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Episode 104: How To Create Foodie Courses With Jason Logsdon

In episode 104 we talk with Jason Logsdon of Amazing Food Made Easy about creating free or paid courses for our audience.

We cover want your audiences wants and needs from you, the options available to you on how to package your content and what goes into launching and marketing your product.

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

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Bio
Jason Logsdon is a best selling author, public speaker and passionate home cook who loves to try new things, exploring everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to blow torches, foams, spheres and infusions. He has published 14 cookbooks which have sold more than 50,000 copies. He runs AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com, one of the largest sous vide and modernist cooking websites, Makin’ Bacon, a website dedicated to helping bloggers succeed, and is the president of the International Sous Vide Association. He has been blogging for over a decade and making his living full time as a blogger for the last 6 years.

Takeaways

  • Figuring out what to offer your audience in a cooking course is much like finding a physical problem you need to offer an answer to a question your audience asks.
  • You can teach in person, you can make video courses and you can send content via email, etc. 
  • You’ll be successful when you put the least amount of work that you can do to get something valuable out there and then grow once you get a reaction. (proof of concept)
  • Take what you have, what you offer that’s wanted and then package it in a way that someone would want to buy because it’s a specific to a problem that a reader has. 
  • Comb through your own website’s popular pages. Once you find 3-5, come up with a lead magnet related to those pages. Make a 1 page guide for each popular page you’ve identified. Package it in an interesting way. Publish it to your top pages and see which lead magnet is driving more traffic, then turn that into a course. 
  • When most people picture Cooking Courses, they picture Gordon Ramsey. But this is not who you are competing with! 
  • You can provide massive value to your fans when you drill down to what’s needed and wanted.
  • Some of your audience will want an overview of a topic, some will want to dive in a little more and then will desire a deep dive and are willing to pay money for your expertise. 
  • Formats to deliver your topic – creating 5-6 minute videos are easily sent out individually. It gives you more content to expound on. These short videos or articles are digestible for your audience and they can even hop around so they can pick and choose what they are interested in.
  • Paid courses – Teachable is a good program you can use to sell your course. Then try to find a range your audience is willing to pay and adjust in increments until you are successful.

Takeaways

Amazing Food Made Easy

Makin’ Bacon

Makin’ Bacon on YouTube

Makin’ Bacon Podcast Episodes

Free Sous Vide Quick Start

Paid Sous Vide Made Easy

Sous Vide Ruler:

• Guide: http://www.amazingfoodmadeeasy.com/info/modernist-cooking-blog/more/sous-vide-cooking-times-by-thickness
•Downloadable: https://www.amazingfoodmadeeasy.com/info/exploring-sous-vide-email-course/more/cooking-sous-vide-thickness-ruler

• Plastic: https://www.amazingfoodmadeeasy.com/pages/sous-vide-timing-ruler

My Books

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. Don’t forget to check out the food blogging forum style community that we started over at forum.eatblogtalk.com. Finally, there’s one place that we can all convene and talk and that isn’t scattered all over Facebook. Here are the things that I am loving about it. It is free. It also allows for categorized discussions on all food blogging topics, and there’s a category for sharing successes, AKA self promotion. So no more holding back about discussing your big wins and things that you’re promoting. Also, everything is in one single spot. So no hopping around from group to group, and there’s an amazing opportunity to network and really get to know your fellow food bloggers in a single place. So come join the discussions that are going on over at forum.eatblogtalk.com. And I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Don’t forget. Forum.Eatblogtalk.Com.

Megan Porta:

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 the 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 talking to Jason from amazingfoodmadeeasy.com and we will talk about creating cooking courses as a way to diversify. Jason Logsdon is a best-selling author, public speaker and passionate home cook, who loves to try new things, exploring everything from sous vide and whipping siphons. I don’t even know what that is to blow torches, foams, spheres, and infusions. He has published 14 cookbooks, which have sold more than 58 thousand copies. Wow. He runs amazingfoodmadeeasy.com. One of the largest sous vide and modernist cooking websites. Makin Bacon, a website dedicated to helping bloggers succeed. And he is the president of the International Sous Vide Association. He has been blogging for over a decade and making his living full-time as a blogger for the last six years. Okay. Jason Wow, all of that is like super impressive and intriguing. And I’m really excited to talk to you, but first give us a quick fun fact about yourself.

Jason Logsdon:

Well, thank you for having me on, I think there’s several things I was trying to decide between for fun facts. It’s such an open category, but I thought I’d go with one that’s helped me out in my career a lot as well. And that’s what I do; Improv in New York City. I got a gig at one of the conferences that I was going to speak at. And I was like, awesome. I’m going to be doing an hour long presentation. And besides understanding how to present and feeling horribly nervous in front of audiences, you know, I’m really ready for this. So I took a few different speech classes and one of them ended up going into some improv techniques and I fell in love with it. And now I’m on an indie improv team and I regularly perform in Manhattan at some of the improv theaters. And it’s something that I with no acting background, never would have thought that I did, but it has helped me in so many different facets from being able to do public presentations from networking at conferences. You know, if you can step out on stage and make up a world with somebody else, you can generally have a conversation about the weather at a conference. So it’s something that I’ve really enjoyed. And I actually recommend it to pretty much anyone that wants to feel a little more comfortable in their own skin.

