Upgrade your cat-based Instagram photos and turn your YouTube habit into a multimillion pound business with our guide to winning the internet (by the people who've done it)
SORTEDfood was launched in May 2010 in the form
of a YouTube channel by
Jamie Safford, Ben Ebbrell, Barry James Taylor and Mike Huttlestone as a means to
share easy and delicious food recipes between themselves…
“After we all moved away to university, we’d all try to
meet up once in a while in
our local pub,” explains Ben.
“I was training to be a chef
and the guys would wind me
up with the all of the shocking, disgusting food they were eating: microwaved donor kebabs and stuff like that.
“Eventually I started writing down simple recipes on beer mats for the guys and, over time, they started cooking them and filming the process on YouTube.”
The idea, which was initially started as a fun way for the friends to stay in touch, started to pick up traction across the site and the group slowly managed to carve themselves an audience.
“We were only getting about 50 views
per video at first,” continues Ben. “But after a while people started commenting and suggesting other recipes they wanted to learn. It snowballed from there. We were really just lucky that nobody else was doing it at the time. We never saw it as
a business but then, suddenly, the idea
of a ‘YouTuber’ took off and we managed
to ride that wave.”
This marked the transition from
part-time YouTubers to transforming the SORTEDfood channel into a real business. The friends quit their day jobs to work on the project full time – a risky punt as, at that time, most other graduates were struggling to find full-time employment anywhere.
But it paid off. To date, the channel has more than 1 million subscribers, has racked
up more than 104 million video views and gained a combined social following in excess of 100k.
As of last year, the company had
14 employees with a projected revenue
of over £2.3 million. It’s grown into one of
the largest food YouTube channels in the world. The Guardian newspaper placed the friends fourth in their list of ‘Top Young People in Digital Media under the age of 30’. Put simply, SORTEDfood is now one of the largest online food networks in the world. The
guys have even released best-selling books.
“We’ve been working on a SORTEDfood app that we want to turn into the Facebook of food,” says Ben. “Then we just want to keep doing this for as long as possible and carry on making it better.”
FOLLOW YOUR PASSION
Pick a topic and content theme you’re passionate about. Without that passion, you’re just going through the motions and your audience will see straight through it.
The beauty of YouTube is that you’re in control at every step so you should be OK to share everything. Behind the scenes bits, bloopers and the ‘making of it’
are just as valuable.
LEARN TO LISTEN
Your audience are the best source of feedback and can help shape your future content. Nearly every video that SORTEDfood made came from
a comment under another video.
Teaming up with content creators of a similar size and producing content together can be really strong. Not only does it add variety but it
also helps with
NEVER STOP TWEAKING
After you publish
a piece of content, you’ll have stacks of analytical data that is worth keeping
an eye on. It’ll help shape what you’re doing in your next few videos.