In episode 347, Megan chats to Aimee Pruett about time management tactics to help you grow your blog when you have limited time.
We cover information about how to decide what to lean into when time is limited, how to optimize old content for traffic, working on recipe testing tactics that save time and how to find free hours to accomplish your goals.
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Bio Aimee is a food blogger by night, marketing manager by day. Aimee holds a full-time job, is a mom to two small kids, but has still been able to scale monthly sessions from 10K to over 80K over the last year by making the most of her time wisely. Aimee has experience in providing freelance food photography for restaurants, books, and even did a shoot for Food and Wine magazine, but eventually realized she loved blogging and creating recipes more. Aimee turned her focus on creating recipes for Food Banjo and loves everything about food and blogging.
- Experiment with types of posts and use Google analytics to create more of what’s successful.
- Lean into the content that’s working and become the expert in that area.
- Use tools, like Clariti, to help you get organized.
- With blogging on the side, you can still prioritize publishing content.
- Don’t get distracted by shiny objects. Social platforms are one you can say no to when you aren’t blogging full time and work on more evergreen content that’ll gain traffic over the long run.
- Recipe test at dinnertime. It’ll help with feedback and you’ll have a well thought out recipe and know what shots you want a head of shooting it.
- Lunchtime is a great time to get natural light for the photographs.
- Having a supportive partner to help with the family routines can give you time to batch or do some admin work on the blog when you might not normally be able to.
- Know when you’re most productive and carve out the time to be available to work on the blog then.
- Make a list of what you need to accomplish it, then try to make it out in your week so you are prepared to get started right away.
- Be sure not to always be working. Give yourself time off to recharge.
- When you have a full plate, it’s still important to be constantly learning. Double up doing dishes with listening to a podcast or listen to an audio book while running errands.
- Know your priorities and if blogging fits into that, you’ll find ways to carve out time to accomplish it.
Click for full script.
Episode 347 – Aimee Pruett – Final
Aimee Pruett: Hi, this is Amy Pruett from Food Banjo, and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
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Megan Porta: Hello food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I’m your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 347. I have Aimee Pruett with me today. She’s going to talk to us about how even with limited time, you can make the most of time throughout the day in order to grow your blog. Amy is a food blogger by night, marketing manager by day. She holds a full-time job. She is a mom to two small kids, but she has still been able to scale monthly sessions from 10K to over 80K over the last year by making the most of her time wisely. Amy has experience in providing freelance food photography for restaurants, books, and even did a shoot for Food and Wine magazine. Ooh, that’s so cool. But eventually realized she loved blogging and creating recipes more. Aimee turned her focus on creating recipes for Food Banjo and loves everything about food and blogging. Love your bio, Amy. I’m super excited for our chat today. But before we get into it, we wanna hear what your fun fact is.
Aimee Pruett: Sure. So my fun fact is that I got married in Florence, Italy.
Megan Porta: Oh. That’s the coolest thing ever. How was that? I’m sure it was amazing.
Aimee Pruett: It was amazing. It was. It was a very small wedding. I think we had maybe five guests, but that was just the way we wanted to do it. We didn’t want a big wedding, so we just decided let’s do something romantic in Italy that just has a few people there.
Megan Porta: Had you been there prior to that?
Aimee Pruett: We hadn’t. Neither of us had. So it was my husband and I’s first time both being there and it was amazing.
Megan Porta: Oh gosh. That makes me wanna travel. Just hearing that is like, Oh.
Aimee Pruett: Yeah. Beautiful country. Absolutely.
Megan Porta: Oh good. How long were you there total?
Aimee Pruett: We were there for probably about two weeks in Florence, and then we took a ferry over to Croatia and had a honeymoon in Croatia for a few days.
Megan Porta: Oh, I’ve heard Croatia is just beautiful.
Aimee Pruett: It is. It’s so amazing. I would love to go back someday and to Italy, both of those places.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Oh, that’s so inspiring. I love it. How long ago was that? How long have you been married?
Aimee Pruett: That was, let’s see, eight years ago. A while, but maybe we’ll get to go back for our 10 year anniversary. We’ll see.