Megan Porta:

That is so amazing. So I do some videos just recording me talking and I have a videographer who comes in and helps me do that. And she does like my editing and I’m kind of awkward sometimes, you know, she’s way too nice to ever say that, but she actually recommended that for me. She was like, have you ever thought about taking an improv class? And I would never have thought of that. So she actually looked it up and she’s like, there’s a few here in Minneapolis. You know, you could definitely take it, but what a great idea. And yeah, like if you can get up on stage in front of people and create a fake world and do, I mean, you guys are magic, you guys are so awesome. Then you can do anything. You can approach someone at a conference and talk to them. So I love that. I love that it’s helped you so much. And also that you love it so much. That’s so cool.

Jason Logsdon:

One of my big takeaways from it too, was that I think as people, we have this voice in our head all the time, that when you’re trying to do something that you aren’t that comfortable with, or you haven’t done before, that it’s saying, Oh, this is going to go really bad. You probably shouldn’t do this. And it’s something we listened to, I think way too often as people and as bloggers. And with Improv, I was terrified the first, probably two years I was doing Improv every time I stepped out to do a scene. And so I just got really adept at hearing that voice and being like, yeah, you’re right. This might go horrible. Here we go. And stepping out. So now when it, you know, should I post this blog post? Should I go on a podcast? Should I do a live video interview? And that voice goes, this could go really wrong. You might not want to do it. Like, you’re right. Well, here we go. We’re doing it anyway.

Megan Porta:

Right, and that voice can so often talk me into doing a terrible job. If I listen to it, I just flop everything. I start stumbling over my words, but being able to just push it aside and say, I am going to kill this. Get out of my way, is so huge, I think.

Jason Logsdon:

One of the other neat things from it too, is that you do screw up a lot when you’re learning. And you start to realize that you go through this horribly awkward minute of just complete failure and no one else cares. No one else. They’re like, Oh, I’d never remember that from an hour ago, I was worried about what I was doing. And you’re like, Oh, no one actually cares. I’m my hardest critic. No one else is. So all those things kind of together at least helped me in a lot of different ways as a very strong introvert. It’s made me a lot more comfortable getting out there and doing a lot of stuff.

Megan Porta:

Oh, well you just inspired me to look that up, well, when the world is functioning again, maybe I’ll look up the Improv scene here in Minneapolis. Well, that is great. But Jason, you are here today to talk about creating cooking courses. And I just love reading through your bio. You have tapped into so much in the foodie world and it’s all just inspiring and impressive, but let’s talk about creating those cooking courses because I see this all the time. There are endless possibilities for food bloggers, and I know you agree with this because you’ve tapped into so much. So if a food blogger has a desire to branch out in this way, by doing some variety of cooking courses, would you start by just telling us how we go about doing this?

Jason Logsdon:

Yep. I’m a big believer in starting small and starting simple and working your way up to bigger things. And I think cooking courses provide a lot of opportunities to do that. You know, cooking courses just fall in line so much with what we do as food bloggers; that we are writing recipes, we’re teaching our fans how to accomplish something. And that’s really all a cooking course is. I think the easiest topic is choosing something that is kind of discreet like that you can simplify down into a physical problem. So it’s not, you know, 25 cake recipes. It’s how do you make a perfect layer cake? Something that there is an answer to. And all you do is come up with content for that. And that is your course. We can go into the different types of courses and the different ways to use them. But if you have that concept of, you know, one that I did was for a sous vide machine. So it’s, you got your sous vide machine in the mail. You don’t know how to use it. My course was designed to take you from that point to having cooked a steak and understanding how it worked. Once you have that concept, you can teach that to someone in person. You can teach that to someone through written emails, through video courses. So many different options of teaching that very specific content. And that’s where courses come in. You can start with just an email series that’s written, that’s simple to put together and there’s very low stress and you can work your way up to doing a live seminar in front of people on Facebook live or other social media platforms, but you can move at your own pace, how you feel comfortable.

Megan Porta:

I like that concept of just going back to the simple basics and starting with one little tiny thing, because do you find this? I find that when I do that and I focus in on a really simple, specific piece of something that almost every single time when I’m done, the next step is super obvious. Like, okay, I did that and now I know I need to move on to, so you did layer cakes. Now I know I need to talk about decorating or whatever. Like each step is going to bring you closer to other ideas. Do you find that too?

Jason Logsdon:

Yeah, I think that’s completely true. I think part of that is you get to really focus on that content a little bit better instead of the overall picture, you’re focused on something specific. Then when you’re doing anything that gets in front of people, you’re now getting their input and you’ll start to hear people say, okay, I did your layer cake, which I loved, but I really struggled with this aspect. I’d like to move it on to this new type of domain. There is another course or there is another guide and you’re just building your audience and providing more content for them, which is a great way to make more money because you already have built in fans and customers for new products.

