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Episode 471: My Video Strategy to Create Highly Engaging Content for Fast Growth on Instagram (+Avoid These Mistakes) with Liz Douglas

In episode 471, Megan chats to Liz Douglas about her short-form video strategy that helped her grow her Instagram account to over 200k followers.

We cover information on how to use your iPhone to film, the right hook for your video, common mistakes you can easily avoid and clever editing techniques to keep your audience engaged.

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

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Guest Details

Connect with Glow Diaries

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Bio Elizabeth is a food buyer and product developer turned plant-based foodie influencer at Glow Diaries. Elizabeth chose the vegan path in 2019 and it sparked a love of exploratory cooking. She then started an Instagram page not long after but didn’t see much growth until she began consistently posting reels in late 2021. Elizabeth’s account grew from 12k followers in early 2022 to 202k followers in just over a year, with most growth happening in spurts of 40k followers in one month. Once she started directing traffic to her blog, she qualified for Raptive within a few months thanks to viral reels. She loves to create easy wholesome plant-based recipe ideas, help other content creators and she also hosts her own podcast, Thrive Diaries, which is all about lifestyle, wellness and personal development.

Takeaways

  • Get lucrative brand sponsorships if you have an engaged audience on Instagram.
  • Instagram can drive traffic to your blog, increasing your page sessions fast.
  • What are the best-performing food videos on social media? 
  • Food videos on social media are mainly for entertainment.
  • Film aesthetic videos with an iPhone – finding the balance between realistic but still drool worthy.
  • Use voiceover and putting yourself on camera to tell your story and build connection with your audience.
  • Open your video with a lot of action and a hook to keep your audience engaged.
  • Use intrigue to keep your audience watching.
  • Make sure that you cut your video in a fast-paced style – you don’t have to show every step.
  • Do you really have to post every day to gain many new followers?

Resources Mentioned

Courses & Products

The Growth Collective (Foodtography school)

Influence (course by Sarah Fennel’s Foodtography school)

Arkon Kitchen Desk Table Stand

Listen to Liz on the following podcast episodes:

Do You Even Influence

Rise and Conquer

Instagram account

Justine Snacks

Lindsey Eats

Transcript

Click for full script.

EBT471 – Liz Douglas

Intro 00:00

Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional. I’m  Megan Porta. I have been a food blogger for 13 years, so I understand how isolating food blogging can be. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you know that you are heard and supported. 

You are about to listen to your new go to podcast episode and resource for everything Instagram and reels. This episode is jam packed full of great tips and goodies and strategies and formulas and all the amazing things that will help your Instagram account flourish and thrive and get you traffic too. Liz Douglas from Glow Diaries joins me. Her account grew from 12,000 followers in early 2022 to 202,000 followers in just over a year. And she does not hold back. She tells us absolutely everything that works. She talks about things that don’t work, things that you shouldn’t do, and most importantly, she gives us her formula for videos that clearly works very well. I predict this is going to be a top episode here on Eat Blog Talk. It is so good. You are going to love it. It is episode number 471 Sponsored by RankIQ.

Sponsor 01:36

Okay, food bloggers, this is it. This is the last call to apply to join the 2024 Eat Blog Talk Mastermind program at the time. I am recording this. We only have two spots available by the time this airs. I’m not sure if either of those spots will still be available, but head to eatblogtalk.com/mastermind to find out. This powerful group will not open again until we take applications for 2025. So if this has been on your radar, now is your time. December 15th is the date that the doors will close. Officially, we have incredible guest experts lined up for 2024. We are getting geared up for our in-person retreat that is included with membership and that is happening at the end of January. Weekly calls are set to start right away in January. Things are in motion and powerful transformations are about to take place. Head to, eatblogtalk.com/mastermind to apply. Now back to the episode.

Megan Porta 02:36

Liz is a former food buyer and product developer turned plant-based foodie influencer at Glow Diaries. Liz chose the vegan path in 2019 and it sparked a love of exploratory cooking. She then started an Instagram page not long after but didn’t see much growth until she began consistently posting reels in late 2021. Her account grew from 12,000 followers in early 2022 to 202,000 followers in just over a year with most growth happening in spurts of 40 K followers in one month. Once she started directing traffic to her blog, she qualified for Raptive within a few months thanks to viral reels. Liz loves to create easy, wholesome plant-based recipe ideas and to help other content creators. She also hosts her own podcast, Thrive Diaries, which is all about lifestyle, wellness and personal development. She is now trying to learn about Google traffic and SEO as the next phase of her blogging journey. Liz, welcome to the podcast. How are you doing today?

Liz Douglas 03:37

I’m doing so well. Thank you so much for having me Megan.

Megan Porta 03:40

I’m super excited to chat with you. We’re talking about something that I think a lot of people have at the top of their minds, but I don’t know, maybe avoid it because it’s that, you know, social media thing. But we’ll dig into Instagram and video today, but before we get to it, do you have a fun fact to share with us?

Liz Douglas 03:57

I do. I am a new mom, which I feel like if I wasn’t a new mom, if I was just a mom then that might not be so exciting. But I have a six month old baby boy.

Megan Porta 04:06

That’s awesome. Congratulations. Thank you. The new mom thing is so special. It’s like, yeah, once you’re a mom it’s like kind of old hat, but new mom, that’s, that’s the best.

Liz Douglas 04:16

Yeah, it has been a steep learning curve.

Megan Porta 04:19

Oh, are you, what are you loving most about being a new mom?

Liz Douglas 04:23

Well, I feel like I’m now really getting into it, to be honest, at the start, and I found the newborn phase so hard, like it was just such a seismic shift going from being a couple to being a family and you know, having lived a pretty good reasonably selfish life up until this point. Yeah, it was a big adjustment, you know, the three hourly feeds and the sleepless nights. But I really love being a mom. Like I, I didn’t know it was possible to feel this much love, so it’s amazing.

Megan Porta 04:49

It’s such a special thing. I’m so happy you’re experiencing that. And is, do you have a girl or boy?

Liz Douglas 04:54

I have a boy. His name is Oliver.

Megan Porta 04:56

Oliver. Oh gosh, I love that name. So cute. Oh, well thank you for sharing. Okay, so Instagram and video. Super important topic I think to discuss. Would you start just by telling us a little bit about your background and your blog and then kind of how that evolved into getting interested in Instagram and video?

Liz Douglas 05:16

Yeah, sure. So I have done the reverse of what I think many of your listeners might have done where I began on social media and I began with an Instagram page and then I created a website later. So I know a few people who’ve been interviewed on your podcast have done it that way as well. But yeah, I really just started sharing photos of my lunch basically when I went vegan in 2019 and then it evolved from there and I started taking social media a bit more seriously in 2021. And then my account really took off though in 22 with the rise of reels. So like in February last year for example, I only had 12,000 Instagram followers and now I have 209,000 on Instagram. Yeah, and 28,000 on TikTok. And I worked out probably I would say not long after my account started taking off that I might as well take advantage of all of that traffic and that’s when I set up my blog. But I have such a long way to go when it comes to SEO and learning how to really optimize blog posts. Funny story, just quickly, I contacted Casey Markee for an audit because I’d listened to one of your podcasts and I was like, oh well I just need to get an audit done and I will like fix my website. And then he basically emailed me back and was like, no, you are nowhere. You’re ready for an audit with me. You need to go and like do cooking with keywords and like learn how to write a blog post and all of this stuff. So it was very funny. He like, oh that’s funny. Very bluntly told me no way.

