An Indian digital creator living in the UK, Archana Dhankar has successfully launched and grown several small startups. With 100,000 followers on Instagram and a successful lifestyle website called FashionForRoyals, Dhankar is still continuously upskilling to keep up with the changing trends of content creation. She shares her journey, some advice, tricks and tips for creators who are looking to grow, market, and monetise their content.
Here are excerpts from her conversation with The Channel 46.
1. What’s your educational & professional background?
After graduating from university in my hometown of Delhi, India, with a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science, I ventured into the marketing world and have worked for over 15 years—first in India and now in London. I also did an Executive MBA from Warwick Business School in 2019. I have launched several small start-ups and grown nascent brands into large, successful companies.
2. What prompted you to start your content website, FashionForRoyals?
I have always felt a strong connection to style, silhouette and all things sartorial; however, I didn’t pursue this passion immediately. In 2012, I decided that it was time to take the plunge. This is when FashionForRoyals was born. My purpose has always been to empower women to discover their inner fashionista with style and beauty advice from my personal experiences. I want my readers to fall in love with fashion.
3. Did you always want to be a content creator?
As a marketer, my skillset always allowed me to create and keep an eye out for good content as far as my job was concerned. I eventually ended up applying these same skills to my passion project and served it up with a side of my individuality. This helped create the unique tone and voice which became part of the core identity of FashionForRoyals.
4. What was your first milestone?
My first milestone and perhaps the most challenging part of this journey had been setting up FashionForRoyals itself. It had taken months of hard work and creative resources to make my vision a reality. It was essential for me to create aesthetically pleasing content that was also relatable. But successfully launching the FFR website and platforms has always been my proudest moment throughout this journey.
5. How long did it take you to monetise your website?
FashionForRoyals was launched in 2012, and it got its first social media platform via Instagram in 2015. Instagram has given me the platform to share what I love with my audience and reach and work with like-minded people. 2016 was when I was able to begin monetising, partly thanks to the wider audience we received through Instagram and partly because our website had some loyal readers who kept coming back organically.
6. What kind of marketing strategies work best for your content?
The world is moving faster with every passing day, and every creator and user is just as busy trying to keep up with the pace. I know that social media is an escape for most of my followers, where they want to see content that will help them take a break from their daily activities. But I also value their time and know that to hold their attention and love, I have to keep my content concise and relevant. So, I pick a topic that is fuelling my creativity and talk about why I can relate to it—it’s my way to always be authentic and crisp.
7. Do you have any tips for an aspiring content creator who wants to enter this space?
In essence, anyone can be an influencer to a great extent. Influence at its core has existed for decades. However, today’s term is more loosely used for content creators on social media platforms. But there is so much more to it than putting on a pretty dress and smiling for the camera. It is about being true to who you are and connecting with like-minded people who find inspiration from your style and aesthetic. My most important advice is to be authentic and follow your instinct. Also, you need grit—things do not happen overnight; it has taken me years, if not months, to be content with my work.
8. Are there any online or offline courses you would recommend to someone who wants to enter this space?
The list of skills one must imbibe to thrive in this space is endless. And just because the digital world is constantly changing, it is essential for all content creators, even established ones, to keep abreast and update their skill set with courses and resources available. But for those just dipping their toes into this pond, I suggest it best to start with learning about social media strategies, navigating platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and content creation strategies and tools to be self-sufficient.
9. Which networking groups and showcasing events could help aspirants meet the right people and generate work opportunities in this field?
Brand & PR events are the way to go to network with agencies. They are a great platform to meet like-minded people, not just limited to agencies, but also connect with fellow content creators.
10. What are some investments one should be ready to make when entering the influencer/content creator space?
Besides tangible resources such as equipment and gear, I think the most important investments are time, not just creating content but keeping abreast with the latest trends and time to educate and equip you with new skills. I firmly believe that one never stops learning. Therefore, it is essential to continue to do so as a content creator to ensure your work is relevant and relatable.