In episode 241, we chat with the bloggers Kim and Chelsea about the importance of personalizing your pitch so you can land lucrative deals within your niche.
We cover information about how to see sponsored work as a way to increase your revenue vs focusing on ads, first impressions with brands is important and some tips about why you should find problems to solve for your niche.
Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.
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Bio $10K Under 10K is a unique 2:1 coaching experience for bloggers, photographers + nano-influencers in the food space. Founders Chelsea Vetre + Kimberly Cauti were able to successfully build full time businesses working with brands by fool-proofing their pitching, pricing + negotiation skills all while their social media accounts had under 10K followers. Their goal is to help educate + empower other creators in the food space to follow their passion + make their dreams reality!
- When you’re reaching out to a brand, make sure that they understand who you are and what you can do for them.
- Be sure to follow and engage with the brands online you like and hope to work for.
- What you say to a brand via DM’s and email are very different in language and length.
- Make your pitch juicy as possible.
- Be your authentic self when communicating with brands.
- You really want a brand that wants to work with you and sees all you have to offer.
- You need to have the mindset that you can connect with a brand and not get discouraged when it doesn’t happy quickly.
- When a brand reaches out to you that you’re not familiar with, ask yourself would you use that product in your own life? What value does it benefit your audience?
- Before you introduce a new brand through a sponsored post to your audience, be sure to talk about that product in socials at least 10 days in advance.
- Find a problem you have solved or can solve for your audience to really hone in on your niche.
- You wouldn’t ask a carpenter for free product so don’t allow a brand to devalue your worth by asking you to work for free.
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Intro: Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. We’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.
Megan: Hey, food bloggers. Do you ever get caught up in confusion about how in the world you are going to make money? Take the free quiz I’ve put together for you that is going to help you get to the bottom of this problem. Go to eatblogtalk.com/quiz to find out which stream of revenue is the next perfect one for you. Your results will be personalized based on your answers, and they will provide you with action steps, and resources that will help you launch into monetizing your blogging business in a new way. There are truly so many ways to make money as a food blogger. So don’t waste another second. Again, go to eatblogtalk.com/quiz and get started on your next revenue stream today.
Hey guys, just reminding you to head over to iTunes, if you haven’t already to subscribe, rate and review Eat Blog Talk. It adds value to this podcast when you do that, and I would be so grateful for your time. It will take two minutes, press pause, go do it and come back and keep listening.
What’s up, food bloggers. Welcome to another episode of Eat Blog Talk. Thank you so much for being here with us today. I have Kim Cauti and Chelsea Vetre with me from 10K under 10K, and we are going to talk about the importance of personalizing your pitch to land brand deals within your niche. 10K under 10K is a unique two to one coaching experience for bloggers, photographers, and nano influencers in the food space. Founders, Chelsea and Kim were able to successfully build full-time businesses, working with brands by fool proofing their pitching, pricing and negotiation skills all while their social media accounts had under 10 K followers. Their goal is to help educate and empower other creators in the food space to follow their passion and make their dreams reality.
Hey guys. Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m really excited to dive into this topic with you, but first we all want to hear your fun facts. So maybe you could each take a turn with that. So why don’t you go for it.
Kim: Yeah. Thank you so much for having us. I guess I will go first. So this is Kim. My fun fact is that when I was in college, I was on a game show with two of my girlfriends and we won.
Megan: Okay. What game show?
Kim: So it was called chain reaction on the game show network. We won, it was somewhere between seven and $8,000, which as a college student was hitting the lottery.
Megan: That’s awesome. Wow. Not many people can say that. I think I may have had one other guest say they won something on a game show and I’m trying to think who it was, but definitely a unique fun fact. Thank you, Kim. Chelsea, what about you?
Chelsea: My fun fact is that I stopped eating meat at the age of five years old. So I’m 31 right now. It’s been 26 years without any meat.
Megan: So what prompted you at age five to not want to eat meat?
