Top 5 Video Editing Apps for Instagram Reels

Short videos have become a rage in recent years. With Instagram Reels becoming popular, the demand for video editing tools is more than ever before. So, if you are a budding Reels creator looking to crack the code, here’s our pick for the best video editing tools to create those crisp and engaging videos.

  1.  Inshot   

First on our list is Inshot. It’s among the most popular Reels video editors out there. The ability to have custom ratios, variety of fonts, effects and music, makes it a must-have tool to create those perfect, vertical Reels. 

What we like

  • It has a huge list of video editing features like creating a slow-motion video, time-lapse or flipping videos. 
  • The drafts can be saved. This means you can pick from where you left without the hassle of starting all over again. 
  •  You can add animated stickers, emojis and custom images to your reels. 

 What we don’t like 

  • You need to get a paid version to remove watermarks from your videos. 

2.     Adobe Premiere Rush

It’s another popular choice for creating Instagram Reel or any other short videos.

Why we like it

  • The app has standard video editing tools like trimming, shadow, adjusting exposure.
  • The app has an intuitive UI, options for video aspect ratio, motion graphic templates and many more useful features.

What we don’t like

  • The free version allows you to export only three videos in a month, which can be a bummer if you’re someone who uploads regularly. 

 3.       FilmoraGo

FilmoraGo is another popular video editor app for creating Instagram Reels available on Android and iOS both. It supports various aspect ratios and has all standard video editing features to make your Instagram Reels look professional. 

What we like  

  • It has some great video effects that you’ll not find on other editors.
  • It will give a professional look to your videos.
  • It has pretty good fonts and overlays.  
  • It supports voice-overs. 

What we don’t like

  • It puts watermarks on videos, so you’ll need to subscribe to the premium version if you want to remove the watermarks.

4.       YouCut

If you hate watermarks just like us, YouCut is the app for you. It’s a free editing app that brings you features like multiple custom ratios, fonts, cool video effects – all important for creating high-quality Reels. Additionally, it also allows you to import your own music, or you can pick from their library, which is a bonus. 

What we like 

  • It adds no watermark to the videos, which is a big yay!
  • The app has a library of royalty-free music.
  • It allows you to change the background, play with different fonts and also lets you choose the aspect ratio. 

What we don’t like

  • This app is only available for Android and not iOS.

5.       KineMaster

KineMaster is our final editor on this list. It comes with all the amazing video editing functions you need in an app to make your videos stand out.  

What we like 

  • It allows you to apply filters, add music, voice-overs, transitions, and custom fonts. 
  • It allows you to combine multiple videos, images, and texts. 

What we don’t like

  • You will have to buy the premium version if you don’t want watermarks on your videos. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

How to effectively market on Instagram with a constantly changing algorithm

2021 has brought in a new change in the Instagram algorithm and marketeers are all looking for ways to crack the magical code to still be able to market effectively.

Well, here’s the good news, you can actually use it to your advantage!

Figuring out how the algorithm works will help you find ways to get the best out of your campaigns. So let’s start by understanding what this change entails and how it can be used for your brand’s benefit. 

The Change

Instagram is very closely reviewing our content and controlling the organic reach on our accounts. It takes help from the past behaviour of our followers, audience and our own activities to do this.

It is primarily controlling the following features with the latest algorithm:

  • The Audience (Who will see your post)
  • The Reach (How many will see your post and which posts will make it to the explore tab)
  • The Priority (Which post will make it to feed and in which order)

Basically, creating a scenario where the best content wins!

Factors that influence the change

Here is a quick breakdown of the 6 key factors that influence the algorithm on feed posts. 

                   Sources: Hootsuite, Later, Buffer and Sprout Social

An easier way to explain this is, Instagram is controlling audience behaviour on two feeds, one being the timeline where people see posts from their followers and the second being the explore tabs where they see posts from people they don’t follow. Along with this, audiences’ behaviour on these feeds, such as comments, likes, saves, shares and the time they spend on a post is also tracked. 

Therefore, the posts we create have to show content that is engaging, relatable, and high quality.

By considering these factors, our campaigns and marketing strategies can stay far from becoming prey to the algorithm.

Instagram’s response to audience’s reaction on the change

Instagram stated that what shows up first in your feed is primarily based on your own activity.

However, this is perhaps Instagram’s way to gain more screen time from its audience. If you are active and people tend to spend a lot of time engaging with your posts, Instagram rewards you with the ‘Explored Trophy’.

