If the past few months of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic have taught content creators anything, it’s that forging a deeper and more personal connection with their followers will go a long way.
In Singapore, we are midway through the extended Circuit Breaker. In the Philippines, the government has announced yet another extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine this week. Meanwhile in Malaysia, the Movement Control Order has been extended for the fifth time. Wherever we are, most of us are home-bound for the purpose of flattening the COVID-19 curve. With no definitive end to the health crisis in sight, it looks like our daily lives would be disrupted for a little while longer.
The way we create content is looking quite different this season too. For regular consumers like us, finding things to post and share about on our social media platforms has been challenging to say the least, let alone for content creators whose livelihoods are largely dependent on attending events, going places and generating content out of their homes. As we adjust to working from home, content creators are flexing their creative muscles to keep their followers engaged and satisfied — without the aid of professional studio lighting setups, perfect destination backdrops and beautiful cafe settings.
We’re curious to know how these creators are adapting and carving out new content opportunities during this stay-home period, so we hopped on Zoom and checked in with travel & lifestyle content creator, Elaine Rui Min, and beauty content creator, Mongchin Yeoh. One thing’s for sure: social distancing is far from social disconnection — and for that, we’re grateful. Here are what these Singaporean creators said during our first-ever virtual #ClozetteChats.
On the coronavirus impact on the industry
Elaine: “A lot of events have been cancelled. A lot of campaigns, like travel campaigns and even campaigns that require shooting outdoors, have been affected because we can’t head out and do our shoots. Everything has to be done at home. A lot of campaigns were either postponed or adapted, [but] it’s quite interesting to see different brands adapt to the situation. A lot of campaigns are going online and changing [their messaging] to stay-home routines.”
On the challenges of creating content
Mongchin: “It has definitely affected me a lot. But I think that’s where we really need to think out of the box. Now I don’t have my studio lights with me. I only have sunlight and I have to force myself to check the weather forecast every day to see when I can film. And when I film, I have to make a lot of preparations. I have to tell my family members to be quiet, to not come into the room… there are a lot more things that I need to do now.
On being just like Beyoncé and J.Lo
Mongchin: “Because we are all going through the same thing. Even if you are Beyoncé or J.Lo, you are going through the same thing – you are stuck at home! Saying that we are influencers in Singapore, it’s even more relatable because we have the same problems as well. I think our followers also do see that they can connect with us on a much deeper level during this period of time.”
On getting more personal with their followers
Mongchin: “Right now, I’m focusing more on personal content: with my family, my husband Matthias, my cat, or self-care routines at home [and] things that you can do at home. We’re still kind of doing the same things, it’s just that we’re sharing different parts of our lives.”
Elaine: “Instead of what we usually share about [when we’re] outdoors, we are 'forced' to create content within what we have at home. In a sense, we’re 'forced' to engage more with our audience through personal content. It’s a good thing because we can connect with our audience on a personal level as we share aspects of our daily lives."
Mongchin: “During this period of time, I feel like it’s not as relatable when I’m always talking about makeup because people don’t even wear makeup when they’re at home. So I’ve been shifting towards more skincare because people still are interested in skincare. I’ve also been doing more at-home vlogs, a few workouts here and there just to share a little bit more about my life in general instead of trying to value-add with more 'inspiring' content, like makeup tutorials. A little bit more of putting myself out there and letting them know a bit about me and connecting on a more personal and deeper level.”
On staying productive at home
Mongchin: "The moment I wake up, I shower and change out of my PJs. I’m less likely to laze around in clothes that are a bit more uncomfortable.
In terms of being more productive and creative… I don’t have a study or a designated workspace because, in the past, I used to go to my office every day. Now, I have to create a workstation at home and that’s my dining table. It has to be a good table and it has to be comfortable. Don’t work on your bed, don’t work on the floor, just find a place where you can sit in for hours.”
Elaine: “I think what really helps is having clear goals of what you want to do for the day. When you have such goals and when you have your family members to be accountable to, it really helps. For those who are not as fortunate to have family members around whom they can be accountable to, they can also do it with their friends. You can do the same things together over Zoom."
Mongchin: “I still don’t work on weekends. Even though time and days are blurred right now, I try to only touch work from Monday to Friday, and I have working hours. That way I don’t overwork, and I don’t underwork as well."
On keeping positive during the pandemic
Mongchin: “I’m actually not hating this circuit breaker period. I’m enjoying it a lot. Of course, apart from the fact that because we are freelancers [and] our income is severely affected. Apart from that, I feel like everything is quite positive. At least you still have the internet. At least I still have my job. At least I still can watch Netflix if I wanted to. Even if I want to cook, I have recipes readily online. There’s quite a lot of things to be thankful for.”
Elaine: “I’m actually quite happy and grateful for what we have. It’s actually not all that bad. I feel like this period really forces us to think out of the box and adapt to this situation. We are kind of lucky to be in a country like Singapore where technology is so advanced. We have access to so many things with a click of the button. It has affected us, but we are also adapting and making the best use out of it.”
Discover the benefits of starting a new hobby during the pandemic season here.