What anyone who sits near TeamWorks Media’s community manager John Tolley and me knows far too well is that any mention of a new restaurant or recipe can set us off on a tangent for as long as our to-do lists allow. It’s an understatement to say we both love food. Which then should be no surprise that my latest YouTube subscription obsession is the Bon Appetit YouTube channel.

I can only assume what you’re thinking – “well of course if you love food you’d love those videos.” Well, you’re not wrong, but one of the reasons I love these videos is for the personalities in them. I’ve come to love Bon Appetit’s Test Kitchen Manager Brad Leone and his Jersey pronunciation of “worder” (aka “water” for us non-natives).

And Claire Saffitz’s all-too-relatable work frustration as she tries and fails to create the perfect texture of a gourmet Cheeto. These videos take you behind the scenes of a media outlet that I previously imagined was full of a stuffy and likely pretentious group of food snobs that even my food-loving-self wouldn’t appreciate.

And that’s the beauty of their YouTube channel.

Their channel took me from a non-believer to a fan to a buyer. Had it not been for the free videos I poured over on YouTube, the mag likely wouldn’t have caught my eye in the airport newsstand, I wouldn’t have picked it up, and most certainly, I would not have recognized the names of the characters that I loved. Side note: I now have a yearly subscription to the magazine… I couldn’t tell you the last time I paid to get physical mail.

Their channel took me from a non-believer to a fan to a buyer.

I’ve never had the experience of flipping open a magazine, seeing a byline and thinking to myself, “oh I know them!” (And while I most certainly do not “know them” know them, YouTube makes everyone seem closer than they appear.)

The takeaway is this: the next time you think you’re giving your content away for free, remember that if someone really loves what you’re doing, it’s opening a door. I felt weirdly connected to Bon Appetit after seeing the bylines from the folks I knew from the YouTube channels. Consequently, I felt like I was reading an article from a friend. I could hear their tone and humor when reading the articles. YouTube put a face to a name and it made reading the magazine more personal than I thought possible.

YouTube put a face to a name and made reading Bon Appetit more personal than I thought possible.

So much so that I was inspired to write this blog post about 5 minutes after reading one of Claire Saffitz’s articles.

Don’t think of it as giving your content away for free, think of it as introducing yourself to a new group of people and meeting a new (digital) friend.

P.S. If you’re curious how these videos are doing, let me introduce you to Claire’s last video on how to make an Oreo from scratch. It’s amassed 3.8 million views in six days. For context, BA’s YouTube channel has 2 million subscribers.

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