It’s not print, sadly. It’s not even photos. The web is going to video.
Four years ago, Mitzewich, a former cooking teacher and chef based in San Francisco, started his food blog, focusing on video. Then he put his how-to cooking videos on You Tube. To this day, it’s just him, his tripod, and a $35 mic with a men’s sock over it. He makes two to three videos a week.
Now almost 40 million people have uploaded his more than 600 elegant cooking shows with friendly instructions and upbeat jazz notes. Know who was paying attention? Allrecipes. They entered negotiations, and bought his content.
“Food Wishes’ content will [be] brought to Allrecipes’ global audience of 20 million home cooks through Allrecipes sites, mobile apps and Allrecipes.tv, a video-focused website launched inJune 2010,” announced the company in a press release about the acquisition.
John won’t reveal the terms of the agreement, but let’s just say he won the lottery. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Here’s more about his enormous success:
Q. Why was Allrecipes interested in your blog?
A. I don’t think it was so much the blog as it was the YouTube channel and video library.
Q. Why is that?
A. Companies pay YouTube money to have their ads run over or next to videos on the site. If you have a content partnership with them (only a fraction of users do), YouTube shares a percentage of this money with you. The more views you get, the more money you make. Simple as that.
Having said that, I think the blog showed that I wasn’t just a one trick pony. Besides doing the recipe videos, I also did a ton of traveling, covering food shows and blogger festivals, which showed that I had reach above and beyond teaching someone how to make a Hollandaise.
Also, our brands align really well. Allrecipes is all about user generated content, which means home cooks submit recipes to the site. These are recipes for practical, everyday cooking, which is what I focus a lot of my content on as well. I think Allrecipes saw this in my videos, and thought it would be a great fit for their audience.
Q. Was it your goal to create a website that could be acquired?
A. I’ve never really had any kind of plan for Food Wishes. I was so absorbed with creating the videos and writing the posts, I didn’t think of much else.
That’s why it’s very exciting for me to partner with Allrecipes, because they’re experts at the business side of things. I get to keep creating the content I love, and they get to focus on making sure my site is user friendly and optimized for SEO.
Q. Will you keep doing your blog the way you’ve always done it?
A. Yes, for the most part. I wouldn’t have agreed to this deal if it meant significantly changing what I do and how I teach. Allrecipes proposed this partnership because what I was doing was working very well, so to change that formula wouldn’t make a lot of sense.
I’ve continued to grow and improve my content over time. I mean, when I started I was taping a webcam to a spice rack, so I’ve already come a long way from that! This new partnership should only help me continue to grow, as I’ll have new tools, and more support.
Q. What is the secret of excellent how-to videos?
A. Here are my top three tips:
1. Keep the video between 3 and 5 minutes. This seems to be the sweet spot as far as an online foodie’s attention span. Shorter seems rushed, and longer starts to drag.
2. Create videos about things you love, not what you think your viewers will love. People will feel your passion, and be drawn to it. If they don’t like what you’re cooking, chances are they are not visiting your blog anyway.
3. Stay out of the video. When the video is just about the food and the recipe, viewers are cooking WITH you. As soon as you enter the frame, they are watching you cook, not cooking with you.
(I’d add a fourth: Tie your videos to an event. His How to Eat a Chicken Wing, tied to the Super Bowl and appearing on YouTube’s home page that day, got more than a million hits.)
Q. What message can you give other food bloggers who might want a deal like this?
A. There really are no secret formulas. It definitely helps to have lots of quality content, and a ton of traffic. I’ve been so fortunate that what I enjoy doing the most turned into a full-time job.
If you love what you do, you’ll do it better, and the better you are at your job the more success you’ll have in the end. Companies want to work with people who connect with others on a very personal level, and you can’t do that without being authentic.