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Episode 046: Food Videography With Brita Britnell

In episode 046 we talk with Brita Britnell, blogger at Food With Feeling and course creator of Food Video Academy, about the importance of food videography for our audience as food bloggers.

We cover information regarding basic equipment to get started with, the different types of food videos, recommendations for length of videos and other current tips to help you stay current in food videography!

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Guest Details

Connect with Food With Feeling
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Bio
Brita runs a *mostly* plant based food blog centered around encouraging omnivores to try out more meat free and plant based recipes. As co-creator of Food Video Academy, with Lorena Grater, these ladies teach other bloggers how to create beautiful and engaging food recipe videos. Both woman are really passionate about videography and love having the opportunity to help others dive into the world of recipe videos.

Takeaways

  • Use whatever you have for equipment! Use your cell phone until you can upgrade. 

  • Camera guidelines: get a mid-range DSLR with mid record focus. Tripod for side shots and a C stand for overhead shots help. Brita recommends using a C stand – two poles attached together and your camera is held overhead.

  • Types of videos: Hands and Pans videos -fast motion, only a 1 min long and are entertaining people. Also versions with a slower overview and the torso of the cook. No talking in either.
  • Cooking style video – these are appropriate for IGTV or Youtube with someone talking and cooking. These are educational in style. 

  • Check your analytics to see what people are watching and for how long on social media and your blog. Be willing to experiment and go through trial and error but, check your analytics so you can see where your audience tend to drop off or where you could add a video. A variety of video styles isn’t a wrong answer either.

  • Be clear on your purpose of a video you’re creating. Is it a complex way to demonstrate something? Am I entertaining? What value are you sharing? Connecting/engaging with audience that you have now? This helps you get all the footage you need and be able to edit it for different purposes.

  • Round ups are popular on Youtube. Take videos that fit the roundup theme, edit the footage all together and then add an easy intro and outro.  

  • Add a compilation video to accompany a new recipe – this is great for your audience and Google sees the value or add video to your low hanging fruit – You could pick the low hanging fruit of something that is on page 2.

  • Sponsorships like bloggers with video capability so Brita has found she’s been selected for a sponsorship because she’s offering video.

  • Food Video Academy Course – Brita’s passionate about creating videos and helping others do it too. Brita and blogger friend Lorena created a course just for you!

References Mentioned

Food Video Academy

Want To Learn About Other Forms of Monetization?

Kate Hansen joins us on episode 043 to share how using kickstarter to create a product can be successful.


Transcript

Click for full text.

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. And 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 Porta:

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Hello food bloggers. Welcome to the Eat Blog Talk podcast made for you. Food bloggers who are seeking value for your blogs and for your lives. In today’s episode, I will be talking to Brita Britnell from Food With Feeling and we will be discussing food videography. Brita runs a mostly plant-based food blog centered around encouraging omnivores to try out more meat free and plant-based recipes. She also co-runs the Food Video Academy, where she teaches other bloggers how to create beautiful and engaging food recipe videos. She has a passion for videography and loves having the opportunity to help others dive into the world of recipe videos. I have a feeling this is going to be a super informative chat today, but before we begin Brita, give us a quick fun fact about yourself.

Brita Britnell:

I have a few, but the one that I’ll go with is that I played Roller Derby for eight years, here in Nashville.

Megan:

Oh cool. I have a few friends who’ve done that and it’s so fun.

Brita:

It’s super fun. I miss it a lot, but it is very time consuming so that in conjunction with my business, I just couldn’t do both of them. Then also I kind of retired to have a baby. Thought I would go back, but I don’t know if it’d fit it in but it’s super fun.

Megan:

So fun. I love that, it’s fun to learn that about you. Thank you for sharing. Now on to our main topic, which is a hot topic for food bloggers, food videography. In the past few years, food videography has exploded and although has evolved a little bit. It still remains an important part of food bloggers businesses. I think video is such an unique medium, because it opens the doors for an unlimited amount of creativity. It’s a great way to tell a story about who we are and to tell stories about the food that you’re passionate about. Let’s start with the basics, Brita. Talk to us about basic equipment needed in order to get started with creating recipe videos.

Brita:

I’ve always been a huge advocate for you to just use whatever you have. Now I will say that I suggest as quickly as possible upgrading, but if what you have right now is your cell phone, you use that. I know a blogger friend of mine who made a video just using her iPhone. It went viral on Facebook and got something like 3 million views. It was a really simple way to properly make spaghetti squash video, but she made it and edited it on her phone and it went viral. Now that’s kind of a special case, but still I encourage people to just get started with what they have. Then from there somewhat quickly, most bloggers end up getting some sort of a DSLR or even an Amira. This is getting more popular these days, it’s really whatever you have, you can make great videos with. I have lots of resources, I can talk more in detail, if you’re interested to know kind of more detail, but I’m such a big advocate for this. You use what you have right now, and then you can very quickly figure out the direction that you want to go. Meaning, what kinds of lenses to get for the kinds of videos that you’re wanting to shoot more of?

Megan:

Let’s say you start with a phone, you get used to that and you realize you need to take it to the next level. What do you recommend?

Brita:

This is honestly very different for everyone. I recommend to all of my clients and to everyone wanting to get into video, to get a mid range DSLR. You can go out and buy the nicest Canon 5d Mark IV but its really not necessary. In fact, I was wanting to upgrade my camera a year ago and I kept looking at that and I ended up getting the Canon 60 Mark II, which is about half of the price. It’s amazing. I’ve since rented and used the 5D Mark IV for quite a bit. I like my Canon 60 Mark II so much better. It has a flip screen on it, which is so awesome and so many different ways of shooting video. So I am a huge advocate of that particular camera. However, I know quite a few people that use Sony and even Canon and I know Nikon just came up with one. But mirrorless cameras can also be really great for shooting video. And the nice thing about them is that they’re typically a little less expensive and they’re just easier to handle. They’re not so big and bulky, and you can use your same lenses. You can still put nicer lenses on them.