Rising above the change 

The new algorithm has left people with questions on how to maximize engagement taking the change into account. Not just that, but also on how to create a campaign that works wonders despite the frequently occuring algorithm changes.

However, an additional point to be considered is that a drop in engagement is not always due to the change in algorithm.

Here are some strategies that give the Instagram algorithm exactly what it wants.

  • Embrace the latest features
    Instagram will always reward the accounts supporting their new features. So do not hesitate in trying them all out.

  • Post Consistently
    Instagram does not check whether accounts are posting consistently before ranking your posting. However, a consistent presences helps build a good connection with your audience.
  • Post when you’re audience is online
  • Post good quality, aesthetically pleasing photographs
    It’s an established fact that good content ranks high on your audience’s feed. And you may have experienced this yourself, that visually striking content attracts your audiences’ eye and makes them hit like.

  • Post hashtags effectively, stop using old hashtags
    Include hashtags on your posts that ensure your posts are searchable. The more eyes on your posts, the better it is.
  • Go live more often
    Instagram Live generates a notification to your followers and puts itself ahead of your followers’ story feed which gives you good visibility.

  • Cross-Promote on Instagram
    To help increase your algorithm ranking, cross-posting on Instagram is a quick and easy hack. You can strategically cross-post your IGTV on your reel or your feed post on your story to get better reach.

The ever changing algorithm is easy to tackle when you adapt, strengthen your campaign strategy and of course, remember that quality content always wins.

While you get to experimenting with the new algorithm, here’s a small takeaway, ‘save is the new like’. We will be showcasing a comprehensive research on this metric in our next blog, stay tuned!

Digital Marketing During COVID-19

Brands across the globe are slowly coming to terms with the power of digital marketing with the effects of Covid-19. Whether your brand has temporarily frozen on-ground activities or implemented remote working, adapting to digital platforms can be an optimal way to connect with your consumers in the times ahead. Here are some ways in which brands can leverage Digital Marketing during this pandemic.

  1. Enhance visibility

The Internet is the only place not quarantined for consumers. Brands should explore the realms of Social Media to build awareness, generate leads, determine how the market feels about you, and much more.

Source: Social Pilot 

  1. Connect with your customers

Always create an emotional connection with your customers. Creating content that interacts with consumers and makes them feel good is crucial in these challenging times. 

Source: Social Pilot

  1. Engage on Social Media

59% of consumers started spending more time on Social Media platforms during the pandemic to keep them entertained, connected, and informed. Assess this opportunity to double down on Social Media. Build trust with your existing and new customers. 

Source: ClickZ

  1. Be future-ready

Many companies that have transitioned online recently will remain online in the future. The relationships you build with consumers now will only strengthen your brand in a post-pandemic world.  

 Source: Hubspot

  1. Be Proactive

Companies in India, Italy, and Spain are leading the way with 73%, 71%, and 66% of their respondents making purchases through social ads. Consider investing in content warehousing and building strong SEO for your domains. 

 Source: ClickZ

  1. Bonus Benefit!

To add a little more something to your Social Media strategy contact us and let us help you make your mark!

Featured Interview

This interview was part of the CallumConnects series featured in The Asian Entrepreneur.

What’s your story?
I am an accidental entrepreneur with a fascination for human behavior.

I studied Psychology and was working as a school counselor, when I began accepting writing projects in my free time. What began as an extracurricular interest soon became a full-time occupation. Before I knew it, I had transitioned into a content writing role at a digital communications agency. Over the next few years, I worked with a number of exciting brands across various industries.

In early 2017, while talking with a friend, who was also an ex-colleague, we realised that our creative aspirations were aligned and that our skill sets were complementary — basically, we saw an opportunity for collaboration. The decision to set up a company came with apprehensions, but 3 years and 25 clients later, I can safely say that I’m on a journey I am happy to have chosen.

“As an agency, we cater to brands from multiple sectors, so no two days are ever the same.”

What excites you most about your industry?
This industry relies on vibrant talent from different walks of life — from strategists and developers to stylists and visual artists. It is exhilarating to witness the processes of these varied professions as they bring an idea to life.

