‘Paperless Postcards’ and the Business of Conversations
After years of experience in the digital content space, including a stint at one of the largest media agencies in the world, when Bistriti Poddar decided to start up she knew she wanted to create something that would be meaningful, yet different. And that’s how her venture ‘Paperless Postcards’ was born in April 2016. In an e-mail interaction, Poddar tells us how her love for ‘effective conversations’ took the shape of a business.
Q. Tell us about ‘Paperless Postcards’ and how did the idea come about?
A. Paperless Postcards is inspired by real life scenarios and nostalgia. It’s the country’s first and the largest social hub for micro non-fiction contemplative conversations. With an organic reach of 2 million and 5 million impressions per week, we have disrupted the micro content space. We source these conversations from real life situations.
Our website, 6 months old, that clocks 20,000+ sessions weekly features open letters, narrations (conversations turned into short stories with a plot twist) and poetry.
In a span of 365 days, we have collaborated with 6 hugely successful and content-driven quality films like Toilet Ek Prem Katha, Lucknow Central, Rukh, Kadvi Hawa, Qarib Qarib Singlle and The House Next Door. We’ve also worked with brands like Cipla, Charcoal Biryani, Shoppers Stop and Kohinoor Hotel Group.
We’ve conducted workshops in the country’s biggest institutions such as IIM Indore, IIT Dhanbad, NMIMS and NITIE Mumbai on how Paperless Postcards has disrupted the micro content space by being a one-of-a-kind content model in the non-fiction genre. We’ve also given 2 TEDx talks at IIT Roorkee and IIM Raipur.
Q. You’ve created a career out of ‘conversations’, ‘storytelling’, which is a fairly nascent space. Do you personally love listening to or narrating stories or listening to conversations?
A. I am a strong observer. I think day-to-day life has enough content for us to ponder over and take cues from. Paperless Postcards is largely a result of my experiences/conversations with people and my attempt to break stereotypes, monotony and crush hypocrisies. The conversations are collected and then refined into consumable content suited for the digital audience. Which is why the relatability/engagement is overwhelming. The intent is to challenge the status quo and impact lives through inspiring perspectives. We are affectionately known as a ‘life changing fortune cookie’ by our fans.
Q.Given that brands are always looking at newer ways of telling stories, how receptive have they been to your venture? Did it take some amount of convincing on your part?
A. Absolutely! Nothing happens overnight. We did have to struggle with our brand positioning initially. However, we were very clear about what we wanted to achieve. We didn’t want to be a rip-off social page. We wanted to go beyond the usual and become a compulsive habit for the world by what we are doing. So we eventually and consistently got recognition because of our unique designs and rich and original content. We have built a loyal and returning follower base of ‘evolved’ readers. When you keep doing something consistently and propagate a thought-provoking idea, the world does give you a grand reception sooner or later.
Q. Tell us about your core team and what is a typical work day like?
A. We are a lean team of 15 sharp and handpicked digital marketers, writers, strategists and designers. All of us have superhuman energy and stamina. We are always talking about our next milestones even when we are not physically working. So there’s not really a work day mode. We take along our laptops even on vacations. Paperless Postcards is our purpose, our drive and pride. I don’t hire employees, I hire co-founders. People who share the same aspiration and vision.
Q. Where do you see Paperless Postcards five years from now?
A. Globally impacting lives through breakthrough concepts revolving around inspiration.