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Episode 140: Filter Through the Noise in the Online World with Madison Wetherill

Listen to episode 140 to hear from Madison Wetherill, graphic designer and podcast host, about how to keep your focus where it needs to be – on you and how to stick to your business strategy plan.

We cover information about figuring out what your good at, discover the best monetization model for your business and how to help you find clarity so you can succeed in business!

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


Guest Details

Connect with Grace & Vine Studios
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bio
Madison is a food blogger turned web designer running Grace and Vine Studios. She works with her clients to connect with their audience through strategic web design and brand strategy. She is the host of The Vine Podcast, a podcast about strategy and design for food bloggers. Madison, her husband, two little boys live in Phoenix, AZ.

Takeaways

  • Get ruthless in cutting out all the things that aren’t working.
  • Decide what to work on and give it your focus and time for a month or 3 months. By investing in it, you’ll either see growth or know you don’t need to keep doing that.
  • Madison highly recommends time tracking – writing down where you are spending your time, down to the minute for a week or two. Then track what result is this bringing me?
  • If you are on a social media platform you don’t love and don’t see a lot of traffic from, do the bare minimum. Give it some love with the least amount of time possible so that you keep in touch with your audience. In the future, you don’t know when that might be valuable for traffic and/or working with Brands.
  • Cutting out what isn’t working allows you to have space to focus on the things that you are excited about, and that are driving results, which is ultimately just going to give you like the encouragement and the confidence to keep going.
  • If you fill up every moment of time with some new strategy to try, you’re never going to have space for things that come up, opportunities that arrive for you.
  • Knowing your direction and knowing where you’re going is really going to help you to make the right decisions along the way.
  • Let yourself dream because that is what’s going to help you figure out what feels the best to you. Start taking steps and actions towards that end goal.
  • Tap into your passions and gifts that you have to be profitable. Then look at how you can do things like taking photos for other food bloggers, tech support for bloggers or photography for a cookbook and make money.
  • You won’t get where you’re supposed to go if you don’t sit with your thoughts, cut through the noise and be okay with taking the risk of stopping and not doing what everyone says you should be doing.

Resources Mentioned

The Food Blogger Summit Invitation

More About This Topic

Defining your brand can be very helpful in strategizing your business plan so head to Episode 124 to learn more from Beth Taubner.


Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.

Megan Porta:

Food bloggers! Hey, if you have not yet joined the new, amazing Eat Blog Talk community, you have to go do it. You will find so much value inside, including connecting with other food bloggers in a much deeper way and having access to all kinds of exclusive value, such as bonus podcast episodes and mastermind groups and a resources and service providers directory, and so much more. Go to eatblogtalk.com for more information, and we cannot wait to see you inside. Okay, food bloggers, have you heard of Flodesk, the new big email marketing rage? This is an amazing new option for managing your email subscriber list. It is super easy to use and it comes with gorgeous, intuitive drag and drop templates. And Flodesk does not charge based on number of subscribers. So your monthly rate will stay the same from month to month. Everyone pays $38 a month or use my affiliate link to get 50% off and pay only $19 a month. You guys, this is a fraction of the price of other email service providers, and you’ll be blown away by the beautiful and intuitive templates waiting for you inside. Visit eatblogtalk.com/resources to grab your link. Flodesk, the stunning new option for email marketing. What’s up food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast made for you. Food bloggers seeking value for your businesses and your lives. Today, I will be having my second Eat Blog Talk interview with Madison Weatherill from Grace and Vine Studios. And we are going to talk about filtering through noise in the online world. Madison is a food blogger, turned web designer running Grace and Vine studios. She helps her clients connect with their audience through strategic web design and brand strategy. She is also the host of The Vine podcast, a podcast about strategy and design for food bloggers. She lives with her husband and two little boys in Phoenix, Arizona, Madison, I am excited to talk about this today because as we were chatting a little bit before her interview started, the noise in our world, our food blogging world is so real. And I think this is a really great topic to cover. But first, I would love it if you gave us another fun fact about yourself.

Madison Wetherill:

Yeah. Well, thanks for having me, Megan, and I’m so excited to chat about this topic. It’s something that I’m very passionate about, but, um, so my fun fact for this time around, I had to remember what mine was last time. But I, in college, I actually worked for a steak house and it was a steakhouse that was on like my college’s campus. But before I worked at that steakhouse, I grew up like a super picky eater. And working at that steakhouse gave me like such an appreciation for food. And I think it was part of, sort of the start of my journey to becoming a foodie and eventually having my food blog. And so that’s kind of like a pivotal moment that I remember is just working at that steakhouse, getting a lot of experience with dealing with people, but also just trying new foods. And so that’s my fun fact for today.

Megan Porta:

That’s awesome. Thank you steakhouse. It’s so funny. I always talk to people who say kind of similar stories. Like they grew up being really picky. Didn’t really have an appreciation for food. And then there was something that turned them, like whether it was working in a restaurant like you or something. And they were like, Oh, food is really amazing. And then there are now food bloggers. So it’s funny how many people have that similar story. Madison you have at this really exciting summit coming up in a few weeks for food bloggers, specifically, that I want to talk to you about a little bit later, but first let’s have a discussion about how noisy this online world can be and what we as food bloggers can do to sort through it all. Because at times this can seem like an really overwhelming and impossible task, right? You told me that you have kind of a story about, you know, how your brand and your business evolved through the noise. And I thought it would be great just to start out by hearing that story from you.

