Cook With Razia

How the Archery National Champion Became a Food Video Creator on YouTube.

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October 19, 2020

Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

Hi! I am Razia Khatoon from Jamshedpur, India. I am a food video creator on YouTube and a culinary class owner. I have a total of 1.5 million followers on all social media. I have been doing this for around five years. My followers are all around the world, and they love my content. It took me five years to become a full-time food video creator. 

Let's go down memory lane, tell us your backstory!  

Before everything, I won many medals in sports. I was a national gold medalist in archery. I was happy doing it. And at that time, I was around all the newspapers, but due to some reasons, I got injured, and I could not come back to sports. I was upset one day; my grandmother told me to cook something for the guests. She gave the recipe, and I cooked it.  Everybody liked the recipe I made and praised me a lot. That really gave me the boost, and I asked my grandma to teach me more. 

That was the day I started, and I never looked back. I was scrolling on YouTube to look for something unique to cook. At that time, I came up with the idea of opening a YouTube channel. It took me a while to start since I also had to learn to edit. I was shooting in my mobile and editing it and posting it all by myself. But right now, I have a team to support me on this, and I will continue to do this video creation job.

I started posting on YouTube first, and then I created accounts on Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, Helo, and many other social media platforms. To begin my channel, the one who inspired me is Nisha Madhulika, the famous YouTuber in India in the food category. And to do editing and all the technical stuff,  I learned through following a channel called,  My Smart Support. My primary motivation to keep this running is my husband.  He helps me a lot, and we work as a team. Because of him, I am now at this place, doing everything that I love to do.

How do you brainstorm ideas for your content and your advice in getting the creative juice flowing.

The first recipe that I cooked was the one my grandmother told me to cook. But later on, as my channel grows, I took inspiration from many. I mostly upload recipes related to any regional content. For this month, I will upload the local food recipe of the State of Odisha in India. I will cover the famous cuisine of this state. I love baking too. As a professional baker and culinary artist,  you will always find baking tips and tricks on my channel. I love to share my knowledge about baking with my viewers. This keeps me going. There are many YouTube channels there who also inspired me to make new recipes. I learned how to make short music videos from Tasty; talk in a food video from Nisha Madhulika.

All the ideas come up while I am at home. But to get more inspiration, I check on my restaurant, street food vendors and see the latest food trends. I also upload content according to the Indian festivals in India. I don't use any third-party software for brainstorming. I write down everything I think of, and I will organize my ideas to make a full recipe. I learned a lot from my YouTube team. They helped me in my channel growth, and they also organize mental health care sessions to keep us productive.

The techniques I learned are:

  1. Get inspiration first.
  2. Do your homework about what type of recipe you want to shoot.
  3. Write down the recipe.
  4. Gather ingredients. 
  5. Shoot, edit, publish.

What are the tools and platforms you use to help with your brand?

When I was shooting on my mobile phone, I used the Kine Master for editing. I learned to use this software from YouTube. I still use it sometimes, but, as my channel grows, I shifted to PC softwares. Now I am using Wondershare Filmora for editing my videos and publishing them. I am also thinking of using Adobe Premiere Pro to enhance my video quality and editing skills. Sometimes, I also use CyberLink Powerdirector on mobile for editing on the go.

I am on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Helo, and other Indian short video platforms. I do not use any third-party software to schedule my post since YouTube gives us a scheduled post option. I also got a schedule post option on Facebook Creator Studio. As all the softwares offer scheduling post options, I don't think I need any third-party software. But right now, I am doing it manually.  For taking notes, I use Google Keep. This really helps as it shares data in all on my mobile and desktop.

What were your fears starting out? How did you handle it? 

It's true that when you grow in social media, the negativity also follows. Many nasty comments try to pull me back, but I always focus. I do this by posting as many videos as I can. Before, I posted one video in a day, but now, I post every other day. You will find many negative comments on my channel. I don't know why people do that, but this negativity gives me strength. It reminds me that I can do much more than they think. 

  • Even when you get negative comments, you also get many more positive comments, which inspire me, and always keep me focused. I always make videos for my followers who comment very positively and always encouraged me; they push me. They always ask me about a particular recipe. Hence, I made recipes for them. Whatever the request, I upload it and respect their comments. I try to answer all the comments I get. I usually get 1000 comments a day, but I try to answer all those every day because when you answer the comments, your followers will get attached to you and be with you for a long time.