Chelsea: Oh my gosh. So I was in preschool and we went to a farm and they showed us what meat was made out of, and I was just so upset. I was such a big animal lover. I raced home and I was like, mom, I can’t do this. I can’t eat my friends.
Megan: I can’t see my friends. Oh my gosh. So you’ve stuck with it all this time. Not that you’re that old, but that’s pretty incredible.
Chelsea: I was a very stubborn child and my mom adapted and was really cool about it. So I was fortunate.
Megan: That’s awesome because I can see a lot of parents being like, no, you’re five. You’re going to eat your meat. Very cool. All right. You ladies are here, not here to talk about game shows and becoming a vegetarian at age five, but that was awesome. But let’s talk about why you’re here and that is personalizing your pitch so that you can land awesome brand deals within your niche. Would one of you want to just start by talking through what a pitch even is. If somebody listening is not familiar with that term and why food bloggers should have one, why should we even have this on our radar?
Chelsea: Absolutely. So a pitch is a presentation of your ideas that you’re going to present to a brand that you’d like to partner with. The brand should have a clear understanding from your pitch, who you are, the capacity in which you would like to work with them and what you have to offer the brand.
Megan: Okay. So if anyone has working with brands on their radar at all, they should understand what a pitch is and they should have one prepared. So how do we go about adding personal touches to our pitches? Because I can see where just getting consumed in the thought that I’m a food blogger and then all the pitches sound alike. So how do we differentiate ourselves and add those personal touches that are really important?
Kim: Yeah, so basically like Chelsea said, this is your first introduction to a brand. So when you’re reaching out to a brand that you super want to work with, making sure that they understand who you are and what you can do for them is pretty much key step number one. I know sometimes as food bloggers, we don’t actually necessarily think that you need to have a pitch or even know what it is, but working with brands is an amazing way for newer food bloggers especially to, while we’re waiting to get accepted to Mediavine, that kind of holy grail at the end of this road. It’s an awesome way to really start earning an income doing what you love. When we’re talking about sponsor posts and pitching and stuff, a lot of times we’re talking about social media, but I think what people don’t realize is that you can also get your blog posts sponsored as well. So it’s just an awesome way to earn some additional income while you’re preparing for Mediavine.
Megan: That is a common theme because people see getting those ads on their blogs as like the end all be all. Everyone wants that. You get in and other people really make a lucrative income with ads. I think people lose sight of the fact that there are many things you can do as you’re waiting for that. It doesn’t have to be like the end all be all. I know bloggers who start working with brands and they love it. They don’t even care about the ads because it’s such a fun avenue for them to explore. It’s like taking the pressure off, right? Yes, you can have ads eventually if you want, if that aligns with you down the road, but why don’t you distract yourself with something that could be really fun. I think working with brands is really fun because each brand has a different personality too. Just like us, as food bloggers have different personalities and we create pitches that are unique to us. Working with each brand is having a new friend. Because they have different people you can get to know and their products are all different. So I think it’s a really great way to dig into something totally different. Okay. So we talked about the importance of adding personal touches. Can one of you talk about how to prepare a pitch? Is there a standard template that you guys recommend using? Is it something that you prepare in a written form? How do you go about that?
Chelsea: Absolutely. So it is something that we focus on a lot. As you may know, we have a coaching business, so we focus on that a lot with our clients and we have them write out draft templates for their pitches. We find that to be really important to tailor your pitches. Of course, you’re going to personalize each and every brand because you need to show the brand why you are perfect to work for them and why they are perfect for you to work with them.
It’s definitely a mutual benefit on both sides. So the way that we work, we have somewhat of a template, but there’s big gaps in it, in the sense of how you are going to personalize it. That’s for both content creation, whether making recipes and beautiful food photography, or shooting beautiful photographs of food, or whether you want to pitch them for sponsored posts or both; they are a little bit different.