Megan Porta 06:38

Nope, not ready.

Liz Douglas 06:39

No. So that’s what I am really trying to learn and develop now, but I feel like video I’ve kind of mastered and that’s where I got my stop.

Megan Porta 06:47

You’re right, some people have been on the podcast who have done it the same way you, it’s you have, it’s not really like the standard way to do it, but I love hearing these stories. So do you find that your background with Instagram and starting there has helped you as a blogger and like how is your blog doing with traffic and all of that too?

Liz Douglas 07:06

Yeah, well I got accepted into MediaVine. I ended up going through Raptive, but I am in Raptive, so that happened at the beginning of the year and I hit around 250,000 page views from Instagram traffic alone at the beginning of the year. So I feel like video is this amazing hack where you can shortcut your way to something that could potentially take years if you went down the traditional Google SEO path. And it’s definitely not to say that Instagram is the only thing you could focus on or the only thing you should focus on, but it’s definitely like a quick way to get to a pretty big goal for a lot of bloggers. So yeah, the blog. Yeah, but the risk and the downside I suppose of it, which I’m trying to now balance by learning SEO and by really optimizing for Google is that you know, you are at the mercy of another platform and you are dependent on having your videos perform and your reach constantly perform on social media platforms. So it’s more volatile traffic than Google.

Megan Porta 08:06

But the way you started is really smart because you had an advantage right away because you had so many Instagram followers. So I’m sure you got many, many clicks. Most people don’t see that number for quite a few years after starting a blog.

Liz Douglas 08:21

Yeah, it happened really, really fast. So I am super grateful and what I found interestingly as well is that some of the pages that, like the posts that went viral on Instagram, so I had like a cauliflower alfredo that went viral, I think it got about 7 million views. And then I also had a tofu schnitzel that went viral, got about 5.5 million views. Those posts, although they are horrifically written as I’ve learned after learning a bit more about SEO, they still rank in Google. They’re like, and granted it’s not a really high search volume, but I’m ranking a lot higher than other websites which have a higher DA than me. And I think it’s because Google like must have picked up on the fact that a lot of traffic was going to those posts too. And it’s allowed me to continue to rank for them even though I’m still.

Megan Porta 09:05

Sort of social proof, or whatever that’s called.

Liz Douglas 09:07

Yeah, exactly. So yeah, it is really interesting to see how it all kind of builds and I guess there’s lots of different pathways, lots of different ways to skin a cat, right? So although I feel like I’ve kind of, I want to say taken the cheaper flashier route to get to the point of qualifying for like an ad network, but it’s definitely, it’s definitely strategy, right?

Megan Porta 09:27

Yeah. And that’s what most food bloggers want is the traffic, the page views. So I mean that’s one really good reason to consider this strategy. Is there another reason or other reasons you think people should dig into this a little bit more?

Liz Douglas 09:41

Yes, definitely. So there’s a lot of reasons why you should give video a go, but one of them is that brand deals on social media can be super lucrative. I know that a lot of bloggers are not really focusing on that. They’re more directing traffic to their website and getting the ad revenue that way. But particularly if you do personality forward content where you really allow your audience to get to know you, you sort of start to straddle this world where you are part influencer, part food blogger and it allows people to have that really deep connection with you and that will attract brands. And I know that within, like in the US for example, like some of the deals can be really, really lucrative as well. I’m in Australia and the market isn’t quite as established here, but you can still be looking at like $3,000. Like I would charge that for a reel, now I don’t always get that rate, but that’s Australian dollars. I should qualify that. It would be between two and $3,000 for a reel and that could potentially take me like, you know, max five to six hours of my time by the time I’ve gone to the store and bought the groceries, made the video, contacted the brand. You know, you go back and forth with a couple of revisions, that’s like a really lucrative way to make money. Yeah. And it’s how I make most of my money at this point. So that’s a really good reason to consider, you know, building up that profile as a video creator. It’s all the content that brands want at the moment too. Like I don’t find any brands contacting me wanting like a carousel post anymore. Like they’re just not interested. 

And then I do have a couple of other reasons as well, why yeah, you should care about video. I think it’s really important to flow with this like rising tide and the change in the way that people are consuming content online because I don’t think video’s ever going to go away now that it’s been established and it’s such, it’s such a deep way to build that connection with people as I already touched on. But when people can really hear your voice, they can see inside your home, they build this trust with you that is so, it’s like you are seeing a friend in real life, you know, it’s really different to looking at a photo or reading a post. And I think that it’s such a great way to go beyond just that transactional relationship that you might have with somebody to tell your story, to really, yeah, have that personal connection with somebody, which if you ever want to sell your own product in the future, it will make it so much easier to do so. And the other thing is that because video content is being adopted by so many social media platforms now you can syndicate it. So it’s really not just about Instagram, although that is where like I have my primary following and I think that most creators will have their primary platform, whether that’s YouTube or you know, TikTok, you can syndicate that content. So it’s like you make it for your primary platform. I’m generally focusing on Instagram and TikTok and then I syndicate it. So when I make a short form video, I post it to Instagram, I post it to TikTok, I post it to Pinterest as an idea pin, I post it to YouTube shorts and I also post it to Facebook. And occasionally, although like I’m not creating the content specifically for any of those secondary platforms, sometimes they will do really well. Like Pinterest at the moment. Like I have a Mushroom Stroganoff enough on there that I think has had 150,000 views in the last like 30 days. I had a reel on Facebook, I had a couple of reels on Facebook randomly, you know, reach like 300,000 views. And it’s just a great way to be able to really ring the content dry and make sure that you are getting the maximum bang for buck in terms of your energy. Because as content creators, our number one currency is our time and our energy and our creative force. So I think it’s a great way to really maximize that.

Megan Porta 13:05

I have a bunch of questions, I love everything you said. I love the idea of repurposing. I think that’s so smart because you never know, like, and do you find that something that takes off on one platform is kind of dead on another platform and vice versa?

Liz Douglas 13:19

Yeah, it’s really interesting. So I would say slightly performs well on TikTok. It’s almost guaranteed for me to perform on Instagram. Instagram, it’s not necessarily, I find Instagram is like a little bit different in the sense that because it has this like aesthetic quality still to it from its earlier, you know, perfect grid feed days that it’s still like wants your work to be pretty. Whereas TikTok is probably more about something that looks, it’s, it’s less about the look actually on TikTok, it’s more about the concept, how funny it is, how personable it is, how relatable it is. So sometimes TikTok and Instagram will correlate. Facebook is just totally rogue to me, to be honest. I don’t really spend that much time on Facebook anymore, so I’m like, I don’t even know.

Megan Porta 14:02

The Rogue platform.

