Wishing you a happy Mother's Day! To celebrate the day on SEW, we thought it would be cool to have some "real moms" (rather than "marketing experts") share their online marketing strategies. Today, SEW is very lucky to have two successful "YouTube moms" discuss their channels, how they got into the premium partner program and how they keep their audiences engaged. Aside from the awesome tactics shared, the stories of both remind you why the internet is so cool. On a small budget, families can inspire and motivate each other to upload content to a platform like YouTube and randomly and serendipitously touch the lives of thousands of viewers.
Naturally, the first person we approached was someone we have covered before on SEW. Betty Givan, owner of the successful cooking channel, Betty's Kitchen, has such a well optimized channel that in 2010 the Official YouTube Blog asked her to share her recipe for meta data.
Betty's daughter was the first to start filming her cooking but as the channel has turned from a hobby to a second career, Betty's husband has taken over the role of cameraman.
Content from Betty's Kitchen has also been featured on playlists witin the YouTube Ad Blitz channel which is in partnership with NBC, and she has enjoyed many TV appearances since - which she lists on her channel bio to reinforce her credibility with viewers.
SEW: What's the backstory of Betty's Kitchen? How did you decide to launch a YouTube channel?
Betty Givan: I started my YouTube channel Betty's Kitchen toward the end of January, 2009. My family and I were watching a football game, just a few weeks before the Super Bowl. I made some nachos for all of us to enjoy during halftime. My family thought the nachos were quite good, and I suddenly had the inspiration to make a video about how to make the nachos and upload it to YouTube, so that others could enjoy this treat during the Super Bowl. My daughter did the camera work, and we shot a 3-minute video. She and I created a YouTube account and uploaded the nacho demonstration. At that point, I did not have any aspirations of doing anything further with the channel. However, I started getting good comments about the video and requests for more videos. For the next few days I uploaded other Super Bowl recipes, and this led me to decide to share my entire recipe collection, which I have continued to do for over three years.
I had a small amount of experience with uploading videos before starting my YouTube channel, because I was co-owner of a business (with which I have since severed ties) that produced educational videos, and I had uploaded a few clips from those videos on social sites to promote the business. I never considered bettyskitchen to be anything more than a hobby; however, surprisingly, it has turned into a second career for me.
SEW: Do you have any tips about getting people to discover, watch, and share originally-created videos on YouTube?
Betty Givan: To use YouTube efficiently, you should set up a channel, being careful to choose an appropriate name that would give viewers an idea of what to expect from your channel. You won’t be able to change the name later, so you need to choose a name that is easy to remember and descriptive. You should state the purpose and goal of your channel, and you should choose an avatar that is recognizable and memorable. People like to know details about YouTube publishers; for this reason, you should provide enough information about yourself on your channel page to interest a prospective subscriber. YouTube offers the opportunity to feature a video of your selection or the latest video in your upload sequence. Inviting and intriguing thumbnails are important to engage viewers. Beyond these images from the front page of your channel, your videos must deliver what your descriptions and thumbnails promise. These images and descriptions will gain or lose subscribers.
SEW: How did you build a following?
Betty Givan: I became serious about my channel after I started uploading my family’s favorite recipes. During my first two years on YouTube I uploaded at least one recipe per day. It is important to maintain a schedule of some sort, so that subscribers do not give up on you. Uploading consistently, whether it is daily or weekly or according to some other scheme, gives a channel credibility and dependability, which ultimately results in a greater number of video views.
SEW: Do you have channels on other video sites? Do you encourage people to embed your videos?
Betty Givan: I do not upload video recipes on any sites other than YouTube, although I do allow other sites to embed my videos in order to extend my channel’s presence throughout the internet. I also give a full description under each video, including the complete recipe. I think it is important to give viewers everything they want in a video, rather than sending them to a personal site to track down a recipe.
Betty Givan: I do use social sites to promote my YouTube Channel. I have found that FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest have all been useful in reaching new viewers. Additionally, I place links on my YouTube channel page to TV appearances, newspaper articles, magazine stories, and recorded panel discussions about my channel.
SEW: Do you have any special recipes for Mother's Day?
SEW: What kitchen utensil or cookware do you think would make a great gift?
Betty Givan: A basic gift that a beginning cook could use is a complete set of measuring spoons and cups. A more expensive necessity is a complete set of cookware (pots, pans, and skillets). For more experienced cooks, something unusual, like a fat separator, would be nice.
SEW: What is your most successful video?
Betty Givan: My most successful video (in terms of viewership) is my recipe for Buttercream Frosting. That video has obtained over 330,000 views, which is double the second highest, which is a tie between Crispy Southern Fried Chicken and Morning Coffee Blueberry Muffins. There is no real explanation as to why these three landed on top, but, since I specialize in Southern cooking, my viewers are most likely looking for traditional Southern food.