Megan Porta: Oh yeah. Now that things are opening up in a more normal-ish way. That is a possibility.
Aimee Pruett: We would get to take the kids.
Megan Porta: Yes. Oh, I love it. Okay, so I’m really excited to hear about your amazing time management and how you use that to do a lot of things. You have a lot going on. You have a full-time job. You are a food blogger. You love food blogging, you have a family and children. So would you mind starting just by talking through your blogging journey when you started and how that’s evolved for you?
Aimee Pruett: Sure. So I’ve probably been blogging since 2001. A long time. But I always had more than just personal blogs where I would put up, writing about what I was doing and photos of where my husband and I would be walking around cities or traveling. But I’ve always loved food and I have loved watching food on the Food Network for years. Even Yen can cook back on PBS back in the day. So food has always been something I’ve loved. Then I started doing food photography. People just started hiring me to shoot food, so that exposed me more and more to just delicious food. So in 2016 I finally decided, okay, I’ve been blogging for a long time and I have this love of food. It’s time to start a food blog. I knew a lot of other people that were doing it too, so I decided that was the time and I was just gonna do it for fun, basically at that point. So the first few years of the blog were more for fun and just putting up what I like to eat, and over time, just evolving it into what it is today.
Megan Porta: So now you focus more on just being a little bit more strategic and not just doing it for fun. You have to sprinkle in fun too, right? So you’re actually starting to grow as a business. Correct?
Aimee Pruett: Exactly. So yeah, those first few years, the blog was a nice distraction. It was a nice thing to do, but over the time, as I really decided to make it a business, it has been really focusing on those strategic things that are working and not just putting up what I like to eat every day.
Megan Porta: So you do have limited time. You’ve got a lot going on. A lot of people listen, a lot of my listeners are in the same boat where they’ve got either another full-time job or a part-time job or family or all of the above, like you, and want to know, probably tips so that they can manage their time better and be more strategic. So what are some key things that you do in order to make all of this work and to be an effective, efficient food blogger who can run a business?
Aimee Pruett: Sure. I think probably the first thing I did was, having started the blog in 2016, I’ve experimented with a lot of different posts over the years and of course they’re ones that are dear to my heart, but they’ve never performed well. Over the years, I’ve just taken a look at Google Analytics and just dove in to seeing what posts are being successful and then focusing on creating more of that content. So even if it wasn’t something I was passionate about at the start, I’d become passionate about it as I’ve started leaning into the content that’s working.
So I think that was a big thing that was able to drive my growth and finally get on an ad network. But seeing what people liked that I was posting. So that was really good. I have a lot of old posts there too back from 2016 that don’t do well. They were really competitive keywords posts that I was just creating before thinking about keyword research. So it really has been doing keyword research even before I’m creating those recipes. So Google Analytics, I use Keysearch a lot just then dive in and say, Here’s what’s working for me. When I’m creating more of that type of content, I’m going to Keysearch first to see how competitive the keywords are and what the search volume looks like before I actually take the steps to creating the recipe.
Megan Porta: Here’s something I’ve been experimenting with recently and it ties into this, is looking at what’s working, like you’re saying Amy, and then also looking at my old content that’s outdated and trying to make it work with what’s working, if that makes sense. So can I put a twist on this so it relates to the things that are working. Does that make sense?
Aimee Pruett: Absolutely. I have actually been doing that some this year, too. I’ve used Clariti for it to really go through. That’s a really cool product. I think I’ve heard you mention that on here before. But I’ve gone through and tagged posts from 2016 about which ones I need to go through and update in certain ways. Looking at the alt tags, just anything, revising the content, new photos, whatever it is, and figuring out which of those old posts I think have potential for updating and also just for good user experience. Because even if I can’t rank for it, if somebody does stumble upon it, I do wanna still provide them with a great experience, make sure the recipe is still great and that the post has whatever information they need to be able to make it successfully.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s a good strategy. I feel like there are plenty of long time bloggers and long hours. It doesn’t have to be 12 years like me, but four years or more. Five years or more. There’s value in going back and redoing some of that old content and getting into your Google Analytics and just seeing what is working here and then creating more of that. Do you have any examples? Something you found was working and what you began creating because of that?