Liz Douglas 14:04

Yeah, the video that went viral for me on Facebook was one where I was telling my personal story about how I had really struggled to have a balanced diet when I went vegan in the beginning. And that was interesting to me because that didn’t really perform that well on Instagram or TikTok. It did okay on TikTok. I think it got like 58,000 views, but it was the first video on Facebook that really took off of me and it got like, I think I like, I had like 400,000 views and so then I went from like no followers to like 27,000 followers in like a couple of weeks. And I was like, oh well that’s kind of cool. I had no expectations of Facebook and you can add links in Facebook, which was awesome. So now I link out to all my recipes there, but yeah, I don’t know that there’s necessarily a direct correlation. I think it’s a little bit of like how are you massaging the algorithm in each of those apps? Like are you present in each of those and how like you know in favor with the algorithm, are you in each of those platforms too? Like I noticed that with Instagram I definitely go through peaks and troughs. So sometimes like when I’ve been on a real like streak of creativity and I’ve been posting a lot of videos, then I feel like I am in Instagram’s good books and it’s a lot easier for me to have videos that go viral and like you do no wrong and everything you post does really well. And there’ll be other times when I slump and I maybe haven’t been as consistent and I really notice that the content suffers. Whereas a platform like TikTok, they don’t really care so much whether you are consistent in what you post. I feel like every reel, or every video rather that you post TikTok has a fair chance of going viral even if you’ve been pretty patchy with your consistency on there. So unfortunately there’s not like an exact correlation. Sometimes there’s a little bit of a match matchup, but you never know. And that’s, that’s kind of great though, to be honest as well because like if you post something on your primary platform and you’re like, well that flopped, like you never know, like maybe it’ll pick up on another platform.

Megan Porta 15:48

It’s like picking up on different personalities of the platforms too. Yeah. And kinda getting to know them right a little bit.

Liz Douglas 15:54

Yes, absolutely. Definitely. YouTube shorts is the weirdest one for me. Like I feel no connection to my audience there personally.

Megan Porta 16:01

So what works for you there? Does anything really take off for you on YouTube shorts?

Liz Douglas 16:06

I haven’t had anything go viral on YouTube shorts. However I do have a close friend who has had huge success with Instagram. She’s plant-based, if anybody wants to follow her, she has like 250 posts or so on Instagram and is like 570,000 followers. It’s wild on YouTube. The videos that go viral for her are like the celebrity salad videos where she’ll be like, you know, Florence Pugh made the salad for lunch. Yeah. And that’s what goes viral for her on YouTube. And so she like had a couple of those take off and went from zero to like 15,000 followers or 14,000 followers, something like that. I haven’t had that experience yet on YouTube. My YouTube is very linear. It just slowly ticks up. It’s like at 500 followers from just reposting videos over there. But you never know. You really never know. It’s always a bit exciting with video. It’s a gamble.

Megan Porta 16:51

Yeah. And experimentation I imagine is a huge part of the process as well.

Liz Douglas 16:55

Absolutely. It really is. Yeah a matter of just trying a lot of things, trying to build up your quality and also yeah, keeping that volume going because it is a bit of a treadmill.

Megan Porta 17:06

Yeah. Okay. Next question that I wrote down , at what point from Instagram specifically is do you have like a kind of a general point of number follower count where you start getting significant traffic to your blog if you have a blog as well?

Liz Douglas 17:22

Oh sure. For me, I didn’t find that it was related to the number of followers but rather to the content and how that was performing. So I think that increasingly Instagram is a little bit more like TikTok, the algorithm isn’t as sophisticated as TikTok, but what I mean by that is that each piece of content has a slightly fairer chance of performing even if you don’t have a really established audience, I would say on Instagram because I find even now as a larger, you know, creator on there that I can still have flops. And so it’s not really a guarantee necessarily, once you have the followers that you will always have content really perform outstandingly well, when I see a large volume of traffic to my blog is when I’m having a couple of reels go viral and that’s really when it’s just like this, like flood of traffic and that was how I really reached that like 250,000 page views earlier in the year was with that viral content. So it’s more about how your content is performing to me rather than the followers.

Megan Porta 18:21

Okay. And just consistently showing up, right? Just doing it over and over and over.

Liz Douglas 18:26

Yeah. Look, it’s definitely like you have to enjoy the process. I think that’s a hard part for some bloggers is that they feel that they don’t enjoy the process of video. But I would argue that until you feel confident in something and until you feel like you’re getting a bit of traction with it, it never feels good to try something new. Right? So I would just encourage people to be persistent and continue to practice their video skills and it’s sort of like, is this like self-fulfilling thing? You know, like you push yourself and it might take a bit of external motivation at the beginning, but once you start to see some traction with it, it’ll help you be consistent and you’ll have that internal motivation, that intrinsic motivation to keep going.

Megan Porta 19:03

Yes. Love it all. . Can we talk a little bit about how you go through the process of filming and kind of some logistical things there? Okay. Go ahead and just take us through your process and then I’m sure I’ll have questions after.

Liz Douglas 19:16

Okay, awesome. So one thing I would just like to say before we get into the actual process as well is that whatever you perceive is your weakness or whatever you think is your flaw is actually your strength. And this is something that I came like to quite early on when I was making reels because I would look at the beautiful professional videos that we see on a lot of blogs and that some people were doing on Instagram in the like kind of earlier part of reels and some people still do where they film on their DSLR and it has this beautiful like controlled artificial lighting and it looks stunning. I thought that that was a weakness because I was filming on an iPhone, I really didn’t have this professional setup and I was like, oh my videos just don’t look quite as good, you know, I’m not in a studio. And then I realized that actually that is my strength. My strength is that I can show people inside my home, I can film on a phone that looks relatable to people, it looks like what they might’ve filmed, you know, if they were making their own brunch at home. I can tell people about my experience as a home cook that I’m not a professional chef, that I like things to be really easy and basic. And so I guess what I would just like encourage you to think about is if you feel like you have excuses as to maybe why your content can’t perform or maybe, you know, I don’t know, it could be anything like, it could be like you have a stutter or I don’t know you.

Megan Porta 20:34

You’re self-conscious about something physically or something like that.

Liz Douglas 20:37

Yeah, self-conscious about something. Yeah. Or it doesn’t even have to be a physical thing or maybe you feel like you know, your food is like too complex or maybe too simple or something like that. That can be your unique selling point. Yeah. Or your kitchen. Like I think a lot of people feel like they have to put down like, you know, the boards and everything and make it look like this like professional setup. I really would discourage people from doing that because although you want things to look appetizing, you also want to invite people into your life or, and you want to, you want to be real and authentic. And I think that’s really what has shifted a lot in terms of social media like in the last few years and Instagram moving away from like that perfectly curated feed and into this more kind of rough and ready sort of content. But I’ll just start with that. 

But I do have a little bit of a formula for filming reels and everybody’s going to find their own handwriting. So it’s not to say that you should like just do this yourself exactly. But I’ll give you a bit of a overview and I think a lot of people do follow this kind of like rough formula as well. Yeah, that’s it. So yeah, so there’s a couple of types of videos. First of all I call them like a teaser video, which would be about like anywhere from like four to seven seconds, which might just be like the finished shot of a food. So it could be like a bite shot of a cookie where you’re holding the cookie to the camera as an example. It could be you dipping a fork into a creamy bowl of pasta and swelling it around. They’re really just these super visceral, really like lick the screen kind of content, which is just a super short highlight of what the recipe, what the finished recipe might look like. So I see these going around quite a lot. 