Madison Wetherill:

Yeah. So kind of the journey for me with just having a business or just kind of having what, you know, kind of started as a hobby is that when I graduated college, I went from, you know, having two majors in college, having two part time jobs, just having a very full and busy life, to working 40 hours a week in a corporate job as a graphic designer. And I was very bored to be honest. And so I started to explore like, what do I want to do with my time? And I had followed blogs for quite a while. And so I, my husband and I had been married, um, for about a year at that time. And I decided, okay, well, I’m going to just start blogging like our newlywed journeys and just kind of like what we’re experiencing and going through. And then I also started doing like freelance design, just on Etsy, designing like wedding invitations and all kinds of stuff like that. And so for the first two years of kind of that journey, it was very casual. It just kind of when I had time, when I wanted to, there’s little intention behind any of it. Um, and then as I kind of got more into it, I started to realize that I really liked these two elements of my life and really started to pour more time into them. And then about, I guess it was two years after I graduated, no three years after I graduated college, I was working at that corporate job still. And I found out that I was pregnant and a week later lost that corporate job. And so then it became this kind of figuring out what I was going to do with my life. And at that point I had already realized that the corporate world was not for me. I really wanted to do my own thing. I wanted to have just a flexible schedule and life. And I knew eventually that I wanted to stay home with my kids in some capacity. And so from that point, so that was the beginning of 2015 to the beginning of 2019. I kind of went on this journey of trying to figure out, like, how do I grow these businesses? How do I make this worth my time? How do I make this work for my family? And through that process, I, I pretty much tried every single strategy out there for growing those two businesses. And, more often than not got very frustrated when I didn’t see the results that I was hoping for. And so at the beginning of 2019, I really had just kind of this break breakdown, breakthrough moment of, this is not working. Something has to change at the time. I had an almost one year old and a three year old and was just feeling stretched in every possible direction in my life. And I knew something had to change. And so that was kind of the pivotal moment for me in starting to filter everything that I was doing in my business and in my life through this lens of, is this actually reaching my goals, is this helping to move me forward to where I want to go? And really ever since that moment, I have just been able to really filter every single decision and every single strategy through that lens. And I think that if you look at any metric in my business, you will see that that is a, like a catalyst moment for my business, in terms of the growth, my income level, my clarity, just everything changed when I started to filter the noise and filter strategies through this idea of is this actually going to make progress and move my business forward? And if it’s not, I’m just not going to do it. And really being like unapologetic with myself about that.

Megan Porta:

That is such a cool story. And we have eerily similar beginnings, as far as jumping into blogging. There was a pregnancy and a baby and then a loss of a corporate job. I was launched into a necessity to figure things out. And I just felt like that pressure, but it really did cause me to like really dig in and figure out, okay, what’s going to work. I wanted to be home too with my kids. But the clarity, you talked about this clarity, what made you find that? Like, did you really get into like setting goals or how did you find that clarity? How did you know what those things were?

Madison Wetherill:

Yeah. So I think part of it is really getting intentional and just thoughtful about where you want to go. And so, again, for me, I knew that I wanted to be home in some capacity. So that kind of took away the like, Oh, well, if this doesn’t work out, I can just go back to a job. Like that was not an option for me. Um, and it was also just sitting down and looking at like, okay, here’s our, here’s our family dynamic. Here’s where we want to go. What do we need, you know, on paper, what is the number that we have to make in order to make this work? And then I think once we figured that out, then it was more of a matter of like, all right, how are we going to get there? Um, in terms of like strategies and like filtering that, I am, I’ve always been kind of a lifelong learner. I love learning new things. I love trying things out, very like experimental. Um, but what I found is that, in being that way and wanting to try all these new things, I actually just overwhelmed myself. And in trying to do all the things, be in all the places on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest, I was actually doing none of those things very well. And so I, you know, with this idea of like, here’s my end goal for my business so that it can serve my family and, you know, build the life that I want to build, here are the strategies that are gonna help me get there. And so I think for me, I just got very ruthless almost in terms of cutting out the things that weren’t working. So one of the first things that I realized for my blog was that Facebook was driving no traffic at all. So I just stopped doing it. And part of that was, I didn’t have the time to learn to do it the way that, you know, maybe I needed to do it. And so I said, well, this isn’t doing anything right now. So I’m just going to stop doing it. And if, you know, if I see in three months that my traffic’s gone down and I really did have traffic coming from there, then I can pick it back up. But for now in this season, it’s not a priority for my business. And so I just started really analyzing every single thing that I was doing and kind of tracking, like, what result is this getting? And if there was no result, then it was either a matter of I’m going to stop doing this, or I’m going to focus on it and make it better. Um, so one of the first steps in that I think was really documenting what I was doing. So this is something that I like, try to encourage people to do a lot is just time tracking what you’re doing. Um, and documenting it throughout a week or two weeks, just to see like how long are things taking me? What am I spending time on that isn’t getting results? Because, I think so often we feel like, I don’t know if this is working for my business. I don’t know if this is actually helping to grow my food blog, but we don’t even know how long we’re spending on it, or we don’t have a way of measuring is it actually working or not? So those are kind of the first two steps I think, is really getting clear about what are you spending your time on and then figuring out a way to see is it actually yielding any results?