Megan: Okay. So again, personalizing based on different brands, we have to personalize based on what we have to offer. So if we’re great photographers, we know we want to offer those services, then we can cater it to that. So do you guys have a template now? Is that something that people get if they hire you for your services? Can they have access to your template? I can see this as something where, say I’m a new food blogger and I’m hearing this. I’m like okay. That sounds great. But I really have no idea where to start. How do you layer it? Is that making sense?
Kim: Yes. For each and every one of our clients, we have a couple of different packages that we offer. But both packages did come with some bonuses and pitching templates were one of them. So we came up with just a general template for what we would send via DM on Instagram versus what we would send as an email pitch template. Because a lot of times when you’re making this first connection with a brand it’s via Instagram. Then you’re moving it to email. So they’re very different in terms of what you would say.
Megan: That’s a good point because a lot of food bloggers have been conditioned to reach out first on Instagram. So a pitch there, or copy leading up to a pitch, looks very different. It’s probably a few sentences, right?
Chelsea: Definitely. It’s much smaller. Of course we walk through it with our clients. You don’t want to just cold pitch a brand on Instagram, you need to warm them up a little bit. So that’s something important to do. Actually by the time this episode airs, we will have a freebie for our pitch DM that we will provide to people, anybody that signs up for our email list. So if you’re interested in that, definitely sign up for our email.
Megan: Yeah. Awesome. So how do you warm up a brand before you give an official pitch? What are ways you can do that?
Chelsea: So basically, you want to be following them? That’s the number one rule.
Megan: That would be bad. I don’t know you. I don’t follow you but please work with me.
Chelsea: Yeah, so what we usually like to do is if it’s a brand that is maybe newer to us, we make sure we follow them. We make sure we’re engaging with their posts and engaging with their stories so that you’re getting in their DMS and you can really organically get that conversation flowing. Then, once you’ve been doing that for a little bit of time, we always recommend at least a month or so. So you’re really on their radar and it doesn’t feel spam. Then you can reach out and say, Hey, I’ve been following you for a while or I’ve been using your products for a while or whatever the case is, and just send them just a quick introduction about yourself, what you do. That you’re looking to partner with them. Generally that results in getting the proper email address and contact name and contact information where you then can reach out and really let the brand know who you are, what you do, how you can provide them value. All of those really important buzzwords that I think we’re hearing all over the place right now.
Megan: Preferably you already know and love the brand and have been following them and engaging with them. But if you haven’t and you actually do like their product or service, go start, follow them. That would be really embarrassing if they were like, by the way, you’re not even following us. Make sure you’re following them first. Engage with their content; let them know that you’re there and loving it. I have a question. Because this has happened to me. What if you reach out to a brand and I have in the past liked brands, I’ve been following them forever and I’m like, oh, I would really like to work with them. Then you reach out and you hear nothing and you reach out again, maybe try a different wording and nothing. Then you try maybe via email and nothing. What do you do at that point? Do you keep going? Do you try to find another platform? Do you give up? I don’t know.
Chelsea: In this case, are they reading it and not responding?
Megan: I would assume. Yes. So that’s within the past year, that’s happened at least twice to me. I don’t work with brands a lot, but every once in a while I get a wild hair and I’m like, oh, I think that would be fun to work with brand X and that has happened.
Chelsea: No, of course. Again, we see that happen a lot and that used to happen to us a lot. So the best part is making your pitch as juicy as possible, as irresistible to that brand as possible. See what content that they might be missing. Find the gaps in their content. Pitch that. If there’s a holiday coming up, pitch that. You have to be really strategic about how you pitch them. Again, it is full-proof in the sense that you are likely to get a response. We can’t always control brands, but this is more likely to get a response.
Megan: Okay. I love that line. Make it as juicy as possible. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that, but that reminds me. So my husband does not work with me, but every once in a while, he’ll be like, you should work with this brand. They’d be really great for your company, a great fit. This summer, at the beginning of the summer, he started wearing these swim trunks for men that were just like a little bit unique. They had like bold patterns and he loved them. I posted about them a few times on Instagram and I had a few people reach out and say, oh my gosh, my husband or boyfriend or significant other would absolutely love those. So then my husband was like, we should reach out to this brand. And even though I’m not a fashion blogger, it might be fun to actually talk about them.
