Professional Content Creation During and After the Pandemic: An Interview with Vishal Menda

Let's begin with the obvious: the pandemic forced many people to stay indoors for prolonged periods of time, and while indoors, many people turned to various forms of digital entertainment.

Streaming services and social media platforms were winning attention by the droves, and various new content creators found their footing during quarantine. 

While only a certain portion of creators can go pro, it seems there are more professional creators than ever before.

Vishal Menda, our guest today, is an expert content producer and digital media professional who works as a Business Development Manager with Studio71.

Menda is part of the professional content creation management set, a still quite new specialization that came about as content creation across various digital platforms has become increasingly professionalized, at least at the highest levels.

In essence, Menda and other professionals like him help creators become successful and stay successful.   

As a leading figure in the area, Menda has unique insights into how content creation has changed in recent years and in what ways it's likely to change in the near future. 

We'd like to offer a special thanks to Menda for joining us for this interview, and we hope you'll enjoy reading it. 

Online content has been professionalized rather quickly. In your opinion, was this bound to happen, given the massive earning potential? 

Menda: Yes, the growth of the community-driven creator economy has been nothing short of phenomenal in the last half a decade. And during the pandemic with everyone glued to their screens, if you managed to get the viewers’ attention, you likely managed to get advertisers’ attention too and get paid. 

Almost every social/content platform today runs and relies on AdSense, and if you are someone who creates relatable content, you are already a step ahead of the rest. The reason I mentioned the pandemic earlier was that I was constantly online looking for a distraction during the early days, and there was a lot of content and ideas that were relatable, and that personally made me feel like I wasn’t alone during these unprecedented times.

Authenticity continues to be a highly sought-after element for content creation. Is it ever challenging to achieve a sense of authenticity in the light of professional management/production?  

Menda: This is a great question! Yes, it’s quite a challenge to stay relevant and keep up with the cultural climate or trends. And given there have been so many historical cultural shifts in the last three years alone, it’s never easy to pivot a large-scale production/project. 

That’s why I think the creator economy is here to stay. It’s a lot easier to work with one or two content creators or influencers than with a crew. Not only are they able to create culturally relevant content, but they are also able to do so in real-time. And as I mentioned earlier, if the content is relatable or in this case authentic/genuine, it makes the money move. 

It’s also great because these projects can be tweaked or tailored to fit a particular demo or target audience, and with that added layer of relatability, it feels a lot more authentic.

Tell us a bit about how your background in Media Ventures has informed your current work. 

Menda: The Media Ventures program at Boston University is extremely unique, and it focuses on three main aspects: Entrepreneurship, Disruptive Tech, and New Media. And it’s the latter two that have played a big role in my current work. 

The creator economy is an extremely niche and nascent space, and we are constantly learning new things as it evolves. My time at BU helped shape the way I now perceive things more holistically, understand whitespaces in the industry, track and analyze trends, and most importantly, help scale businesses in an ever-changing but profitable market.

Do you think 'metaverse' content distribution and consumption are set to become much more ubiquitous over the next five years? 

Menda: Maybe not right away, but over the next few years, absolutely. I can see it becoming commonplace to share experiences and make memories with our friends and families. Now, whether that’s watching movies together, going to a Metaverse concert, or just hanging out like this is Animal Crossing, it’s all very 2025. 

We're not turning into the Jetsons quite yet, but the metaverse does seem poised to grow. 

Have the last two years, specifically with regards to stay-at-home measures, changed your perspective on content distribution in any way? 

Menda: Yes, and no? One of my goals after my master’s was to distribute digital content internationally, showcasing western talent to the east and bringing the best of the east out west. 

That took a backseat for obvious reasons, given how our priorities shifted. This provided me with an opportunity to focus on short-form content across various verticals, and gaming to be specific. 

Gaming content took off during the initial lockdown as everyone was indoors and online, and strategizing ways to scale and monetize it was a unique challenge. The perspective it gave me was that every piece of content has a home on a particular platform. If not, you found yourself a gap in the market and something new to deep dive into.

How often do you find yourself adjusting business strategies? 

Menda: I’d say that depends on two things. Firstly, if the project is new and struggling for engagement, we might have to pivot week-on-week till we find the right play. Now, these aren’t always major changes to our business strategies but are minor adjustments based on how the project is positioned or treated. 

The speed of change in the industry, culturally speaking, has never been as rapid, and so sometimes it is inevitable that we pivot. For instance, on a six-month-long project, we might make adjustments halfway or towards the end to give our impressions the final push that it needs.

Do you have any news about upcoming projects or ventures that you'd like to mention? 

Menda: Of course! For the past six months or so, I’ve been helping budding creators in the digital space with programming strategies and new content ideas during my time off. I’ve been in the content space for nearly a decade now, and having picked up what I have along the way, I’ve been happy to share it with people who are passionate about breaking into the creative space. It’s become quite the weekend project and a great way to meet the community, and I hope to keep doing it while I have the time and resources. 

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