Megan Porta:

What about like Facebook? Okay. I don’t get much traction on Facebook either and I never have, it’s just never been my platform, but I have to keep it going. Right. I mean, food bloggers are just kind of quote, required to keep certain platforms up and running. So how do we deal with that? Do we just do the bare minimum? Some people like really dig into Instagram and some people just kind of keep their accounts going. What do you recommend?

Madison Wetherill:

Yeah. And that is a tricky thing because especially if you want to work with Brands or something like that, you do have this expectation of like, you have to at least have a presence. But, what I would say for that is two-fold. So the first is really getting clear on where you’re going with your blog. So do you want to grow an Instagram or a Facebook account so that you can work with brands and use those channels to promote those brands? Or do you really want to focus on growing your content through SEO? And you really just want to rely on ad monetization so that it can be, you know, quote unquote passive. But I think until you really figure out the direction of your blog and like what your ultimate goal is for it, it’s going to feel like I have to do all of these things, but let’s go with the example of maybe you realize that you really just want to have ad monetization be your main strategy and the main way that you make money. You probably don’t need to be on all the platforms because that doesn’t matter for like ad revenue. Whereas on the opposite side, if you realize, you know, brand partnerships and sponsorships are really the, the ma the method that I want to go with my blog, then that’s going to be really important. So I think you first have to know that. And then, if you realize that something like your Facebook page, or maybe you realize that Pinterest is, you know, not driving a lot of traffic right now, and you’re going to focus on something else, you can do one of two things. You can either just stop doing it for this time period and come back to it later, or you can figure out a way to do the minimum required or even outsource the minimum required, if it’s just not your focus right now. But I think what that does is it allows you to have space to focus on the things that you are excited about, and that are driving results, which is ultimately just going to give you like the encouragement and the confidence to keep going, rather than feeling defeated all the time, because something isn’t working.

Megan Porta:

Yeah. And I think that can change too right over time. I mean, there was a time when I thought I would never be into Instagram, but I did just do that bare minimum. And then I hired a VA to kind of do the bare minimum for me. And then now I kind of dabble back in it, but maybe there’s a day when I will actually be interested in getting sponsored work through Instagram. So I think there’s value in doing that bare minimum on those platforms that aren’t gaining traction right now, just so maybe later you can actually dig into it because there are so many facets of food blogging that we are constantly being presented with different options. Like, Oh, maybe this year we’re going to do brand work, or maybe this year we’re going to focus on traffic. That’s one of the great things about food blogging, I think is that there are so many different parts of it so we can dip into each part. Does that make sense?

Madison Wetherill:

Yeah, totally. And I think that’s really, it is true that things are so often changing in the food blogging world. And so it’s, it is hard to not feel like you have to try all these new things and be in all these places. But I think what happens with that is you don’t do anything very well if you’re trying to do everything and be in all the places. And so I’ve found that it’s much better to pick kind of your lane and let all the rest of the things that, you know, you feel like you have to do, let those be on autopilot, as much as you can, you know, maybe you’re pushing your content to Facebook and that’s all that’s happening on there. You’re not really focusing on growing it. You’re just kind of keeping it stable and alive. Whereas maybe on Instagram, you’re really focusing on trying the latest strategies and, you know, experimenting with Instagram Reels or IGTV or any of those things that have come out recently. You’re really focusing there and you’re letting everything else just kind of run automatically while you give your full attention to this one area. So that, you know, in three months, let’s say you look back and you’re like, okay, how did it go on Instagram? I put everything into focusing on Instagram and trying to grow that, how did it go? And then you can say, okay, now I know what works here. I know how to make this process a little easier for myself. Now I can focus on this next thing that I want to try to work on. But I’ve just found that it’s, it’s so overwhelming to feel like you have to post on Facebook and post on Instagram. And, Oh, we got to go try Tik Tok now, too. And there’s just so much out there and you’re just going to drive yourself crazy and eventually get into this like paralyzation of overwhelm if you don’t have a filter for what you want to focus on right now and what is going to serve you best right now.

Megan Porta:

Oh my gosh. Yes. Your, I mean, this was like the biggest struggle for me personally, for many years, I’ve been blogging for 10 years and I can say for most of those years, that was my struggle. I would try to do everything. And it was ridiculous. And I haven’t learned this until very recently that I can’t do everything. I have to pass some things off and I just have to let some things go, like the Tik Tok thing. I know everyone’s telling me you’ve got to get on Tik Tok, but I am like, I cannot get on one more thing. I just can’t like, I have to preserve my sanity and my business right now. And I have to focus on the things that I’m good at. And maybe I would be good at Tik Tok,, but I just can’t, like, I have to say, no, I have to draw the line because things just keep popping up. There’s always something new. Right. And I also wanted to say, distractions are one form of noise for us as food bloggers, but help can also be a form of noise. I mean, there’s always something promising help for us. So how do you recommend sorting through that? Because obviously we want the help, but it’s everywhere.

