In episode 031, we talk with Jenny Melrose, the host of Influence Entrepreneurs and content strategist who has experience in the field of working with National Brands as well as with food bloggers.
We cover information about getting serious about running your business and how to cultivate your audience, define your area of expertise and fail forward!
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Jenny is a former reading specialist who “retired” from her teaching career when her blogging income far exceeded her salary. Through hard work and dedication, her lifestyle blog, The Melrose Family, became regularly sought out by nationally recognized brands. She is a content strategist that helps entrepreneurs better understand their messaging and unique position in the online space. Now, she’s combining her passion for teaching with her extensive experience of creating strategic content for online business owners via JennyMelrose.com and her podcast, Influencer Entrepreneurs with Jenny Melrose.
- Followers do not equal a business. A raving audience = a business. Know your audience, beyond just Pinterest activity!
- Spend time getting to know your audience. Use the analytics in different platforms and you’ll learn why people are coming to you.
- Convenience has turned into strategy and this isn’t helping anyone. You can’t do what the blogger next door does and hope it works because it wasn’t tailored to you and your audience.
- Each baby step will help you grown a base, build trust and become an authority to them.
- Staying on trend has its place but you have to learn what it means for you. The blogging world all started copying each other, and everything started to look the same. “If it works for one, it has to work for me” was the mantra but that is so far from the truth.
- You want to be known as the expert in your topic. Immediately think about, “what is my expertise, what am I known for”? Take into account your background and think about your purpose. Who are you doing all this for? Google sees you as an expert if you are answering all questions related to your topic, if you’ve optimized your site.
- Let your SEO drive you to be seen. Then use Instagram stories and train your audience to engage with you; creating polls and using all the features available to you.
- Build your email list. The only thing you own and are sure of is the email list that you’ve built. Spending time growing that list is vital to grow your business. You’re able to continuously drive traffic to your site through a solid email list.
Think about sources such as: Affiliate marketing, Sponsored posts, creating a product or tool your audience needs and selling it to them. Get innovative!
- The minute you start treating your business like a business instead of just being a blogger makes all the difference in the world. Ultimately, when you treat your business like a business, others will too.
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Join Don Baiocchi as he talks about Combatting the Imposter Syndrome in episode 045.
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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 (00:23):
As food bloggers, we want to accomplish more, more, more when it comes to our food blogging task list. While also having plenty of time to spend with our loved ones. Q4 can be an especially hectic season for all of us. I have created a course that focuses on planning and productivity that will open up time for you to focus on the people and things you love this season. And also to devote more time to food blogging tasks that will bring in revenue. This course is a four week group coaching course that includes accountability as well as community. Head over to eatblogtalk.com/planwithme to get more information and to sign up. You do not want to miss out on this opportunity. You can do so much more than you think you can, and to being your most productive self can open up space for so many good things in your life.
Hello, food bloggers. Welcome to the Eat Blog Talk podcast made for you. Food bloggers, who are wanting to add value to your blogs and to your lives. In today’s episode, I will be talking to Jenny Melrose from Jennymelrose.com and we will be discussing how to build a raving audience that craves your content. Jenny is a former reading specialist who retired from her teaching career when her blogging income far exceeded her salary. Through hard work and dedication, her lifestyle blog, the Melrose Family became regularly sought out by nationally recognized brands, such as Neutrogena’s, Smucker’s, Glad, Costco, Stanley Steamer, Sarah Lee, and many more. She is a content strategist that helps entrepreneurs better understand their messaging and unique position in the online space. Now she is combining her passion for teaching with her extensive experience of creating strategic content for online businesses, online business owners via Jenny melrose.com and her podcast Influencer Entrepreneurs with Jenny Melrose.
Hi Jenny, your entrepreneurial journey is so inspiring to me and I can’t wait to chat with you, but before we dig into that, give us a quick fun fact about yourself.
