Sure! Hot Chocolate Hits is all about easy and approachable dessert recipes that I hope, anyone can make successfully. I only post tried and tested recipes that are easy to prepare at home, and that I’ve enjoyed myself. I also used to do interviews with other bloggers and Youtubers.
I’ve always loved food, baking and cooking were ways for me to make the dishes I loved trying and reading about. I think I properly started baking when I was about 8. I had an American neighbor who would always make these delicious cakes, which I soon found out were from box mixes. My mom bought something like 15 mixes from her and then gradually I started baking cakes from scratch.
It’s definitely a trial and error process- when I first started out, I made cookies that were so hard they broke off one of my sister’s braces.
I also made peanut butter cookies using salt instead of sugar, then attempted to remedy the mixture by adding more sugar. Not a good idea.
I always try to ensure that all of my recipes are fail-proof and simple to prepare at home, but I’d say that the easier recipes tend to be either of the the cookies or no-bake desserts. Recipes like the butter cookies I posted around Christmas, as well as the no-bake chocolate cake, and the “the best chocolate cake.” (video below)
I never have a shortage of ideas concerning things I want to try out. I actively use pinterest as a source of ideas, as well as various cookbooks and other blogs. Usually I’m not planning to create a recipe with the intention of filming it, I love trying out new things for myself. If I’m happy with the way the dish turns out, I’ll consider filming it. Only the best of the best make it to Youtube. In terms of testing, I usually try out a recipe around three times before posting. I adapt recipes that I change up to suit my tastes, but I’ll occasionally build them from scratch (like the mango cheesecake). Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t – it’s a trial and error process.
Cooking is my passion but it’s not my job. I just completed my first semester of college and my extracurriculars and academics take up most of my time. So although I do work on Youtube weekly (i.e. replying to comments, posting on social media, planning ideas, editing photos + video, writing the blog post), I don’t actually stick to a weekly schedule.
I’ve just finished pre-filming all of my videos till Christmas, and I hope I can upload at least two each month till then.
That way, while I’m away at college, I can take care of the editing during my free time. Usually it takes quite a while to film and edit, especially since I do everything from the filming to the editing to the social media myself. I prioritize quality over quantity, which means that I won’t upload a video for the sake of uploading it if I’m not happy with the end product, so it does take a while to post a recipe.
[Daniel: Many channels have weekly content that can be grouped into “content categories”. For example, you can create Taco Tuesdays, Deep-Fry Fridays, etc. If you use batch filming, you could film four Taco Tuesday videos in one day – and release once a week. Just remember to change your outfit for each video.]
With batch filming, I make sure that I’ve tried out the recipes I’m going to be shooting beforehand, so I’ll plan quite a bit before. I make lots and lots of lists and store recipes that I’ve tried and enjoyed- so finding recipes isn’t usually that big of a problem. I would say the photography is the hardest part- so that does require quite a bit of visualization before filming. I usually google the dish or go on pinterest for ideas on presentation before starting, I’ll usually film one or two videos in a day and take care of the end shot and photography the next day. I’ll also set out all of the ingredients beforehand to speed up the process. If the recipe is fast and easy, I can usually get the photography done on the same day.
[Daniel: I also like to look at top foodie blogs as well as the online menus of trending restaurants for ideas on how to plate food]
Make sure your lighting is good, your presentation is good and of course, the food being presented is good! It’s a trial and error process so I can only say that you learn by experimenting and trying out new things.
My sub rate has now been growing at a pretty steady pace. When I was uploading on a more regular schedule, I would say I encountered exponential growth. Hot Chocolate Hits also started growing when the quality of videos I uploaded improved. Furthermore, I used to do collaborations often which helped quite a bit as well.
I wasn’t too focused on marketing to reach my first 10K, I was about 13 when I started and my goal wasn’t to turn my channel into a business, it was more for fun. I think it was just uploading regularly and trying to improve the quality of videos I was producing. I have to attribute much of that to Tastemade. They were extremely supportive in terms of helping me with any questions or difficulties I had, as well as connecting me to other Youtubers. Now as well, I wouldn’t say that marketing is my strength. I do try to post on Facebook, Instagram, (and foodgawker and pinterest for the blog) but I’ll admit I’m not as good at social media as I’d like to be.
[Daniel: Tastemade is one of many YouTube multichannel networks (MCN). They focus specifically on creators in the cooking/baking space.]
I wouldn’t call anything a ‘mistake’ or ‘waste of money’ because it’s all a learning process. I would say that in the beginning many of my videos are out of focus, and unsteady. (I had someone to help record the earlier ones). The music, editing and lighting was all off. But as I said, it was a learning process. In terms of money, I think most of the money was spent towards designing the blog (but that’s a whole other topic), and I definitely don’t think that was a waste.
People don’t understand how long it takes to film, edit and upload a video- especially when you’re doing it by yourself and you’re also focused on the blogging aspect. I often get comments asking me to upload more often, so I think I’d like to be asked why I don’t. It’s important to remember that there’s more to a person than their online presence, and a video looks way simpler than the effort that goes into making it.
Youtube has always been a creative outlet for me- a place to share my passion. My goal is to make sure that this continues, so for now, I’d like to keep doing what I’m doing. In the future, I’d also like to create an e-book with recipes, or do more reviews of restaurants and places I enjoy eating. I’d also love to try some healthier recipes!