Aimee Pruett: Yeah, so I got an air fryer I think at the end of 2020 and started using it to cook and I love it. I love it. I started making air fry recipes for my blog, and people seem to love the air fry recipes I’m creating too. So I always try to think about, okay, what’s something fun and unique that I can make in my air fryer that other people would wanna make too? That’s delicious. So that’s something that’s been working for me really well. Now I try to pepper in other posts too because not all of them might have air fryers and I wanna create other types of content too that I love and not just have the air fry recipes. But that is one area that I realized that those posts were doing well. So I went through and created more of those.
Megan Porta: That’s a good example. I’m just curious, with your limited time and your schedule, how much are you able to create? How many posts do you create per week, per month, or whatever?
Aimee Pruett: Sure. I try to get up to two to three posts per week. Some weeks, it might only be one and some weeks it might be four. So it depends a little bit. But I try to eat. Get up on average about two to three a week.
Megan Porta: That is awesome. That’s really ambitious and awesome that you can do that. So that kind of leads into my next question, which is how do you prioritize all of the tasks involved? Because there’s so many, right? There’s video, photos, writing, recipe development, cooking, all of the things. So how do you prioritize all of that?
Aimee Pruett: Yeah, so I think the big thing for me is to not get distracted by the bright shiny objects. I think there’s a lot of things that are big right now, Instagram reels, TikTok, and I know a lot of people are saying, yes, bloggers need to do that, and we probably do. But when you have limited time, I found that I’ve just been better about prioritizing what is actually driving me traffic right now and creating that written content that is gonna bring in traffic over time, rather than a TikTok video or Instagram real, that’s gonna be gone in a few days and no one’s gonna see it. So just in terms of growing my traffic numbers, I have not prioritized video, even though it’s something I actually really enjoy doing. But from a time perspective, it just hasn’t been worth it for me yet.
Megan Porta: That’s not to say that down the road you can’t, but for now I think it’s really smart that you’re focusing on what is going to bring me traffic and money now and then leaving the door open for possibilities down the road, especially since you enjoy it.
Aimee Pruett: Exactly. I would love to do more videos because it is fun and it’s fun to get your face out there and show people how to do something live or, have a video instead of just the written content. So I hope to do more of it one day, once I’m able to have a little bit more time to do it.
Megan Porta: Is your end goal to leave your full-time job, or do you want to try to make this all work for an extended period?
Aimee Pruett: That’s a good question. I work in marketing, so I feel like it’s very relevant to food blogging in the sense that we have to market ourselves as food bloggers to and market our content. I work for a fantastic company, so I think it’d be nice to maybe be in a financial position to make that decision, be making enough money off of the blog to be able to say, Okay, I could make this decision right now. But for now I’m happy doing both and just trying to make the most of my time and we’ll see what happens in the future.
Megan Porta: Clearly you’re making it work now and yeah, things can evolve over time. So I was just curious. Are there any ways that you, like I always say, kill two birds with one stone, getting things done efficiently, knocking out two tasks in one. Anything like that you can impart to others?
Aimee Pruett: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think one thing that I do is, I definitely try to recipe test what we’re making for dinner. So a lot of times if I have something that I know I wanna shoot, I’ll actually make it for dinner for my husband and myself so that way I can test out and also get his feedback on what the flavors are like and everything. So I’m getting more opinions and really figure out the recipe to a tee if it works or if it doesn’t, if I need to, alter some stuff. So that way when it’s time for me to shoot it, I’ve got it figured out and I can be really efficient with shooting it and know that I’m shooting something that’s gonna work and the plating works and I have it all figured out at that point. So I’m not trying to figure it out while I’m shooting it.
Megan Porta: smart. And does your husband give you good feedback? Is he a good recipe tester?