Megan Porta:

So really listening to your people is a great way to start. What are your people asking you? What are they sending you messages about? What are they emailing you about? For so many years, I’ve been blogging for 10 years also. And for so many of those years, I wasn’t listening and people would send me emails all the time. Well, you know what? I would answer it. I should probably listen to what they’re saying. Once I started doing that, it was a game changer because I knew exactly what they wanted me to deliver. I started doing that. So I think this can go for courses as well. If you’re unsure about what to start with, do you start with a layer cake or do you start with something else simple. Listen to what your people are asking you.

Jason Logsdon:

Yeah. I think that’s such a great insight and they talk about a lot when you’re doing marketing of products, that in your sales page and your sales copy, you should talk to your customers and use the exact language that they’re using to help sell stuff to them. That makes sense. You’re trying to meet their needs, but I’ve really tried to take that concept just for developing content in general. That if I go to my Facebook group and everyone is saying, you know, how do I cook a brisket? Do I smoke first? Or after? The third or fourth or 10th time I see someone ask, how do I smoke a brisket with sous vide? I know that I should probably write an article about this and go into it because a lot of people have this question.

Megan Porta:

Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think it’s like a lot of us don’t go into the blogging game knowing this, or having this at the top of our minds. We need to be really leaning in and listening closely. I do think that is a really important element of it. So if we determine a topic, let’s say my readers are asking me about how to make simple spaghetti sauce. I create a video series or maybe just a video, a simple video on how to do this, simply with just a few ingredients. What do I do with it? Do I start asking people to pay me for it? Do I offer that for free? What are your thoughts?

Jason Logsdon:

This goes back kind of combining the last two things we’ve talked about is, I highly recommend starting simple. So that’s simple spaghetti sauce that you think people are asking about. I would put together a really good article about creating simple spaghetti sauce and see what type of reaction there is to that. If you get a good reaction from your fans, then you can start growing it out a little bit more, maybe make some videos around it or turn it into a longer series. I’ve had a lot of amazing ideas that I spent a lot of time putting together that no one cared about. That’s all wasted time. I’ve had much more success when I’ve done things, basically the least amount of work that I could do to get something valuable out there. Then the ones that people are reacting to, I can start putting more time and energy into those as I grow them.

Megan Porta:

That is such great advice. I love that because I too, Jason, Oh my gosh. I cannot even tell you how many projects I have poured my heart and soul and time and energy into. And then I put it out there, like everyone’s going to love this. Nobody loves it because I didn’t put in that time to figure out the, I think, what do they call it? Proof of concept, right? You need to figure out first that people are going to devour it and love it. And then go in, dive in further. So putting an article out there, and if people are loving that, then going further, create a free video, and then maybe if people love your free video and it goes crazy on YouTube, then launch into paid, right?

Jason Logsdon:

Yep. I’ve done this several times and it’s, most of my successful stuff has come out through that. We have a product called our Souvi timing ruler. When you get into sous vide and you’re just getting started, whenever you cook anything tender, you need to basically measure how thick it is and then you know, how long to cook it. So when I got started 10 years ago in sous vide, there was nothing really out there. So we put together just a little page that said, Hey, if you measure it, here’s how long you need to cook it for. And I was like, Oh, this is one of the most popular pages on our website. What if I turned it into a lead magnet? So we came up with a printable version of that that could download, just a PDF printed out at home, drove a ton of traffic, a ton of sign ups, made a little bit more detailed guide to it on our website, which then turned into one of our most popular pages. We’re like, Hey, you know that you print out a PDF and then you get meat juice on your paper and it’s just getting wrinkled and what can we do to solve this? We found a company that prints on plastic. So we printed out plastic machine washable rulers that now you can purchase from us and hold up to your food.

Megan Porta:

Brilliant.

Jason Logsdon:

It’s just one of those things that it’s still a huge lead magnet for the free one. It’s still a hugely popular page on our website. None of our previous effort was wasted and it’s still very popular at those levels. Now some percent of those people that got the lead magnet or view that page on the website also purchase a physical product from us.

Megan Porta:

That is so smart. Okay. So what if somebody, because you’re talking to food bloggers, who don’t necessarily have products, or you talk more about instructions and that’s kind of where your expertise lies. Like the sous vide not many people know about sous vide. I know nothing about it. So I mean, if I launched into your content, I would probably want, what is this? How do I go about cooking with this? So what if somebody has just recipes, like for me, my comfort food recipes are super popular. I know that’s what people want from me. So how do I take something like that and turn it into more?

Jason Logsdon:

I think it’s good to try to package it into something that is, that does solve a problem. So for comfort food, it could just be, you know, seven comfort food meals that are like a week worth of comfort food that’s going to make you feel good. Package it and something that wouldn’t be something, someone could look up on YouTube. A lot of my courses that have been just recipes or just, here’s a bunch of whipping siphon recipes don’t do as well as something that’s solving a problem that a reader has. That’s outside of just something they can Google quickly. Take a handful of recipes and show how to make them with a few ingredients or something like that, how to make these simply and quickly. So thinking through not just the recipe, but overall, what are people wanting from you and how can you solve a problem for them?