Jenny Melrose (02:37):
Sure. Thanks so much Megan for having me on. I appreciate it. My fun fact is I actually played college basketball and I’m only five foot four inches tall.
Wow. You must be amazing.
My dad would always used to say, he loves it and my husband now repeats it. Cause my husband thought it was hilarious, but he said I never met a shot that I didn’t like. So I was definitely a shoote,r like to shoot.
Yeah. And that’s pretty rare. So that’s awesome. I love that. Well, thank you for sharing that. I used to be five one, and now I’m five feet. There’s no way I could play basketball. I don’t think I would be an aggressive shooter. Let’s get to our main topic today, which is how to build a raving audience that craves our content. I love this topic. And Jenny, I love that you figured out a way to combine your passion for teaching and people and encouraging growth and small businesses with your experience for creating strategic content that people are wanting. Or I like the word you use to describe it, craving. I think it’s safe to say that most food bloggers want an audience that is really engaged and really leaning into our content, waiting for our next post or a recipe. Can you start off by talking about the difference between just having followers versus having a raving audience that craves our content?
I think when you have a raving audience that craves your content, you have a business. When you just have followers, it’s not a business. It’s not something that you can actually know that you’re going to create content and it’s going to consistently do while it’s going to bring in a consistent income. If you don’t have that raving audience, you’re not able to monetize by creating products or services that they potentially could use and need. So when you actually know your audience, when it goes beyond people just coming from Pinterest, because they see your recipe and they see your photos and Oh, that looks good. I’ll make that for dinner tonight. But they actually come back. They look for your content. They come to your blog. They will go to an event because you’re going to be there or they’ll purchase a product because you recommended it. That’s when you have a business. That’s when you’re a true influencer entrepreneur.
I did this wrong for more years than I’d like to admit. It’s really kind of embarrassing, but I’ve been blogging now for nine years. And I relied on Pinterest for most of those years. It’s not until very recently that I realized that I needed that audience and it is so crucial, if you want people to come back after seeing an amazing recipe on Pinterest, you have to engage them and make them want to come back. So talking specifically to food bloggers, at what point in the journey do you think we should start putting our energy toward creating this type of audience? Should we do that right away when we start or give it a while? When do you think we should do this?
I see that now, but I also made that same mistake. I learned that I can remember probably three, four years into it. I had my blog. It would have been 10 years. It’s crazy to say, it would have been 10 years in February. I sold my blog last March. But I can remember probably three years into it saying, I don’t know my audience. I don’t need to know my audience. I have Pinterest, it’s driving all the traffic and then Pinterest changed the algorithm. Facebook changed the algorithm algorithm for many food bloggers as well, where they saw just their traffic cut in half. It was crazy. You came to realize that you don’t own those social media platforms, that you’re building your brand, your business on someone else’s platform.
If you’re going to drive the traffic consistently, you have to really get to know your audience. And a lot of people will say, well, how do you do that on Pinterest? If that’s where your traffic is coming from, especially for food bloggers? Well, you need to look to see in your analytics, what’s bringing them to you. What are you known for? What do they continuously look for from you? Are they easy meals? Is it freezer meals? Is it a specific niche, only five ingredients? Is it a Mediterranean diet and as hard as sometimes it can be, especially for us that are multi-passionate. I made the huge mistake of being a lifestyle blogger where it was at that time when we started nine years ago, you wrote about what you were having for dinner. And that’s what went out on the blog, when it was out of convenience, there was no strategy behind it.
