The popularity of online video personalities is on the rise. Case in point, Gemma Stafford – a professionally-trained chef who debuted on YouTube fewer than three years ago and already commands a larger audience than television stations in some of the nation’s more competitive broadcast markets.
Stafford, who is originally from the South East of Ireland and studied at the world-renowned Ballymaloe cookery school in County Cork, is the host of the web show Bigger Bolder Baking. Her videos feature over-the-top baking with an Irish flair, and have garnered more than 57 million views and counting.
As discussed in our latest white paper Video in Multichannel Campaigns: Your Guide to Maximizing Reach & Results, smart content creators are taking advantage of the sharp increase in video consumption beyond traditional media. Stafford is just one of many online video personalities reshaping the communications landscape, giving PR and marketing professionals reason to rethink their strategies for video placements.
During a recent ProfNet #ConnectChat, Stafford elaborated on the importance of multi-channel video creation and consumption.
“We know there’s a large audience on other platforms who may not find my recipes on YouTube,” she explained. “So, we create specific content for Facebook, Twitter, and especially our website. Our goal is to create the number one baking community online.”
More than 850,000 people – whom Stafford affectionately calls “Bold Bakers” – subscribe to her YouTube channel. By comparison, TV stations in Cincinnati, Ohio (the 36th largest broadcast market) vie for their share of 868,900 household viewers during any given newscast.
Stafford’s success with her audience can also be attributed to genuinely caring about the content she’s creating and being selective in her brand partnerships.
She and her husband Kevin, who shoots and edits all of the episodes in their Southern California home, have worked with brands such as LG Electronics, KitchenAid and Alfa Pizza to craft unique recipes for viewers.
“I like to work with brands I use and respect,” said Stafford. “Authenticity is important because my audience trusts what I share with them.”
Promoting a genuine connection on camera isn’t easy. “Until two years ago, I was camera shy,” Stafford confessed. However, the mutual benefits that come with viewer engagement are worth it.
For instance, after a fan requested she demonstrate how to bake a cake without an oven, Stafford cooked up the idea for her “microwave mug” recipes, now one of her best-known novelties.
When considering the use of online personalities from a branding perspective, Stafford urged PR and marketing strategists to really research their options.
“Always start from a strategic platform,” Stafford advised. “What do you want to accomplish? When you’re looking at personalities, watch their content. Do you see your brand being well represented by this personality?”
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