cracked things. Because I am an observer, I spent a lot of hours learning all of this.

Circling back to Ranveer Allahbadia, you attended his talk show and that’s when things kind of changed....

So I met Ranveer in 2017 and we connected as friends and spoke on things which were not content. So we spoke about meditation, spirituality, yoga and I have a little background in that and Ranveer was trying to explore. He already knew of the subject and was just looking for somebody to talk about it with. So I gave him his answers the way he wanted to listen to them. And that’s how we became friends and then things went to content and then I became a part of it. And that’s how it brew.

For someone who wants to get into content, how would they begin?

First, I would encourage people not to start it full-time. Start it with whatever you are doing. Say, you are in college, your job is to study. That’s our first job. Second job has to be your content or whatever. So start it slow, don’t start with the mindset that you’re going to make a career out of it. Start because you want to have fun, learn, apply. Keep doing it for a couple of years and the journey itself will teach you about where you will land. Be very open to ideas and feedback. Learn from your audience as they teach you a lot. Read the comment section. I keep saying, “Your comment section is your university.” And that’s how you rise.

What do you think about the fact that artistes and musicians need to tap into an algorithm to spread their work?

So this is not entirely true, if we compare it from the previous time to now... in the previous times you had to look for a stage. Now you can create your own stage. If you are a good singer or musician you can just put on a camera, sing, edit and put it on Instagram. If people like it then, “Boom!”. If they don’t then you have to re-look at what you are doing. You are not a gulaam (slave) of algorithm or anything, there are just a few rules that you need to keep in kind. Because there are some things that need to be followed so you excel.

What would these rules be?

For example, if you are doing a short-form content, let’s Reels on Instagram, and we are talking about video content, so see that you are adhering to what is working right now. There are phases of trends that come and they are called “trends” because they are only for a short period of time. They keep evolving so keep an eye on that. Make sure your sound quality is good, even if your video quality is here and there the sound should be great because sound controls a lot of things. Then general rules of hygiene. You write a caption with some hashtags. After you post 10 or 15 videos Instagram will tell you about your audience, the insights. What time are they watching? So you make sure you publish the video around that time, so you get more eyeballs.

What are some common mistakes solopreneurs and brands make that you have noticed?

Overall, the first common mistake is comparing. You versus me. You’re growing but I am not growing. Because everybody’ journey is unique and will be different. It also depends from genre to genre. Maybe in one genre you’ll have a lakh followers and that is termed respectable, but in some genres even 10,000 is considered respectable.

Secondly, be consistent. You can’t be disheartened if the views aren’t coming or someone wrote bad things about you. You have to grow a little bit of thick skin and keep going. Make sure you are researching, reading, studying the area of your content so you don’t give them shallow knowledge. Give them in-depth knowledge or depth of entertainment. Keep your eyes and ears open, see what’s happening in the world and apply it.

You are the co-author of the book Booming Digital Stars with Harsh Pamnani. Could you tell me the objective and story behind the book?

Harsh is already an established author where he’s written two or three books and he was struggling with an idea to write another book and the pandemic hit. So I gave him an idea where I said: “Listen, I have worked with some content creators and this is how their life is.” And it blew his mind. When I told him about the economics, this guy is getting this much money, what arenas they’re making money from... he said it was book material so I said, “Write it.” Then I connected him to everybody and he started doing his research. After a year, he comes back to me and says he can’t do this without me and I have to be in it. But, I am not that guy right, I don’t want to be out there. Then he told me that 90 perc ent credit goes to me because I know these guys, I worked with them, they are mentioning my name in the interviews. So we tried to give a little blueprint for anyone who wants to become a content creator. They can read the stories and the lessons in the stories. It’s a good guide book or skeleton book for content creation. A lot of motivation as well!

Pictures: Rashbehari Das

Entrepreneur Meghdut RoyChowdhury

“In essence what we have always tried to do in Kolkata through Offbeat CCU as a venue has been to provide a space for multi-disciplinary art and culture to collide together. The education bit is something that is very special to me because what is happening with the future of education is something that enthrall me the most. These days a lot of kids are getting into the space of freelancing and solopreneurship through content. Since the Master Mentors headquarters are in this building and because of our ecosystem engagement with Make Calcutta Relevant Again and Suraj told me Manish is coming I thought it would be a great idea to involve young people who are into making content and learn from the best in the business,” said entrepreneur Meghdut RoyChowdhury.

“Master Mentors is an OTT platform available on apps and our website. So we have master classes from the best in the country in different genres. Some might teach fitness, another teaches how to run a cafe, someone teaching music. Since the pandemic is not as bad and people want to learn face-to-face we started with Master Mentors Interactive, like today with Manish Pandey. Till date what he’s said about content creating has come true, which is why he is followed. We wanted to bring him because the content creators in the city want to know how to up their game and get those follows. So he has the insight on that,” said Suraj Juneja, founder of MasterMentors.

Others who were a part of the panel were Indrajit Lahiri the co-founder of FoodKa; Deepak Pareek, a digital content creator; Pushpak Sen a fashion influencer; Sumit Agarwal, the LinkedIn top voice; and Shabaas Zaman, the founder of FoodZpah.

What we learnt:

If you can document a slice of time and if this slice can be documented for “26 million”, even one per cent of that sorts you out

Ask yourself what your “enough” is because it differs from creator to creator

It’s not always about the perfect shots. You can spend hours planning the perfect shot but sometimes you might even have to remove 15 seconds of your shot. Let your creativity flow

Monetisation is very subjective. Not everyone will reach Rs 50,000

Language plays a role in content. One major challenge about creating content in Bengal is if you’re not doing it in Bengali. Ninety per cent of the crowd is not your target audience automatically

When uploading something don’t look at it as content, look at it as a part of your life that people can relate to

You have to be mindful of the collaborations you do or you might lose trust

Gaining followers depends on the niche you’re in

Last updated on 14.09.22, 03:08 AM

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