Adapted from Content, Inc., by Joe Pulizzi.

Sydney, Australia’s Ann Reardon is the “baking queen of YouTube

In 2011, after giving birth to her third son, Ann was looking for something to do during her night feedings, so she launched a recipe site called
How to Cook That. “I wrote a recipe post every week and made some videos to complement the website. The videos were too big to upload to my website so I uploaded them to YouTube and started embedding them onto my site.”

Before starting a family, Ann was a qualified food scientist and dietitian (her skill area). At the same time, she had a passion for teaching and working with children, so she changed careers and began working with youth in a poorer area of Western Australia. “I absolutely loved it and have so many great memories,” shares Ann. “But our budget was extremely tight so it was during this time that I taught myself to edit videos for the youth ministry, as well as self-catering for lots of events. Over time some of the young adults asked if I could teach them how to cook. A group would come over and we’d all bake and have a great time in my kitchen.”

You may be thinking that recipe blogs and “how-to” baking on YouTube are nothing new, and you’d be right. What separates Ann is her content tilt.

Ann focuses her recipes and baking on seemingly impossible creations, such as desserts with five pounds of Snickers bars and a cake that, when sliced open, is a perfect replica of an Instagram logo. “Many people start a YouTube channel and try to copy what has already been done but the horse has already bolted,” Ann explains.

“For every single breath you take, there is 8 hours of new video footage uploaded to YouTube, so I have to give viewers a good reason to come back and watch my channel.” In January 2012, Ann saw her 100th subscriber on YouTube and was thrilled. Exactly three years later, Ann has amassed more than 1 million subscribers and receives (believe it or not) more than 3,000 comments per week. In an average month, she’ll see over 16 million views of her videos. Along with the substantial revenues from her cut of YouTube advertising royalties, she has launched an app called “Surprise Cakes” and another app for photo sharing; and as well, she has a number of sponsored content opportunities with brands such as electrical appliance company Breville and kitchenware company World Kitchen.

Yes, Ann found her sweet spot, the combination of her knowledge of food and her passion for teaching, but it was her content tilt of seemingly impossible food creations that has made all the difference.

Ann Reardon’s content tilt of “impossible food creations” is what separates her content from the thousands of other baking blogs.

So then I say, why is it true for your product but not your content? For me it always comes back to mentality and skill set. Most entrepreneurs don’t think about content in the way that [marketers] think about it. They think about it as a random collection of best practices that just get recycled. “So we’ve got to blog a lot . . . well everyone else is blogging so why should we blog?”

Think much harder about choosing your niche and on what angle on the problem you’re taking with your product . . . that has to come through with your content. I’m always blown away by that. All these entrepreneurs are so confident that we can solve this problem better than anybody else with our product, and it should articulate that through the content too and they just don’t think that way.