The way it is now, with more and more blocks popping up every day and it becoming much more saturated than it was in the past, you have to have a strategy behind what you’re doing. So understanding what you’re going to be known for, what is your expertise and creating content around that. So that Pinterest figures out, that’s what you’re going to be known for. And so does Google. We can’t just rely on Pinterest traffic. You have to be looking at Google and making sure that you’re ranking there and creating that audience because then they know what to expect from you. We want people to come from seeing something on Pinterest and then be interested in something that’s similar. That goes along with it or that fits into the diet that they’re trying to decide upon. A lot of that will often come from that personality that you put into it as well,
I think back, five or more years ago, that was okay to do and to rely on the Pinterest traffic, because honestly it wasn’t that hard to get Pinterest traffic as a food blogger back then. I could literally just put something up and it would go crazy. But I did have a certain type of recipe that people were just loving and diving into. So if we were being strategic back then, I would have seen a trend, but there really wasn’t a need for it. But now, like you said, Jenny, there is such a saturated market, especially with food blogging. So we really have to take note and see why are people coming to my website? I love that you mentioned just kind of digging into both Pinterest and Google because obviously those are two main sources of traffic, especially for food bloggers. Really just digging in and I think you said, dig deep and why are they coming here? Why are people coming here and then do more of that. Then, do you think that Pinterest and Google catch on, if we start creating more of the things that people are coming to see our content for?
Google, especially. I don’t know that Pinterest’s algorithm is necessarily that smart. They’re putting us up as an expert. If our people aren’t reacting to it the way that we need them to. Google definitely, I think it sees you as an expert, especially if you were continuously talking about that same topic or having kind of answering all the questions that could possibly be about the Mediterranean diet. Having all different dishes that work for it and even describing what exactly that diet looks like and how to go about doing it and what it can look like for your activity level or whatever it might be. But just being that resource that people know to go to, Google definitely weighs that heavier. And that’s where people are ranking, I think faster now than they definitely did ever in the past.
That’s where the whole EAT acronym comes in. And that acronym is there for her reason. We need to abide by those things. So I love that you said, I have to reiterate this because you said, convenience has turned into strategy. That is so true. We just did what was convenient. And even choosing our recipes, we were like, Oh, grandma made some great meatloaf. I’m going to recreate that. But now we have to really strategically think about that. What is our audience wanting? What is trending, so much more goes into our recipes now and not just our recipes, but the things we’re saying about our recipes. We are having to be strategic about the questions we answer and exactly what we put into our content.
More and more about what people are searching for, especially with it changing to voice now with all of the Alexa’s that are out there, you have to stay with the trends. And I think we started off with the convenience of creating what we were making or eating for dinner. And then it shifted a little bit to, what’s everyone else doing blogger wise. And we all started copying each other. Everybody started doing the same strategies, the same pins, everything started to look the same. And we think that if it works for one, it has to work for me. When, in reality, that is so far from the truth that if we just looked at our analytics, looked at the data, tested things, the way that entrepreneurs and business owners really do, we will see the trends for us and what’s going to work for us because what works for one is not going to work for another.
Oh my gosh, there’s such truth to that. We did just like copy each other so much in the beginning, I feel like none of us really knew what we were doing. We were like, Oh, this is really popular on Pinterest. I’m going to add my 2 cents to whatever hamburger was trending recipe. So for somebody starting today, let’s say a food blogger just started a blog. Recently, you think that diving in, they should immediately begin thinking about what kind of audience they’re serving.
Yes. What is their expertise? I bring a lot of my clients back to, what is your elevator pitch? What would you tell me you do? What are you known for? And sometimes that even goes back to looking into your background. I’ve had some clients that were Michelin trained chefs, and now they’re trying to teach home chefs how to put those actual chefs like creations on their dinner tables for their families. Well, that needs to be in there. You need to talk about the fact that you have those nice skills or you have these different skills that maybe someone like myself, who was a teacher, isn’t going to necessarily have, and really being able to get clear on what your purpose is and who you do it for. You have to know those two things. What are you doing? And who are you doing it for?
And I like the focus on what makes you stand out. If you have mad knife skills, say that. Because not a lot of us do. So whatever makes you unique, talk about it and kind of like grow into that and let people know that that’s what you’re really good at. How does someone who maybe does not have an audience, maybe they’ve been blogging for a few years and they came to the same point that you and I did, where we were like, well, Pinterest, isn’t doing it all for me anymore. I need an audience. Can you walk us through some ways for food bloggers to build a community? What are some tangible steps that we can take?