As an agency, we cater to brands from multiple sectors, so no two days are ever the same. Besides, the digital medium is so dynamic, with channels, trends, and audiences evolving at an astonishing rate, the demand for fresh ideas and new perspectives is extremely high. While meeting this demand can be challenging, it also keeps the adrenaline pumping.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in India. I spent most of my student and professional life in Pune and Mumbai, respectively, before moving to Singapore in 2017.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, for its impeccable work ethic and Mumbai, for its charged pace and bustling energy.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“A job well done is a reward in it’s own right.
This is a quote from one of my favourite books, “A Man Called Ove,” by Fredrik Backman, but I think the articulation resonates with me because it echoes what my parents have always tried to drive home.

Who inspires you?
I am inspired by a number of people, particularly the women in my family. I have had the privilege of growing up around courageous, resilient, supportive and independent minded women. It is from their lives that I continue to draw strength.

I also find inspiration in the books I read. I think books provide a vantage point that widens the range and depth of one’s observations and enables one to engage with unfamiliar viewpoints. This is not just true of factual narratives. A lot of fiction, too, is rooted in human experiences that are insightful and inspiring. Even the simplest stories are sometimes a testament to the endless potential of the human spirit.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That friends make amazing business partners! I can’t say if this is the exception or the rule, but I derive great motivation and confidence from the camaraderie I share with my co-founder. 

Another thing that has blown my mind, more recently, and almost literally, is the power of daily meditation. I used to be a “need-based” meditator, but meditating everyday over the last few weeks has made me realize the remarkable impact mindfulness can have, not only on one’s mental faculties but also on the experiences one attracts.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would trust my intuition and abilities more. I stuck to what I thought were my strengths and was hesitant to challenge myself for far too many years of my life.

How do you unwind?
I enjoy dancing. I am part of a dance team that trains every week and performs at local and international dance events. I also love reading books and find yoga very relaxing.

Postcard media

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Kovalam for its pristine beaches and delightful coastal food, and Koh Samui for its idyllic vibe and because it is a foot spa heaven! 

Everyone in business should read this book:
“Thinking, Fast & Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman.

Shameless plug for your business:
Postcard Media is a Digital Marketing and Creative Communication agency. We partner with brands to develop and sustain their digital marketing, corporate marketing and employer branding initiatives through our innovative solutions. Our services include:
– Social Media Marketing
– Digital Advertising 
– Content Strategy and Creation
– Branding 
– Website Development 

5 Swiggy Campaigns We Absolutely Love!

Started in 2014, the food ordering and delivery startup Swiggy has emerged to become India’s most valuable food delivery platform within just 6 years from its inception. Starting out as a late entrant in an overcrowded market, the brand has carved a niche for itself by becoming a dynamic brand that connects with their consumers through short, relatable stories rooted in real consumer behaviour.

Speaking of the brand’s creative success, here are 5 Swiggy campaigns we absolutely love:

  1. #WhatsInAName

In a heart-warming video that struck a chord with millions of Indians, Swiggy’s #WhatsInAName campaign urged their users to acknowledge the unique identity of their delivery partners and to address them by their names. The video showcases an intriguing flashback about the delivery partner’s past and blends it in with the present day, wherein it has become a practice to address them simply as “Swiggy”. The video conveys a powerful message that these hunger warriors – like each one of us – have a name that they would like everybody to acknowledge.

 

  1. Voice Of Hunger

Swiggy’s innovative campaigns have proved to be a gamechanger in the brand’s onward success and boosted its following on the digital platforms. Through an indigenous Voice Of Hunger campaign using Instagram’s audio note feature, they challenged the users to create sound waveforms in the shape of different food items and send them via direct messenger to the brand’s Instagram. As a reward to their consumers, the brand handed out a year’s worth of food vouchers to the users completing the five-day challenge. The challenge received more than 10,000 entries a day during its run, making it one of their most well-received campaigns till date.

 

  1. Swiggy Karo, Phir Jo Chahe Karo!

Some of Swiggy’s best work came in during IPL 2018. The platform’s witty campaigns with simple storylines and minimum dialogues became a rage. A 20-second spot highlighting the brand’s ‘Swiggy Karo, Phir Jo Chahe Karo’ campaign was one of the best from the series. A middle-aged man orders just one piece of gulab jamun from Swiggy and pops it in his mouth without his wife getting to know about it. The ad has no dialogue between the characters but with endearing expressions from the actors and running commentary on TV during a cricket match, it sends across the brand’s promise to deliver even the smallest order to their customers. The narrative focusing on how Swiggy brings convenience in the lives of the consumers reigned over the hearts of people.