Jason Logsdon:

Yep. And if you could group them together in some way, not knowing specifically what your specific niche is outside of comfort foods, but if you could package them together as, it’s healthy comfort food and that’s a focus, it could be, you know, here’s 15 comfort foods reinvented with cauliflower instead of rice, or if it’s really like taking old school comfort foods and making them upscale, it could be, here’s how you make your traditional comfort foods, moderate and upscale for your next dinner party. Something like that, that people would read it. They’d say, I love comfort foods. I like having dinner parties. I’d like to learn more about this, but they wouldn’t have just said like, Oh, how do I make a comfort food?

Megan Porta:

Yeah. That makes sense. You could even do something like a guide or, you know, something that people could even just download onto their computer and look at and use that as an email opt in and test with that. Don’t you think like, which opt-ins are doing better than others?

Jason Logsdon:

Yeah. I think it’s, if you’re starting this and you’re like, I’d like to do a course, I don’t know quite what I would suggest find some of the most popular pages on your site that, you know, what are people going to, try to come up with a lead magnet based around that specific page, that is a one page guide of some kind. That is kind of packaging that in an interesting way. Put it out for like five of your top pages that you think has some potential and then see which one of those lead magnets is driving more traffic. And then turn that into a course. One of our big courses is the sous vide quick start course. It’s seven emails. Someone that doesn’t understand sous vide signs up, they get one email a day using just a normal email autoresponder. We use MailerLite. All the content is in the email. So it’s all text with a little bit of images, that’s it. And they get one email a day from me that kind of steps them through, very simply, what they need to know. Each email also has a, hey, if you want to dive into this a little more deeply, here’s a link to a page on my site that covers that. So it’s a good way to kind of share with these new people, what I have on my site, the type of information that I cover cause they’re not going to know that, most of them came in from Google and don’t know me and don’t know my site. So it was a great way to kind of build trust, share what’s on my site. It’s seven short emails of content that I took, content that existed on my website. You know, I’d take a fancy chicken recipe and I would distill it down into the basics and that’s in this course. So it took maybe two days worth of effort to rewrite a little bit of this content in a simple format, another day to put it into the autoresponder and create a sales page for it. That was it. I’ve had a course that has been driving a lot of signups to my newsletter and creating a lot of new fans for my content.

Megan Porta:

I think people get overwhelmed by just starting something like that. But like you mentioned, it’s really not that much work. It doesn’t take you much time to set up a little quick start guide email series and it can be so revealing, right? I mean, you can learn so much about what your audience and the people coming to your site want and need and want to learn about just from doing that. So I think there’s such power in tapping into email to figure that out.

Jason Logsdon:

I think a lot of people think of a cooking course and we picture masterclass with Gordon Ramsey or Thomas Keller teaching, you know, this amazing production quality and these top of the line dishes. And they think, I can’t do that. You probably can’t, but you’re not competing with them. You’re talking to a very different audience. You’re competing on a very different level. If you’re being authentic and being yourself and covering the information that people are coming to your website to get answers to, then an email course can be just as valuable as the Thomas Keller masterclass that has all this kind of bells and whistles, but it doesn’t really teach what your audience wants. So don’t be intimidated and you can start small and you can grow this and still provide massive value to your fans without having to go above and beyond to do all these kinds of crazy things.

Megan Porta:

I completely agree with that. So let’s say somebody figures out, they tap into what their audience is wanting from them. They have a great guide or something that kind of translates well into a starter course. Where do they go from there? Do they start with like a free course and then go paid? Or what do you have, like a structure or series that you typically go through?

Jason Logsdon:

If you find something that works well, it’s good to fill out the entire spectrum of that topic. So like the timing ruler that I talked about, we had a webpage on our site. We had a lead magnet that people also download and then we have a paid product. Our quick start course, we have a lot of content on our website about how to get involved in sous vide and for new people and then we have the lead magnet that they can download and it’s that seven course just from emails. Then we have the sous vide made easy video course we’ve put together that’s about 30 videos and it’s a $50 paid course, but some percent of the people that go to our website for content, for newsletters, sign up for the lead magnet and some percent of those then end up paying for the full course. So I think it’s good to kind of have these chains when you find something that does work well to kind of try to hit all aspects of it. Some people just want an overview. Some people want to dive in a little bit more, and then there’s a few people that want, you know, the full kind of the whole enchilada, if you will, to really dive in deeper, are willing to pay money for that.

Megan Porta:

So really offering just a selection of variety, because like you said, not everybody is going to want the same thing from the information that you provide. So just covering all your bases. I love that you also offer a product based on the information that you’re providing. I think that is something that not a lot of food bloggers do and it doesn’t always apply. It wouldn’t really apply for me, but I know some people go into it selling spices or rubs or, I mean, it just is a matter of stepping back and thinking through all of that, after you figure out what people are really wanting from you.