Megan:

Tell us what does mirrorless mean?

Brita:

So it just means that it doesn’t have a mirror in it. So a DSLR literally has a mirror in it. I’m probably not going to talk about this properly, but it doesn’t have the mirror in it. It kind of makes it bigger and bulky. The mirrorless is all electronic. So it’s doing it without that mirror. I don’t prefer it as much, but the technology is getting better and better these days, where they really are very good quality cameras at this point.

Megan:

I think the technology all around, even with phones, if you’re starting with a phone, is so much better than it was even just two years ago. I think you can really start or upgrade to that next level and do it affordably and not just with cameras, but I’ve seen this for lenses too. There are plenty of lenses available that are really, really cheap. They’re really nice.

Brita:

So I kind of focused on cameras and left out some other important things. Lenses are also really important, but I will throw out there and this ties in hand in hand with photography. I started personally, for a year, only shooting with my $100, $50 nifty 50 lens. So that is an amazing place to start. It gives you a little bit less flexibility. If budget is an issue, it’s a great lens to start with. Then the other lens that I always recommend people get, which again, great for photography, but essential in my opinion for videography, is a macro lens. I use a hundred millimeter macro lens. Those you can get one starting, I think at four or $500. Like anything, they go up in the thousands depending on how nice a one you get.

Right now I shoot with a 24-70 zoom lens. I love the flexibility that that allows where I can just put my camera on my C-stand, my overhead tripod, and then just zoom in and out without having to move the whole scene around. I really like that for video. I don’t prefer it for photography, but I like the zoom lens a lot for video. Then the other must have for shooting videos is some sort of a C-stand or tripod. So I use both, I use my tripod for my side shots and then I have something simple, I think it was maybe $300, a C-stand, which is just a bar with another bar attached to it. That’s what I use for my overhead shots.

Megan:

So back to the lenses real quick and cameras, do you recommend finding a body that has capabilities for auto-focus?

Brita:

Yeah. That’s a really good question. By auto-focus, do you mean that it’ll focus while you’re recording or do you just mean, I get those confused because technically autofocus is when you just hold down the shutter button and it’ll automatically focus as opposed to you having to turn the dial on the lens. So I call that mid record focus, the Canon 60 Mark II, which is one of the original reasons I upgraded, does have that. It’s called Al servo mid record auto focus. So if I pick a cookie up off of the plate and I pull it up towards the camera, it’ll automatically focus on that. I learned that that was an absolute necessity for me shooting some videos. Definitely don’t need it. You don’t need it starting out, but it’s something that I recommend getting that ability. I hate using my Canon 60, not the Mark II, like the old version, the Canon 60. I hate using that because it doesn’t have that mid record auto focus. So sometimes if I just move the cookie, even just an inch up or down or back and forth, it gets out of focus. You just don’t really realize that until you go to edit the footage,

Megan:

Having that, you call it mid range focus. Having that just adds character to the video I found because I’ve done it both ways. You can get it done without, but there’s so much more.

Brita:

I used to just use it in certain circumstances and then I’ve, I’ve come up with so many fun creative ways. One of my favorite shots that I get both for top-down and from the side is just taking a scoop of chili out of the pot and then like bringing it up to the camera. It’s such a fun and interactive motion and you cannot get that without having that auto focus. I know some friends that shoot with Sony and the mid record auto focus is not nearly as fast as with the Canon 60 Mark II. I know the Canon 5D Mark IV also has that ability. It’s really fast.

Megan:

That’s so cool. Definitely a feature to keep your eye out for, if you’re looking to get more into food videos. So back to the C stand. Can you talk to us about that?

Brita:

I used to use two different tripods. I had a tripod that had an adjustable arm, so you could take it apart and make it so that it was parallel and we’d go overhead. That worked great for me for quite a few years. I would anchor it down with a can of paint. I found it a little restricting and it would shake a little bit. So I wanted a really dedicated setup. So I researched it and asked around what other people were using and found a C stand that works great for me. It’s just really sturdy; it’s two poles just attached together and then your camera can attach to it so that it’s just permanently overhead and you can move it up and down, but you don’t necessarily adjust to the angle of it as you would a tripod. It’s nice because it just stays overhead. Because I have the zoom lens, I just zoom in and out based on how I want the scene to look, and then I don’t have to adjust, I don’t touch my camera or the C stand whatsoever, unless I’m taking my camera off to shoot a side shot.

Megan:

Do you have a specific brand that you like?

Brita:

So what I actually did and I do have it written down somewhere, which one I have, and I can give that to you for the notes. I called BNH and just explained to them what I needed. I hear a lot of people recommend that and I as well will recommend it because it really is nice. You can explain your setup or if you have a smaller space, they can recommend something different for you. It’s nice as well, because you have to buy a head to go on and it doesn’t come with the piece of equipment to attach your camera to it. You have to buy a separate ball head, and then you also need a little clip to attach the ball head to the C-stand. So I enjoy being able to call BNH and just explain what I need and then have them tell me.

Megan:

Yeah, absolutely. That’s great info. So let’s move on because I know we have a lot to cover. So just basically in a nutshell, as far as equipment, get started with what you have, if that’s what’s holding you back, just use your phone and then upgrade when you can. You gave some recommendations for some good camera options and the lens options. We’ll write those out in your show notes as well so people have those as a guideline. Then just, making sure you have that auto-focus. What did you call it?

Brita:

I call it mid record so it will focus in mid recording, that’s a made up term. But I think at least for Canon, it’s called Al servo, like A L S E R V O is what my camera is called. I think every, every model like Nikon calls it something else.

Megan:

It’s different for every model. So keep an eye out for that if you want to do that, changing around depth of field focusing and then the C stand and the tripod. So let’s move on to different types of food videos that are trending right now. Talk to us about what the benefits are of each style.