 

  1. Swiggy Stores

Continuing its creative spell, Swiggy unveiled its latest venture – Swiggy Stores, a delivery system designed to instantly deliver anything you need from any store across your city. The brand promoted this service through a series of campaigns that portray relatable situations when you really need something but just can’t leave your home to get it.

 

 

  1. Changing the Way India Eats

Back in 2018 when Swiggy was emerging as one of India’s popular online food delivery services, they rolled out one of their first TV campaigns to strengthen their presence beyond the digital platforms. As part of the campaign, Swiggy came up with five spots showcasing different occasions like a house party, cooking gone wrong, parents out of town, unexpected guests and game nights, when people order food.

 

So, that was our take on some of the most loved Swiggy campaigns of all time. Tell us about your favourite Swiggy campaign in the comments below.

– Chirag Shetty

5 Bang on Diwali Campaigns

Ah! Diwali…the festival of lights, sweets and awesome brand campaigns! That’s right; Diwali hits the motherload when it comes to creative communication. Brand creativity is really pushed to its finest limits – All those hours spent ideating for a creative brand-centric campaign do pay off, as you can see with the five campaigns we’ve chosen from last year.

  1. Canon

Reminding us to shift the focus of our Diwali celebrations from ‘me’ to ‘we’ is this ingenious campaign conceived by Canon.

The festive season is always looked at as a time of happiness and enjoyment, Canon encourages its customers to magnify their Diwali celebrations by focusing more on giving rather than receiving.

Posted across all social media platforms with the hashtags #ShiftYourFocus and #SpreadTheFestivity Canon’s campaign takes us through a number of causes one can give to, to spread the festivity.

  1. Coca Cola

Trust Coca Cola to always deliver a heart-warming connect to their campaigns. Their campaign ‘Iss Diwali, Har Dil Bola Tere Naam Ki Coca-Cola’ aims to connect cultures in this time of festivity, through a heart-warming one-minute video. Coca-cola’s approach to Diwali as being a time for cultural harmony is what gives this message an edge and makes it memorable for many.

  1. Oppo F9 Pro

Oppo integrates their brand message into their campaign with subtlety, reminding us that the best Diwali gifts are the ones that keep us connected. In four and a half minutes, Oppo manages to weave a touching tale about a mother and her adoptive daughter. We loved the positive way in which Oppo has approached the discourse around adoption, giving us a message that families are not made by blood, but by bond and acceptance.

  1. Saregama

Saregama’s #ShorYaSangeet Diwali campaign shows us how a social message coupled with ingeniously understated product promotion makes for a great campaign. This campaign urges people to be considerate of the safety of not just aged people, but also of animals, bringing a humane touch to Saregama’s product.

The ad’s use of an old couple’s home, an Indian dog-breed and old Hindi songs brilliantly brings a little nostalgia and an Indian cultural connect to their brand.

  1. Vodafone

A simple message reminding us to take our Diwali celebrations from the mobile screens to experiencing it ourselves is Vodafone’s #LookUp campaign. This video underlines how technology has gripped us and distanced us from the true warmth and essence of Diwali, but finally ends on a happy, positive note.

Turns out some of the best Diwali brand campaigns are not only ones that are brand centric but also ones that help us attain a new perspective on how we celebrate our Diwali, which is exactly why this campaign makes it to our list of 5 best Diwali Campaigns of last year.

 

– Donna Amo

 

Travel with a Twist

They say that “Travel Makes The Heart Grow Fonder,” but in this digitally-led environment that we live in, it seems like our hearts grow fonder just by scrolling through our screens. A thrilling adventure here, a beautiful setting there, all experienced through a picturesque phone screen, has made the concept of travelling so personal and intimate. Remember those computer wallpapers that made us to dream of a getaway ever so often? Well, it seems like now we’re smitten and inspired by people instead, who bring us enticing experiences and striking snapshots in just a click.

Thanks to them, we get bitten by the travel bug and influenced in so many positive ways. And so, we’ve rounded up our list of favourite Travel Influencers a.k.a Digital Nomads who make venturing into the unknown so alluring!