Jason Logsdon:

I think going back to your earlier point, that you can find a lot of these products and a lot of these services by listening to your readers. You know, you have these fans and if they keep saying, Oh, what spice rub do you use on your sous vide steak? You keep hearing this, maybe come up with this spice rub that you could sell to people cause they obviously want this and it’s really not doing anything sneaky or disingenuous. All you’re doing is listening to your fans, finding problems that they have and solving them for them. And if you do that, they’re going to be more than happy to give you money.

Megan Porta:

Yeah. It’s really so simple, right? I mean, the concept is simple, but yet it’s not simple. It’s so hard, but it’s really, it’s very simple.

Jason Logsdon:

It’s like chess right there. The rules are easy, but once you actually sit down and try to figure it out, it’s harder.

Megan Porta:

When you put all the rules together and it’s really confusing. Oh, chess. Yeah. okay. So there are different ways to deliver courses,, like different formats, to deliver courses. So can you talk us through some of those because you can do, like you can sell a one single video, correct? Or you could do a series of videos. What are your thoughts on that?

Jason Logsdon:

A lot of it does depend on your topic and your audience. I personally think doing several videos would be in general, seems to provide more value than a single video. That if you have the exact same amount of content, and instead of one 30 minute video, you can do five, six minute videos. They’d probably find more value in the six videos. And a lot of people struggle to sit through an hour or something of direct content. Trying to save where they are in the video or in the articles so they know where to come back, like it ends up becoming a little overwhelming for them. Or if you say here’s the six things you need to know about planning your next comfort food party, and you can click on the video that you want to get information about that specific topic, that’s going to be easier for them to digest and kind of dive into it.

Megan Porta:

And they can move through it at their own pace.

Jason Logsdon:

Yup. Yeah. I tried to make most of my courses, unless it’s like the sous vide, that’s very specific, that you have to follow one step after another, in general, if it’s not like that, I try to make it so you can hop around to any lesson. In our bigger 30 episode video course, I do have it that you can say, Oh, I want infusions and that’s video 20, but you can click on that. It’s going to give you what you need to know to accomplish that lesson. So that way people can really pick and choose what they’re interested in.

Megan Porta:

People like options, right? If it’s, if it applies.

Jason Logsdon:

Yes, definitely. And you talked about how to actually deliver these. In my opinion, I think the best ways are, you know, you can have kind of an article or a series of articles on your site is the easiest method to put something out there, to get some reaction to. The next easiest is to put together an email autoresponder. If you have a mailing list, which you should, it’s probably the most valuable asset you can have as a blogger. Then your program probably has some sort of automation; either an autoresponder, or I think in mailer light, it’s just a automation series. You can set it up in there just like you would set up a newsletter, it’s very quick and easy to do. Then if you want to move on, especially to paid courses, there’s several programs out there. I use teachable for ours and it’s just a plug and play software out there that you sign up on their website, you upload your articles or videos, depending on what you want, tell them how much you want to charge. They do all the membership and collect the money and handle that whole kind of hairy process that you probably don’t want to handle on your own.

Megan Porta:

Yeah, for sure. So, okay. So I have a fake scenario. It maybe is partially true for me. So I created a, well we’re in the process of creating this video series about the Instant Pot, because I’ve gotten a lot of traction for the Instant Pot over the past year. I’ve created a lot of recipes. People are loving them, they keep asking questions, like, what is this button for? How do I, you know, so I was getting all of those questions and I started listening like, okay, people really want to know how to use their Instant Pot so they can best utilize it. So we created this series about what the buttons mean and how to put the lid on and what the steam release function is. And then we go through a handful of recipes. So we’re kind of wrapping that up right now and getting it edited. I’m just trying to decide what the best way to deliver that to my audience. Do you recommend sending an email? Just asking people if they’re interested, providing them information about the Instant Pot and maybe highlighting something from each section that we put together and then selling at the end, or how do I do that?

Jason Logsdon:

You, you said you have all the content kind of put together and it will be ready shortly, right?

Megan Porta:

Yes.

Jason Logsdon:

Is it video or written content?

Megan Porta:

It’s all video.

Jason Logsdon:

So what I would do, if I was going for the entire launch, you kind of know what your end product is now. You have a video course with all these videos and all this content. I would package that on something like teachable or I think Kajabi is the other one that a lot of people use, and I would set up a video course. You can try to figure out what price your audience would pay. And I would sell that as a full product. I would then look at that content and say, what is a smaller journey that some percent of the people that would want to buy this course would want, need to go on to kind of become interested in it. And that’s probably going to be about five to seven different lessons. And I would pull out the content for those specific lessons. And you might be able to reuse the exact same content or do a slightly simplified version of that. And I’d put that together in an email autoresponder, a lead magnet. So you’re still providing content. This isn’t just a, here’s this neat course I have, you should buy it. It’s, you say, I’m going to answer this question for you. Then over the next four to seven emails, you answer that question. Then by the end of it, you say, Oh, and if you liked this content and you want to get some more, because you might be interested in this other question, that’s a little more in depth. I have this class that you might want to take.

Megan Porta:

Kind of teasing what the rest of the information is, the rest of the content. So if you really enjoyed this, then here’s what else we have to offer you within the course.

