Expert Speaks | 13 Apr 2022

Expert Speaks: Gagan Choudhary

Of all the content platforms we have today, YouTube is arguably the most accessible, both for the audience and creators.Thanks to the democratised medium, video creators from across the content categories have created a niche for themselves in a short time.Gagan Choudhary has created a strong following for himself within the auto space.In this interview, he shares his journey with us.

How did you start your journey as an auto vlogger?

I started my journey back in 2013 with Yahoo Answers.I used the platform to answer questions and write about automotive topics. I started making videos in 2016 because I thought it was easier for me.

I wasn’t fluent in English, and making videos was easier than writing.In fact, I was making YouTube videos out of passion, and I still hadn’t made a career out of it.My videos started gaining popularity around 2017 as Reliance Jio brought India's internet revolution.In late 2017, I realised that I could make money out of it, and that’s when I started making videos professionally.

Tell us about some of your most memorable or enlightening experiences with your profession thus far?

There are two ways of looking at it.The first is my achievements.Honestly, I never thought that I would get to go abroad and get behind the wheel of so many cars and bikes.When I started, I couldn’t even imagine that I would have access to such great machines.It feels fantastic to have achieved the vision that I had back when I started.To expand on the second part, let me talk about this one time I was shooting in Ahmedabad and at a hotel with my team.After we finished with our food, the hotel owner politely approached and told me he was a subscriber.He took me out and showed me his brand-new Mercedes-Benz that he bought after watching my video.He told me how he had finalised another car and then switched to the Mercedes because of the nitpicking I often do in my videos.It’s these interactions and experiences that have made my career memorable.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced being an auto vlogger, and how do you address those challenges?

One of the biggest challenges I’m facing is the rising competition from other content creators. These video creators are limited to a certain kind of content.For example, it can be someone who owns a particular bike and shares his/her experience as an owner in the form of videos.It’s a challenge for serious auto content creators to differentiate our work from these people.I try to face this challenge by creating differentiated content and setting myself apart from others.There are other challenges as well, such as shooting outdoors in the heat all day long and driving/riding for the majority of the time.Then there are the online trolls. Though there are some trollers too, I’ve become thick-skinned over the years, so it really doesn’t affect me that much. I’ve been lucky with the kind of audience that I have.

Being a vlogger, how difficult is it to interact with all the users, answering their questions and comments? How do you manage such a Herculean task all by yourself?

When I started, I used to make it a point to answer every comment I received. However, as the channel grew, it became more and more challenging to answer all the comments. It was also a challenge when many questions were similar and repetitive.I started doing live sessions on Instagram and YouTube as a solution.This kept the audience engaged and put them at ease when their questions were answered. However, I stopped it eventually, as it started becoming repetitive after a while.Now I make it a point to answer as many comments as I can whenever I’m free.Though I would like a feature on YouTube wherein I could filter out the sensible questions and reply to those who have genuine doubts on priority.

What are some of the most remarkable changes you have witnessed in audience behaviour in recent times?

There are two types of audiences that we have come across.The first set comprises those who want information, and the second one consists of those who wish for entertainment.Earlier, the audience was very search-driven, wherein people would look only for a specific piece to answer their questions or gain knowledge.That audience still exists; however, a vast majority of the audience are looking for entertainment out of every type of content they watch, whether auto or tech.This number is rising, and it has become a challenge to identify the audience's preferences.This did not exist back then, and it is indeed a remarkable change that I’ve noticed in recent times.

In your view, what are some of the key requirements of the auto audience today?

One of the most prominent requirements, specifically in India, is driven by the audience's level of maturity.The audience here demands content that is easy and simple.The explanation should be given in layman's terms since people are not well-versed with technical jargon.The content should also be well-researched and crisp.The information given out has to be accurate.This is a challenge in our line of work since one cannot afford to make a mistake regarding the information given out.Finally, a dash of humour and entertainment goes a long way in making the content more accessible to the audience.Another thing that I would like to add is that brands should also realise that the old digital marketing techniques don’t work anymore.The content delivery mechanism and the audience have changed, and the age-old PR techniques won’t work in today’s times.The market has evolved, and brands too should resort to newer techniques.

What set of two-wheelers attracts you the most, and why?

I think most consumers are drawn towards two-wheelers which are aesthetically pleasing.Most people do not look at aspects of a two-wheeler like its mechanicals or other factors such as maintenance, handling, and performance while making a choice.Consumers tend to choose the two-wheelers which are the most attractive within a specific price bracket.Though the newer generation is well-versed with technicalities and specifications, most Indians still prefer aesthetics.

What, according to you, is missing in the Indian auto media space?

I think high-quality content is still somewhat missing from the Indian auto media space.Videos that are shot and edited very well aren’t something that many creators deliver.The content should also be organic and original.There is a specific set of audience who appreciates this kind of content and I see a lot of potential for growth in this aspect.In fact, there are some small-time creators who are putting out this kind of content, however, there is still a lot of room for growth within that space.

What are your goals going forward?

I want to work on my presentation skills and improve over what I am currently doing.I want my presentation to be crisp and have a sense of direction rather than being a random person who would just start talking with a phone in his hand.I want to improve the production quality too, and at the same time, I want my audience to make this switch with me and appreciate the new content. I am also into aviation, and going forward, I would like to explore that industry and create content on it.

What are some of the key things that aspiring auto vloggers need to keep in mind if they wish to become successful?

One advice that I have for aspiring auto vloggers is that they shouldn’t fall for tips and tricks to gain success in the short term.If you want to do something big in the long term, you need to be consistent and genuine in delivering your content.Avoid click baits or other such practices which would ruin your credibility.You cannot share false information since many people look up to you.Try to create organic content, and people will appreciate it.One should always respect and value the audience's time to consume their content.

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23 Jun 2022