And about the negative comments, I don't care about them. I don't even reply to them; they eventually go away. The best way to handle a negative comment is to ignore it, let the people comment. You don't get demoralized because you have some more people who will inspire you every day. Be inspired by those comments that give you a smile on your face; they will always motivate you to go further. It was challenging to be in front of a camera. I fear the camera, but I don't have that fear anymore after doing so many videos. I practice a lot in front of the mirror before going live on camera. This really helps.

How did you build your brand to where it is now, take us through your process.

Starting a cooking channel involves some funds like buying ingredients. As I was shooting on my mobile, I didn't have any kit before, but I needed some funds when my channel grew. I bought all my kits from the money I got from YouTube.  I didn't get any help from outside in building my brand; I am doing it by myself. The most formidable challenge starting out is the consistency to post videos. I am a housewife, and I have a lot of other things to do apart from shooting. Maintaining that is a real challenge.

There was a time when I had not posted for two months and my channel declined. It took us about a year to bring it back. Getting the first 100 subscribers is difficult. It took me a month to hit that. I asked all my friends, family, and I posted on social media to follow my channel. Today is very much different from what I was doing before. Now I have bought many cameras, lights, and other kits. As mentioned, I also have a team to help me. Every member of the team has its job to do. I work in a schedule, and I strictly follow it. The videos that brought me traction for my channel are Gajar ka halwa, gulab jamun, cake video.  These videos have gone for more than 18 million views.

For someone who wants to get into content creation, what is your advice?

If I had all the knowledge, I would have done my content differently. Like how to shoot the videos, what to say in every video, lights and camera angles, and finally, the posting’s consistent schedule. I always thought I should have posted regularly. When I got traction, I did not post videos; I should have posted more, but I did not do it. My only advice to someone who wants to get into content creation is to keep posting regularly and post original, unique content.

There are no hacks; it is all about hard work.

Do not stop learning new technology and always use new software and acquire new skills in editing. Experiment different light and camera settings and experiment different recipes.

How did you finally commit to X platform rather than your regular day job?

I continued making videos when I did my Masters Degree. Now, I am more focused and more dedicated to my job. I did not apply for any job because I was already earning from my school days. So, after finishing college, I gave all my time to this. 

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

The best milestone was when my article was out in  English Daily. After a month, I think some of the boys from my village who work in big cities brought some snacks wrapped in a news paper, and they saw my photo on that paper. That was literally the best moment of my life,  reaching that far. After three days of posting my first video, I got a comment from an international viewer. That really helped me and inspired me to stay in this field and make more videos. I also consider that a milestone. Another milestone is buying a house with the money from my hard work here on YouTube.

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

At first, I only post my videos on YouTube and share it on Facebook. But later on, my team started sharing my content with other social media like Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok and Helo, Sharechat, stories, on my website, etc. I want to specifically say that you dont need any marketing for YouTube content. Facebook and Instagram are already sufficient. I have never done anything unethical because YouTube will close my channel if I am caught doing something wrong. Thats why I always use my own original content. I did a collab with a few creators but not much because of the location issues, and it depends on the cooking category.

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

Previously, I was the one reaching out to many brands, but now brands come to me. They email me first about their requirements. If I see it that brand is suitable for my channel, I will take it.  I don’t take brands that are irrelevant to my channel- like gadgets review. I only accept food-related brands. I got many emails from the US and UK about sponsorships, but I know my price. If they are paying me with unreasonable price, that means they are fake. 

Some brands did not pay me after I made a video for them. I did not publish the video until they paid me in full. I also did a TikTok video for a mobile brand and they said they would send me a mobile, but they did not send me any. My suggestion is to take only the brands related to your channel. And if you take it, finish it in due time. We do negotiations every time. I tell them my demands; they tell me theirs. Some say that they need assurance about views; some say they will give scripts like what I did with a video for UNHCR. The brands that I did so far are Snapdeal, Agaro, Disano ,UNHCR, Infinix Mobile , Meesho App, Graphy, and many more.

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