I think the first thing that you have to do is kind of what we’ve talked about. You got to understand your positioning. What makes you unique? What kind of content are you going to create? You have to stick with it, be consistent with it so that you can be known for that. Start to get found by Google or with Pinterest. And then from there, as far as engaging and trying to understand your audience better, one of the platforms that’s working best that I’m seeing for myself, as well as my other clients, is Instagram stories. If you have Instagram stories and you can interact with your audience, train them to engage with you by asking them questions and doing polls and using all the features that Instagram stories provide. You can find out a ton about your audience. What are they there for?
Something to always keep in mind is that that’s your Instagram audience. That’s not necessarily the same audience that’s on your Facebook page. Because again, you know, Instagram is a little bit more of a younger demographic compared to Facebook. So really just listening to your people, understanding what they’re there for, and honestly building your email list with those people that are on your social media platforms. Find a way to offer them something for free that they need, that they’re going to download for themselves to get on your email list. So that you can update them with the latest recipes. And you can see which recipes are doing the best with your people, because your email is honestly the only thing other than your blog that you own. You don’t own your own social media platforms. We all know Google Plus closed on what, six months ago. I was someone that had over 600,000 followers on Google Plus. Gone, and it can happen at any point with any of the social media platforms. So always looking to grow that list is going to be so vital to understanding your audience and what they want to see from you and what they need. Just watching the trends to see what drives traffic.
I think we’re seeing more and more how important growing your email list is because the social media platforms could go away in an instant. They change all the time. And sometimes the changes are killer. Last March when Google did their algorithm change, that totally swiped a majority of my traffic away. And it was sad. I have not put a lot of effort into growing an email list, but it’s shown me that I need to do that. I think it’s really good to point that out. And I just want to go through some points that you just said, because I think it’s really important food bloggers understand your positioning, no matter where you are in the food blogging game, you have to understand that. Be consistent with what you’re putting out, engage with people, get to know your audience, use Instagram stories. That is an amazing way to get to know people who are following you. Also, like Jenny said, understand that audiences are different. So your Instagram followers are not necessarily going to be the same as your Facebook and blog followers and email list subscribers. Listen, and deliver what people are needing and utilize that email list. I think that’s so important. So let’s talk about what we should do with a raving audience once we have them. How do we nurture them and how do we kind of leverage that?
So by building that list, you’re able to then continuously drive traffic to your sites. I know a lot of food bloggers, you’re relying on ads to make your income. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I would just recommend diversify. Find other ways that you can also bring in income. Whether that is through affiliate marketing, whether it’s through sponsored posts or whether it’s creating a product or service that your audience needs. This goes back to you. We watch food bloggers, especially, we watch each other to see what we’re doing and we go, and we do whatever else the other person is doing. We don’t like to think outside of the box because so-and-so is making $4,000 a month just off of ads and it’s passive. So we often will think that that’s the only way to do it because that’s what we’re hearing.
But if we look outside of our niche of being food bloggers, there are so many other people making passive income from products that you create once. Not blog posts that you have to recreate a recipe or do a recipe three times a week, or however you’re actually posting. So we like to say ads are passive, but they’re really not. If you’re continuing to put out content. We want passive income, but you can get passive income from creating a product as well. So using that list to figure out what they need from you, what are they coming to you for and really building that relationship so that they know, like, and trust you. Because that’s where you’re going to be able to influence them to purchase a product or service that you may offer or influence them to purchase an affiliate product that another blogger offers. Or for that zoodle cutter machine thingamajiggy, that’s new out. Whatever it might be. You really need your audience to know and trust you. So really starting with that list.