Jason Logsdon:

Yup. Like our sous vide quick-start course is, the whole thing is 10 emails. The first seven of them never mentioned the paid course. It’s only focused on solving that problem that we promised we were going to deliver with that course. Then the last three emails kind of bridge the free course to the pay course. So people are interested in it, but I’m still providing tremendous value to the people that never pay for the course, because that’s very critical because these are new people in a lot of cases that you’re trying to turn into fans first and foremost, and you don’t want to try to push or sell something that’s not going to help them, at least in my opinion.

Megan Porta:

It’s kind of a turnoff right? To get email, number one, people are trying to push a sale. I just feel like that’s so insincere and in such a turnoff in so many ways, I think for so many people. So to kind of give them value first, and then as you’re wrapping up, you can mention this course that has even more information that’s going to help you. It’s going to solve some problems for you. So that really helped me kind of think through that. Thank you for talking me through that. I hope that it helps other people too.

Jason Logsdon:

You have a lot of that content out there too, you can release some of it as articles on your website or as YouTube videos to kind of use it as a way to bring in new readers, either through SEO or just through your normal community. Then you can promote your free lead magnet on that. That’s kind of the beginning of the chain, that you’re providing free content. And then you have the free email lead magnet course. Then you have the paid course at the end.

Megan Porta:

So you recommend taking bits from the actual course and putting that up in other places, or are you talking about something different, like taking entirely different content and using it as a way to drive.

Jason Logsdon:

You can handle it either way. You don’t want your whole course out there. You know, in general, you can have some content out there which is fine. I think of our sous vide Thanksgiving course, I released six of the 20 videos on YouTube and on my website to give people a preview of what the course looks like. Then I had another five or six articles that weren’t the same content, but kind of address the same, same topic. So the same type of people would go there that were interested in the course.

Megan Porta:

That’s a great idea because it really hopefully does draw people in. If you, if you did it well and you answered some questions and solved problems well, people are going to want to keep with you on the journey. So I’m not sure how many modules we have, but I mean, it could be worthwhile to release the first one or two and just see how people are receiving it. If that draws people into the rest of them.

Jason Logsdon:

Especially when you’re just getting started with this type of, whenever you, whenever you do a new thing that your audience doesn’t know, they never quite know what to expect. It’s a good way to show, Hey, here’s what I look like doing this. If you’re interested in it, then why don’t you check out a little bit more versus them just kind of taking a leap of faith, which some percent of them will, if you have cultivated these fans, but some percent of them will be like, I dunno, I read your recipes, but I’ve never seen you on video before. If you can kind of show them, Hey, I do look good on video. I’m well-spoken, I know what I’m talking about. They’ll be like, okay, I’m now willing to make that leap with you.

Megan Porta:

That’s a really great point. So how do you find a price point? If you have a paid course, how do you test those waters and land on a price.

Jason Logsdon:

Throw darts at a wall.Pricing is the hardest thing, in my opinion, to figure out that, it’s the only real way to do pricing is to do a lot of research and then do a ton of AB testing and split testing and narrow it down. That’s not something that I really enjoy. So I try to usually just pick something that I think is in the range of what my fans are willing to pay. I’ll tweak it in pretty large increments if I seem to be off or in either direction. But most of my courses are $50. Most of our sales are for about $25 or $20 to try to get it below the kind of, not having to think about it price point for a lot of a lot of my fans. But it’s, it’s very, very hard to just have a blanket price. You need to just put stuff out there and see what people are responding to. Luckily with things like Facebook ads, or even a lot of the newsletter programs, you can do split testing. If you’re in MailChimp or Convert Kit, you can send half your audience an email that says, Hey, I have this new course. It’s $50, send the other half the exact same email that says, hey, this new course is $20 and see how the purchases compare and which one makes more money or it gets more signups, depending what you’re interested in.

Megan Porta:

I’m so with you, I, I hate that part of it. And I feel like I struggle so much, like there’s such a range in my head about what I could charge for a course, like the one that we’re putting together right now. But I like your recommendation just to go with something or even just do testing and move it from there, like as needed. Do you do like coupons or discounts or anything like that or do you just kind of stick to one price?

Jason Logsdon:

I don’t do big discounts announced multiple times throughout the year. Cause I don’t want my fans to wait for a discount to show up. I will have launch discounts when we first come out with a new product. I have a lot of, if we’re running Facebook ads, which we experiment around with a little bit, but especially with like people that sign up for the quick-start course, the emails that mention the paid course talk about that I’m offering them a 50% discount because they went through the quick-start course. So I will offer discounts like that as motivating tactics to get a sale. I don’t just say here’s our Easter sale. Here’s our black Friday sale. Some people do that, but it seems like a lot of work to kind of make less money. I’d rather just charge less and let my fans know that I’m always charging less.

Megan Porta:

Because otherwise people would wait around, Oh, he always gives a discount on black Friday. I’m going to hold out and you don’t want that.