So he sent them this email that was super funny. I don’t think he knows how hard it is to get brands’ attention. So he sent the email, but he didn’t tell me what he wrote. Then he’s oh, I heard back from the brand. I’m like what?? They wrote you back? He was like, yeah, why, what’s the big deal? I was like, let me read your email. It was hilarious. He was like, I’m gonna wear these swim trunks in Deadwood, South Dakota. I’m going to rock the Black Hills with these things. I couldn’t even tell you, it was hilarious. I should actually find that and post it somewhere. They responded to him.
Kim: I think that speaks really well to the mindset around pitching brands. He had nothing to lose at that point.
Megan: No preconceived notions about working with brands at all.
Kim: Exactly. I think that’s actually a really great anecdote to share with people who are new to reaching out to brands because it can feel so intimidating and so scary. But if you just are yourself, authentically you, of course they’re going to respond to you.
Chelsea: I agree. Especially because these content managers can get dozens and dozens of pitches. You really need to stand out on the sea of pitches and personalize it, but making it your own is so important. Of course, Kim and I have a template too, but we love it when we see our clients make the template their all. You don’t need to follow our exact wording. We really want you to make it your own so you stand out even more.
Megan: I feel like my husband should hire out his services because
Chelsea: I was just going to tell you that.
Megan: It was the best. I really do feel like I should go search that down now, but yeah, the mindset thing is such a great point too. Because he had no idea. When I told him that it was generally pretty hard to get a hold of brands, he was shocked. He was like they wrote me back. I’m like, it is really not normal to get an email right away.
Chelsea: I think a lot of times when people hear no a lot, they, like you said, the mindset, they go in thinking, oh, I’m not going to get a response. You manifest that you’re not going to get a response. You really need to go in and say, if I get a response, that’s great. If I don’t get a response, it’s okay. I’m moving on. I’m finding the next brand that I can align with. They will want to work with me because I have so much to give this brand.
Megan: Oh, that was very well said. I agree. Mindset is everything; not just with working with brands, but everything in business, because we can get it in our minds, one track. Then we get so focused on it that we get obsessed and we cling too tightly and then it just never happens. So yeah, I love that.
Kim: There’s always beauty in letting go.
Megan: Oh yes. Something that we all need to work on, I feel like. Surrendering a little bit, there’s so much power in that. So what if there’s a brand that we don’t necessarily know and love, we haven’t been following them forever, but we’re looking for those brands, potentially aligned with our businesses. What are some things that we can look for that would be good signals for us that we might be a good fit for one another.
Kim: Sure. So if it’s a brand new brand that you’ve never heard of, never used before, and they’re wanting to work with you and they seem legit and they’re not just throwing free product at you and expecting something in return, which some of them do, the way I personally approach that is number one would I authentically use this product in my everyday life. If I were not a blogger, if I were not a photographer, would I use this? The second question, is this going to benefit my audience? So would my audience genuinely and authentically use this? If that is also a yes, then for me, there are certain other things that I think about that are important to me. I’m a gluten-free and low FODMAP blogger. So if they don’t meet that criteria, then it’s going to have to be a hard path. However, they wouldn’t have even gotten to that question. If you’re somebody who maybe is a little unsure of what your niche is, you could think about what’s really important to me in a company that I would use. Is sustainability important to me? Is charitable donations\ something that’s important to me? Go through and if you don’t have this list already in your mind, take some time and write down a few reasons why you choose the brands that you choose. Just for yourself in your everyday life. Then that’s your little checklist when you get reached out to by an unfamiliar brand. If they’re not checking all these boxes, it’s probably not a great idea to partner with them.