Aimee Pruett: He does. He used to actually do all our cooking. So he used to do all our cooking and then I just really fell in love with it once we started the blog and he and I actually started the blog together. Some of the early posts are actually written by him and the recipes are created by him, but he’s stepped away from it because he’s got other stuff to do and I love it more than he does. So he provides really good feedback on if he thought something was too lemony or if it didn’t have enough flavor or whatever that is, he gives some really great feedback.
Megan Porta: That is an underrated value right there because I know a lot of spouses or kids or anyone who lives in your home who might not be a great recipe tester. It’s so valuable to have that. My husband is really great at that too, and I take it for granted. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have anyone to tell me, give me feedback. I think that is so valuable to have that right in your home.
Aimee Pruett: Exactly. I know he’s gonna be honest, which if I’m serving it to my mom or friend I’m not sure I would get that.
Megan Porta: Yeah. So my dad is the easiest to please with food. He’ll be like, Oh, this is so great. It’s like clearly burnt or something is wrong with it. But he is not a good recipe tester.
Aimee Pruett: I’m glad you have that in your husband then.
Megan Porta: I know. I know. I do too.
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Megan Porta: So you mentioned recipe testing at dinner time, so you don’t do your photos then. So when do you do your photo shoots?
Aimee Pruett: Yeah, so I still love natural light and even though I’ve taken courses for artificial light, I’ve never really gotten the hang of it yet. So I definitely do all my shooting during the daytime. So I actually, I’m lucky enough that I work from home so I can cook my meals at home every day for lunch. So I actually do a lot of lunchtime photo shoots. So when I’m taking my lunch break, I know exactly what I’m gonna do. Like I said, I had tested it at dinner time and so I have everything written down so at lunch I can just make a recipe, take photos of it then, and have that as my lunch. So I typically wind up doing that two to three times a week, which really helps. Before I worked from home back pre pandemic times, it actually was a lot harder. But working from home has actually made it a lot easier to shoot things several times a week.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s awesome. I remember when I was back and working in the corporate world and I was trying to run my food blog, so I was doing the same thing. But I did work outside my home. I worked. I wanna say it was a 15 minute drive, maybe 20 minute drive from my house. So I would rush home at lunch. I would photograph whatever super fast. I’d have it all set up and ready to go, and then I’d rush back to work and it was so crazy. But you have to make it work, especially if you are using natural light, which I’ve always done as well. You just find those little pockets and you just squeeze it in. You just make it work.
Aimee Pruett: Absolutely. And I know the spot in my house that works best for shooting at lunchtime, so I can get everything set up really easily. Just be really as efficient as possible shooting it.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I used to do it in my doorway. We had this town home and the light, the natural lighting coming in through that doorway was always so perfect. So I would rush home, set up my little board, my photography board, put my food there, and I always thought my neighbors must think I’m absolutely bonkers because I’d squeal into the driveway and get out my food, open the door, take pictures, and then leave. Super funny.
Aimee Pruett: Hey there’s a lot we have to do with food bloggers.
Megan Porta: I know it. It’s funny though, it’s comical what we do in order to make this job work, but we love it so much that of course we find those little ways to be efficient and make it work. So what other advice do you have for us? For those who are looking to be more efficient and strategic with their work?
Aimee Pruett: Sure. So if anybody who’s listening that has kids probably knows how little time you have in the evenings when you have kids, because there’s of course bedtime routines and everything. My kids are two and four. So trying to get them to go to bed and stay in bed can be a challenge, but luckily I think, one thing is my husband is really good about it, he does bedtime for my son, the two year old. So that really helps and so it helps me carve out time in the evening, which is when I typically try to sit down and do my food blog writing. So I try to dedicate one to two hours a night. Sometimes it’s one hour, sometimes it’s two, just depending on how the evening goes. But that way, that gives me the time to actually sit down and write the post or update old posts, or sometimes I just do batch work too. I might create a bunch of pins for Pinterest in 30 minutes, so I’ve got a bunch per month almost. So I’ll just try to sit down and just try to get in an hour or two of work every evening on the blog and it doesn’t feel like work because I love it so much. But that’s my time to do a lot of the work.