And then there’s another form of video, which is what I call long form. I put that in quotation marks in air quotation marks because it’s really like 15 to 25 seconds. And that’s where most of my content falls. And with that kind of content, you could either do it to a trending audio, you can do it to a voiceover. I personally prefer voiceover because I feel like it’s a great way to build that relationship with your audience, for them to hear your voice, for them to get to know you, for you to tell a story and to really take it beyond just a recipe and to make it that connection piece but also potentially inspirational and yeah, just, it just goes beyond it being like this instructional kind of thing. So those are the kind of like I sort of land videos into those two buckets. There is longer form content than that of course, but I think for food around like under 30 seconds I would say is like a good length of time.

Megan Porta 22:59

And then hands and pans. Can I ask you real quick, is that a thing anymore?

Liz Douglas 23:02

No it’s not.

Megan Porta 23:03

The traditional like yeah, no that was huge like years ago and I just don’t see people doing that anymore at all.

Liz Douglas 23:11

No. That hands in pan style video where the footage is sped up is really like, that’s like a no-no like for in my opinion now, yeah. Like I used to love watching those videos too on Facebook back in the day. Like I was obsessed with them when they first came out. But yeah, it’s just like quite dated now so people don’t really do it anymore.

Megan Porta 23:27

Okay.

Liz Douglas 23:28

But it’s interesting that you mention that though because, and I might just touch on this quickly, I, I’m going to get to the formula I promise, but I do think that video has really changed. Like if we reflect on it a little bit, like even like videos that are on blogs now, like you have to think about the user intent, right? When somebody’s gone to your blog and it kind of all comes back to like that SEO mentality as well. When somebody’s gone to your blog, they are looking to learn how to make that specific recipe. They’ve decided in their head that they want to make chocolate chip cookies and they’ve searched chocolate chip cookies into Google and they’ve found you, they don’t really care about you, they’re just there to get the recipe. The video is also there to help them learn how to make the recipe. It’s just a tool that might be a visual aid to your recipe, right? Whereas on social media, like the intent is so different. Like it’s, I went there for entertainment, I wasn’t even expecting to get a food video necessarily in my feed. So I don’t really need to see this instructional style of video. And I feel like hands pans sort of was a little bit in between the two because that was really popular on Facebook back in the day. It was like that sped up sort of more entertaining version maybe of like some of the more instructional like longer form YouTube videos and things that we might have seen on blogs in the past. 

So, but now I guess because video is so dynamic and we can use so many different angles and we can also use it as a way of connecting with people that that hands in pans video isn’t really engaging enough anymore to I guess grab people’s attention on Instagram or on TikTok, especially when they’re scrolling say from something of like, I don’t know, like someone’s really personal story about, I don’t know, their pet dying and then like there’s like a hand in pans video, you know, like a TikTok in particular is so evil with the way that they do their algorithm. Yeah. because they you know, give you something sad and then you like keep flicking to try and get yourself like an upper and you’re looking for something to make you like really happy and then, you know, you might see someone doing this ridiculous dance or you might see like, I don’t just the most scandalous story you’ve ever heard about someone’s like marriage or something. Yes. And so like a hand in pans video just doesn’t really compare to the level of like, you know what I mean, salacious that we can get from other videos. So food we really have to try and like make it sexy, you know, like yeah we have to make it super engaging.

Megan Porta 25:33

Yeah. It really has evolved. It’s very strange to think and in a short time too, it’s not too long ago that it was that style that really like sped up style you were talking about.

Liz Douglas 25:43

Yeah, it really has changed so much. I even think back to like when reels first came out in 2020, like it is so wildly different and some accounts that I followed that were like, you know, reels coaching accounts and stuff early on, like they’re not really performing anymore and they’re still kind of doing like lots of transitions and it sort of has evolved from I think TikTok where it was primarily a dancing app when it first started and people were really into transitions and doing these fun kind of like, you know, different poses with the camera and stuff. And I think less and less that’s what it’s about now. So yeah, it’s constantly changing and it’s fun to be a part of, but you definitely need to be on these apps and to enjoy the process a little bit and to like be curious about it as well to see like to keep your finger on the pulse a bit, you know?

Megan Porta 26:30

Yeah. You have to stay current. I found you can’t, you can’t step away and then hop back in and like you, you have what you said is perfect, you have to keep your finger on the pulse of it and just see like how things are changing at any given season.

Liz Douglas 26:44

Yeah. And I think like it can be intimidating sometimes too. And I’m 32 and I feel like I’m being made fun of sometimes on like the TikTok app. Like I feel like I’m like there’s all these like millennial kind of jokes and stuff where they’re like, you know, making fun of how millennials would use like, you know, cliched expressions like coffee is my personality or like, you know, things like that. Yeah. And I’m just like, oh my God. I’m like, but that’s me. So sometimes it is a little insulting being on these apps with somebody who’s not like 20 but you know, you just have to like laugh and kind of be curious and continue to like have that growth mindset and be willing to like try new things and learn and to laugh at yourself and to make fun of yourself. Because especially on TikTok, like the comment section is just vicious but yeah, you have to just laugh at it because it is really ridiculous at the end of the day. And so anyway. Yeah, I should get into this formula though.

Megan Porta 27:32

Yes. Let’s hear your formula.

Liz Douglas 27:33

Yep. Yes. Okay. So food content is quite specific I think, but you will see some of these like, like threads across other types of content as well. But with my videos, first of all I always try and make them loop, which means if you don’t know that the beginning and the end are like the same clip that has been cut somewhere in like path basically so that it looks like when the video ends, it starts again at the exact same point. And so you can’t really tell exactly where the video begins and ends and it can help encourage people to watch multiple times and build up your views. So I always like to open though with movement and I think this is something that any, you know, social media person will advise you, but you always want to open with movement. You need to think of these videos as like we call it in Australia the pokies. I think in America you call it the slot machines, is that right?

Megan Porta 28:25

Oh yeah.

Liz Douglas 28:26

What do you call it? Pokies. I don’t know why but Australians have all sorts of like little local lingo where just this, I love it. You know, island in the middle of nowhere. So we come up with different ways . Yeah. So, and actually in that analogy probably bad for humanity all of this, but if we are the owners of the slot machines, then that’s kind of a good thing for us. So anyway, sit that way. But yeah, you want to open with as much movement, color, sound, noise, anything that can disrupt the viewer from their scrolling and get them to stay on your video. So that’s why I relate it to like the slot machines because when you go into like one of those gaming lounges, it is just lights, color, sound, flashing things, think of your video like that, it really has to grab somebody and you’re tapping into this primal part of the brain, which I think we can’t even turn away from if we wanted to. Like you have to make it super, super engaging. So whether that is you sliding a plate of food into the scene, whether it is you panning the camera in your hand. So maybe you are holding the camera for example, in like selfie mode and you quickly flick it away from you towards you and you say, you know, these are my favorite cookies, like, or like my cookie recipe rake like two on Google for this reason kind of thing. And you are opening then with a hook as well. So that’s the second part of that. That sort of statement of like my cookies might be the second on Google as well. A hook is great because it just really will again draw people in. So whether it’s like a power statement, maybe it could be something like, I’m just trying to think. Something that establishes like your authority and maybe like is a controversial opinion. So maybe you could say something like, well actually that example would be quite good as well. Maybe like my recipe for whatever it is, I don’t know, lemon chicken or something ranks number one on Google and you’ll never believe like the secret ingredient that I use. Something like that. That kind of one has established your authority, but two also like gets people interested. They’re like, what is the secret ingredient? I have to keep watching the video. Something like that would be cool.