Madison Wetherill:

Totally, and I, again, being like somebody who just, I love learning new things, I’m constantly listening to podcasts and constantly just like, I’m honestly constantly putting noise into my head. Um, but I think that filter of what am I focusing on right now? That is the biggest thing you have to figure out and you don’t have to pick like your focus for the next year. I think we get overwhelmed with setting these like very longterm goals that are hard to really maintain. But if you say, okay, for the next quarter or for the next month, this is what I’m going to focus on. And I’m going to just learn everything I can learn about this one topic. You’re going to be able to really soak that in and figure out what feels right to you because that’s the other thing about all of this noise is you have to figure out what feels good. And for some people, certain strategies are going to feel icky. They’re going to feel like this is not work for my business, this my audience, isn’t going to resonate with this. And so you really have to be able to filter through those things. But when there is constant noise and just constant information of try this, try that, try this. It’s so hard to even let yourself filter that and let yourself just listen to your intuition. I think that’s something that I’ve learned over the last two years is just being able to just sit with an idea instead of going after it right away. And often when I do that, I find that, okay, this is a great idea, but not for this season. Or, okay, yes, this is a great idea. We have to do this. We have to do it now. And obviously there’s more than just those two extremes, but I think when you don’t turn off the noise or filter it through, this is my focus, tyu’re never going to be able to have that intuition and listen to it. And I think that’s something that’s really important to have in the online business world, because of how much there is out there that you could do. And, you know, I think we come into it with this idea of like, I could try all these things and I could grow in all these places, but at the end of the day, you really can’t do all of those things. It’s an impossible without a team or, you know, tons of money to throw at a team. Like, if you are running a small business, which most food bloggers are, it’s, you know, them plus maybe a contractor or two, you just have to get more intentional about what you’re doing and how you’re spending your time, if you want to see growth. And I fully believe that with everything in my being.

Megan Porta:

Oh, I am with you. I like your idea of quarterly learning, like picking one thing to learn or focus on per quarter. But how do you deal with things that pop up like opportunities that you don’t see coming? And it’s a really great opportunity. I just had this happen, um, in the past month. Like I always say that I am not a fan of working with brands. I say that to everyone and this brand came to me and they’re like, Hey, do you want to work with us? And at first I said, no, sorry, I don’t work with brands. And then it came back to me like three times, and then it was that whole like intuition thing, like, okay, wait, I maybe need to consider this because it was just kind of weird how it all happened. So I said, yes. And so now I have this brand work that I’m doing, but that kind of interrupts, you know, the rest of what I was planning for this quarter. So what do you think about that? Like if opportunities come up, should we push them aside if they’re not aligning with what we have, are focused on that quarter or considerate? Or what are your thoughts?

Madison Wetherill:

Yeah, I think it totally depends on the situation. And then that situation, I think you did, probably what I would have done, which is to initially say like, this is not a focus for me right now. And when that kept coming back up and you started to feel like, you know, you started to feel in your gut, like, huh, maybe I should listen to this. Then, you know, you were able to pivot. But I think the important thing too, and this is more of just like structuring your business in a way that allows for that, I think, again, that’s part of not doing all the things, is it gives you space to go after those things that come up or to try the latest trend if it comes up. But when we are just, you know, working 60, 70 hours a week and not sleeping and not giving ourselves time to rest and not giving ourselves time to even just create for fun, we won’t have space for those things. And so then you end up feeling, you know, disappointed that you couldn’t say yes to it, or even feeling bad about yourself that like, well, why can’t I handle this extra thing, where really, it’s just a matter of how you built a schedule that works for you and a structure that works for you. And when we just are filling every moment of time with some new strategy to try, you’re never going to have space for things that come up like that. That could be a really cool opportunity to say yes to, but you know, if we don’t allow for space for that, it’s going to be, you know, you’re either just going to overwork yourself and it’s not going to be a good experience because of that. Or you’re going to have to say no to it because you don’t have the space or the flexibility in your business to allow for that type of, you know, um, kind of spontaneity.

Megan Porta:

Well, you just tapped into the theme for my year, which is creating space. Like literally this year, the quarantine has taught me that. And I talk about this in your upcoming summit. That’s like pretty much the theme is like, if you don’t have space for something, then nothing is going to happen. You’re not going to be creative. You’re not going to have the energy. You’re not going to have, um, any resources to put toward anything. So if an opportunity comes up, it’s going to kill you or you, you just can’t do it. Right. So creating spaces is so, so huge. And, um, well, we can talk about that a little bit later, but first I have a few more questions for you on this theme of noise. How do you recommend that we figure out what the primary monetization model is for our blogs? There are so many different ways that we can make money, um, different routes to go, how do we figure out what that one best main thing is?

Madison Wetherill:

Totally. So I think the first thing I want to mention with this is that the way that I may explain this could be different for everybody. I think when you’re in a season of like, you just have to make money, it’s different than if you’re really thinking longterm. And so kind of take with, take what I say with a grain of salt and know that, you know, if, if food blogging has suddenly become your full time job and you have to make it work, you might have to maybe try all the things or do things differently than you will long term. But I think knowing your direction and knowing where you’re going is really going to help you to make the right decisions along the way. And actually in the Food Blogger Summit, Jason Logsdon is talking about this topic of kind of figuring out the best strategy and where you want to take your blog so that you can make strategic decisions along the way. But in general, I would just say that, first really sit with, what do you enjoy doing? You know, if, if you’ve had any experience in the food blogging world, you have tried recipe development, you’ve tried food photography, you’ve tried writing, maybe you’ve even done, you know, live YouTube videos or not live YouTube, live videos on Facebook or Instagram, or maybe you’ve done kind of the more cooking style shows on YouTube. Think about all of the experiences that you’ve had in food blogging, because that’s one thing about food bloggers is we get to try so many different things, but really let yourself sit with what did I love doing? What parts did I not like doing? And I think, again, as food bloggers, we have this assumption that we have to do everything. And one trend that I’ve seen and love is food bloggers realizing you don’t have to do every part of food blogging. You can outsource parts that you don’t like, or you could just not do parts that you don’t like. I met somebody on Instagram the other day, who she realized that she doesn’t like recipe development. So she’s structuring her blog in a way where she is kind of showcasing other recipes that are already developed, but she’s kind of taking her own spin on it or kind of doing her own photography. And so like just kind of let go of your expectations of how food blogging quote unquote should be, and really let yourself sit with what do I love doing? What part of my job do I love? What part of my job do I not love? And then think through, okay, if I love food photography, maybe that’s the avenue I want to go. I think we all have this idea that food blogging you, okay, you could only make money this one way. And it’s through, you know, ad monetization through lots of page views and that’s how you have to do it. But even the other day, I was having a conversation with someone where I realized that now that I’m doing, I’m really focusing on my web design business. I actually got to where I’m at now through my food blog. And if I didn’t have my food blog, I wouldn’t be where I am now. So, while I didn’t know it at the time, my like end monetization for my food blog was actually my web design business and doing web design for food bloggers. And so I think we just have to kind of get out of our own heads to kind of let the possibilities just run. And you know, if you could get paid every day to do the one part of food blogging that you love, what would that be? And then think about like, okay, how would I make that happen? What would that look like? And just let yourself dream because that is what’s going to help you figure out what feels the best to you. And then you can start taking steps and actions towards that end goal. Does that make sense?

Megan Porta:

That does make sense. And it goes back to what you were saying earlier about just letting yourself listen to your intuition, being still sitting with yourself and giving yourself that space. Because without that, you don’t really know what that next step is. And I so strongly believe your story is a testament to this Madison, that when you do that next thing that your intuition tells you to do, it leads you in the right direction. And then you do the next thing. And the next thing. And pretty soon you’re like, Oh my gosh, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing. Right? I mean, you started out with a food blog and that led you to something else and to something else. And now you’re doing exactly what you need to be doing in this time. And it seems so complicated when you say that, cause I know people are like, I want to make money now. Like what do I do? And it, it just like that, I don’t know the frustration of it like almost clouds your clarity, like when you’re in that moment of just trying to figure out how to make money, it’s like, you need to take a step back and just say exactly what you just said. Like, what do I love to do? What do I need to do next?

Madison Wetherill:

Well, and I think part of it is this idea that we have to break through, that the only way to make money through a blog is, you know, X, Y, or Z. So the only way to make money from your blog is to have ads and make money that way. Or the only way is to work with brands. And there are so many ways, like, it’s just, it’s kind of crazy if you think about it. And so if, again, if you’re feeling frustrated with like, yes, I hear you, I get it, but I need to make money right now. Well, okay. What’s the fastest way that you could make money with the skills that you have as a food blogger. Maybe it’s taking photos for other food bloggers. Or maybe it’s taking photos for a cookbook. There are a lot of ways that you can tap into those passions and those gifts that you have, you can write for other food bloggers. You could do like tech support for other food bloggers. If you like that part, there are just because there are so many ways, excuse me, so many parts of food blogging that you have to do and that are just a part of running a food blog. There are therefore so many ways that you could make money through your food blog and it doesn’t have to be this traditional, you know, ad network monetization route that it, that it used to be like when we started blogging, that’s kind of how you made money. It was either that or brand partnerships. That was it. There are so many other ways now. And I think we just have to be still long enough to think through it. And that was definitely my problem. I just, I am such like an action taker and I just fill my schedule so full that I just didn’t have time to even think about like, what do I want to be doing with my time? And I don’t think I would have gotten to where I am now if I hadn’t have let myself just be still and just cut the noise and be okay with taking the risk of stopping, of not doing something that everyone tells you that you should do.

Megan Porta:

And sometimes it’s sitting right in front of you, like super obvious. The other day and inside of our community, somebody was saying, okay, I think this person was saying like they wanted to, you know, figure out how to make more money. And then, um, I think the following day, she was talking about how she loves creating Pinterest pins, like Pinterest graphics and how she is kind of obsessed with it. And I was like, hello, take that. I mean, if you love doing that, why don’t you do that for other people? Because not everybody likes doing that. But just something like that, it might be right in front of you just really obvious to other people. If you just sit back and look, what, during your week, do you spend your time doing that you’re, you get caught up in and absorbed with. There is probably a really good chance that there are other people that don’t like doing that thing. So, and like you said, there’s so many different things to do or that there’s, I mean, there are so many ways to make money. Really. There are, just sit back and evaluate your week a little bit. Can you give us a tip for eliminating something or maybe a couple of somethings that is not moving our businesses forward? How do we do that?