Brita:

So there’s kind of different levels of the different types. I’ll just go over the main ones. When it comes to food videos that people are most familiar with is tasty style, which a lot of people also will call them the hands and pans. So it’s essentially just a lot of top-down, up close shots, where all you see are someone’s hands in the frame, cooking the food. These have been really popular. I think they were made popular by Buzzfeed’s Tasty and just exploded. They do extremely well on social media, in my experience. Social media, meaning like Facebook and Instagram, they do well there. Largely because people do not want to listen to them with sound. I’ve looked at my stats before and it’s something like 90% of people are watching my videos with no sound. So it’s nice because they don’t have to hear you talk or whatever.

They can just be watching it silently and just see what’s happening quickly. Then they’re also typically very fast motion. Things are happening quickly. They’re only a minute long and on Facebook and Instagram people don’t really want, more often than not, they just want a very quick bite-size bit of entertainment. That’s the way that I see them mostly. They are educational, but I come at them as I’m going to entertain the people and hopefully leave them drooling and wanting to find out more. At the end of the day, I’m aiming to entertain them with the video. That’s something you can go about in different ways, but when I make quick tasty style videos, I’m typically aiming to entertain. Then ones that I’ve dabbled in a little bit more, are tasty stylesque, but a little bit slower and a little bit more artsy.

Brita:

I think that this really depends on your audience, but I see a lot of doing these well on Instagram, where it’s the same style. It’s the same concept. You’re just mostly seeing hands, or maybe more often than this, maybe you’re seeing someone’s torso and you’re seeing them in the background, cooking the food, but it’s still not talking. It’s just a focus on the food and what is being made and still typically shorter. Then obviously there is the cooking show style, more of what you would see on YouTube or possibly IGTV, which is someone talking. Those can definitely be entertaining and a lot of people watch them purely for entertainment, but they also can be very educational. That’s where you find people, if you search right now, how to make spaghetti squash, more and more Google is pushing video. Sometimes videos pop up at the very top. Instead of getting an article on how to make it, you’re seeing the very first option is click on a video and watch someone make it. For something easier like that, it could be a quick, no talking, with just text on the screen or it could be someone standing again, kind of cooking show style, explaining to you verbally, how to make this recipe.

Megan:

So you mentioned tasty style, kind of being great for social media, Facebook and Instagram. What about the styles that are good for your blogs and maybe to put on YouTube?

Brita:

I honestly don’t know if I know the answer, but I can tell you what I’ve been doing lately. I’m trying really hard to break into YouTube. I only have a thousand YouTube followers, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long. It’s just been finding the time. So what I have been doing and I’m seeing a lot of other bloggers doing, and I think is brilliant, is trying to do both with the same footage. I’ll record a tasty video where you’re mostly just seeing my hands or maybe you kind of see me, but I’m not talking. Use that footage and make a really fast cut, a quick cuts video that I can use on social media. Then also recording what I say is an intro and outro. So, I’ll stand in my kitchen and record myself saying, Welcome to Food With Feeling today.

I’m going to be showing you how to make the most delicious vegan brownies. Then it’ll jump to the footage that I used for that tasty video. I’ll slow it all down. So it’s just more of a natural pace. I’ll record a voiceover. Then over that footage you’ll hear, now we’re going to grab a big bowl and we’re going to whisk together our flour and our sugars. I’m able to repurpose that in both ways because I find those longer form videos better for YouTube. I prefer them on my blog. Most of the time, I think, when someone clicks on a video on your blog, they’re wanting to know how to make the recipe. If you remember earlier, I said when I make tasty videos, I’m more just aiming to entertain them. So on my blog, I’m trying to give them a well-rounded informational educational video.

Megan:

That makes sense. Obviously it would require a lot more time and planning upfront to do something like that, but well worth it. If you can repurpose and cut certain parts out and use it for a tasty style video and then use the whole thing to put on your blog or to put onto YouTube, that would be amazing.

Brita:

On the flip side of that, I have a couple videos, only a couple, where I only recorded a YouTube video. So I was kind of talking the whole time. I didn’t record it in a way that made it possible to make it tasty and those videos for me and my audience, just do not do well on Instagram. Which is a place that I really focus a lot of my time and energy. So I either have to record two videos or do what I just said, where I try and record it in a way that I can repurpose the footage and use it in both ways. That’s something that’s really important when you’re making videos is, what is your end goal? I always think about that and sometimes your end goal can be multiple things. I want it to do well on YouTube and I want it to do well on Instagram, but those are completely different platforms.

If you just post one video in both places, maybe it’ll go viral on Instagram, but it’s not going to do well on YouTube. I just like to keep that in mind and make a video that really caters to each platform. That’s exhausting, but I love video and I want my videos to do well. So I try and take the extra time. Another small example of it is I have an end card for YouTube where you can click to subscribe and click to watch my newest video or my last video. When I export that, I take that off for Instagram because I don’t want that to be on Instagram. I don’t want Instagram to see that cue. This was a YouTube video.

Megan:

If video is important to you and an important part of your business, then you’re obviously going to go through those extra steps upfront and just make sure that you’re catering to each platform. So you mentioned that the 60 second mark is what to aim for on Instagram. Is that kind of where we should shoot for on Facebook as well? 60 seconds?

Brita:

It’s funny because all of my clients have different opinions on this and no one really knows, but I hear a lot of people aiming for a 1:30 on Facebook. A lot of people aim for three. The three minute is that you can’t monetize a video on Facebook unless it’s three minutes. I’m not a Facebook expert. So I see most people saying like 1:30 does well, and if you want to monetize it, it has to be three minutes. Now I know from experience, unless it’s a very complex recipe, you can not make a tasty style video for three minutes, unless you just stir for 30 straight seconds. It just doesn’t work. That’s another opportunity that you can use those longer form videos where you have an intro and an outro, and you’re talking a little bit slower over top of the footage explaining verbally how to make it.

Megan:

What about the timeframe for your actual blog? What a good time there. Also, what’s a good timeframe for YouTube, if you want to grow your YouTube following, is there a set number of minutes there?