Megan Porta 30:25

So intrigue, curiosity and intrigue, right?

Liz Douglas 30:28

Yes. If you can.

Sponsor 30:31

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Liz Douglas 31:40

It can be really hard to do this sometimes because I feel like when you’re making a lot of these videos too, like sometimes I’m doing the voiceovers that I’m like, oh my gosh, like people, you know, you can’t like be like for every video this is my favorite X, like this is my favorite X. because Otherwise like after a while people are like, it’s not your favorite.

Megan Porta 31:58

They’re all your favorite.

Liz Douglas 31:58

You know what I mean? Like you don’t make it every day like you know like, because a lot of people will be like, I make this every day. But you can still establish a little bit of intrigue. Like I know a girl at the moment, soaps, plant kitchen, she’s doing so well on Instagram and her videos that perform really well at the moment are ones where she says, I’m a vegan personal trainer and this is what I have for lunch. Or she’ll say, I’m a vegan personal trainer and this is what I have for dinner. And it’s like, or there’s a lot of ones going around at the moment where they’re like, I’m a private chef and this is what I make when I’ve had a long day at work. Things like that. They’re not really like salacious about or like they’re not really like out there. But you, you are curious, right? You’re like, oh okay, well that’s quite a niche. You know I am, you know, you’ve established yourself as an authority. Like you’re either a private chair for a personal trainer like yeah, I do want to know what your high protein lunch is. Something like that. You know, found videos of mine that have gone viral where the voiceover is quite good. One of them I swore in. So that depends if that’s on brand for you or not. Australians love a good swear word, a well-timed swear word. But I got a lot of distressed Americans actually in the comments about that one.

Megan Porta 33:06

Oh no gosh, uptight Americans.

Liz Douglas 33:10

No, you guys are more conservative. It’s fine, we love you anyway. But you can like, you can get creative with it. Some other ones are like, one line that works quite well for me is like before, I was vegan I used to love, you know, whatever it is like steak or like meat or something like that. because That gets people really curious. They’re like a vegan who loves meat like kind of thing, you know? Or I love to do ones where like, you know, when I was 16 I did a high school exchange in France and this was one of the recipes that blew my mind kind of thing. Like stuff like just little things like that that are going to like bait people a bit. You want it to be like a little bit click baity but still deliver on what you said at the start. So yeah, you can have fun with it and like experiment. I’ve seen creators as well who make one video and then do a different voiceover and sometimes a video with a different voiceover might go viral. So it really can affect the like performance of the video for sure.

Megan Porta 34:03

I love that idea. That is another good way to just repurpose what you’ve already done. In different audio or even like clipping the video at different times. I was thinking of the hands and pans videos we were talking about and how I, I mean I have a ton of those but I could go in and just clip out the like, you know, the cheese balls and the things that are really like catchy.

Liz Douglas 34:27

Oh my gosh, yes. Absolutely. Yes. That would be awesome. And on the repurposing point as well, I feel like we could do a whole episode just on repurposing. But absolutely if you have what I call those hero shots or like, you know, the money shots effectively of like the cheese ball or the most delicious looking finished product of the recipe, like absolutely you could do some amazing compilation videos and like be like, you know, even if it’s opening with a shot of you in your kitchen, like chopping food or something like just something boring. I’ve seen these like lately where it’s like, you know, 10 dinner recipes for when you can’t be bothered cooking or something and then just like, and then do quick like 0.5 of a second flashes to a trending audio of like all of your top 10 dinner recipes or whatever it is like appetizers that are going to impress your friends. And then like just all of those like hero shots, one after the other, those can often go viral as well and that can be a great way to repurpose the content but just quickly on repurposing as well. Yeah, I would suggest when you film a video, try and get at least three cuts of the same video out of that one session. So you can have that little teaser like I spoke about at the beginning, that three to seven second kind of length video, which might just be the finished product of you swirling your fork in pasta of you, I don’t know, running like a crusty piece of baguette through like a creamy soup, whatever it is. Or maybe like, you know, I don’t know, like a spoon going into like a bowl full of ice cream. It has to be that super visceral, delicious lick the screen where the kind of like seven second teaser. So that’s one edit. Second edit will be your 15 to 25 second, you know, quotation marks, long form video where you might do a voiceover, a personal story, something that establishes your authority that engages people. And then the last edit could be you putting it into a compilation or maybe even you could try an alternative voiceover or like, I don’t know, like sort of you could even use a different hero shot at the beginning like and then also reposting like it’s fine to repost, I repost all the time. You’ll still get a really good amount of traffic. Like I’ve had videos that went viral like you know, I like cauliflower Alfredo I mentioned that got 7 million the first time I posted it, I reposted it like eight months later and it’s still got a million views like you can repost, it’s fine. Wow. Especially seasonal content.

Megan Porta 36:38

Is there a time frame you should wait for wait until before reposting?

Liz Douglas 36:43

I have thought about this a lot. I personally think that if you have had an influx of followers in the time between you last posted it and now and as long as there’s like a bit of a buffer of content in between, it’s fine to read post. You just don’t want it to seem as though you’re constantly recycling your content and you want to make sure that your current followers are still engaged and that they’re getting enough new content all the time to stay interested with you. So I would say roughly like every six months or maybe six to nine months, you can repost it but it also just depends on the cadence and the volume at which you’re posting. I would say that’s probably more of the determining factor rather than a timeframe because if you have posted a hundred videos, I mean you know, that’s a lot. Hang on, let me let me tell that if you posted like 30 videos in between the last time you posted that first video, then you know it’s probably fine for you to post it again now, but if you’ve been kind of absent and you have only posted like, you know, I don’t know six videos, then it’s too soon, you know? So kind of depends. Yeah. Okay. If you’re really high volume then you can repost more often.

Megan Porta 37:42

Yeah. Okay. So back to your formula. Did you have anything else? So like yeah, like not disrupting, doing the loop and then the hook. What else do you have?