Megan: It all comes down to sincerity, right? If you truly aren’t sincere, it’s probably not going to work. My husband could never have written that email if he didn’t truly love those swim shorts, whatever they are. You need to be authentically in love with the brand to start.
Chelsea: I completely agree. It’s going to show, if we’re talking about sponsored posts, it’s going to show to your audience if you don’t authentically love that. If you’re going in hot with a product that you’ve never shown them before with which tip, if you are working with a brand that you’ve never shown to your audience before, maybe before you post that sponsored posts, you go into your stories a week or 10 days before, and you warm your audience up to their product, just to show them that you like that. So it’s not just out of the blue. Because I think that trust is such a big factor and you are where you are because of your community. So you really don’t want to shock them. You really don’t want to make them feel that you’re spamming them or pushing any products down their face.
Megan: They will see that. I feel like if I just randomly popped out some appliance that I’ve never used or talked about, my audience would be like, what is she doing? They would be turned off by that.
Kim: It happens. It does happen. But for me, when I’m looking to partner with a brand, I really think of three things. The brand, my community, and myself. My community comes first in that. Are you going to align with my community? Am I going to provide value to my community through this sponsored post? Because why would the brand want to work with me if my community wasn’t interested in them.
Megan: So if you can’t answer those questions and be confident in them, don’t even pursue it.
Chelsea: Yeah. Runaway. I have. I’m a vegan food blogger, and I’ve had meat brands approach me before. I’m like, what? You really didn’t look at my Instagram at all, have you. It’s interesting.
Kim: They need to personalize their pitch.
Megan: Yeah. They need to work on that pitch. For my podcast, I get people who pitch me fairly frequently, that clearly have no idea what even a food blogger is, or they’ve never listened to an episode. It’s such a turnoff. If you’re just looking for a podcast to be on or a platform to be a part of, if we’re talking food blogging, I’m sure you’re a lovely person, but I don’t really want you to be on my show because that will show that they’re oh, what do you guys do in food blogging? Well, food bloggers are listening. They want you to know what they’re doing, so it’s the same thing. Kim, if there are people listening who have not yet honed in on their niche, because this is a big topic for food bloggers, what are your recommendations for those people when it comes to finding brand work?
Kim: This is one of my favorite questions in the world. So I guess I’ll start quickly with how I found my niche, because I think that’s a little bit helpful in my answer. So I actually found my niche through a problem I needed to solve for myself. I was diagnosed with something called SIBO and IBS and adrenal fatigue and a laundry list of other auto-immune issues. Which led me to going gluten-free and starting a low FODMAP diet. So my food blog manifested out of that diagnosis, which I know is a little bit more of the exception and not necessarily the rule. So if you don’t have a health issue that has guided your recipe development, I think the first thing you can think about is have you solved any problems in your own life with your recipe development? So are you a super busy mom and you’re juggling a full-time job while you’re food blogging and you have a couple of kids? Have you made things simpler for yourself through the recipes that you’re developing? Of course you can solve many problems through meal prepping and food, et cetera. Just taking a step back and thinking about, have you solved problems in your life, through your recipes? If you haven’t, another great idea is to take a peek at what you’ve been sharing, either on your blog or your social media, your Pinterest, your Instagram, whatever it is, and take a look at maybe the top five posts on each, because it tends to be different.
So your posts are performing well on your blog might not necessarily be what’s performing well on your Instagram or your Pinterest. So maybe taking like the average of those three and taking a step back and saying, wow, people really love all of my chocolate recipes or people are really into my barbecue recipes. Do I want to start heading down that road and seeing where it takes me? There’s actually a lot of fun in the beginning because you can really just play with anything and let that guide you to a niche. As long as it feels authentic to you too, though. I think that’s a really big piece that’s important.