Brita:

I actually took a really extensive YouTube bootcamp with someone to help me launch my channel. They were very big advocates that on YouTube, it’s just completely different. So I was told, and I’m still experimenting with this, to try out different lengths. The nice thing is that YouTube has very extensive analytics that you can dive into and then just go in and look at your retention rates. So it takes some trial and error and it really is different for everyone. So it kind of depends on your audience. You can look at where people are dropping off. If people are dropping off after only a minute, you probably need to change your videos a little bit to keep them longer. But if they’re dropping off after five minutes of a 12 minute long video, that might be a cue for you, that your videos should only be five or seven minutes long.

But if they’re always watching to the end of any video, that might be a cue to you, that you could make your videos longer. The nicest thing about longer videos on YouTube just means that you can insert more ads and make more money. If that’s something that you’re interested in doing, monetizing YouTube that way. It’s really different for everyone. Then on your blog, I don’t really know if I have a clear answer for that. I do know that for me, I’ve noticed most of the time people don’t watch the videos on my blog for more than about 30 seconds. That’s not necessarily saying that they should be 30 seconds because I usually put longer form videos on my blog, but that’s something I’m still experimenting with.

Megan:

Or a collection. I have a huge collection of different lengths and style videos on my blog. Just give people an array of things that they can watch. I loved your recommendations about YouTube to just experiment and look at where people are dropping off. I think it’s probably different for everyone, right? I mean, one person might kill it with three-minute videos and one person might go to 12. I think that sounds crazy going to 12, but I know that some people are really successful with that.

Brita:

That requires a high level of a really good on camera personality and ability to really hold an audience. Mine ended up being more around the five minute mark, unless it’s a comprehensive video all about the different ways to cook tofu and that was naturally longer because it was a lot of information. But typically if it’s just one recipe, I’m finding that my YouTube videos fall around five minutes.

Megan:

Yeah. That’s a good point too. If it’s just a single recipe, it’s obviously going to be different than if it’s a, how to cook rice 19 ways. Then it’s going to be way longer. Give us your best advice for creating viral videos.

Brita:

I spoke at a conference recently. I work regularly with seven clients. They’re all bloggers and they all are fairly larger bloggers. Some that have millions of Instagram followers. I asked them what they thought the key to virality was. All of them, even the ones that have millions of followers said, I have no idea. I can’t figure it out. You think every time you think you’ve figured it out, you try and replicate it and it just tanks. So unfortunately there isn’t a clear key, but one of the things I always like to advocate is, when you’re going to make a video, taking a quick step back and what is the purpose of the video? So I touched on this a little bit earlier, but I think it’s important to know that not every video is going to be viral, but not every video even should be viral necessarily.

So I’m trying to do more of these, but I think that there are different kinds of videos. There’s the obvious, I’m making a video that I want to be viral. That’s one category. Then in other categories are I’m making a video that I think will genuinely be of use to the viewer, meaning I’m going to show them this kind of complex way to crimp the pie crust and it’s best for them to see my hands doing it, as opposed to trying to explain it on my blog via pictures and texts. Having a video will be super useful to them. It might not go viral, but that’s not the point of it. The point of it is to bring value to your audience. Then there’s also what I kind of call like entertaining/connecting with your viewers.

I don’t have a good example of this right now, but if you’re able to make a video that doesn’t necessarily go viral, but will genuinely be super engaging to your existing audience. I always think of Instagram because it’s such a focus of mine, you’re not just trying to constantly get bigger and bigger and grow more. You’re trying to engage with the audience that you have now. So I’ve been trying to come up with fun, new ways of making videos that do that. If it goes viral or if it brings in new followers, great, but my purpose of it is doing something that can really engage the audience that I have now. But back to the viral one, I do have a few tips that I’ve seen along the way that there are certain recipes that do the best.

So typically either something that’s ridiculously short, take a puff pastry and fold it in this cute way and put some jam on it. Doesn’t that look adorable? It was super simple, really quick things like that seem to go viral. They have a higher rate of going viral, if you will. On the flip side of that, super weird and complex things. Take a puff pastry and fold it 10 different ways and do all these different things to it. It looks really cool at the end or something. Those also seem to go viral. So it’s either something super quick and easy or kind of complex, that’s really creative. Then kind of just one step further from that is just really super simple recipes that people can imagine themselves going home and making tonight. You threw this really cool sauce together and spaghetti and people probably have everything at home to make it and you made it look delicious. Those are the other ones that seem to go viral for me.

Megan:

The ones for me that have gone crazy that I didn’t expect involve really big stringy cheese poles. I have a Crock-Pot Spinach Artichoke Dip that’s a great recipe, but I had no idea how much people would love this because we were able to catch this cheese pull that was out of this world. We put that right in the beginning. So people were like, Oh my gosh. It got so many views on Instagram. I think it’s like my most viewed video on Instagram. So basically what you’re saying here is that, you know, simple recipes, quick, weird cooking or baking procedures that are kind of appealing to people, but really, maybe the point is to never aim for virality. Maybe the point is to aim for quality and just providing information, good information to your audience and engagement. I like that you mentioned that too. Just really trying to engage in a unique way. I think that there’s value in not focusing on the word viral. Instead just aiming for really fulfilling your audience.

Brita:

I have a recipe, Instant Pot baked potatoes. It’s literally just put potatoes in an Instant Pot, put water in there and cook it, that’s it. I made a video largely for SEO purposes. So that having that video on my posts maybe would make people stick around longer, as a cue to Google that it’s a valuable post. So that’s the reason I made the video. So it was SEO focused and educational. Not that people need to see a video to figure out that recipe, but I posted it on Instagram, very reluctantly. I wasn’t going to post it because I thought, this is so boring and basic, how to cook potatoes. Sure enough, that ended up getting 200,000 views, which is viral for me. It did amazing. You never know. I was so close to not hitting publish on that video. I said, I’m not even going to post this on social media. What’s the point? Just remember to not to come at it from that viral standpoint.