Jason Logsdon:

When you’re looking at pricing too, I think it helps to know what you’re trying to accomplish. And that sounds kind of silly. You’re just trying to make as much money, right? You can have very different goals that if you are putting out a kind of an elite product that is only for the best of the best of your fans, then maybe you don’t care if a lot of people can’t afford it. You are only looking for 10 or 20 people that are those types of people that are willing to do something really big. You know, maybe this is a one-on-one or a 10 on one cooking class that you’re going to host and they have all this access to you. And your niche is, you know, professional bakers or someone that your time is really, really valuable to. You can overcharge on that because you need 10 people out of your 10,000 fans to sign up for. But if you’re doing this as something that is for people that are just getting into this type of thing, they’re probably not going to have heard of me before. I have a few cookbooks and a few other courses down the road that I might want them to buy. Then maybe you want to get as many people as possible. So you drive that price down as low as you can, without it looking cheap, you don’t want to have a $2 video course, because a $2 video course is probably garbage. We all know that. So at some point you’re getting too low that you’re sending the wrong signal. Maybe it’s 10 bucks or 20 bucks because you want to get as many people in there as possible. So kind of knowing what you’re trying to accomplish with it can be a good way to kind of set those price points.

Megan Porta:

There is a lot to think through isn’t there. You don’t want to go too low, but you don’t want to go too high. You want to be high enough that people take you seriously. Because if I see something that’s $2, I think, wow, that’s probably really worth $2 and I’m not going to be inclined to buy it. But yeah, it’s just such a grey area. And I think a lot of it is just kind of going with your gut, right? Like, what feels good? I always think about a price. If that just feels wrong, then go lower. But you can’t always do that. I mean, you can’t do everything based on that.

Jason Logsdon:

Yeah. Well, one of our biggest surprises was our whipping siphon book was a shorter cookbook and we put it out for, I think it was $12. We thought that was a really cheap price, but it was a little bit smaller than our other ones. So let’s go for a real low price and it was selling pretty good. And we thought, you know what? People love this book so it has the value. Why don’t we increase the price of it, just to see what happens if we, if we add $5 to the price we’re going to after Amazon’s cut, make another like four bucks per book. Even if we lose like 30% of our sales, we’re still going to come out ahead. So let’s give this a shot and see what happens. And we ended up almost doubling our sales because a $17 cookbook, that’s on the smaller side and you know, paperback is a normal price for a cookbook of that type. So people bought it more than they would then when it was a cheaper cookbook. So we had more sales and we were making more money per sale because we increased the price of it.

Megan Porta:

Wow. So just kind of staying in tune, being in tune and staying current with what people are interested in and what they’re buying and kind of testing with it. Okay. I have to ask you, what is whipping siphons?

Jason Logsdon:

So the easiest way to think of it is if you go to buy a cool whip at the grocery store and it’s in the container that you hold upside down and it kind of spirals out of it.

Megan Porta:

Yeah.

Jason Logsdon:

That’s a really cheap whipping siphon. So restaurants have stainless steel ones that you put in heavy cream, and then you charge with nitrous and then whipped cream comes out. And you can do a lot of really fun things with that like infusing alcohols or vinegars or making stabilized foams, flavored whipped creams, hollandaise sauce that’s aerated, aerated pancake batter. There’s all these kinds of really crazy things that they use in high-end restaurants. When I’m not talking about sous vide, I talk a lot about how to take techniques that high-end restaurants use and show you how you can do that at home, very inexpensively, with taking almost no more time than you normally would and make all your friends and family think you’re amazing, even though you spend no extra effort on it.

Megan Porta:

That’s great. So cool. I learned something today. I’m going to check out your book, now I’m intrigued. You have me intrigued Jason. Okay. Before we go, I want to hear about what you think about in-person courses, because this definitely could be an option for people who have experience with something really specific or something more broad, just like educating people about the Instant Pot. So give us your best thoughts on that.

Jason Logsdon:

Well, I definitely would have had a different answer two months ago. The world’s shut down about teaching in-person classes. If things get back to normal, when in-person classes and events can happen a lot, I think it’s very valuable. It’s something that I was nervous about and very hesitant to do in-person classes. I started to do them probably about nine months ago. I’ve learned so much from it because people ask you so many more questions and they interact with you a lot more than they do online, like normal. So you get a lot more insights to what are the specific problems people are having. What’s going through their head, as they’re doing something. You’re watching them do it. You’re watching them struggle with the recipe that people love online. You know that now you can eliminate this step or clarify this, and it’s going to make it that much better because people are struggling with this all the time. One of my biggest kind of aha moments of working with people one-on-one or in person was we had a whipping siphon at a, cause I like to kind of make my hands-on classes fun, so I bring out the whipping site thing because no one knows what it is. I said there’s whipped cream in there. So just put it over your dish and then pull the trigger. They put the whipping siphon over their dish and they pulled the trigger. They didn’t aim the top of the siphon at the dish. They just held it above it and blew the whipped cream onto the wall in front of them. I was like, I spent so much time online talking about how the nitrous infuses the cream and stabilizes for foam but I realized they don’t know how to aim it. I am so far above what they actually need to know and what I need to clarify in these courses and in my articles, that area’s kind of an eye opening experience of sometimes you forget, especially when you’re working with beginners, just what that means, what it is to be a beginner.

