We have all heard of “Terribly Tiny Tales” or “ttt” — the most loved micro-fiction content creator on social media. Their heartwarming stories gain more than 2 million organic readers each day. The founder of ttt, Anuj Gosalia, sat with us to discuss all things short-form content and building a community of creators.
If you are a fan of ttt (or short-form online content), Anuj’s story and the process of Terribly tiny tales is one you cannot miss. Check out the whole podcast here:
Here are some of the significant takeaways from this week’s Pepper Spotlight:
Managing Time As a Creator
Imagine running a company that creates consistent content and also making unique content for yourself. It seems like an arduous task, doesn’t it? But Anuj seems to pull this off with ease. His mantra is quite simple.
Firstly, he finds comfort because the team at TTT is exceptionally competent to run the ship. Most people are the best at managing the vertices; they are great at getting the job done, which gives some breathing room to Anuj.
Secondly, he considers the weekends a valuable asset to creators. He uses most of the weekend to catch up on the content he likes and fuel his curiosity. So, if you enjoy making unique content, you will look forward to this time over the weekends.
How ‘ttt’ Puts Content Each Day
“Every creator has a creative control problem,” said Anuj. It’s hard to let a team create content without having multiple thoughts. The secret is to enforce a culture that works for the company. At ‘ttt,’ the team is sure of what it wants, the design language and the product are set in their way, and people are happy to follow this philosophy.
The early days of ttt were nothing like the well-oiled machine they are today. Back in 2013, it was a bunch of friends who wrote and updated one post each day. Of course, their biggest drive was this deadline — regular posting at 8:00 PM became a habit.
“Every day is not fun as a creator,” he adds. You do not feel like posting on days, but you still have to keep pushing yourself to build one small habit. Over time they noticed that ttt was becoming more extensive and needed an extra pair of hands and minds.
Today the establishment has thirty-five employees who work in their various departments to ensure that stores remain on track. The majority of their tales today come from a community of writers.
They have a roster of over two hundred writers called the TRIBE. At this point, the role of ttt is to cherry-pick and ensure that the best and most deserved stories get the eyeballs.
From one post every day at eight PM to eight posts every day — ttt has never missed a day and plans to keep it the same.
Short-Form Vs. Long-From Content
The Attention Paradox
We like to believe that our attention spans have shrunk today. But Anuj has a fascinating point of view on this.
“Attention changes based on content,” he said. When you have less time, you find yourself drawn to the low attention span formats like Reels and Shots. You consume this content across the day and when you take breaks from work. This effect does not mean long-form is dead.
Consider the period post-dinner, when you have a luxury of time. That is the time when we intentionally invest our attention into long-form content like movies, TV shows, and much more.
The mantra of ttt is simple — “If you are not getting bored watching it — it’s tiny!” What they mean is that the content is too long if you find yourself bored while watching it.
Short-Form, Then and Now.
If you looked at content five years ago, the process of consumption was very personal and aesthetic. Even on a mindless platform like Instagram, the user paid attention to detail on the captions and images.
And then the Tiktok generation changed the world. They let us break the false aesthetics and go wild with content. As a result, short-form content is less polished and rough-around-the-edges. The people that consume also evolve with formats; today, consumers also make bite-size content, animations, etc.
Brands and Short-Form
The folks at ttt do not work on all kinds of content formats, but brands still want the short-form text-based posts. This is because their tried-and-tested form can better capture a brand’s ethos when compared to an influencer.
“The influencer takes the limelight a little,” explains Anuj. TTT does not have a person or a face, so the story becomes the hero of every post.
Subscription Model In Indian
According to Anuj, the best way to gauge a subscription model in India is by asking the questions: “hum paise denge kya?” (will we pay for this service?).
We cannot look at the subscription model for creators the same way we see OTT. In OTT, we see it as a value proportion. With a creator, there is support, fandom, and attachment.
One of the reasons TTT invested time and effort into email newsletters is its vast demographic opportunity. Email does not remain restricted to the audience in India. The content offering is for the general millennial audience anywhere on the planet.
One of the subscription models that would ideally work for an Indian creator is micropayment. This is when the followers can give amounts as small as INR 10 to INR 50 for exclusive content. On the other hand, the Patreon amounts of $5 and above seem slightly overwhelming for an Indian consumer.
One Tip For Writers
According to Anuj, a writer should never be dishonest. Writing honest content is the only way to break the creative block. Each time you think the writing is fake, write a true sentence — and you will see the work come back to life.
If you are creators or love the process of creating with a community, for the community — this episode of Pepper Spotlight with Anuj will be a treat. Check out the whole episode to understand the ttt philosophy behind creating content and why every brand needs to do it right now.