During the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic when television and films have done little in terms of offering fresh content due to the lockdown, digital content creators and influencers have been thinking out of the box to create content despite staying at home.
Travel blogger, vlogger, Tanya Khanijow, who has a travel channel on YouTube, said creating content has been a tricky business for her in current times. “I haven’t been travelling for the last few months, so the first challenge was to come to terms with the fact that I can’t travel. Second was shifting focus from what you did to creating something that is more creative. Third has been keeping up the motivation for content creation while at home,” she said.
For Khanijow, the good thing was that she had a lot of ready content around travel. “So, at least for Youtube, I had videos that was left over after my travel and I have been focusing on releasing that. I have started doing a lot of vlogs like workout routine or how I create content.”
As for Instagram, Khanijow said, “I have been repurposing old travel content while offering real-time thoughts on things. Have been putting up a carousel post of four different pictures from four different locations. I also did a 21-day challenge of indoor photography. All this content creation has been going on irrespective of the lockdown and no travel.”
What is interesting is that Khanijow has seen strong growth in viewership for her content.
“At first, I thought people would not want to watch travel videos, but I have seen strong increase in viewership even for my older travel videos. Perhaps, people are missing the opportunity to travel. There has been an overall rise in everybody’s presence in terms of engagement, in terms of followers. I have seen a one-third rise in terms of engagement on Instagram and 50 percent rise on YouTube than the pre-COVID period,” she said.
Khanijow pointed out that engagement for her tutorial videos have increased significantly. “People want to watch what others are doing at home and this is why I think creation of personal content is seeing a massive increase in current times.”
YouTuber Shlok Srivastava who has a channel called Tech Burner also shared his experience of creating content in current times.
“Our studio is in Noida and I live in Delhi. So, travelling has been an issue. We also used to go out and shoot, which we can’t do now. Also, launches were delayed because of COVID-19. In addition, it is important while creating videos to gauge the audience's emotion or else there is backlash,” he explained.
For Srivastava, the frequency of video creation did see an impact due to the coronavirus-led lockdown. “Before the COVID-situation, we created content every two days. But after the lockdown, it was once every three days. But in the last few weeks, we have started uploading every day.”
And thanks to the content creation frequency, Tech Burner has seen a rise in viewership. “Our viewership has grown 30-40 percent in the last two months.”
When it comes to brands, there was an impact in April and May, but that too has started picking up. “There has been a decrease in brand associations for travel-based content because of the lockdown. But there has been a substantial increase in branding of online services like Audible books, Samsung, Uber, among others,” said Khanijow.
Since March, Khanijow has worked with around four brands.
Neel Gogia, Co-founder, IPLIX Media, said in April and May there was hardly any brand collaborations and it actually dropped by 90 percent. But since e-commerce transactions began from May 18, we have seen various opportunities where brands are coming and spending, although not the same amount as before. But it is picking up, especially in technology.”
He added that vloggers are seeing more interest from brands because their frequency of content creation has gone up.
“For influencers in the vlogging category, their cost is increasing 200 percent because their views have increased significantly. They are creating around 20-25 videos in a month. With that frequency, the trust factor is higher among their audience and this is why brands see more strength in this category,” Gogia explained.
Giving a range of how much a YouTuber charges for a video, Gogia said all depends on the kind of content. “For a million views, a YouTuber can charge Rs 5-6 lakh while another may charge Rs 15-20 lakh. That's because of the kind of depth they have with the audience and that generates the brand value of the creator.”
So, can one take up being an influencer as a career?
According to Khanijow, “It is a viable and accessible career path but it takes a lot of time and patience because it does not have a set career pattern. One has to know what they want to offer. One has to have an opinion on a subject. Building an audience will take at least two years.”