Megan: I love how you said all of that. I wrote so many notes. First of all, there are so many parts of food and recipes and cooking and recipe development. There’s so many pieces of it that you could focus on. You can focus on meal prep, you can focus on parties. The list goes on and on. So we can look at an approach that we take regarding cooking or baking, or we can look at a food or we can do both. All of the above, right? I know food bloggers who have really specific directions where they focus on grilling paleo, or grilling something really specific. Then they also talk about approaches. So serve the food once you’ve grilled it, things like that. So you could go so many different routes and that’s what I love about food blogging.
Kim: Yes. I’m going to get on a tangent right now, but it’s just so much fun to try everything. It’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks in the beginning. If you really don’t know what you want to do yet, just experiment with it and have fun because I think that having fun and the passion behind it is what’s going to resonate the most with your audience. When they see a recipe that really has heart in it, I think that’s what’s going to perform best for you.
Megan: That’s always the case, right? If we are talking about working with brands and supporting something that some sponsored work we’re doing or whatever it is, like any project that we create and put out into the world, if there’s no heart in it, people will see it. But if there is heart, immediately, you’re like that person loves that brand or this ebook that they created or this message that they’re delivering through their brand. So I love that. I love this topic. I could go on a huge tangent as well.
Megan: I loved your recommendation to just consider what problems you yourself have had in the realm of food. When I think of that, it’s so clear. It took me almost 10 years to figure out what my niche was. It was there all along. It was the problem that I’ve always had. I make food, I love making food for people. I love gathering people together, but at the end of the day, I am exhausted because I spend so much time. Then I’m sad because I can’t spend time with my people because I’m exhausted. So that was my problem all along. Finally it came down to me just doing that. What problem am I having? What am I like subliminally telling people about my cooking experience? I’m sure they could probably see it better than I could. Like sometimes other people can see your niche better than you can. Do you think that?
Kim: Absolutely. I think that kind of goes for anything in life. Sometimes it’s really hard to see what’s right in front of you and you have to take a step back. Let me tell you.
Megan: Yeah I am so good. Somebody can bring a business problem to me or a life problem. I’m like, oh my gosh, this is what’s going on. Here’s what you need to do. It’s so clear. But then when I have the same problem, I like help. I don’t know what to do. It’s almost like you could take your problem and put it in someone else’s situation and pretend it’s like Karen. Karen is having this problem. What does Karen do?
Kim: It’s always easier to think about others. Which is a whole other left turn topic that we could go down.
Megan: Different conversation, but we should have that one too. I have a feeling you’ll have some strong thoughts here, but what are your thoughts about working in exchange for a free product?
Kim: Oh, I do have strong thoughts. This is such a hot topic right now, and I do want to preface all of this with, we have all been there. I had one experience in the very beginning where I did work for free and I did not feel great about it. My thought process was, oh, if I do this for them, then they will want to work with me. They will want to pay me because they will think I did such a great job. While this can happen, it’s pretty rare. So I wouldn’t recommend going that avenue. I don’t recommend working for free, right? Especially as a blogger and a photographer, especially if you’re being contracted for photos or they want high resolution photos from you. My goodness. One photo can take you hours. You’ll hear this often, but I really love this example. Let’s say you’re hiring a contractor. You want to do some work in your kitchen. So your contractor is going to draft you a quote for everything that you’ve requested and you’re not going to then say to this person. Okay, great. Can I buy you dinner in exchange for giving me new countertops? That’s just never going to happen and it’s so interesting because this industry is one of the only industries that I’ve come across in my life where people think it’s acceptable to work for free. I don’t necessarily just mean the food blogging industry. The creative industry. I’m a former wardrobe stylist. When I first started out as a stylist, I would run into this all the time. Like my early twenties, I just wanted to make it, that feeling of this is my dream. I have to go for it. I’ll work for free. I’ll do whatever it takes. That led me nowhere, except for being burnt out exhausted and wanting to do something else.
Megan: Not good things.