Megan Porta:

How detailed you have to be with your speaking and explaining. That’s a really great point that I would not have thought about, just the insights that you gained from doing in-person because you’re seeing it real time. When people are behind their computers, they’re not going to say much of what’s going on probably in their kitchen, unless it’s a disaster. That’s a really great point. So what other benefits in a world that is actually functioning, assuming that’s going to happen again. What are some other benefits to doing in-person courses?

Jason Logsdon:

I will say with so many things, being virtual now, people are a lot more open to virtual experiences. That if you’re not doing something that uses unusual equipment or things that people might not have at home, you could do a virtual cooking, you know, hands on in-person cooking course, you can say, Hey, I’m going to teach you for comfort food. I’m going to teach you how to make chicken parm. Here’s our, the ingredients list that you’re going to need. Here’s the equipment you’re going to need. We’re all gonna get on a Zoom call. I’m going to step you through, as your instructor, on how to make chicken parm. You’re gonna be in your apartment. I’ll be in mind, but you still have that interaction. So it is still a good option of what you can do now when people are a lot more open to that concept and they would have been before.

Megan Porta:

They’re more used to Zoom. I feel like so many people before this happened, didn’t know how to use Zoom. Now we’ve kind of troubleshooted through all of that. So we’re all really adept at using Zoom and getting online and doing those virtual things. So, that’s a great point because now we can still see them in person kind of and see what their issues and struggles are, but we don’t necessarily have to gather everyone in the same place, which we don’t want to do right now anyway. Right?

Jason Logsdon:

Yep. And I would say another real big benefit of just doing these kinds of, whether it’s in-person or online, these live types of interactions is, I think food blogging can be a lonely pursuit in a lot of cases that you’re writing content. It’s going out there, you don’t hear back. 500 people view the article, but you don’t hear anything from them. You don’t know if it’s good, doing these cooking courses, you’re working with people one-on-one or 10 on one, you’re having conversations. You’re watching their faces as they’re doing your recipes, as they’re learning and you see their eyes light up and they did something right. And the excitement, it’s just very socially rewarding. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, having that kind of feedback and seeing the joy and the difference you’re making in people’s lives is it’s a very valuable part of working with people in person.

Megan Porta:

Oh, I love that. Wow, Jason, I feel like I could just keep asking you advice on and on, but I unfortunately have to start saying goodbye. So you’ve talked us through a lot, how to land on a topic, lean into your audience, listen to what they’re wanting. What are they asking you for right now? They’re probably already asking you for it and you don’t even know it. And then talking about free versus paid, again, going back to just like being very simple and testing things out. And then you walked us through a few different methods of cooking courses. So starting with maybe just like an article, going to free video and then to a paid video. Then options for in-person too, with Zoom or in-person when things start running again. So that’s all great stuff. Is there anything that you feel like we’ve missed that you really want to touch on before we say goodbye?

Jason Logsdon:

I mean, I think we’ve covered a lot, which is great. I’ve had a blast. The one thing that I want to consistently try to get across to anyone that listens to any of my presentations or interviews, is that a lot of the stuff I talk about, people aren’t doing and people are intimidated because they don’t know how to do it. And my response to that is, yeah, you don’t, but you know what? You’re smart, you’re talented. You currently are a food blogger. Before you got started in this, did you understand how SEO worked? Did you know what WordPress was or how to set up HTML or that CSS was a thing? Do you know how YouTube worked or the proper image formats for the different social media channels or how to schedule things on Tailwind and do pins? You didn’t know how to do any of that. None of us did, or you might not have even known how to write a recipe or do real food photography. You’ve learned all of that over time. Anything that I talk about, it sounds just as scary as if I would have told you, yeah to do a blog, you just have to install WordPress and, you know, start to figure out SEO. But you figured that out. You figured out that type of stuff that I talk about, you can do this, I believe in you. So believe in yourself, just get out there, learn it and just keep moving your blog forward.

Megan Porta:

Oh, Jason, that was great. And that’s something I love about food bloggers, right? Is that they’re so resourceful and smart and able to push through crazy circumstances and figure stuff out. Like no other group of people can. So thank you for pointing that out. Everyone is capable, especially amazing food bloggers. So great, great words to end on. Thank you, Jason, for everything you’ve shared today. Thank you so much for being here. And I know that food bloggers are going to find this very valuable. Well, Jason has a list of resources. We’ll just write up a show notes page about everything we’ve talked about today, and you can find those on eatblogtalk.com/jasonl. Jason, tell my listeners the best place to find you online.

Jason Logsdon:

You can go to makethatbacon.com and that’ll take you to my food blogger page. You can contact me from there. You can read more about some of the stuff that I talk about for diversifying your revenue and some guides for some of the stuff we’ve talked about. Or just shoot me an email [email protected] I will write back and I love chatting about this stuff. So send me any questions you have.

Megan Porta:

Awesome. Well, thanks again, Jason, for being here and thank you so much for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.

Intro:

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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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