Madison Wetherill:

So I think there, the first step is really figuring out what are you even doing? What are you spending your time doing? Because I know for me, every single time I look at this, I realized that there are things that are taking me way longer than they should, or maybe things that are really fast for me. And so you really first have to figure out what are all the things that you’re doing for your blog. And you can start either just with a list, just pick out a piece of paper or open a Google doc and just type away, what things come to mind about, you know, how you run your blog. Think about your, your day to day or whatever days or times you’re working on your blog and just write down every single thing that you do. And then, from there you can either go and actually time those things, which I think for me is always insightful just to see, like, where am I wasting time? Or where are things like they’re not leading to bigger results. And then I think the second thing is just figuring out what success looks like for you in those different areas. So, you know, let’s say you realize that, okay, I’m on Facebook and I’m on Instagram and I’m on Tik Tok. And I need to figure out if all three of these things are helping my business. Well, first you would probably look at, you know, is this driving traffic to my blog again, that could only be if you’re focused on growing your page views and working towards like that ad network monetization model. Um, but you could also look at like, what is my engagement? What’s my audience look like? Like how many people do I have following me, that kind of thing. And then figuring out like, okay, am I more focused on maybe followers on Instagram so that I can work with the brand? Or am I really focused on connecting with my audience on Instagram because I want to sell them a digital product. And, like immediately you can see how those two are very different. Do you need numbers or engagement? And then you’re able to really say, okay, what, what do I need to do to focus on that one thing? And then in a month or two months or three months, you can say, okay, did that task? That thing that I tried to do, did it work in terms of growing in this way? Because I think we have this generic idea of, I need to grow my food blog. But that means a different thing to every single person. And you really just have to get clear on what that means so that you can have that as your filter of, is this moving my business forward? Is this working?but I think really your first step is figuring out what are you doing right now? What is your end goal or your, your goal for the next 30 days or 90 days. And then you can really start eliminating things based on knowing what you’re doing and where you’re going. And then if something doesn’t fit into that, then you, you honestly just have a lot more, it’s a lot easier to let it go when you can look at it that way and like, see, okay, I’m really focused on growing my Instagram engagement so that I can sell digital product. Why in the world am I spending time on Tik Tok where I’m getting tons of views on this video, but I’m getting zero followers from it or I’m getting zero traffic from it. And so it’s just, it gives you that clarity, but you have to like have those kind of bookends to be able to look at that. Like, if those are kind of your lenses to look at what you’re doing, so you have to kind of start there.

Megan Porta:

I think for me anyway, I get so caught up in like what other people are doing that I have to really be intentional about shutting that out because I can get distracted with, okay, person X blogger X has 2 million followers on Instagram that is just mind blowing to me. And then I’ll be like, I only have like 3000. So then I feel like I have to kick it in high gear. So then for like a week, I’ll really get into Instagram, but that is not the right reason to do that. Right. I mean, we have to have clarity about our personal goals and not what other people are doing. So I think that’s a big one for food bloggers too, is just getting distracted by what others are doing. And maybe someone else’s goal is to get 1 million followers on Instagram, but that’s not my goal. So we get distracted by that, like the whole competition thing and seeing what others are doing and getting way too caught up in their story.

Madison Wetherill:

Absolutely. And that’s, that’s definitely an issue. And I think with that, those just become vanity metrics because you don’t know why that person is doing that or how they got there. I see so often people will send me someone’s website and they’re like, I love this way tis website works. And we have to kind of have a conversation about like, well, well, who is your audience and what are they wanting from you? And does that make sense? You know, people, a great example of this is when people come to me and they want like the diet icons that are kind of popular right now, where it says like at a glance, what a recipe is and I’ll say, well, okay, well, do your, does your audience like really have a bunch of dietary preferences? And they’ll say no. And I’m like, okay, well then you don’t need to do that. It doesn’t make sense for your blog. Yes. It’s a cool feature. And yes, it’s fun that other blogs are doing it, but just because another blog is doing something doesn’t mean it’s right for your blog. And I think like if I had learned that a lot earlier on in my food blogging journey, so many things would have changed for me. And so I would say like, that’s the biggest thing I would just want to kind of drive into people is just, just because somebody else is doing something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you. And you really have to figure out what, how you’re going to measure these ideas and things like that. Make sure that they’re the right fit for you, or be willing to just experiment for a short term and not feel like if I try this thing, I’m going to have to do it for the next year. You can experiment with Tik Tok for a month. And if you don’t like it at the end of it, say, okay, that’s just not for me. And that’s totally okay. I think we just have to kind of get out of our own heads about that.

Megan Porta:

Yeah, that’s so true. And you hear people all the time. I was saying things like, you need to be on Tik Tok. You need to be on Snapchat, take that with a grain of salt because every story is so different. And just because somebody else is doing it or like a bunch of somebody else’s or doing it does not mean that it aligns with your business necessarily. Right? So the noise is crazy. And this is kind of the reason that you are doing your summit. That’s coming up quickly Madison and I’m super excited about it. I think this is going to help so many food bloggers just cut through the noise and figure out what they need to be doing specifically for their businesses. So I would love it if you talked to us a little bit about your summit, just give us the scoop. Why, what, when and any other details you have about it?

