Owning and operating a YouTube channel is interesting and not for the faint of heart. Follow my learnings from my very first year and my experiences in my second year.
The Honeymoon is over!
It’s time to get down to business. Am I making money yet? Not as much as I’d like. But is there potential? Hell ya! Even though it can be quite stressful at times, I’m doing what I love to do and that’s all that matters.
Content is King
I said this in my first year but now realize that content is always King and all the other important stuff just needs to get done on top of having great content. My focus has been on picking good recipes that I think people will want to make themselves from Traditional favorites like Chicken Pot Pie and Thai Red Curry Chicken to spin off fusion recipes like Butter Chicken Bites and Mushroom 65. We’ve also ramped up the format of the videos and put more effort into the lighting and video length. What I learned this year is to not leave any stone unturned. YouTube gurus may preach till they are blue in the face, but truly nobody can tell you what that magic combination is going to be, you just need to keep rolling the dice.
I’m still only producing videos on one day of the weekend and in this year, I’ve tried to double up the recipes to increase my upload count. I’ve also experimented with taking sections of my video and turning them into other videos with great success like my How to Blanch a tomato. I took a culinary course at George Brown to better my skills and share some great tips and tricks with my viewers. The highlight of my course? Meeting Chuck Hughes 🙂
Preach to the choir and anyone who will listen
I’m sure my Facebook friends hate my multiple posts, but the fact is that I do need them to spread the word. This year I’ve discovered so many other ways to promote my channel. Besides being a member of the Food Bloggers of Canada that have always been incredible, I partnered with Tastemade to help me take my channel to another level. I also contribute to Fusia Magazine. When you’re a newbie, it’s hard enough to keep on top of one thing, but making sure you’re utilizing all the other channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Tumblr etc is no easy feat. And as these platforms change and introduce new features, I’ve tried to stay in line with them. In between trying to grow my channel, a wonderful opportunity came to me to compete on a new TV show called Jamie Oliver’s Pressure Cooker. I got to cook with masterful chefs like Stefano Faita and DJ BBQ and the experience was fantastic! I also met some wonderful contestants and have stayed friends with them.
One of the goals this year was to rebrand Kravings Blog. It might have been relevant when I only had a blog(also Kravings.ca was taken), but I didn’t want to be looked at as someone who only cooked Indian food as I am so not that person. Hence Kravings Food Adventures was born. I try to tell a story with each recipe, bring something from another country, era or memory. I’ll take you on an adventure without leaving your kitchen.
Casting a wide NETwork
This year I’ve been more convinced that I need other people to help me succeed. I’m surrounded by friends with amazing talents who were more than happy to help me produce videos like Tava Chicken, Chipotle Kebabs, Hara Kebabs and Seekh Kebabs. I convinced my mom to share her special recipe for Shrimp Pickle. Trying to think out of the box, I created a Father’s Day Chopped style competition. I also made an homage to my mother’s 70th birthday and created a special recipe with her name – Mary–nated Chicken Balls. At the end of the day it’s all about the personal connections.
The key to growing your channel is networking and collaborating. I attended as many YouTube(thank you YT) events as possible and collaborated with some amazing channels like The Kitchen Witch, Pesca Foodie, Panko Bunny, Love Bites, Creative Cakes and Feeling Peckish. I also tape when I’m on vacation – having a youtube channel is a powerful tool and it can open doors for you like you won’t believe. While on my cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway, I was lucky to tape with Geoffrey Zakarian’s Executive Chef Eric Haugen and watch his mastery at work.
What makes you tick
This year I’ve had to dive right into analytics. I won’t lie, when I first looked at the report suite, I thought my head was going to explode .. What’s retention? What’s watch time? I still don’t believe I know all there is to know about analytics, but I’m a lot smarter than I was last year and it’s fun to watch people interact with your videos and comment on them. As the quality of video increases, you will see an improvement in performance, but you will always have those surprise videos that just dart ahead of the pack for no apparent reason.
I’m excited to see what year 3 will bring!