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Episode 084: Grow Your Blog By Tapping Into A Niche With Deborah Thompson

Blog Title: Savvy Bites

Social Media:

IG: Savvy Bites on Instagram

FB: Savvy Bites on Facebook

About: Deborah is a professional chef turned food blogger. She began her first blog about 4 years ago and really struggled to gain traction. She didn’t know who her audience was, who she was creating for. Deborah just kept moving forward because giving up just didn’t “feel right”. Then she came up with a niche and has been able to go from 0 to 4000 pageview in 3 weeks. Finally! A niche!! Deborah discovered that motivation and dedication becomes much easier when you know who you are creating for and why.

Notes from Episode #084: Grow Your Blog by Tapping Into a Niche

  • Fun fact: Deborah moved from the west coast of Canada to the UK to work in kitchens because she wanted to be a professional chef. She hoped for female camaraderie in these kitchens but it turned out she was always the only female chef in the kitchens. Still was an amazing experience!

  • The shelf life of a chef in a kitchen can be short lived because the 100 hour weeks can burn you out. 

  • Deborah had two or three blogs before Savory Bites. She loved the idea of a food blog from seeing cookbooks by a few. 

  • In the beginning Deborah was really thinking of how to take good photos because she knew how to develop a recipe. Once she got good at the photos, she stumbled onto Food Bloggers Central on Facebook, so she learned about SEO and so she continued to get better at the mechanics of food blogging.

  • SEO was hard to learn on her own because it’s such a huge topic to undertake and understand so she decided to invest in her business. Deborah booked an appointment with Casey Markee. This was a game changer for her. She implemented what he shared and saw gains right away. 

  • Deborah still was struggling with who she was talking to. So even though her Google traffic was up, she didn’t know who her audience was and this was incredibly frustrating. 

  • Previously Deborah was creating recipes with a chef flair, or rustic and comfort foods for her audience. She knew however that she had a disconnect with who she was creating for. She didn’t know who she was helping, all the things that really bring motivation and dedication to the table for a blogger. 

  • Before Savvy Bites, Deborah felt like she was in town square and yelling, “Here you go!” Now, with her site focused on a niche for a specific group, she feels like she’s literally walking up to a group of people and saying, “there you are, I’ve made this for you.”

  • She’s more calm and not frantic anymore. Her audience is asking her to make foods now that she’s found them.

  • Even though Deborah was spinning her wheels for years, it just didn’t feel right to give up. She felt like she hadn’t exhausted every avenue yet. 

  • Deborah took a year to consider what her niche was and try to grasp what her audience needed and wanted. 

  • Deborah recognized that people were asking for recipes and for help. She saw that as she ran out and did an Aldi run, she’d also then run to another store. This clicked for Deborah. So she started hearing that people were wanting help making recipes that could be made without all the extra running. That’s where the idea for her niche was born. It does limit what she can do but then one of her favorite quotes is, “Let structure set you free”.

  • Now Deborah is more creative with how she prepares a recipe. Her spice cabinet is maximized. There’s no such thing as a pumpkin pie spice in her cabinet. But nothing sits around and is wasted, so cuts back on expenses so her focus is better as is her cooking and baking budget. 

  • Don’t rush into your niche. Take time to see how it can be refined, look at solving a problem and test out your work. 

  • Deborah’s advice: what do you like to cook? She looked through the blog and figured out what she wanted to create. For her it was dinners and even quick dinners. That’s what she felt pulled to. Then what was popular? She watched what people were asking for. She honed it down to what her creativity and passion met the needs of what her audience needed helped her get to where she is. 

  • You will never work harder as a blogger than when you think of a recipe that could be really popular but you don’t love preparing it yet you still try and make it work. That is such hard work to do because there’s no passion. 

  • You can spin a lot out of nothing. Look at your blog, gather 5-6 recipes that are successful and you like, then turn this into your core niche, and build on it. Build a niche from what you’re passionate about. 

  • Deborah uses several tools to get the mechanics of blogging right: 

    • Google Trends

    • Pinterest gives you lots of information. 

    • SEMrush is also an incredible tool. It is costly but if you sign up for the 2 weeks for free once you have an idea of what you want, you can really dig into the site, diving into what can be done and build a plan during that time. 

  • Think of your blog as a cookbook. If your most popular chapters of your book are pastas and salads, create really big chapters on this topic. Start thinking of variations for these recipes. 

  • When you become known for something and are the destination for that, those two things can help you grow. 

  • Sometimes you can decide what you aren’t passionate about and what you don’t enjoy cooking to help you hone in on things.

    • For Deborah, an easy thing to take out of the equation was breakfast. She barely eats it and doesn’t work on those kinds of recipes at all. This can help you narrow down who you do want to be. 

  • Your followers will join your journey and stay connected to you because they know your niche and how specific you are. The audience knows that you are always going to share relevant recipes. 

  • Wisdom from Deborah’s grandparent: “When you cheer on someone else’s success, you are telling the universe you want some of that too.” So Deborah said cheer super loud so you get some of the star dust magic too!

  • Success isn’t a finite limited thing. It’s available to everybody! Someone else’s success isn’t the elimination of your own. Especially In the beginning when you realize you don’t know what you’re doing, you shouldn’t focus on success only being available to a few people. 

  • Success comes with experience!

  • Tips for someone in the trenches: 

    • Slow down your mind. 

    • Learn the mechanics – Pinterest, SEO, and other blogging tools. Give yourself space to figure out the mechanics. The answers start to come as you do this and put one foot in front of the other. Don’t stress out about figuring out your niche yet. 

    • Remember: Tomorrow is made in the here and now. Tomorrow you’ll be glad you planted the seed.

    • Don’t jump into a niche because you can avoid spending a small fortune. Give yourself time to figure it out, make mistakes and become a good blogger in general. 

  • Give yourself grace, patience and cheer hard for those succeeding because one day they’ll be cheering for you!

  • When something is important enough to you, you do it anyway, even if you think I’m not sure, I’m not sure what my niche is. Because it is important. And there are people out there who need it.

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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