Liz Douglas 37:51

Cool. So that’s the opening, right? And also I would suggest I open with the finished product because I think that’s the good bait. However, if your finished product like your hero shot at the end, you know, things don’t always film the way we wanted them to. Like sometimes I film stuff and I’m like, oh man, this just doesn’t look that good at the end and I cannot be bothered like refilming this. So in that case I would use a body like of the recipe just as the opening shot as long as it has movement. For example, I filmed this watermelon slushy video the other day and the finished like slushy pouring into the glass, it just doesn’t look that good, looks really messy. But I had some cool shots of me slicing into the watermelon at the beginning where the fruit looks really colorful and beautiful. So I’m like, you know what? I’m just going to start with that as the opening shot. But typically what I would suggest is start with the finished product at the beginning and then go into the process of how you made that you know, finished product as the body of the video. So first three seconds hero shot and then you go into the body and these should be really short clips. Try not to think of it as an instructional step-by-step video. And that goes for voiceovers too. You don’t need to say to people, now I’m putting in like one teaspoon of vanilla . Now I’m putting in a cup of flour. People don’t care. They’re there for entertainment. Like they don’t really care, they just want to get the vibe of how you made it. They just want to see you roughly. So feel free to skip ingredients. You don’t need to do step by step. You definitely don’t need to put the text on the screen being like, you know, half a teaspoon of this, half a teaspoon of that and try to cut all of your clips where there is movement. So I use 0.5 seconds as my general clip length. Sometimes I will even go down to like 0.2 of a second if I’m slicing into like food. So for example, like I filmed a video the other day, which was kale tapenade, right? The video opens with me spreading this kale tapenade. It’s like really close to the screen. It’s this bright, bright green, it’s in sunny light, I’m spreading it onto this crusty baguette and it looks delicious. Then I go for a bite shot. I think bite shots are very important as well. And I forgot to mention that as part of the opening sequence, but it establishes that credibility and trust with your audience that you are actually a human being and you actually eat the food that you make. I know it sounds silly but it really is important. And then, and then I go into the like process of how I made it. So then the next shot is of me like slicing up some kale, for example, toasting pine nuts. I think actually I think it might, that might not be in that video, but you get the idea. Yeah. And all of those body shots, like those need to be quick and they need to have lots of movement in them. So don’t include like, I don’t know, the start of the shot where you’re maybe like getting the knife, I don’t know, in position or something. Like it should just be you slicing into whatever it is. And even with slicing shots, like I will trim them down like it sounds crazy but like I could have 75 different clips within a 22nd video because I’ve chopped, because I’ve cut like the onion part where I’m like slicing into the onion, I’ve got that down. So it’s literally just the part where the knife is going into the onion and meeting the cutting board and then like I’ve clipped out the part where I’ve lifted the knife back up and I’ve clipped it down. So it’s just the parts where it’s moving so it looks super fast paced. So that cadence and pacing is really important for the body of the video. Otherwise people will get bored and even if you had the best hook in the world and your video looked amazing and colorful and all of the things we spoke about at the beginning, they’ll just swipe away. So that’s really important. 

Some other tips as well. So bloopers, I think they’re great to include because it adds personality and it just makes it really relatable. And I know that that’s very different as well from that hands in pan style video or the more instructional videos because they’re more about precision and showing people really how to make the recipe. But bloopers are really fun and just include yourself and as much of your kitchen as possible. You know, just try and make it so that it feels like somebody’s right there with you making the recipe.

Megan Porta 41:45

Yeah, I love bloopers. They’re one of my favorite types of reels.

Liz Douglas 41:48

Oh really?

Megan Porta 41:49

Or like the day in the life or things like that. Or like behind the scenes. Those are my favorites.

Liz Douglas 41:54

Yeah, those are really great like filler content as well because of course it does take time to like do all of these videos as well. So sometimes like a what I eat in a day or like Yeah, even if you have some outtakes of bloopers, like they can be their own reels as well. And those are really fun too when it comes to like the body of the video as well, you definitely want to use lots of different angles. So you want to try and like frame the video in lots of different ways just to keep it engaging. So I try to use a mix of like overhead shots, zoomed InShot, wide angle shots so that it just allows you to really see the ingredients you feel like you can almost like, like smell the food. You can also see my kitchen. So again, it just feels like you’re there with me and it just keeps it engaging though when it’s like constantly changing. So some of the gear that I use, like I have like a tripod, it’s Arkon Mount, which is spelled A-R-K-O-N. You can get them on Amazon. It was about 150 Australian dollars. It’s really good though, so I’d highly recommend it. And then you can also just use a cup or a jar or something to prop your phone up in to get some like low angle closeup shots of the food. And those work really well too. I even will just sometimes like stack my phone onto like a chair or something like that in my kitchen to get like a wide angle shot with like some Tupperware containers and stuff like that. It really doesn’t have to be fancy. Of course you can get like other tripods and stuff like that, but aside from having an iPhone or like a high-quality or phone with a high quality camera where you can film an HD 60 frames per second or 4K, you really don’t need too much gear aside from that. But definitely try and mix up all of those angles.

Megan Porta 43:27

I love that. So you use your iPhone primarily for all of your reels?

Liz Douglas 43:31

Everything, yeah, everything. And sometimes people are surprised by that. Yeah, I use an iPhone 12 Pro Max. I haven’t, that’s just because that’s the latest model that I have and I find that that is perfectly fine. I don’t plan on updating my phone anytime soon. Maybe next year I guess. But I always just film in HD60 frames per second because 4K, although it is beautiful, it takes up so much data on your phone and I just find that I’m not that great at data management. So I personally would prefer to just film in 60 frames per second and HD. And I get a bit of pushback sometimes on that 60 frames per second because in theory I think it’s like you can’t act, I think 30 frames is supposedly the ideal, like filmmaking frames per second or something like that. But 60 frames really gives you that clean and crisp look that people are going for now. And natural lighting is absolutely critical as well to get video to look really great on your phone, it’s, it’s amazing really the difference between being in really direct light and how much color and how much detail the phone picks up and just the clarity versus in dim light. So make sure that you’re filming like at a time of day where you’re getting the best light in your kitchen. And it sucks in winter, it really does because yeah, you know it is hard. Yeah. And depending on where you live. Like in Australia, we’re lucky that the days don’t get too short. But I know like in the Northern hemisphere, obviously that can be really hard, but if you can film between like 11 and 1:00 PM I generally find that that’s like for me, that’s when I get the best sunlight and just trying to get as close to your light source as possible. Like you’ll notice that some of the top creators, like Justine Snacks for example, her videos are absolutely incredible. So if you have an, if you don’t follow her, like would highly recommend it. She has like this sort of like, you know, trolley, I don’t know what you call them, like a chef’s table type bench. And she’s in a really small Brooklyn apartment and she moves it right up to her window so that she’s getting the light coming straight in from the window and she has all of her props and stuff stored underneath. So if you can do something like that, if you have a table that you can pull close to like your window, that can help as well. Just getting that lighting.

Megan Porta 00:45:38

Yeah, I love that. I love the little moving table idea because it is annoying to have to, you know, pick up your board and move it around the house.

Liz Douglas 00:45:47

It’s physical isn’t it? Oh my god.

Megan Porta 00:45:49

Yeah. It is. Do you have any tips for settings within the camera on the phone? Is there anything we can do inside the phone to make photos better?

Liz Douglas 00:45:58

Yeah, so for video I would just make sure that you are so in the top right hand corner of the iPhone. I don’t have an Android phone, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find these settings. If you Google it, just make sure that it’s on HD and 60 frames per second. When it comes to zooming in, don’t go past 1.1 is my recommendation or 1.2 max, otherwise the quality will sort of drop off a little bit. And then always try and use the back camera, not the front selfie camera as much as possible. I do use the selfie camera a little bit just for some of the shots where I want to position myself in the frame and it’s just a bit faster and easier to do it that way. But the quality is a lot worse than the back camera on your phone. But the biggest tip is just natural lighting. Most of the time people are amazed that like some of my videos are filmed on an iPhone, but it really does come down to lighting. I phone’s performing incredibly well in natural lighting. So that would be my other big tip. And then for editing I use InShot, which is a free app. There are ads in the free version, you can pay like $20 a year I think, and then get it, you know, without ads. I think it’s the most incredible piece of software and it is so, so cheap. So I film and edit, sorry, I edit everything in InShot. I don’t edit in Instagram because it’s just super clunky and I wouldn’t recommend it.