Madison Wetherill:

Yeah. So I, I robotically, you know, we’re talking here about like cutting the noise and don’t take in all this information. Um, and I know it sounds counterintuitive that I’m saying, Hey, come to this Summit where there’s 20 presentations. But I really, I really hope that if you come to the Summit that you do not watch all the presentations and I’ll get to that in a little bit, but basically the short and sweet of the Food Blogger Summit is that it’s an online virtual event that is really designed to feel more like an in person conference. And we did this before COVID even happened. So this is not necessarily just a result, but the isolation that this year has had really had me feeling like we needed to do this again. And again, with the just crazy amount of noise that we’re all experiencing with, you know, what’s on the news and all of the things that we’re hearing all the time, I just really wanted to create a space where people could come and learn the strategies that would really help them to really make 2021 the best year for their blog. So the summit is going to be running from October 26th through October 29th, 2020. Um, the whole thing is virtual. We’re going to have, it’s four to five sessions each day that are anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes. We also have a couple of workshop style presentations that are going to be a little bit longer in length. So Megan is doing one of those to just really get clear on getting more productive with your time and, um, just really setting that intention for your business. Um, so those are going to be a little bit longer, but they’re really meant to, those workshop ones specifically, Are meant to have you really walk through a process to at the end of the presentation, have something already done. So it’s not going to be the type of event where you come and then you leave with a list of a hundred things to do. Really the intention behind all of these presentations is that by the end of it, you have done something or you have taken, you know, your first step towards something. And so, um, yeah, the whole thing is virtual. It’s very casual in terms of like show up in your PJ’s no, one’s going to see you. Um, but there’s a lot of just community elements of it. We’ve got a pop-up Facebook group where we’re going to have the speakers in. And so you can ask your questions there. We’re having a live chat that runs during every presentation. So you can really connect with the speakers and they can be fully focused on answering your questions because their presentation is pre recorded. Um, we’re going to have things like bonuses and prizes and just all kinds of fun things just to make this a really fun week, but a week of learning different strategies. But again, filtering those through that idea of where are you focused right now? And where are you trying to take your food blog and go? Um, I’m going to have a fun, interactive quiz that you can take where it’ll help you really figure out the best presentations for you to go to, so that you can really spend your time most efficiently and again, not leave the Summit week just feeling more overwhelmed than you were when you got there, because I have experienced that so many times with attending events, and that’s not what I want for you. I want for you to really walk away with clarity and with some action steps that you can implement right away, and really start to see your food blog grow because you know where you want to take them.

Megan Porta:

I think we’ve all experienced that overwhelm after going to a conference, whether it was virtual or in person, we get home and we have this humungus list of things that we need to do. And it’s so much that I think some people actually freeze and don’t do anything. So I, I know me too, many times, so I absolutely love that you are putting a focus on doing things during the workshops and the presentation so that people don’t feel like, you know, they’re just super overwhelmed. And I feel like it gets some momentum going because that whole thing, like an object in motion stays in motion. So if you start it there, you’re going to continue it instead of like, well I have to start it on my, on my own later. And I also love that you’re putting a focus on not encouraging people to attend every session. Pick the ones that align with you and your business and go to those. So tell me more about that quiz. I love the idea of just going through a quiz, that tells you what you need to attend or how does that work?

Madison Wetherill:

Yeah. So basically you just answered some questions about just kind of where your focus is at. So, like for example, if you know, you’re really focused on growing your traffic questions that will kind of lead you to that end result and then it’ll show you, okay, here are the presentations on growing your traffic or growing your audience. Um, maybe, you know food photography is your focus right now. And then, so by answering some questions about, you know, what you’re learning about, what you want to learn about, who you’re most interested to hear from those kinds of things that you’ll get to that end result. So that’s going to be on the schedule page. So once you sign up for your free ticket, cause we didn’t mention that, it is a totally free event. Um, once you sign up for your free ticket, you can see the schedule page, you can see what times all the presentations are, and then you can also take that quiz to figure out, you know, which presentations are best for you. Because again, there’s 20 presentations over four days and that is a lot of content to take in. So the other thing that I would really encourage you is, after you sign up, you’re going to get an offer for our all access pass, which is going to give you lifetime access to the presentations and a ton of other resources and bonuses from the speakers. So I would definitely recommend looking into that because again, my goal for this is that you do not go to all 20 presentations and I know it’s very tempting to do that, but if you get the all access pass, you’ll be able to go to them later on. You’ll be able to like focus on one thing for 90 days and then come back and learn about, you know, Pinterest next or something like that. So definitely recommend checking that out.

Megan Porta:

It’s 100% virtual, 100% free and it’s happening October 26th through the 29th. How do people sign up?

Madison Wetherill:

You can either go over to the Food Blogger summit, or I know Megan’s going to put her affiliate link in the show notes for this episode. So that’s probably the easiest way to get to it. Um, so once you sign up, you’ll be added to the list, you’ll get all the details sent to your inbox and you’ll see that offer for the all access pass at the lowest price that you can get it at. Um, but you know, you don’t have to get the all access pass. You can just attend and catch those presentations. They’re live for the first 24 hours. And then after that, the lifetime access is there as well. So, that’s how you would get signed up. And then I definitely recommend joining our Facebook group cause that’s really where we’re going to be connecting and getting to know each other and connecting with the speakers. So if you really are craving connection this year, which I think most of us are, then that is really the place to be.