Megan:

I think that that applies to blog posts as well. We can all relate to that. We think that something is going to kill it and it doesn’t. Then like you said, Brita, you almost didn’t even press publish, but then it does really well. So you just never know. Put it out there. If you’re feeling it. I say, press publish. If you’ve made it, of course, put it out there. So this kind of goes back to what we were talking about before with styles, but I want to make sure to ask you this, how do we decide which style of video to create for our blogs? Is this something that you believe evolves over time or do you think we need to pick a style and stick with it? What are your thoughts?

Brita:

There was one other thing I want to say, and it ties into this, which is largely, just experiment. I was going to say, when we were talking about the virality stuff, and this applies to what kind of recipes should I write for my blog and what kind of photography should I do? Look at what’s performed well for you and repeat that. I have a vegan muffins video, and I can post it, and every single time I post it either goes viral or at least it at least does extremely well. Maybe I should make more of those chocolate vegan muffin recipes. Every time they do well, even though I am not a baker. I have baked goods, but my blog is not centered around baking.

My baked goods just always do well. I think that’s true for a lot of people. But as far as choosing a style, I highly recommend to experiment with it. A what you like, and then B also what’s working with your audience. I really like somewhat slower, tasty videos. The way that Buzzfeed does them to me is just so fast. They also show every single step. I try and let my viewer have a little bit more of imagination so that they don’t need me to see every single step. They can kind of use their imagination to be, that’s how she got from point A to point B, like I’ll start showing something, but then kind of jump to the next scene where it’s all done. So I like the slower, but too slow doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried to get a little more creative and artsy with my videos. I do those sometimes because I enjoy them, but they never performed very well for me. I’ve seen that to be true for a lot of other people. I think that’s just like the audience that I have. I grew my audience around those faster videos. People saw those faster videos and hit like, so then they see the kind of slower melancholic type videos and they say, oh, this is different. I don’t know if I like it and that’s fine. I think what I’m trying to say is experiment with it, for sure. The longer form, YouTube style videos. I really see that being the future of food blogging, but they also just take a lot more time and are way more time consuming. I think one of the biggest hurdles for people is that it requires you to stand on the other side of the camera and look presentable and talk in front of the camera. I’ve been doing it for six months and I still get really nervous and have to rerecord things a hundred times.

Megan:

I am the worst. I get in front of the camera and I just freeze up. It is just me here. I don’t need to freak out. Just the thought of knowing that I am going to be putting my face out for everybody to see is so upsetting. I know that a lot of people feel that way too. I hear that all the time, people say, I would love to record that style of video, but I just can’t get in front of the camera. So it really does take an amount of courage to get over that fear and just do it. I know it’s annoying hearing our own voices and seeing our own faces and that weird thing, quirky things we do, but nobody else is going to notice that.

Brita:

I would say, as far as finding your style, when I first started out and even now, I just obsessively watch other people’s videos. I have been really into the way that Minimalist Baker has been doing her videos. It’s similar to tasty, but she just put her own different spin on it. I really like it. I feel like six months or a year ago, hands and pans were getting a little overdone, but then Minimalist Baker, and I’ve seen some other bloggers just come in and do the same thing, but with their own spin on it. It just feels very fresh and original, even though it’s ultimately the same thing. It’s just someone’s hands were like showing how to make food. So I suggest watching the way other people do it and taking inspiration from that. Also experimenting yourself with different angles and in different editing styles, if you will.

Megan:

So kind of a combination of sorting through your analytics or looking at your comments, what people are commenting on the most and what people are liking the most. Just watching what others are doing, what others who are successfully creating videos are doing, then putting your own spin on it. I like that as kind of a place to start if you’re not sure where to go next with your style, because for a long time, the hands only style was getting old. It was too saturated. There were too many of them, every time I opened Facebook or Instagram, I thought, I can’t take another one of those. So I liked that people are putting new spins on it. Oh, I have a question about something that I have been putting a lot of thought into recently. I think about all of those videos that I’ve created and the time and the energy that has been poured into making them and bringing them to life. While I know that they are providing value on my website for people who are there, I feel like there is almost untapped potential in them and that there are other avenues that could allow them to shine. So what are some ways that we can repurpose our video content on platforms besides our blogs?

Brita:

Glad you asked this because I am really passionate about this and it’s something that I’ve been preaching a lot lately. There are so many different ways that you can repurpose footage. I was talking earlier about doing YouTube videos, where you record just hands and pans shots, but then having an intro and an outro. I’ve been doing that with old videos. So I’ve been taking a video that I shot, even two years ago, taking that footage. You have to have kept it all and stored it properly and know where to find it, which sometimes is a problem for people. But if you still have that project file, I take that footage. Then I just, I will just stand in my kitchen all I’m doing is an intro and outro. So I’ll say, today, we’re going to make these vegan brownies.

Then I’ll just turn the camera off and then do another clip that says, ok, it’s that easy to make these brownies. I’m excited to see you making them, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram when you do. However, I want to do it. Sometimes if it’s applicable, I’ll add more, oh, I just want to let you know that I use this special kind of flour. I also tested them with this. You can add these anecdotes in there. I often like to look at the blog post to see, what were the questions I answered or pain points did I help solve within the blog post? Then I just sandwiched that intro and the outro on either end of old footage, that’s already edited and ready to go. All I do is I slow it down.

Then I just have a super simple mic that I plugged directly into my computer. I just watched the footage and then talked over it. So I’ll just watch what my hands are doing and then basically explain what’s happening. I’ve had a lot of success with posting those on YouTube. I really like embedding those on my blog and to take that one step further, I have noticed that what seems to be really popular on YouTube are roundups. Four easy weeknight dinners. So it’s a video that’s going to show you four different things. It seems like multiples are really popular on YouTube or four easy afterschool snacks, or even three. Sometimes it’s a crazy number. So I will just take videos that I shot two years ago. Some of them I shot a year ago, some last week. I have one on my blog that I did somewhat recently, that was vegan muffins because vegan muffins perform well for me. I rounded up four different vegan muffins that I had. I basically just edited the footage altogether. I recorded an intro and an outro, today, I’m going to show you how to make four of my favorite easy vegan muffins. Then I just recorded voice overs for all of them and it ended up being this awesome YouTube video. That one actually did well on IGTV. That one did well there. That’s another really great way. Then on top of that, if this isn’t too much info, posts that are performing, I am seeing a lot of success from Roundup posts.

