Hardik is a very reputed and famous content writer who has been featured in Inc42, Youth Ki Awaaz, YourStory, BBN Times, and CoFounders Town. He has won awards such as Kumar Memorial Awards for Public Speaking.
He is also a cricket buzz and can endlessly talk about MS Dhoni (yes, on-repeat haha).
“Invest more time on LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a goldmine of opportunities yet only a handful of people know it (Do you know? Just 1% of LinkedIn’s active users create content on a weekly basis).” – Hardik
Q. How does a student who wants to pursue content writing should go about getting from ground 0 till the place you’re today (working with brands like YourStory, Inc42)?
A. Take care of the following main points:
Understand the difference between writing and content writing – General writing and content writing are different from each other. When you’re writing poems, journals, letters, etc. for yourself, you don’t care about your readers. You do it to express yourself freely.
However, when you’re writing content, you have to focus on your readers first of all. You’ve to make sure that after reading your content, readers should connect with you and your writing. So, the moment you want to start content writing, shift your focus from YOURSELF to YOUR readers.
Start writing instead of over-planning – While starting out, we all want to get as many suggestions and pieces of advice as possible. However, there is no limitation to external advice and help. Hence, instead of overthinking, just begin writing. Initially, write 100 words daily. Then, slowly increase this limit to 200, 500, and then 1,000 words. Consistent writing will always help you improve.
Learn from people around you instead of investing money in the online courses – Instead of burning money in the online courses, observe the writing style and approach of the established writers around you. Go on LinkedIn, read various posts and articles, and find out how a writer has structured a piece of content. Talk to them and try to understand their mindset.
Don’t copy anyone’s work – Understand the process from them and then build your own style and voice. Invest more time on LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a goldmine of opportunities yet only a handful of people know it (Do you know? Just 1% of LinkedIn’s active users create content on a weekly basis). When you are starting out on LinkedIn, comment on at least 5 posts every day. These posts don’t have to be necessarily related to the content field. Choose the topics that you love the most, find out the posts on these topics, and comment on them.
Slowly, start creating content – In the beginning, create content on your favorite topics. Remember, the motive is to add value to others’ lives.
“You don’t build a personal brand for yourself. You do it to build relationships with people.” – Hardik
Q. Do you believe content plays an important role in personal branding especially on LinkedIn? Why?
A. Content is the core of marketing and branding. No matter what kind of marketing you’re doing, content is essential. Reason: You don’t build a personal brand for yourself. You do it to build relationships with people. There, trust and loyalty play a very important role.
If you’re creating high-quality content that adds value to other people’s lives (i.e. it educates, informs, solves their pain points, or entertains them), then people start trusting you. They start believing what you say. That’s the stepping stone to build a sound personal brand on LinkedIn.
Personal Branding is all about sharing your experiences, success, vulnerabilities, failures, insecurities, etc so people can learn from them and improve their own lives. Can there be a better alternative than the creation of content to describe all of them?
Q. What was your biggest challenge during your college life? What did it take for you to overcome that?
A. I am envious of those who went to college and enjoyed the golden period of life (sad emojis inserted :p)
After completing my school education, I joined the chartered accountancy course, so I could never enjoy the life of a regular college-going student. During the CA course, I juggled between a 3-year long article-ship (internship in CA), coaching & studies, and my side-hustle (writing).
It was definitely a challenging task as I had to give time to all three things in a 24-hour day. I learned how to multitask without getting stressed.
I ensured that I was devoting my time and energy to one task before jumping on to the other task. I would do my internship in the daytime, go to coachings in the early morning or evening, and then complete writing assignments in the late night. That’s how I managed all three things, before quitting CA eventually focusing on content writing.
“Slowly, start creating content in the beginning, create content on your favorite topics. Remember, the motive is to add value to others’ lives. ” – Hardik
Q. Your education was focused on accounting and finance. What was the turning point for you to turn right towards content?
A. I wasn’t born with a knack for writing. It just happened. When I look back today, I feel it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I never aspired to become a writer in my wildest dreams. I was bad at writing long paragraphs ever since my school days. In response to the questions like “Write an essay on XYZ Topic” or “Describe ABC concept in detail”, I would never write more than 1-2 paragraphs (chuckles :p)
But during my CA course, a heartbreaking incident happened (that story for some other day) which actually dragged me into the writing field. I began writing on Jaipur city and its culture and published a few posts on Facebook (back then, Facebook had an option to write document-type posts). A local newspaper editor picked up my posts and published them as an article in the newspaper with my byline.
An HR manager, employed in a software company, saw that article and offered me the position of a remote content writer. That’s how my journey into the content writing field began.
Q. If you had to tell students one piece of advice, what would that be?
A. It’s perfectly okay if you don’t know your passion right now. Keep exploring. Try as many different and new options as possible.
Listen to what others advise or suggest to you about a possible career option. But don’t trust them blindly. Sometimes, you’ve to test the waters yourself to find out what you love doing the most. As long as you’re trying, failure shouldn’t scare you.
“Listen to what others advise or suggest to you about a possible career option. But don’t trust them blindly.” – Hardik
If you’re a student who wants to learn how to build a personal brand, build relations with recruiters, you might want to check out our 1$ LinkedIn & Personal Branding workshop.