Megan Porta:

I’m excited for it, Madison and I’m excited to be, um, giving a presentation too, and I feel extremely passionate about what I’m going to be talking about because I kind of alluded to this earlier, but this year has just brought about some new clarity for me and my business and in my personal life. And it’s kind of all come together to, um, kind of finish off this formula that I’ve been working on for years. The last piece of the puzzle just came to me this year. Thank you, quarantine. I know it’s been a tough year for everybody, but I’ve been like secretly grateful because it really did bring clarify to my business in a new way. And I feel like I’m happier than I’ve ever been probably in my adult life, which is so weird. I almost feel guilty saying that, but it’s so true. And it’s because of just this last piece of the puzzle. So if you guys are interested in just setting goals and doing more in less time, which I think is something that we all want to do, come listen to my presentation and do my workshop. We’re going to do some hands on stuff like Madison talked about, so that you can actually get some goals set on paper, put them in your calendar while we’re together so that later it’s already done, you can just roll with that momentum. So I’m super excited about it. I feel really passionately about helping people be more productive and get more done in less time, but not killing themselves too. So I can’t wait for it.

Madison Wetherill:

Yeah. I think that’s so important. And you know, that’s, that’s really the thing about the speakers that I love too, is each of these speakers are food blogging experts, but they are talking about the thing that they are most passionate about. So that’s, and that really comes out in the presentations. I’ve seen a handful of them come in already and they are just so good. And the speakers are really giving their all in there. This is not the type of presentation you’re going to come to and then at the end, they’re going to say, well, I’m glad that you want to learn all of this. Here’s my paid product that you have to buy to get it. You are really learning it in the presentation and it’s such a natural fit for you to want to keep following along with that presenter. But it is not one of those presentations where it’s just a big pitch at the end. You really are going to get such valuable information. And each of these speakers is just so good. And I’m so thankful that they’re a part of this. Um, do you want me to run through just like a couple of the?

Megan Porta:

Yeah, go for it!

Madison Wetherill:

So, one of the I’ll just run through like a couple of them. So Jason Logsdon, he’s going to be talking about exploring creative ways to make money from your blog. We have Jenna Carlin, who’s going to be talking about finding your photographic style. Um, Miley Lucas is going to be talking about personal branding and building your business that way. Sally Ekis is going to be talking about how to work with a literary agent and get published. And we’ve got Matt Mullen talking about email marketing. Megan Williamson, talking about Pinterest. Jenny Melrose, talking about attracting your dream audience and selling on Instagram. And then we have Marie Feebach, who’s talking about cooking on local TV and why local stations need you. We just have so many amazing presentations there. Like I said, there’s 20 of them. So I can’t go through them all. We’ve got a Tye Kilgore talking about keyword mapping. That’s actually going to be a workshop where you walk through learning how to do keyword research. So I just, I cannot wait. It’s going to be so good. I’m going to be watching all 20 presentations even though, you know, I don’t recommend it, but.

Megan Porta:

Oh, you said some really great names there. I absolutely love Jason Logsdon. He is full of information, such quality information. Also, Jenna Carlin, I didn’t know she was going to be part of that, but I love her. She’s an incredible photographer and she has a really great story too. And Matt Mullen, I mean, everyone loves Matt. He’s like the email marketing guru. He helps so many food bloggers. So I’m excited Madison, this is going to be amazing! What an incredible summit you’ve put together.

Madison Wetherill:

Yeah, so I’m so excited about it. And I really just, I hope that everybody signs up for it and at least, you know, even if you sign up, and you watch one presentation, I promise you, you’re going to be able to take something and implement it into your business and see growth and change. And so, like we said, the link for the, Food Blogger Summit will be in Megan’s shownotes and definitely use that one so that we can know that she sent you over. Um, we’re just so excited about it and I can’t wait to see all of you guys there. And again, thanks for letting me come on and chat about it.

Megan Porta:

Yeah. Thanks for being here. And Madison referred to the show notes. So if you guys want to go there and sign up for the summit to do it, you can find the show notes at Eatblogtalk.com/graceandvine. That’s Madison’s website. And Madison, I think we all know, but why don’t you just remind everyone where they can find you online? \.

Madison Wetherill:

Yeah, definitely. So I am most active on Instagram, mostly Instagram stories. Um, I have a love, hate relationship with Instagram. Like I think most people do. Um, but so you can go and connect with me there over at Grace and Vine and you can definitely check out my website, Grace and Vine studios. Um, if you join the Food Blogger Summit, you will definitely be seeing a lot of me there and getting to know me there. So that’s definitely the best way to connect with me over the next month or so.

Megan Porta:

Awesome. Well, is there anything we should mention before we say goodbye or did we cover it all Madison?

Madison Wetherill:

I think we covered it all, but I just, I really hope that anyone that comes to this event just comes to it with kind of an open perspective on just learning the right things for their business and being willing to cut out the busy work, the things that are not moving your business forward. And I truly think that this event, this four day event is really going to help you to do that. And, um, I’m happy to chat with anybody who is feeling overwhelmed and stuck. I’ve been there myself and it’s not a fun place to be. So I really hope that if that’s you, that you will come and you will get as much out of this week as you can and come out on the other side, just full of energy and ready to just tackle 2021 for your blog.

Megan Porta:

That’s such awesome stuff. I’m so excited for it. And thanks again for being here, Madison, and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.

Intro:

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

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Megan
Megan

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

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