I like that you mentioned looking outside of the realm of food blogging because we all get kind of stuck in that. Food blogger, X is doing this and food blogger Y is doing that, but we don’t always take a step back and look outside of that. You’re so right that we should be doing that because there are so many opportunities outside of our little world. There are tons of products that would benefit our audience. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look and kind of thinking a little bit differently, because like Pinterest. You look through Pinterest and you see the same pins cycling through, more so in the past, I think now it’s diversifying a little bit, but you see the same things over and over and you kind of want to jump in and do what they’re doing. But trying to be a little bit innovative as a food blogger, I think is really wise. So I like that you mentioned that, Jenny.
And I think that that can often be scary for food bloggers, right? We were like where do I find them? Where do I find a home decor blogger that’s doing really, really well with a product, with a course or with a service that they’re offering. I think that that was always one of the advantages that I had as a lifestyle blogger. I knew that I was never going to have a million pageviews because I was a lifestyle. I shared a little bit of food. I did a little parenting, I did a little, this little, that whatever was on my mind, right? So for me, I was able to run in all these different circles and take in the information of what that home decor blogger was doing, but also what that parenting blogger was doing. And I definitely watched what the food bloggers were doing and kind of pulled from all of them.
One of my favorite programs that I run is I do masterminds. And that’s what I do. I bring together all of these different niches, put them into your group of six women. And then they work together to be able to share what they’re doing in their business and ask for help on how to grow. Whether it is growing their email list, or putting out a product or even what’s working on social media for that DIY home decor blogger. You just have to kind of really always be a learner, always be looking to learn from others and to be searching out that knowledge that’s out there. So I think if you can find programs like that, find people that are talking about more than just in specifically the fruit blogging realm, find other podcasts, find other things that are offering up the opportunity to hear how others are doing it.
I love the idea of masterminds. I think there’s so much to learn in a mastermind group. And I absolutely love the idea of taking people from different niches and putting them together because it is beneficial I think to know what is going on in other areas. I love what you said about being a lifestyle blogger. It wasn’t necessarily going to get you a million page views, but it allowed you to be really diverse and to know what was going on in many different areas. We as food bloggers get stuck in our little world. So a mastermind group would be hugely beneficial, I think. If you could find a good one where you could keep in touch with other people who are in different realms, but kind of doing the same things. So I love that. You run a mastermind group and you also run a successful conference, which dives into more general entrepreneurialship. Is that right, Jenny?
That’s right. So the conference that I run is in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is always in the spring. In 2020, it’s March 31st through April 2nd. It’s Influencer Entrepreneurs Academy. The purpose of my conference, we don’t focus just on social media. So if you want to learn about how to do social media, I would recommend going to the social media marketing world. What we’re going to focus on instead, the strategies that you need in order to grow your business. And it’s going to incorporate within those strategies, ways to use social media. So for example, Jen Slavich is one of my speakers for this in 2020. She’s going to be talking about growing your email list. Well, she’s going to talk about how you can do it via Instagram stories, but the importance of the topic is on your list, not on Instagram stories. Because of Instagram stories, we’ve already said this, it changes constantly. You can’t keep up with the algorithm, but we’re going to talk about the strategies that are going to move your business forward. Let you have the opportunity to scale it and treat it like a business. Honestly, the second they started treating their business like a business, instead of I’m just a blogger, made all the difference in the world.
Gosh, I think we’ve all been there. Probably more of us than not because we start out just to be bloggers. Then at what point, it’s not a defined day of our lives when we’re suddenly running a business, it kind of happens over time. So I think it’s a process that we all go through, but we all get to the point where we want to make this a business. We want to make money and we want to take it more seriously. We just have, we have to do that. We have to almost declare it like, okay, it is now a business. I am no longer “just” a blogger. I need to take this to the next level. And I have never been to a conference or a workshop or anything relating more to entrepreneurship instead of food blogging. But I think that there’s value in that. There’s definitely value in doing the food blogging conferences for sure. But I think there’s also value in going bigger and just seeing the bigger scope of things.