Megan Porta 00:47:14

Okay. So how long do you spend filming?

Liz Douglas 00:47:17

That’s a great question. And look, I try and keep it as quick as possible, but at the same time it really does depend on the recipe and on the type of video that you are doing. So I would say most videos I would film within two hours, like most recipes. And then the editing time varies probably like 45 minutes to edit. But I try and batch film and that’s what I would suggest. Like it’s not new advice is it? We all try and batch our time, but it does make a big difference. Most creators that I know who are trying to do like that recipe video that I was talking about earlier where you’ve got the little teaser clip, the body video with a voiceover, most people I know will do about three of those a day. I know some creators who can push it up to five, but honestly like it is kind of physical filming these videos sometimes. So if you can do five like, you know, kudos to you. I think I, most of the time I do about three. But on that point, like I think there’s a lot of advice around there that says that we need to post every single day. And I just don’t think that’s true. And it’s something that I really want to emphasize is that when I had all of that growth on my account going from 12,000, like I had like 30,000 followers in one month at one point I was only posting three times a week. I think that you should be focusing primarily on quality and on discovering your own handwriting and style and building that connection and really I guess getting to know what works for your account and post three times a week, you don’t need to do more than that and make sure that you are repurposing the content as much as you can and that will get you the results that you need. So if you can dedicate, say if you’re working one weekend day to making videos or you know, if you’re doing this full time, if you can dedicate one day a week to filming, it’s not going to take the whole day. It’s probably more just that with daylight hours. Three is sort of like the upper limit that you can, or three to five would be the upper limit I would say that you can film in a day.

Megan Porta 00:49:07

Okay. And then should we be posting solely reels or should we do carousels? Static posts, too?

Liz Douglas 00:49:13

Look, my carousels and static posts perform really, I don’t know, it’s all over the place. I see other bloggers who are posting photos still of like old content that they’ve made and they perform okay. But generally speaking, I would dedicate carousel posts now to like fresh content or even just like roundups for followers. I would regard it as, like I say, roundups for followers. I mean like, you know, things I’ve eaten this week or like, you know, restaurants I’ve been to or something that’s a little bit more of a personal touch because I would put cat ourselves now into what I call like the nurture bucket. And I haven’t got that term by the way, that’s from, I didn’t create that term rather, but like the concept of like nurture versus growth content is an important one. I think that I actually got that from Sarah Crawford who does Foodtography School. And she has a great course called Influence, actually if anybody, which I’ve taken, if anybody does want to familiarize themselves with these concepts a bit more, but carousel posts are really going to your existing audience. So I would think about how that can be like a connection piece rather than a growth piece. Like whereas reels, and I didn’t touch on this earlier, like they need to be standalone pieces of content that can speak for themselves in a way where like somebody doesn’t need to know you in order for that piece of content to make sense. Like it needs to be, it needs to appeal to somebody who’s like a cold audience who’s never seen you before, who has no idea who you are. And it’s like, yeah, it’s its own standalone thing. So that’s how I would regard those.

Megan Porta 00:50:43

Okay. This is so much good information. Oh my gosh, I, I could go on for probably another hour. Are you done with your formula? Did you have closing? Like how do you close or are you just like looping around to the beginning or?

Liz Douglas 00:50:55 

I normally just loop to the beginning as the close, it’s pretty much just like, and for the voiceover as well. Like normally I try and incorporate a personal story why I like that recipe. You know, I would avoid doing anything like, as I said, overly instructional the way you’re like, you know, I guess like think of, think of the voiceover as almost like the introductory paragraph for your blog post where you say this is a one pot recipe that’s ready in 15 minutes and only requires 10 ingredients. And then unlike a blog post though, you can add your personal story. because I know that like Casey and others now recommend not doing the whole, you know, in my grandmother’s kitchen type storytelling, you can do that in your voiceover in a video. And just on that as well, like last tip on voiceovers, a big mistake that I see people make is that they are very timid. They feel quiet, like they’re speaking really slowly when they do the voiceover, they’re like, this is my favorite recipe for, you know, tacos or whatever. It’s like, I know it feels weird and awkward, but you need to go sit in a quiet room in your house. Like, I literally lock myself in the bedroom sometimes away from my husband because I felt too embarrassed to do it in front of him. I hype myself up to the point where I’m like, okay, you got this. Like yes, you can do it. Pretend that you have got the bit of gossip ever and you are telling your best friend about it and you are so hyped and excited and it’s going to come through in your voice. I even force a smile when I’m doing my voiceovers because I honestly think you could tell the difference. You, when somebody is smiling, you can, right?

Megan Porta 00:52:28

For sure.

Liz Douglas 00:52:29

And you know, people pick up on that energy. So I guess those would be my last little tips.

Megan Porta 00:52:32 

I wonder if we all do this because I, I occasionally will do voiceovers for my Eat Blog Talk account and if anyone’s around, I find that I’m doing that too. I’m like yeah, and then this thing really is good. I’m like, no wait, I have to go be alone because then you can pump yourself up and the smile trick so works.

Liz Douglas 00:52:52

It does, yeah.

Megan Porta 00:52:53 

Life force yourself to smile and then talk, it totally comes through.

Liz Douglas 00:52:56

It does. Yeah. It’s so weird. I don’t know why like, sometimes like my husband might like open the door like a little crack while I’m filming. I’m be like, go away. I am still doing my voiceover.

Megan Porta 00:53:06

He’s like, I’m going to hear it later on Instagram anyways, so.

Liz Douglas 00:53:09

Exactly. I can’t hear, you know, it’s so funny sometimes he’ll be sitting on the couch and he’ll be scrolling on his phone and my voice like, pops up really loud on his phone and then I’m like, oh my god, turn it off. And I’m just like, I’m like, stop making fun of me. And then he’s like, I’m not, I’m engaging, I’m, I’m helping your engagement. You’ll likely like it stop. And I’ll be like, go away.

Megan Porta 00:53:26

The same conversation happens in our house all the time. Like stop, turn it off.

Liz Douglas 00:53:32

I dunno what, it’s so easy to interact with strangers and to put yourself out there to strangers, but when it’s like some random person from high school or like your old like corporate job that’s like, you know, watching or like following, you’re like, oh my god, I can’t, like.

Megan Porta 00:53:46

It’s so different. Isn’t that weird? Like some psychology behind theirs.

Liz Douglas 00:53:50

Oh absolutely. But yeah, just don’t think about those people. Think about the strangers when you’re making content.

Megan Porta 00:53:55

Smile at the strangers. Okay, so we’ve got your formula. I love this. This is such a good template for us to just work through. I know we’re running out of time, but do you have any other like last tips or maybe like mistakes that you see people making or anything that you think would be beneficial to hear?

