Madhushree and I had decided to not work during Pujo. We had just completed Pujo reels last Saturday. There was an emptiness from the minute it ended. You can watch Pujo Reels here, in case you have missed. Pujo reels was a series of conversations on Kolkata Pujo, nostalgia. This was the first time, I was ‘live’ on Instagram, I was the host and the star studded line up had some of the most respected names in the food world.

Nothing much had happened during this incredibly slow week after Pujo reels. We planned to shoot more videos for our youtube channel and had a long shoot day. Eventually, after the Wednesday that week, the camera conked off. We were a little upset since that meant, we couldn’t shoot videos as well. However, the next day when we woke up – Tugga asked me to go and open my laptop. The surprise was neatly tucked. Tugga is into his formative years and many a times, we are harsh with him to teach him about the ways of the world but this melted our hearts.

How did Cook with Pikturenama begin?

Not many know, Cook with Pikturenama was always there. It’s original name was Pikturenama Cooks. Just like Mumtaz Jahan Begum Dehlavi changed her name after few films to become famous as Madhubala. No, Cook with Pikturenama is yet to reach a stage where we can call ourselves famous. The channel was rather neglected for almost 4 years and we rarely uploaded videos. The trigger to start Cook with Pikturenama was the same as Pikturenama. We wanted to document in the simplest form of what we cook. We started with mobile phone, edited on mobile phone and uploaded.

Check out the videos like Golden fried prawn balls, breakfast bread caserole, Souffle Omelette and others. Many sleepless nights went into editing, no voice overs, non uniform sups and others. We got excited with the response we received with the initial videos.

Dalgona Coffee in cook with Pikturenama

Dalgona Coffee showed its magic after 4 months

The process of creation is what we wanted to enjoy. Dalgona Coffee was a rage in the initial days of Lockdown and we made one video on that too. We didn’t expect much out of it . However, it started picking up from September end. As I write this, it has 29000 views and increasing. SEO driven write ups or write what you feel from heart? A dilemma, which we always go through, before creating any content on social media. One needs both as some content are seasonal, like this Pantua or bhuni khichuri blogpost always gets visitors before Durga Puja. Again, like Dalgona Coffee, our Robibarer murgir jhol on youtube is one, which always gets visitors and comments.

How you can make it to 500 subs like with Cook with Pikturenama? 

The disclaimer first – what worked for us may not work for you. 500 is too less a number but here are few things which we have learnt and are worth sharing – 

  1. Focus on the content – After 6 years of blogging, we had realised that it’s not necessary that each blogpost will get viral the moment you release it. Just like Dalgona coffee in Cook with Pikturenama, in our blog also, there are posts which became viral much later. Essence lies in keeping creating the content 
  2. It’s a marathon and not a sprint – I copied the headline from what Puja Dhingra had written yesterday in HBR. Overnight success is fickle. I would rather prefer a hard earned success. Consistency is the key when it comes to creating content and making your voice heard. You can read her article here. 
  3. Paraphernalia is not that important when you begin Many may tell you – get your own signature music, create an intro video, create a logo, use high end gears. Well the list can be endless. Let me tell you, we didn’t do either of these. We wanted to enjoy the process of making the videos. We wanted to know what we are comfortable at. How do we want to create it. Like each batsman, each content creator has a sweet spot, which makes their content invincible.
  4. Identifying the sweet spot – You are confident in front of camera or you prefer a voice over ? You are comfortable in vernacular / regional language or English? You want the camera to be fixed or want creative shots? We all need to find out what we are comfortable with and then fine tune the skills. Between Madhushree and me, she is comfortable in voice over and I am more comfortable in front of camera.
  5. Studying the craftThey say for a writer, it’s essential to read a lot. It’s essential to see other channels. Few, which we always see are Rekha Kakkar (oh we are a fan of hers), The Bite Shot by Joanie Simon, Fig and Light by Brandon, Foodieshut by our Friend Shyamali for simplicity and dedication with which they make their video, Get curried by Varun Inamdar to see how cooking can be made easy, We eat together for tips and tricks, Roxanne Bamboat by Roxanne to keep it simple and offer genuine good content, Strictly dumpling – needs no introduction . The list is endless. It’s not necessary you follow these people, you can like and follow others too. 
  6. Beginning is toughWe have seen in content creation, that beginning is tough. The biggest thrust you need is to begin. Then everything else take their own course. It was in one of the casual conversations, I suggested Olive who creates food video from Bongburrp, to shed all inhibitions and start. He has now started producing content regularly and we hope he continues to do so. 
  7. Maintain a calendar – This is one place where we have failed all through. Just like the blog, you need to plan and maintain a calendar. Many a times, we have planned but with two kids and other works, we have released the content at a wrong time. For example, we released this Labra video today, while as Labra is integral with Lokkhi Pujo and Oshtomi. It won’t go waste, as I am hopeful, next year it will be searched. Just like our Pantua was top searched this month in the blog. 
  8. Build a communityJust like bloggng, it’s important to create your own community here. Social media is all about Karma and believe in good karma. Just as it’s important to practice and better your craft, it’s equally important to share, watch and engage with other content creators. For many, it becomes a mutual admiration society but most often than not, you will find genuine friends and well wishers, as I speak about a couple of them next. 

Experts speak – Cook with Pikturenama will remain helpful to them

I focussed on SEO and using hashtags only after Samarpita’s suggestion. Samarpita is an author, content strategist and an editor. Her work and portfolio can be seen here. However, her husband Sankalp, is an ex banker turned organic farmer and they run the youtube channel – Natural Farming made easy . A real success story, and as Samarpita says – the intention was to create honest content, speak about failures, how things went wrong, which made him take steps backward and more. There aren’t many YT channels dedicated to farming, goes to prove there is enough head space for everyone. In her trademark style, Sam says – Followers can be bought, friends can be forced to follow, etc. What will make them remain as followers, like and watch the complete videos, leave comments, and suggest the channel to others – is content that is relatable and honest. 

Puspanjalee Das Datta is a blogger, author and content strategist. During our initial days of youtube, we all were a part of a facebook group by Puspanjalee. A group, where we asked silliest of the questions (not that, they have ended). From details of mics to use for Voice Over to hashtags and research too. She has a view, which is in accordance to whatever we have said till now – She says, introspecting what works is very important. Her hat tips will be – study the platform and check how your videos are performing. It’s also important to maintain a schedule of release. 

Final words on Cook with Pikturenama 

If you are still with me, I am obliged. There is no race and each of us will take our own sweet time to reach the destination. I learnt it the hard way from Yamunotri trek . At the day end – let’s keep creating those contents. Everytime, there may not be same engagement, likes and other mesaurable Social Media Metrics but it doesn’t mean that someone hasn’t watched or felt happy about your content. Next time, it may be the same person who will share, comment and like and subscribe. 

Will see you guys on the other side of 1000 . 

In case you haven’t subscribed to the youtube channel – here is the link . Let us know that you have subscribed, we will be happy.