I totally agree. I love Everything Food Conference. I have been every single year, spoken just about the past three or four years. Those conferences are crucial for what you’re doing. No matter what niche you’re in, going to those niche, specific conferences are definitely important. In 2018, I spoke at 13 different conferences. After speaking at those conferences, I looked back and said, after all these years of blogging, attending conferences, being someone in the audience and now being up on stage, what do I need to take from that to create the perfect conference that are going to help women really be able to take strategies, put them in place in their business and scale the second that they leap. Because one of the biggest frustrations for me as an attendee was I sat in the audience and I scribbled down notes furiously.
Speaker 3 (26:29):
By the time I got home, I didn’t remember what it was I had said that I was so excited about. You’re just so overwhelmed when you often will leave a conference after scribbling down notes. Which is why for mine, I have a different setup. We cap at 150 attendees. I will never go larger than 150. It’s the introvert in me that just can’t handle big events. I also do it because I want everyone together. I want one speaker on the stage so that once they speak, do we then are in mastermind groups at the conference. You’re placed into a mastermind group the second you walk in, at a table so that after the speaker speaks, you’re then given time to implement that strategy into your business. The speaker gives you an activity in order to implement it in your business so that you can walk away with it already concrete in your head, how you’re going to be able to put it in practice.
Speaker 3 (27:29):
I’m a former teacher. My speakers want to kill me sometimes. They say, Jenny, I don’t know what you mean by an activity. I tell them, I got you, let me see your slides. Then also within that group, being able to talk it out and be around other women, again, that come from all different niche.s so that you can be with that food blogger, you can also be with that home decor blogger and see, okay, how are you working on your mindset? Because we talked earlier about treating it like a business. And when that actually happens, it’s when you actually change your mindset. It’s when you make that choice, this is a business. This is how I’m going to treat it. And you start talking like that. Whether it is that point yet with money coming in or not, it’s when you actually make that conscious mindset shift, that it’s a business that the money will start coming in. People will start treating it like a business because they see that it is.
Yeah, other people will start treating it as a business. When you start treating it as a business. If you talk about it, like it’s a hobby then of course your family and friends are going to treat it as a hobby as well. Yeah. You’ve totally sold me. I want to hear you keep talking because you’re clearly a teacher and I love that. You go to a lot of conferences that are not into the teaching and that’s fine. There’s a different format for everything. I love that you add teaching and learning to your conference. I think that’s valuable. What you were saying about furiously scribbling down notes, and then being so excited and pumped up and then getting home and being like, okay, well back to business, you know, back to things as usual, because that happens all the time we get so excited. And then we kind of forget what we wrote down. I look at my notes and like, what did that mean? I know I was excited at the point when I wrote it, but I have no idea what it means anymore. The way that you described your setup for your conference is incredible. And you’ve totally sold me. I am looking at my calendar. Can I make it? Do you have any openings or are you full?
We still do have some tickets available. Yes.
Going to like audiences and creating that raving audience. Can you talk to us about potential things to look out for? So things to maybe avoid while we’re working toward our goal of creating a raving audience?
I think it comes back to you putting almost your blinders on when it comes to your practices. Not worrying about what so-and-so is doing next to you or what is working for them. You have to pay attention to it, but you also have to just pay attention to your audience. I am a huge, huge believer in professional development. I read every single day. There is some sort of professional development that is a business book that I am reading at night when my kids are doing their reading at night. My husband calls me the great big nerd. You have to be constantly doing that. And at the same time, everything that you hear and everything that you see, you can’t put into practice immediately. You have to take baby steps to really listen to your audience and see what is going to work for them.