  1. Shivya Nath – The Shooting Star

Image by Shivya Nath

This fierce lady right here quit her corporate job to travel the world. Sounds inspiring, doesn’t it? She says, “It was impossible to tame my cubicle-bound soul, I quit my job with the dream of travelling the world on my own terms.” And she did! As you scroll through her blog or Instagram you’ll see the spellbinding mountainous beauty of India to captivating streets of cherry blossom-filled Japan! She has also been location independent since 2013 and claims that the road is her home now. Apart from just posting pretty pictures, one can always find a takeaway on her blog. From gaining tips on how to save for travels to how one can manage visas smartly, Shivya gives you a 360-degree guide to traveling the world, on your own terms of course!

 

2. Anu & Pavan – Hungry Travellers

Image by HUNGRY TRAVELLERS

Anu, Pavan and cute little Kabir bring you travel adventures with a delicious twist. They bring you their experience one step at a time, one bite at a time and one place at a time. These foodies cum travellers’ vision was to build a community of like-minded people who share the same passion when it comes to food and travel. They launched their own café named ‘Hungry Travellers Café’ that serves earthy food with a touch of warm rustic décor. Being parents of a two year old, they also have some tricks up their sleeve, when it comes to travelling with a toddler. So if you have one of your own, you know who you need to stalk! If you’re looking to scout some perfect places for food all over the globe, head to their blog as they detail out every restaurant in every city that’s loaded with deliciousness.

 

3. Siddhartha Joshi – The Wanderer

Image by Siddhartha Joshi

He uses the hashtag #SidTheWanderer and trust us when we say it’s aptly put because as soon as you scroll through his feed, you seem to have wandered away into his inspiring escapes. Rated as one of India’s Top Travel and Living Blog, his space not only encapsulates artistic imagery but also covers travelogues, travel tips, photography tips, and travel videos. His dreamy feed makes you want to book your tickets right away and let’s not forget that his portrait-clicking-flair is quite heartwarming to look at as well. If you’re looking to transcend into a magical space in a World Without Borders (as he rightly believes in), this one’s your inspiring go-to!

 

4. Joshi Daniel

Image by Joshi Daniel

Vibrant setting, enticing snaps and perspective photography is what makes Joshi Daniel a favourite. His passion lies in capturing images of people he’s intrigued by – their stories, faces, cultures, lifestyles etc. A true nomad, Joshi trots down any street to get that perfect click. With several accolades bestowed on him, he truly captures moments with a creative edge. With a burst of colours and spaces, one can scroll through his feed endlessly. See the world through his eyes as he takes you on a journey that’s filled with story-telling and inspiring photography.

 

5. Prasad NP – Desi Traveler 

Image by Prasad Np

Having had enough of his desk job, Prasad realised that he had to stop running the rat race and start travelling, and boy, aren’t we glad he did! His travel stories fare quite differently as there’s always a personal element attached to each of them. He believes in not just showcasing the places, but also the human element in them. His travel blog features almost every state in India that he has explored, to full glory! With his fascinating Instagram feed, one can say that he brings food, people and places together quite effortlessly. If you’re looking to plunge into the authentic Indian world with a Desi twist, your search for an inspiring travelogue ends here. ­

And there you go, this World Tourism Day is dedicated to celebrating those wild souls that run on the fuel of passionate traveling and unfold adventures of nature’s beauty whilst inspiring us to take that picturesque leap!

Best Picture Designing Apps

Designing On The Go

The combination of a good copy and an appealing picture is the (open) secret to an engaging post! As it isn’t always possible to have access to Photoshop, one sometimes has to rely on mobile photo editing.

There are several good apps on your phone that help you create stunning content without having to open your laptop, and that too free of cost! Being spoilt for choice, however, isn’t always a good thing. There are so many of these apps that it becomes difficult to choose the best and the most versatile one. So here’s something to make your job easier – a checklist of things to consider while choosing a quick editing app, and a list of our top recommendations.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind to decide which app to opt for:

  • Usability – The app should have a user-friendly interface that’s simple to navigate, so that even if you have no experience in editing, you can still master the app and edit images with ease.
  • Features – It should provide basic as well as some unique features so that one can rely on it to create different varieties of content. For e.g., If the app has only a few filters and limited fonts, one might exhaust all its features after using it for a few times and need to move to another app relatively quickly.
  • Sharing – The app must make it easy to share the edited content without a hassle.
  • Upgrade – It must be able to deliver impressive results with the filter trends, font choices and features it offers. An app which regularly renovates its templates, filters and fonts is a good go-to app.
  • Video + Picture editing – 90 percent of the apps do either photo editing or video editing. An app which does both efficiently, is a clear winner. (We are yet to find a good one, suggestions, please!)