Megan Porta: That’s awesome that you have a spouse that can help you with that. I think that is a huge advantage and many people don’t have that. I always took that for granted and then I started talking to more people and learned that I was actually really blessed to have a husband who did similar things. So he would put our boys to bed and just carve out time for me and protect my time. Do you have any insights or advice for people who maybe don’t have that support?
Aimee Pruett: Yeah, I think, I would say you just have to know your schedule a little bit. Also know when you’re most productive. So I feel like there are some people that the nighttime works best for them, like it does in my case, where my husband can help with bedtime so I have the time. For some people it might be waking up an hour early before your kids are up, or before you have to go to work or something to do work during that time frame. Or I don’t actually get a lot of work done on the weekends because we’re trying to do a lot with the kids. But maybe it is carving out some hours on the weekend. So I think everybody just has to assess their own time because everybody’s situation is obviously different. Just look at your life and see where do I have the time where, maybe you’re doing something like scrolling Instagram mindlessly, you’re spending a lot of time just watching TV shows. If you really enjoy your blog, maybe you would just wanna prioritize your blog stuff instead of some of the other stuff. So I think it’s just really going through and taking a close look at how you’re spending your day and where you might have those free hours that you don’t think you have.
Megan Porta: I have found that a tiny bit of intentionality and just sitting down before a week begins and doing exactly what you said, mapping out what can work and just making it happen, can go so far. It takes me like 15, 20, sometimes 30 minutes just to sit down, figure out how to piece my week together, who can help here and when I’m gonna squeeze that in with this and just doing that is so valuable.
Aimee Pruett: Megan, you’re speaking my love language here. I am a big list maker every single morning and at the beginning of the week, the first thing I do is I have columns for just life stuff, Food Banjo stuff, and then my full-time job stuff. I go through and map out what I need to do each day for everything. So that way it doesn’t take up that brain space, and I feel so organized going into the week what I actually need to accomplish. So I can just refer back to my list and then, I’m sure everybody, I know so many people are the same way. I love just crossing those things off once I actually accomplish something. It just gives me so much joy to cross things off the list.
Megan Porta: Those days, in those weeks when I don’t think ahead, those are the times when I’m like mindlessly scrolling on Instagram, catching myself and saying, What am I doing? Yeah, you don’t need to be doing this. There are more efficient things to be doing right now. So that kind of takes that problem out of it. It eliminates that mindless work or not even work. Mindlessness out of your life when you know what you’re doing going into it just, oh my gosh. It just makes everything so much easier. I’m a huge list maker too. I love crossing things off lists.
Aimee Pruett: Yes. I think anybody that goes through the exercise is always a little bit surprised at how much time they actually find that they do have to do stuff. I found that to be the case and that’s why I feel like I’ve been able to get stuff accomplished by just making the most use of every little bit of time.
Megan Porta: You have to when you have a full-time job. I feel like people in your situation have to, they have to be efficient. It’s people that maybe don’t necessarily have all of their time filled that kind of get loosey goosey with scrolling on Facebook and that sort of thing. They need to kinda reign it in a little bit. I get that way too because my boys go to school. We get help cleaning our home. I need to be super efficient, but I have to reign myself in sometimes.
Aimee Pruett: I remember back in college, one of the semesters that I actually did the best grades wise was when I was taking a full course load and working two part-time jobs. I didn’t have any free time, so I made the most of every single bit of time I had that semester and it was fantastic. I think back to that all the time as an example of just how, sometimes not having as much time actually lets you accomplish more.
Megan Porta: I agree with that. Do you find you get more drained though when it’s like that? Because you just have to be on like, Okay, now I’m supposed to be doing this and now I’m going here. So at the end of the day I’m a little more tired and maybe I sleep better. I don’t know. What are your thoughts on that?
Aimee Pruett: Yeah, I think one thing that I do is I really try to take the weekends to not do too much on the blog. I think that’s when I try to just be a lot more present with my kids. I’ll just sit in front of the TV a little bit on the weekends. So I feel like during the week is really when I just focus on everything and then on the weekends I give myself a little bit more time to relax and read books and just do all that more relaxing stuff.