If someone searches, vegan muffins, or even vegan dinners or healthy weeknight dinners. Roundups are doing extremely well right now are a great source of traffic for a lot of bloggers, myself included. One of the things that I think helps us so much bump up in Google is having that Roundup video. Because it’s not just like a list of recipes. It’s like also you have this cool video. So I did one recently that was just easy vegan dinners. It was a list of 20 recipes. Then I did a compilation video of four. I didn’t record anything, but the intro and outro for this, and altogether, it took me maybe an hour to film and edit it. Then I just sliced together four recipe videos that I already had shot, some of them multiple years ago and put that together. That post has done so well in Google, much quicker than usual. I really think it’s because of that video.

Megan:

Okay. I am a little bit speechless because wow. I have never thought of any of these three really great ideas. I just feel it’s almost like a weight on me whenever I look into my folder that has all of my videos. It’s such a shame. There’s so much energy that goes into those and they’re beautiful and I’m proud of them, but what more can I do with them?

Brita:

I’ve been talking about repurposing footage a lot lately and it seems to be this really awesome aha moment for people. First of all, if you’re just starting out shooting video, I think it can be a neat thing to keep in your mind as you move forward. But for even if all you have is 10 videos, there’s still probably a lot of potential there to do some sort of Roundup, whether it’s just easy desserts or however you can find some commonality between the recipes. I would love to do one this year that I should start working on soon. My four most popular recipes of 2019. Just kind of splice this together. It’s a fun, new piece of content to have for either social media or YouTube or have it somewhere on your blog.

Megan:

Oh my goodness. I absolutely love that. I know that people are going to find that really valuable. Thank you for sharing all of that. Let’s talk about money now. I know we all create videos just because they’re fun, but making money off of those videos and efforts that we put into them is an important part of it too. So talk to us about ways that we can use food videos to produce revenue.

Brita:

A lot of different, really neat avenues that you can go down when it comes to making money with video. I saw the potential with video from an early point. My gut told me like, video’s going to be really big when it comes to food blogging. I really wanted to be at the front of that. So I spent as much time as I could understanding how to shoot video and really trying to improve my food videography. It really paid off because very quickly I started having people asking me about if I could do their videos for them. This was before, I didn’t know anybody else that was doing it. Now if you go into a Facebook group, there are a lot of people that offer that service, but it didn’t exist. I got really lucky at the time, I emailed Lindsay from Pinch of Yum, kind of on a whim.

We’re not necessarily friends. We’ve met a couple of times, but I emailed her and I said, Hey, I saw that you hired someone for video, a full-time person. I asked, do you think that that could be a thing? Do you think other bloggers would be interested in that if I started developing a portfolio? Then she referred my first two clients and then it just became this really awesome big thing from there. Everything we’ve talked about so far today has just hinted at the fact of that video is super important and people need it, but it’s also very time consuming and can be kind of complex. So there are a lot of bloggers out there that would love to hire for video. So that’s one avenue.

So right now I still work with clients. My husband works full-time with me, so we have a food videography business, but we’re slowly weaning ourselves off of that. We just dropped a client, we’re dropping another one in the new year as my blog continues to grow. So that’s a great avenue, just making videos for other bloggers. Also for brands. I’ve done some branded work where it wasn’t sponsored. I was making a video for them to post, as their own on their own social media accounts. That’s a really neat avenue that you can go down.

When it comes to your blog, as my blog has grown, I’ve been getting a lot more sponsorships and working with brands and I’m pushing video on all of them. Next year, I’m going to make it my policy that I won’t do a sponsorship unless it includes video because the reach with video is just so much greater. Every sponsorship I do does so much better if there’s a video involved and I want to be able to perform for the brand. I don’t just want to take their money. I want to be able to really help promote their brand and get their name out there. So for me, video is the best way to do that. So I’ve been seeing a ton of success with getting branded work because a lot of bloggers still aren’t doing video and a lot of brands really want video. So I think I’ve gotten picked for campaigns over others a lot of times because I have that. I have a good video portfolio and a lot of times they’re looking for that.

That’s another great way that I’ve made money with it. Then one of the other big ones is, for me right now, I embed all of my videos onto my blog and with AdThrive. So I have the AdThrive video player and that is all the money I make. I think that it ends up being about a quarter of my ad revenue. At this point, I make quite a bit,  it’s a really hefty amount of money every month that I’m making, just from the ads that are played on videos on my site, which is really neat to me. I could have never guessed that when I first started video.

Megan:

I am too with AdThrive and I love how they break that out because I mean, you can go in and see exactly how much you’re making just from the video. I think that’s so valuable to be able to see that. It changes for me anyway, with the season. So now I’m making more than maybe in June. That might be different for everyone too, but I just think there’s such value in that because otherwise you really have no idea, where is this coming from? Why am I getting this money? What are people seeing that is making me get this money? So I love that they break it down like that.

Brita:

The main ways that people are making money right now with video.

Megan:

I like your idea to just offer that as something that makes a work with sponsors more robust or more complete. It’s just including a video, because I think that some people actually shy away from making videos for brands, because it’s so much more work. But I love the idea of actually coming to them with that. I would like to create a video for you. I think on their end, that would be nothing but good for them.