Here are the apps that made it to our list of on-the-go editing apps:

1. Canva

It’s amazing how simple Canva makes designing. Its simple drag/drop format surely scores very high on the usability front.

Pros

  1. Its minimal design, incredible fonts and thousands of templates make it a favourite.
  2. It has a website + an app, so one can switch as per convenience.
  3. The drafts that you are working on are saved on your account and you can continue designing them as and when you desire.

Cons

  1. The only con is that the templates are easily available for everyone to use. If you are editing for a brand, you don’t want your posts to look like someone else’s. One needs to customise them to avoid repetition.

2. Snapseed

Snapseed strikes a good balance between amateur and professional photo editing. There’s your typical level adjustments for exposure, contrast, highlights, etc. but there’s also a bunch of filters for quick adjustments.

Pros

  1. It’s intuitive and suggests good edits for your pictures.
  2. It has a minimalist interface which makes editing easy.
  3. It has a great selection of photographic filters.

Cons:

  1. It requires a little bit of photographic expertise for optimum use.

3. Unfold – Create Stories

One simply cannot deny the growing importance of Instagram stories! Unfold helps you create beautiful stories with its minimal design templates on the go. When Instagram fonts and filters get boring and you want to create minimal yet appealing Insta stories, unfold is your go-to app!

Pros

  1. It has easy-to-use, beautiful templates for your stories. There are a number of fonts, layouts, and designs.
  2. The design interface is user-friendly.

Cons:

  1. Sharing from within the app isn’t available. The edited stories have to be saved on your phone and then shared.

4. 9square FOR INSTAGRAM

Firstly, let’s talk about why we need Instagram grids:

  • Grids make your Instagram feed look great.
  • They give you 3X,6X or 9X times the engagement.
  • They are best used for product reveals and introductions.

If you don’t have access to photoshop, 9square works as a good replacement to get a picture cut into a grid.

Pros:

  1. It gives you high-resolution grid images.
  2. It doesn’t stamp its own logo on your pictures.
  3. The interface is simple to navigate.
  4. The sharing option is available within the app.

Cons

  1. The customisation is limited. You must cut the pictures in the pre-defined format which is available on the app.

5. PicsArt Photo & Collage Maker

Pics Art is your all in one creative suite! With its collage maker, drawing tools, picture editor, camera and more, it becomes a convenient on-the-go editing app.

Pros

  1. It offers a variety of editing tools and filters.
  2. It has a bunch of creative user controls.
  3. There is a robust collage feature available.
  4. It has a wide range of picture import options

Cons

  1. Its interface is cluttered with too many ads.

________________________________________________________________________________

Please note, none of these apps have the power that something like Gimp, Lightroom, or Photoshop has. So for complex picture editing, you’ll still need Photoshop and a graphic designer! Having said that, these apps make on-the-go picture editing quite easy and quick. So take your pick, and go for it!

Influencer Marketing Workup

If there’s anything that can surpass a brand’s love for consumers, it is its affinity towards influencers! And why not?- Recent studies show that on an average, businesses earn $6.50 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing. With new influencer accounts mushrooming all over Social Media, however, identifying the appropriate ones for collaboration can be quite a challenge. Here are a few things for businesses to consider:

1. Relevance

Narrow down your search to the category relevant to your brand. Several content creators have a large following, but if they aren’t relevant to your brand, they aren’t valuable to you. Choose an influencer who your target audience can relate to. For a business selling kids’ toys, for example, it’s worth choosing a ‘Mom Blogger,’ so that your target audience (kids’ parents) find the endorsement credible.

2. Content

Influencers need freedom to create their own content (within the framework of your brand guidelines), for the communication to come across as organic storytelling as opposed to product selling. It is therefore essential to shortlist only those influencers whose sensibilities are aligned with the vision and ethos of your business. So if your brand sells organic health food, don’t think twice before crossing out an influencer who endorses (or has in the past endorsed) aerated drinks or junk food!

3. Legitimacy

The number of followers is not always the best metric to go by in picking a collaborator. There are a whole lot of tools available today that enable the purchase of follower accounts. Have a look at the person’s followers to make sure that they are genuine as well as representative of your target audience. If you find that most of the followers are inactive or don’t seem authentic, that’s a definite red flag.