Megan Porta: Even though I totally agree with you, Amy, that I love my job so much, when I get into my work, I’m immersed and I’m like, this is great. I love almost every task that I do, which is good, but you still need downtime. Your brain still needs rest time. So weekends, find some time during your week when you can give your brain that rest because I think even though you may love your job like the two of us do, your brain still needs a break.
Aimee Pruett: Absolutely. You don’t wanna get burnt out in any way on this. I feel like I always wanna love it, so I don’t wanna be overwhelmed by it.
Megan Porta: Okay. When do you squeeze in learning, because I know you’re an avid podcast listener, and clearly your business is taking off, so I’m assuming that you learn and you prioritize that. So when do you squeeze that in?
Aimee Pruett: Yeah, so I do love learning. I think one of the easiest ways to learn is from podcasts because it’s so timely. If you read a book that can help, but it depends on the topic. But I feel like in food blogging, especially when you’re trying to stay on top of food blogging trends, being as up to date as possible is so necessary. So I love listening to podcasts and I try to squeeze them in just when I’m doing other stuff that doesn’t require a lot of thinking. So I tend to listen to podcasts a lot, either while I’m folding laundry or doing dishes or a lot of times when I’m cooking dinner. So I just try to listen to them pretty much in the evenings when I’m just doing basically the household chores, because then it also helps make the chores a little bit more fun. I actually don’t really like doing dishes, but if I’m listening to a podcast, I don’t mind it. I also don’t really like folding laundry, but again, if I’m listening to a podcast, I don’t mind it. So yeah, I just try to use my time wisely so cleaning doesn’t feel like it’s taking away from time that I could be doing something else.
Megan Porta: Yeah. You can lose yourself in those mindless chores when you are listening to podcasts or something that you’re really interested in. I don’t like doing dishes. I don’t like doing laundry either. Does anyone? Is there anyone out there that likes it? I don’t know, maybe there is. But they’re not my favorite, but I do the same. I’m gonna make this a little bit more enjoyable and turn something on that’s actually going to be fun to listen to or valuable. So I love that you do that too. Anything we missed? Any other advice or tips you have for us about how to make the most of our time?
Aimee Pruett: No, I think the biggest thing is just to, everybody’s situation is different, but most of us struggle. I feel like time is one of those things that nobody feels like they have enough of these days. So I think it’s just everybody looking at their own specific situation and identifying the time that you do have and also looking at your priorities. Because if your priority is to grow your blog pretty significantly, then it does mean sacrificing other things. But if you love it and make it a priority, then I think anybody can be successful with the time that they have. They just have to look at what’s working and make some of these decisions and work to grow their blog.
Megan Porta: This has been so great. Amy, you are, You speak my language. This is everything that I believe and live as well. So this has been such a fun conversation. I hope that food bloggers are inspired by it and just take more initiative to be intentional about their time because it’s really helpful. So thank you for being here today.
Aimee Pruett: Absolutely, Megan. Thank you for having me.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?
Aimee Pruett: I do. This is my all time favorite quote and I have no idea where it came from, but done is better than perfect.
Megan Porta: Oh, Amy.
Aimee Pruett: I love it because I feel like, especially with blogs, they’re always a work in progress. So you might think you can’t launch your blog until it looks a certain way, or you can’t put up videos unless they’re super polished. But I think it’s better to just get it out there and then iterate on it. Because you never know what’s gonna work and so just get it done. Don’t try to make it perfect. Just do it.
Megan Porta: I love it. Such great advice, Amy. We’ll put together a show notes page for you. If you want to go look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/foodbanjo. Tell everyone where they can find you online, on social media and everywhere.
Aimee Pruett: Yeah, so I’m pretty much Food Banjo everywhere. So you can go to foodbanjo.com and on pretty much all the social media channels. I’m Food Banjo, so all one word is foodbanjo. But yeah, I’d love to hear and connect with anybody.
Megan Porta: Great. Thank you again so much, Amy, for being here, and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see next time.
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