Chelsea: I think that to echo what Kim said, working for free is really a great way to burn yourself out. You’re never going to hit your monetary goals if you’re working for free. Most likely if you’re a food blogger or if you want to work with brands, it’s to make extra money to supplement your income, to be your full-time income one or the other. So you know what brands will do is they’ll gaslight you and they’ll say, oh, just take a quick picture. It won’t take a long time. It does take a long time. It takes a long time to find a great recipe that is aligned to the community, develop that recipe, test it, photograph it, edit it, write a great caption, perhaps write a great blog post and then anchor it onto social media so it doesn’t flop and gets great attention. So you know, a lot goes into that, but I’ve had so many brands say, oh, we just need a simple picture. It’s not that simple. So don’t fall for that because it takes more time than you think it will.
Megan: Do you think it’s worthwhile to, at times, explain that process to brands. If someone did reach out and say, oh, it’s just a quick picture. What do you think about replying with okay here’s the breakdown of actually what it does take me and how I value my time. Maybe putting a dollar amount there as well.
Chelsea: I actually do that. I say, I’m so flattered that you would like to work with me, however due to the amount of time that X, Y, Z takes, I’m only working with paid partnerships at this time. And Kim has actually sent in mock invoices to demonstrate how much it will cost and how much time goes into it.
Kim: Favorite thing to do is to send the itemized mock invoice to show. Because I am a photographer and recipe developer first and foremost. So that’s how I present myself. So when somebody is asking me for photos and trying to pay me a hundred dollars, I’m like, guess what. You’re forgetting about editing time. You’re forgetting about my expertise, my knowledge, my skills, and the time it took me to learn to do the things that you want me to do to then generate money and sales for your company.
Megan: I love that you do that. I think that’s brilliant. I just have to bring this up because that is such a great point. This applies to coaching or any time you’re teaching or doing something that requires a lot of different things, like working with brands, it requires so many different moving parts.
They are not just paying for the photos or the writing. They’re paying for your knowledge, they’re paying for all of the courses you’ve taken. They’re paying for the podcast episodes you’ve listened to, hundreds of hours worth of them. They’re paying for all the people you’ve talked to, the research you’ve done. I love that. That is just another way to add value to yourself and we need to do that more often in this industry, I believe. You are valuable, your knowledge and your expertise and your skills, all of it is valuable. It just feels better working, doing brand work when you’re getting paid too. When you’re actually getting what you’re worth. I don’t enjoy working when I know that I could be earning more, but when I know that they’re paying me what I’m worth, then it’s fun.
Chelsea: Yeah. You’re going to produce way better content, no matter who you are, if you’re getting paid. If you’re building your own business and you’re taking pay cuts, it’s another thing if you’re building somebody else’s business and that’s what brands are doing. They’re having you build their business and their marketing for them by having you work for free, which really is not great. You’re hurting other creators who would be charging for these services. A big thing that we see a lot is because somebody thinks they don’t have 10,000 followers. They only have 2000 followers, 1000 followers. They need to work for free. No. We have clients that have 2000 followers that make a lot of money from brand deals. So even sponsored posts. No reason to work for free, you don’t need that first brand deal under your belt to start working with brands, you don’t need to get this experience. You don’t need to do that brand any favors. You really don’t.
Megan: All great points. This is so great. I love this conversation.
Kim: Is it okay if I touch back on, if I go back talking about adding value real quick, because this is something that a lot of people don’t understand how to show and you just demonstrated it perfectly. Just your expertise is valuable. Then it’s really just as simple as that. Were you a photographer? Were you like a portrait photographer before you decided to become a food blogger? Or are you a classically trained chef? What skills do you have to bring to the table? That’s it, that’s the best way to show your value. It doesn’t have to be this crazy, over-thought notion that you share with them. It’s really just as simple and it doesn’t ever have to have anything to do with your followers.
Chelsea: I agree with that. For people that may be listening that are like I’m not a trained chef, I’m not a professional photographer. Think about something else. Have you always made your own meals? For me, because I was a vegetarian, I always made my own meals because my entire family ate meat. So I can confidently say that since I was five years old, I had been preparing meat-free meals. So think of it: are you really great at making quick dinners because you’re a full-time mom. That’s just how you get through the week. Are you great at meal prepping? Just think of things like that. It doesn’t have to be so professional. It’s what you do in your everyday life.
