On the outside, the life of a content creator looks quite dazzling. Thousands of followers, glitzy events, paid partnerships and free merchandise from top brands — the influencers on our screen seemingly have it all. But what many of us don’t see are the slings and arrows that come with the insta-reel life.
This is the epiphany I had while poring over Harsh Pamnani and Manish Pandey’s latest book, Booming Digital Stars — a collection of 11 unique stories from popular Indian content creators.
Complete with quirky illustrations and value-packed recaps, it is safe to say that Pamnani and Pandey have gone above and beyond in their quest to engage readers with exciting tales from social media bigwigs.
The book starts off with the inspiring rags-to-riches tale of Bhuvan Bam, the first Indian to cross 10 million subscribers on YouTube. From singing at Delhi’s Moti Mahal Deluxe Restaurant to becoming a self-made millionaire at the age of 25, Bam is a classic example of how the creator economy has changed the world of work. Whether it’s music, painting or even flipping furniture; people can now cash in on their hobbies with a stable internet connection and smartphone.
But the true value of Booming Digital Stars doesn’t come from reading the journey of each creator, rather from the perspectives they share at the end of each chapter. From entrepreneurship and brand partnerships to overcoming a creative block — readers are taken through the various challenges content creators face in their rise to fame.
“There is a lot of competition in every industry. To stand out in your field, you have to take risks, come up with fresh ideas and develop a thick skin,” says Nikunj Lotia, a former bartender who is now a renowned personality in the world of comedy.
Want to help budding cooks with great recipes? You can take inspiration from Kabita Singh — a homecook with over 8,50,000 followers on Instagram. She started the account wanting to share her love for cooking, and now posts easy instant recipes that anyone can follow and make.
According to her, the secret sauce for success in content creation is to refrain from thinking about money from the get-go. “If you are passionate about your work and care for your viewers, the money will follow,” she adds.
If cooking isn’t your style, join Yashraj Mukhate as he leverages the Law of Attraction to manifest a musical life or read about how Madan Gowri became one of the biggest digital influencers in South India.
The book has stories from a variety of other niches as well — including those of travel influencers, Abhi and Niyu; fitness junkie, Ranveer Allahbadia; dancing duo Nicole Concessao and Sonal Devraj; YouTuber-turned-actress Prajakta Koli and many more.
For someone who wants to turn content creation into a stream of income, this book has a goldmine of advice on leaving your full-time job, “niching” down, dealing with hateful comments and providing value to audiences.
Ashish Chanchlani - renowned storyteller with over 42 million followers across platforms - repeatedly emphasises the importance of caring for your audience. According to him, content creators should treat their followers as people, not numbers.
“People’s emotions and love take you ahead in life. Respect them,” he asserts.
Another recurring theme is the need to create valuable content if you want to make it big in social media. In fact, Ujjwal Chaurasia — one of the top gaming YouTubers — says that creating useful content is his go to strategy as it helps increase audience retention time.
According to him, newbie content creators should start their journey by creating short videos of three to five minutes. “If people watch these videos, even for a minute, then it means you are getting good audience retention,” he points out.
So, in today’s era of content creation, Booming Digital Stars stands out as a much-needed insight into the elite world of social media stardom. Pamnani, who had earlier penned two volumes of ‘Booming Brands’, that captured success stories of ‘Made in India’ brands, has followed up with a very relevant book.
(Nikita Ann Varghese is a journalist with The Hindu, Business Line)