Brita:

I’m making these prices up right now, but I used to say I charge a thousand dollars for a sponsored post. I would charge 1500 or 1700 to include a video. Most of the time brands were electing for that. So I used to come at this topic from Oh, you can make a lot more money with video. I have a friend who does, I’m making these numbers up kind of, but she does like $1,500 for a sponsored post or 1700 to include video. So she gives them that option to not have video, but she makes it so they almost just have to get video because she wants it, she sees it, she knows that it will bring them more value. It’s not a lot of extra money here, but she’s charging more on the front anyways, trying to encourage the brands to just go for that video option.

Megan:

You also mentioned doing video production for other bloggers, which I know that some people have gone out into that, experimented with that. If you have a good setup and you get in a groove and you can kick out a bunch of videos in a day, then why not?

Brita:

It’s completely changed my life. I got one regular client. Then from the little bit of money I was making from my blog three years ago, I was able to quit my job. I still work with that client. I do one to two videos for her a week. So it’s been such an amazing relationship. I have seven regular video clients and I only do two to three videos a month. Some I do one to two videos per week. I haven’t taken on a new client in I think almost two years. So all of these bloggers I’ve worked with for years now, and they’re all amazing and I have great relationships with all of them and they’re just all really amazing women. I get excited just thinking about how I feel honored that I work in this industry and I get to work with all these amazing women.

Megan:

So I’ve always wondered, for people who branch out into that area of doing other bloggers’ videos, are the logistics just a nightmare, as far as getting groceries?

Brita:

It definitely can be. So my husband works with me. I used to have an editor, a video editor that would help with the editing. Then I had a kitchen assistant that would come to my house and prep everything and then clean the dishes. So then about a year and a half ago, my husband quit his job and took over all of those roles. So it’s really nice. We’re at the point now where I work on client work about two days per week, and then my husband does the rest. So he edits all of the client videos. I’m basically the hand model for the videos. I hit record on my camera and I record everything. He buys all of the groceries. He preps all of the food, cleans all of the dishes. Then he handles sending out invoices.

If we have questions about recipes, oftentimes it happens. My clients live all over the country or actually have one in Canada too. If I can’t find an ingredient, it’s just not sold. He communicates, do you think you could ship this to us because we don’t have it in our area. He communicates all of that. If it’s something you get in and it’s working well for you, I highly suggest getting help as soon as possible. I learned if I have somebody edit my videos, I could film an extra three to four or however many videos per week. Actually make a decent chunk more money. I like editing, but having to sit down and edit seven videos a week can be exhausting.

Megan:

It’s so time-consuming editing video. I did it for a while too. I didn’t mind it. I mean, it was kind of fun. It’s a creative outlet, but when you have to do hours and hours, you start thinking I could be using this time to do so many other things.

Brita:

My husband’s extremely analytical. So he loves that he gets to just sit at his computer and do that. It’s almost kind of mindless. You don’t have to think too much while you’re doing it. If it’s something people want to get into, you can reach out to me on social media, and I’ll talk about it. I love to talk about numbers and business and I’m really open about how much I make and everything. So people have questions about it and are wanting to explore that as an avenue. I was one of those people that hated my day job and was desperate to get out of it. It was this awesome way for me to quit my job and work from home. I never would have guessed, but then my husband was also able to quit his job. We’ve loved the flexibility that it allows. Then since then, I’ve tried to take a step back from it so that I can focus more on my own content.

Megan:

That’s all great stuff. I think that’s super kind of you to offer that just for people to be able to reach out to you. So thank you for doing that. So we have covered so much value. I’m kind of excited to get this episode edited so I can go back into this. I always like when I’m in it, I don’t truly hear everything, but going back through, Oh, I pull out little things. So I’m really excited to do that with this one. I just have a couple of questions for you that we didn’t cover yet. What are some creative ways to capture the attention of viewers within the first few seconds of watching a video, since most people dwindle off? I think the last I heard was eight seconds or something like that. What are some really creative ways to capture people? I mentioned before, the cheese poll that obviously did it, but what else?

Brita:

As another example of experimenting with things, I love hero shots. That’s like you said, the really sexy cheese poles, or just the final complete shots of the final dish. I like to get really up close and personal. It’s when a macro lens comes in handy and I like to keep it kind of fast as well. So that’s just like a new thing is happening literally every second or like a different angle. I know someone I have, I know a friend who she thinks she has, like she’s, I think 2.4 million Instagram followers and is like really big on video. I talked to her a lot and she says, she’s kind of the opposite. She doesn’t do those hero shots at the beginning at all. She likes to start with a really unique and cool way of preparing an ingredient.

Something that’s just really weird and off the wall. She researches different ways to pull something. If you pull a piece of parsley through your colander, it’ll get all the leaves off of the STEM. Really interesting things like that. Pinch of Yum often starts with just a process shot or just jumps into it so it kind of gives that a little bit of an intrigue and mystery of what is this going to be? They just did this weird thing, now where are they going to go with this? I think it’s just experimenting what works with your audience.

Megan:

I like that idea of doing something intriguing that just kind of gets your thoughts wondering what is going on? I have to keep watching.

Brita:

Yumna, from Feel Food Foodie, she does that extremely well. She almost always has some really cool, random little way of preparing an ingredient that she puts at the beginning of her videos that always makes me say, I’ve never seen that ingredient prepped that way. That was cool. Now I want to see how she’s going to use the rest of that.

Megan:

It pulls you in, it sucks you in. Next question. From an SEO perspective, do you believe that adding video to a blog page enriches the page from Google’s perspective?

Brita:

Absolutely. I mean, first of all, it’s like a thing that Google sees. It’s a cue to Google that hey, this blog has this extra bit of information. If people watch that video, they’re staying on your page longer, which is a cue to Google that, Hey, this was valuable. Somebody stayed on this page twice, as long as the other page. Maybe we should rank it higher. Also, I’m really trying to keep my eyes on this, but obviously for me, I think global is something like 80% of my traffic right now. I try really hard to look at everything on my phone. I think as bloggers, we get so into our desktop, but only 20% of our viewers are on a desktop. Most people are on mobile and where I’m going with this is that, when I search recipes on my phone, sometimes videos are popping up first, which is really neat.

