By Jim James, Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Podcast.
People say that it takes a village to raise a child. Nitin Pandey, the founder of the Indian parenting network Parentune, revolutionised the game and created a platform that has now become a virtual village comprising more than 5 million parents.
Image from LinkedIn
What is Parentune All About
Parentune was created to offer information and advice on how to raise a child at various stages.
What parents typically do is search for things online, only to find millions of answers and solutions. It has become a challenge with regards to pointing out which topic is relevant for them and which source is trustworthy.
With Parentune, parents can find results and content coming from fellow parents. It’s a platform where you can also create your network of like-minded parents who are always available to help you with your parenting concerns. This eliminates the tedious process of trying to find people or reaching out to friends and family members just to validate certain information.
Over the years, Parentune has grown bigger as parents share the content they found on the platform. When other parents find the content valuable, it prompts them to join the network and contribute something relevant as well.
According to Nitin, the idea of establishing Parentune started back in 2012. He had this idea that parents need support and real-time validation on parenting information; they need to have a trustworthy report that they can use on how to raise their children. Given that families have started transitioning into open nuclear family setups during that time, the need to have a platform like Parentune became more urgent.
Image from Unsplash
Having worked in an education company, Nitin says that he has seen a huge gap between resources and parents. This all the more drove him to establish Parentune as a credible, real-time advice centre for parents. After initial beta testings were made, the network went live in 2013. However, it was only in 2014 that it started getting results.
Throughout establishing Parentune, Nitin realised that three main things are important for parents looking for advice online. The first is that they want to be in a safe space: They want to be in a closed network, not on social media. Second, they are looking for personalised, relevant, and specific content — not just generalised ones — because this is content they will use to make parenting decisions. The third is that parents look for support and not judgment. They don’t want to be looked down on and be talked about.
With these in mind, Nitin and his team built Parentune to become a platform that can safely and effectively cater to various parenting concerns.
Today, Parentune has over 5 million registered parents. It is considered the most used parenting network in India capable of providing pieces of advice and information in a matter of minutes. It’s accessible via a website (both desktop and mobile) and a mobile progressive app (it’s currently only compatible with Android). Around 97% of their users access their platform on mobile.
To cater to as many Indians as possible, Parentune is available in five languages. Because English alphabets can be used to speak or type in a certain Indian language, it has helped the platform to be more utilisable in a country like India with different languages.
While the platform is largely India-based, around 11% of its users are foreign parents. They have users from the United Kingdom, Africa, and Southeast Asia, and other parts of the world.
Image from Unsplash
Tapping and Welcoming Experts into the Platform
Parentune is not only a network of parents. It’s also a platform with an expert panel on parenting. For the education frontier, Nitin is offering his expertise. He also tapped experts in gynecology and pediatrics as well as professionals specialising in children with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other special needs.
Initially, he and his team reached out to the top 20 doctors representing different fields. These experts are carefully handpicked because they believe that quality begets quality. This panel is assigned to answer questions coming from parents. However, as more questions came in, they saw the need to reach out to more experts.
At first, they put out their application form on LinkedIn. However, they did not receive much response. This is when they incorporated a form on their site and app where interested experts can input their details (e.g. their curriculum vitae, their degrees and specialisations, the reason why they want to join Parentune). This made the panel bigger, with two to three more experts applying daily to be part of the network.
Apart from applicants enquiring through the form, Parentune is also expanding its expert panel by asking for recommendations from their resident experts.
A Freemium Model
Parentune utilises a freemium business model, which makes it accessible to anyone without having to pay anything. However, the platform requires users to have a verified account to mitigate bots and the like.
Once you have a verified account, you can now reach out to other parents on the platform. The first question is free of charge. Accessing the content in different languages is also free. However, if you want to ask more, clear doubts with experts, attend workshops and live shows hosted on the platform, you’d have to pay a certain amount (around £1). If you want to have 24/7 access, you have to then pay for a subscription, which can be monthly or annually.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Parentune is offering discounts on their subscription fees: For the monthly, the original £3 is cut down to £1; for the annual, the original £12 to £15 fee is now down to just £5. It’s a flexible pricing system that allows you to stop or get a refund in case you won’t be satisfied with the experience.
Payments are done using online payment wallets (In India, internet banking is now enabled by the Unified Payments Interface, which is “an instant payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India.”) Parents outside India are typically paying through their credit cards.
Parentune in the Time of COVID-19
Given today’s COVID-19 situation, Parentune is charging the same fee regardless of the user’s location because, in times of need, they want to be as helpful as possible. But just as how it was before the pandemic, their pricing would change in various geographies after the pandemic.
Screengrab from Parentune’s website
In terms of content, Parentune has also allotted a dedicated cluster to address topics related to COVID-19. In the form of videos, they provide information on how to stay calm, how to know if your child is facing anxiety in these tough times, and how to take care of your family among others.
Search has really been important for Parentune. After all, the platform was created as a response to the need of people who are looking for help with parenting. This is why they continue to incorporate search marketing in their efforts to promote their platform.
They also utilise two of the most popular networking platforms in India: Facebook and WhatsApp. Now, they are also on LinkedIn and Instagram to get Parentune discovered by more people.
This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast The UnNoticed, you can listen here.