4. Engagement

Engagement is a sensitive indicator of an account’s credibility. In many instances, as reported by Forbes, micro-influencers (niche influencers with a relatively lower following) tend to have a more concentrated loyal follower base, with higher engagement levels vis-à-vis the big guys with a massive following. An engaged audience is a testimony not just to the influencers’ reach, but also to their content quality.

5. Commercials

Assess the scale of your campaign and budget before approaching an influencer. A monetary engagement may not necessarily yield optimum results. Social Media offers a space for influencers to voice their sentiments about brands in a variety of ways; research these. Sometimes, influencers agree to post a review in exchange for a product sample, if they do like your brand. Explore such alternatives, especially in the case of smaller businesses.

None of the above factors can vouch for the reliability of an influencer in isolation. They must all be reviewed collectively to get the best out of your influencer marketing initiative. And yes, it looks like a lot of work, but when you do ultimately strike that perfect brand-influencer fit, it’s all well worth the effort!

Beyond Words

Content writing is like a long distance relationship- everyone thinks they can do it, until they have to.

Writing- the backbone of most creative ideas- is somehow seen as a low-hanging fruit attainable by anyone venturing into the digital space. Amid the glitz of flashy visuals and hashtags, the quality of writing often takes a back seat in the mind of the client and sometimes even in the office of a creative agency. So if you’re looking to up your content game, here’s the ABC (and D and E!) to start off with.

Aim
Semantics means nothing unless backed by a lucid thought process.

Before you start writing, clarify the purpose of your piece to yourself – What does it aim to do? Who is it for? Individual interpretations of readers may vary, but as a writer you need to be decisive about what you wish to convey. Frame a precise, one-line response to the question “What is the objective of this write-up?” for your own reference. This will serve as a reality check each time you find yourself drifting from the central idea.

Brevity
Verbosity is kryptonite to content; it can suck the magic out of even the most intriguing story. (And yet, ironically, there’s a lot to say about it!)

In the digital realm, economy effects eloquence. Ditch those weather-beaten tropes like “Content is king!” They add length without adding value. Similarly, resist the temptation to use ornate language in every instance- fancy vocabulary isn’t always the most fitting. Be it a fictional account, a biographical episode, a think piece, or even a Social Media post, the goal is to make maximum impact in the least number of words. Try this exercise- Articulate your point in the shortest possible (grammatically correct) sentence. That will help you shelve all those mildly suitable words and retain only the ones that nail the meaning of your message.

Continuity
There’s a fine line between succinct and staccato; make sure you don’t cross it.

Brevity need not interfere with the flow of your story – both structurally and in terms of ideas. Aim for a seamless transition, from one sentence to the next, one thought to the next. What can help is, putting your work away once you’re done with it and revisiting it after a couple of hours, rather than reviewing it right away. In the midst of writing, you tend to become blind to even obvious errors and breaks in continuity. Switching off for some time puts you in a headspace that’s more conducive for critique. You can also put your writing through this fun vocal test to gauge how smooth it is – Read it out aloud. If the sequence of words flows off your tongue with ease, you’re good to go; if not, you know you need some edits.

Distinction
A good narrative hinges on a clear point of view.

There’s almost nothing you can say today that hasn’t already been said by Google (or whatever your favourite search engine is). What you can offer is a unique perspective, be it on behalf of a brand or your own intimate musings. There are a million ways to look at the same thing, but the one you choose defines your story. Take a moment to reflect, to find your viewpoint. Now this doesn’t mean you have to be intense or melancholic. Even humour (good, original humour!) stems from incisive observation and depth of thought. Regardless of genre, let your writing style emerge from a distinct vantage point.

Experiences
Experiences are important, but an eye for them is more so.

Beware of those wanderlusty memes that make you believe you’re worth nothing if you’re not a “traveller,” or those movies that tell you only dark moments can kindle creativity. A trek to Machu Picchu or a tryst with heartbreak could very well be life-changing events, but you don’t have to drain your bank account and you definitely don’t have to subject yourself to torture, to find inspiration. Seemingly mundane scenarios like a drive to work, a chat with a stranger, or an interesting line in a book can also be stimulating. Engage with your environment, look for layers, turn everything you possibly can into a storytelling opportunity.

Syntax cannot make up for a lack of substance. Invest as much effort in developing perceptive views, as you would in transcribing them. A writer’s job may take up a few hours of the day, but a writer’s vision is a permanent state of mind.