Megan: Yeah, so it doesn’t have to be like, I went to school for four years to be a chef and it doesn’t have to be along those lines. It can be, I am the mother of six children and I’ve made 90,000 meals. So I know what I’m doing.
Chelsea: Exactly. Exactly. You mastered it. Make meals for six different picky children. That is a skill in itself. So just think about these things. Really reflect on yourself. Write down on a piece of paper, throughout the week, things that make you special and unique that maybe you ask other people. Ask your husband, ask your brother, ask your family, because sometimes you can’t see within yourself of what makes you special.
Megan: Yeah. Oh, this is great. Okay. I’ll ask you each. What is your number one takeaway, would you say for food bloggers listening, who are interested in this topic, interested in working with brands, anything along the lines of what we’ve discussed, what would be your number one takeaway each for those people?
Kim: Yeah. So I think if there’s only one thing that you can take away from this conversation today, it’s that there are so many opportunities available to food bloggers. Like I said earlier, especially new bloggers who are really looking to do this full-time and create a living from it. Working with brands is probably the best way to do that. Remembering that you are worth being paid.
Amen. Chelsea, how are you going to top that?
Chelsea: Just remembering that your follower account does not matter. Get through those roadblocks in your head. You’ll never feel fully ready to send that first pitch email, just start doing it. You will perfect it over time. My push emails that I started, we’re not that great. I’ve perfected them over time. You’re never going to feel ready to start doing it. It’s okay if you hear no. Keep going, you will find those brands that want to work with you.
Megan: Awesome. I think I’m going to send you guys my husband’s unknowing pitch to the brand and see what you think. Feel free to use it as a template or whatever seriously. I think he could probably get a new job doing that.
Kim: I love it. We’ll help him out.
Megan: Yeah. Awesome. Thank you guys for being here. So Chelsea earlier you mentioned a resource that you guys have, that’s going to be available in October, right? Do you want to give us a little more information?
Chelsea: Absolutely. So we are launching a mastermind core set that is going to be all things working with brands. It’s not just about pitching. It’s also about pricing. It’s about executing the brand deals. Sending those invoices, how to accept payment, how to work with a brand through sponsored posts, how to do content creation in terms of recipe development and photography for their website. We walk you through every step in terms of brand work. So we’re launching that in October 2021. For anybody that’s listening and is interested, if you write to us by October 15th, via DM at 10K under 10K or email 10Kunder10K at Gmail, we are offering you 10% off of that course. Just mention that you listened to this Eat Talk Blog episode, and we’d be happy to provide that discount.
Megan: Awesome. That is such a generous offer, so thank you for doing that and good luck with your venture. That sounds amazingly resourceful and awesome. Also, favorite quarter words of inspiration. I like to ask all of my guests for something, either one of those. So I don’t know if you guys want to just have one of you share or each of you can choose one. I’ll let you decide.
Kim: We both picked short ones so that we can both share.
Kim: So mine is a quote from Michelle Obama and it is, “there is no magic to achievement.” It’s really about hard work choices and persistence.
Megan: That’s so succinctly and perfectly said. I love that.
Chelsea: And mine is don’t wish for it more than you work for it. By unknown.
Megan: You can just claim that one Chelsea. That’s awesome. Thank you guys. Yeah, we’re going to put together a show notes page for you guys. So if anyone wants to go peek at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/10Kunder10K and definitely check out Kim and Chelsea online and on Instagram, if you’re interested in working with brands and getting more information about it. Your Instagram handle is that just 10K under 10K or?
Kim: Our coaching handle is @10K_under_10K.
Megan: That’s funny. Yeah. Try to say that really fast. Guys, thank you so much for being here. This was really fun, a great way to start my rainy day. So thank you so much for being here and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.
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