Also when you search a recipe, you’ll see a carousel of recipes where it’s squares, Google will auto play your video now sometimes. It’s super attention grabbing. When you see it, a lot of times it’ll be the six recipes down, but it auto plays the video. So my brain just doesn’t even see the rest of it. I just see there’s movement happening on my screen. I want to click on that one. I feel like more and more video is going to be really important when it comes to SEO.

Megan:

Do you think it’s helpful to put video within the title? So if you have a video within your blog post, is it helpful to have….

Brita:

I don’t know. Honestly, I’ve experimented with it and I can’t really see the value in it. I think it’s very rare that someone is, Ooh, this has got a video. They don’t consciously think of it unless it’s something that they know they want a video for, they’re specifically seeking out how to properly crimp a pie crust. They know like their brain knows a video would be helpful. But I think most of the time, I don’t think it helps. I’ve kind of experimented with it. I haven’t really been able to figure it out one way or the other.

Megan:

Yeah. I can see where if it were a how-to cooking video, then someone might be more inclined to click.

Brita:

I noticed a lot of bloggers doing it when video really started getting popular like two years ago. They would put in parentheses a video but I don’t see very many people doing it anymore as much. So I don’t think it really makes a difference.

Megan:

All right. One last question. It’s obviously not feasible for a lot of us to create a video for every single post we publish, but what are your thoughts for the minimum number of videos we should be posting. Monthly or weekly?

Brita:

I don’t know if there’s a minimum, but for the longest time I was aiming for it for one week. I’m one of those crazy people now that I’m aiming to have a video with every single recipe, which is a lot, but I’ve also done video for a while. So I have a really smooth rhythm with it. I would say if you’re starting out, try to do one a week and if you can up that to two, that would be great. It kind of is important to know, do you mean on YouTube or your blog? I think overall like one a week is a good place to start.

Megan:

Let’s say that someone decides to just do that one a week. Are there types of recipes that we should be focusing on? Let’s say we do dinner recipes, dessert recipes. You mentioned those being mostly popular for a lot of bloggers. Would we focus on those?

Brita:

I would say, especially if you’re just starting out, just go to Google. Just start with your most popular recipes. If a recipe is your number one on Google, or if you have a recipe that has already performed, the photo did amazing on Instagram or I would start there. Start with what you already know people like and make a video of that. Then also I like starting with what’s best on Google because if you rank number one or even if you’re close to number one, a good way to hold that ranking is to just add more value to the post with a video. So I think that that’s a really good place. I always just recommend starting with what’s already popular for you.

Megan:

So it might be worthwhile just to go back through some of your most popular content that’s already published. I like what you said, adding value, because I do think that anytime you add a video to a post, you’re adding tons of value to it.

Brita:

One of the things I’ve done is, as I’ve dove into SEO, as everyone is doing these days is, if I find low hanging fruit posts, meaning if I’ve got a post that’s ranked the top of the second page and I really want to get it to the first page or maybe it’s ranked number three or four, and I would love it to get it to that number one spot, if it doesn’t have a video, that’s my top priority. Like over a lot of other things, I’m going to add a video to that post. A lot of times it’s proven to be the boost that it needed to get it to number one or two, the first page or whatever my goal was. To give it some sort of a boost in SEO, a video has helped that for sure.

Megan:

Yeah. That’s all great advice. All right, Brita, we have covered a ton of value, but before we say goodbye, tell us about your course Food Video Academy.

Brita:

Yeah. Thank you for asking. So I have done video for years now and I’m super passionate about it, as I hope it has come across in this interview. My good friend and I, Lorena from Green Healthy Cooking. We created a course called the Food Video Academy and we’ve both been doing video for a long time. Lorena focused really heavily on Facebook with her videos and she grew her Facebook. I think she’s at 600,000 Facebook followers now. She attributes that 99% to video. So we created a course called Food Video Academy that can get you started. A lot of what we talked about today, but really in detail. We show you how to set up your equipment and we walk you through step-by-step how to edit all of your videos, which I think is a big pain point for a lot of people. You shot the video but that was only half of the work. We also, as part of that creative, a free crash course, which we answer 20 of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to starting out with video. You can find that at foodvideoacademy.com. I’m really excited about this course, we just launched it and we’re really passionate about it. We spent a lot of time recording the courses and they’re just really good. I’m excited about them.

Megan:

I can hear your passion for this topic. I love that. It just seeps through your personality. I think when you’re really passionate about something, like you are about video, it just really shines. The content that you create really shines. So I’m excited to check that out. You mentioned that you have a crash course, which is super exciting. I think a lot of people will be interested to check that out too. So thanks for sharing that. It’s time to say goodbye. Thank you so much for everything you’ve shared. Thanks for being here. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to be here. Before you go share with us a favorite quote or words of inspiration for our fellow food bloggers.

Brita:

This just applies well to everything we talked about today too, but there’s this YouTuber that I love. It’s actually family bloggers on YouTube called the Michellax. They create these amazing, really artsy, documentary styles of logs. They do it once a week and he likes to talk about business a lot. Something he said, and it was really inspirational in getting me started with video. He said, when it comes to creating things, it doesn’t have to be good and it doesn’t even have to be great. It just has to exist. That was such a neat thing for me, because a lot of times I get caught up whether it’s photography or videography or whatever, creating something and I say, this isn’t very good. Then I remind myself, that doesn’t matter because I did it and I put it out into the world and the next one will be better. It just has to exist. You just have to start creating,

Megan:

I love that. I think perfectionism and all of us can come out and stop us once in a while from creating, just creating, like you said, so, great words. Thank you for sharing that. Brita has a list of favorite resources relating to food videography, and I will put all of those on her show notes page. You can find those at eatblogtalk.com/Brita. Brita. Tell my listeners the best place to find you online.

Brita:

My blog is foodwithfeeling.com or you can find me on Instagram at Food With Feeling.

Megan:

Awesome. Thank you again, Brita for being here and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.

Intro:

We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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