Liz Douglas 00:54:12

Okay, cool. So some other mistakes. So just quick, like no-no’s, try not to do too many panning shots and like try like, and by panning shots, I mean just ones where you’re like at the end, like is your finished shot of the food where you’re just like holding your camera and like moving it around the top of the plate where you’re like woo, like here’s the food like that you might do at like brunch. Try to avoid that. We want like shots that are natural and that really feel like make the person who’s watching it feel like they’re about to eat that meal. Like for example, like I did one which was like this like sticky kind of sweet and spicy tofu meatballs thing. The shot was like of the closeup of the food as a side shot with the fork, slicing it into the inner part of the meatball and like stabbing it and then like pulling it up and you could see how like tender and juicy it was. And you want all like pasta for example, like when I do pasta shots, I’ll like pour the sauce over the pasta. You can see how creamy it is. You can see me like mixing it up in the pot. You want things like that to convey movement rather than the sort of like what feels kind of like more of a viewer rather than like you’re more of a spectator when you’re doing that panning shot rather than like you’re actually there in the moment eating that food. So avoid too many panning shots, shaky cam hate that. So you really want to try and use a tripod or even just balance your phone in a mug or like in a roll of duct tape. Anything that you can get your hands on a tripod. If you’re more of a professional, just try not to hold the camera it itself because unless you’re doing like a quick like, you know, talk to camera little selfie clip because shaky cam just is distracting. Also don’t speed up the actual video itself. Like don’t do that. Just use lots of short little clips. So like 0.5 of a second, 0.3 of a second, 0.4 of a second. Remember that you want these to be almost dizzying. Like I’m not saying that these are like the highest quality videos in the world. I’m saying that they are very engaging though highly addictive. And remember like again, perhaps this is bad for humanity’s attention span, but we kind of own the slot machines so like, you know, you kind of want to like exploit the like this trend that is happening anyway, so, but don’t speed it up. It looks unnatural and it just, it’s not, it’s just like, I don’t know, it’s just like, yeah, I don’t see any videos going on. It’s a no-no. 

Yeah. I was also going to say make sure that you are uploading in high definition on Instagram. It’s a setting when you go to upload in the advance settings, it’s also on TikTok. Always make sure you’re uploading in HD. So it’s like a data usage thing. So make sure that it’s got the high quality toggles. Upload videos that are too slow, again, 15 to 25 seconds. Use trending audio where you can. But I often just turn that down to like two or three. I would say sometimes people use that too loud, they’ll turn it up to like six or seven and you can’t actually hear the voiceover anymore. So if you do have a voiceover, make sure to keep that really low. I think that’s pretty much it. Oh, filters, don’t you filters please and please try and don’t turn off all artificial lights in your house. Try and keep it natural lighting as much as possible. And that’s probably more of a priority on Instagram. That is on TikTok. TikTok, the actual quality and beauty, you know, of the video isn’t as important. It’s more about the actual story or the concept of the video or the concept of the food. You’ll notice that difference massively. And just last final tip, get on TikTok. Like even if you are not going to post anything on there, it is the leading app at the moment and all other apps are just copying TikTok. So if you want to have your finger on the pulse, get on TikTok, try not to be put off by the really Gen Z, like culture and stuff. Try and understand it and it could be really fun to hang out on there a little bit as well. The comment section is hilarious and absolutely vicious . And also just like, remember if you are getting hate comments, you’re doing something right. Your video is reaching lots of people and everybody gets hate comments whether you are vegan like me or whether you’re a mummy blogger or whatever it is that you do. Yeah. So if you’re getting hate comments, you’re doing something right. And I think that’s it. I think that’s it.

Megan Porta 00:58:05

Oh my gosh, Liz, this is the new go-to episode for anything and everything, Instagram and reels. This was so good. I took so many notes, thank you.

Liz Douglas 00:58:17

Oh, I’m glad. I’m glad it was helpful. I mean I just get inspired and have fun with it. And just remember that you won’t make one video and it won’t go, like the first video is not going to go viral, none like, unless it’s like you know you, unless it’s a really, really unicorn video. So just like keep experimenting three videos a week, try and have fun with it. Repurpose as much as you can. Go out and find some creators that you love and admire. Go out and get a sense for the different types of content that’s out there. There’s ASMR where it’s all the sounds. Lindsay Eats is a great account to look out for that. Justine Snacks is one of the leading accounts I would say, in terms of her videography skills and also her voiceovers are just magical. Go out there and just explore and have fun and yeah, experiment. It’s a really exciting time. And yeah, join the rising tide of I guess, video content.

Megan Porta 00:59:02

Yes, go do it. I’ve been avoiding it for a while, so you’ve inspired me though. Okay. Because it really doesn’t seem like a huge investment if you’re, if you’re smart about it, if you’re strategic with you’re filming and your editing. It used to be a huge time investment.

Liz Douglas 00:59:18

Yeah, no, it really, it’s like the barrier to entry is so low now, you know, with just a phone. Yeah. And just try not to be self-critical and feel down about yourself. Like if the videos don’t turn out the way that you would like in the beginning I made so many cringey AF videos in the beginning, like they are awful, absolutely horrendous. And everybody does as well. Like if you go back and look at any of the top creators, like their early videos are probably crappy. So everybody will get there and just, just, yeah, keep at it and have fun.

Megan Porta 00:59:45

Amazing. Thank you so much Liz. And yeah, I am just so grateful for all of this. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?

Liz Douglas 00:59:54

Yes. So one of my favorite quotes is, and I’m probably going to get it wrong, but it’s like the concept, right? So whether you think you’ve won or you think you’ve lost, you’re right. I think that’s the expression. Anyway, that’s my twist on the expression. And it basically means if you’re in the mindset that you are going to be successful, you are successful, you will be successful. That is the truth. And if you’re in the mindset that I am a failure or this is like not going to happen, or you have doubt in your mind, that is also the truth. And I’ve found that really empowering. And when I had only 12,000 followers, my goal was to reach a hundred thousand followers. And I pictured that in my mind. I went into Canva, I made like a fake, you know, like think of my profile where I changed the number to make it a hundred thousand. I really visualized and I was such a lamo about it, but it worked. So that’s my quote.

Megan Porta 01:00:41

That’s not lamo. I think that’s great. Mindset is everything I’m telling you, especially in this game, in this world of constantly evolving chaos, it’s like, yeah, it’s literally everything.

Liz Douglas 01:00:54

At the moment my mindset, I’m trying to like hype myself up to like be like, believe that it’s possible for me to rank on Google. So I’m like just trying to believe that right now. Of course it, it’s, yeah, that’s my, that’s my challenge. Yeah.

Megan Porta 01:01:05

Yes, you’ve got this. Well thank you for that. We will put together a show notes page for you, Liz, and if you want to go look at those, you can head to eatblogtalk.com/glowdiaries. Liz, tell everyone where they can find you.

Liz Douglas 01:01:18

So you can follow me on Instagram or TikTok are probably the best places to catch me. But I am on all other platforms at GlowDiaries___ and that’s one word, but it has three underscores at the end. Or Glow-Diaries.com is my blog. And if you have any questions, I would love to hear from you. I love chatting with other creators, so feel free to catch me on any of those.

Megan Porta 01:01:38

Everyone take Liz up on that. Go check out all of her social media profiles and her blog. And yeah, just thank you so much for being here, Liz, and for sharing everything. And thank you for listening food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode. 

Outro 01:01:54

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Please share this episode with a friend who would benefit from tuning in. I will see you next time.


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Pinterest image for episode 471 my video strategy to create highly engaging content for fast growth on instagram (+ avoid these mistakes) with Liz Douglas.
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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