Especially when it comes to these strategies on social media, with your email list, even with your blog content. Sharing a piece of who you are is going to be important if you’re looking to do a product or service. I keep going back to this and I know food bloggers, I get a lot of resistance, honestly, from my food bloggers normally with this, because it’s out of their comfort zone. They don’t want to be seen as selling. And this is honestly why my podcast is called Influencer Entrepreneurs is because you’re not selling. You’re just influencing them. You’re showing them, you’re helping them solve a problem that you know the answer to. We all have expertise. That’s why we created our blog and the content that we created. So figuring out a way that they don’t always expect just to get content for free.
If you offer them something for $3.99, they will purchase it if they understand that they’re going to have a problem solved. Some of my most successful clients, I have a vegan food blogger, that relied on ads forever. And she signed up for a mastermind with me and said, Jenny, I’ve been sitting on a book. I am a self-published book, not a book per traditionally published. Been sitting on a self published book that I have almost pretty much done for two years now. Well, how much more do you have to go out? She goes, it’s about a hundred pages. And I have like two left.
She said, it’s been that way for two years. I said, okay, we’re going to launch it. We’re going to put it out. And we’re going to see what happens. We’re going to put together a launch plan. We’re going to have a plan of what this should look like. We’re going to start talking to our audience about it. She already was growing her email list with a freebie that was inline with her book. In 10 days, she did over $10,000 on an ebook. You just need to listen to your audience. If you’re growing your list with a freebie, then create something that’s in line with it that can be a paid product. And it doesn’t have to be something that’s $25 or $50. It can be something that’s $3.99 and then build up more products based on the feedback that you get about that product.
Wow. I love that story. That’s amazing. I think to go even a step further than listening to your audience, listen to your intuition. If there’s something that you know people are wanting and needing and you’re just sitting on it. I think a lot of us get caught up in that though. It’s almost like we’re afraid to put things out there because we don’t want to be rejected. We don’t want to know that people don’t want what we’re putting out there. So I have a feeling that most food bloggers have something that they’re sitting on, whether it’s been partially created or not created at all. I mean, I know I do. I’ve been sitting on a few things for years and now talking to you, I’m like, okay, dang it, I just need to do this.
It’s honestly I think fear of failure. There’s a great quote and I can’t remember who it is by, but it’s the idea that you, as long as you fail forward, you’re not failing, because you’re learning from it. I truly believe that everything that happens is happening so that you can become a better person. You can learn from that and move on with it. So if something falls flat on its face, maybe you put together a smoothie book and it doesn’t sell the way that you want it to. Well, what can you learn from that? Was it your messaging? Did you not explain correctly what it was that they were getting in this smoothie book? Or did you not show them how it was going to solve their problem? Like it can often not be that they don’t want a smoothie book.
It’s often that they don’t really feel like they know you yet. So you have to be doing strategies where you are engaging them and nurturing them through your email. If you are not emailing your list once a week, you are missing out tremendously. I email my list three times a week. A lot of people will go, Oh my God, what do you have to say three times a week? You have all that old content. I mean, you’re a perfect example. You’ve been blogging for nine years. You probably have hundreds, maybe even thousands of recipes. The email doesn’t have to be this long newsletter that everyone thinks that we need to be putting out. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about telling them about a new recipe that you’ve created and getting them to click through. It doesn’t have to be this long, drawn out, almost blog post. It could be 10 sentences that tell them that you’ve created this new cookie recipe that has this awesome ingredient. You’re never going to believe what this ingredient is. Click here to check it out. And it sends them to that blog post. And that’s it. It’s done. It’s a quick email. It should be like an email, like you’re emailing your friend. Because you want them to feel like they are a friend that they are getting inside information.
Oh, I love that so much. I need to utilize mine way more. Like you were just saying, old content. It’s a great way to recycle stuff that has been sitting for years. It’s getting dusty. It’s like sitting on an old dusty shelf. So why not? Just a note, a few sentences about why this was amazing and why you should look at it. I also loved what you said about failure and seeing failure as an opportunity to grow. It’s taken me a lot of years to get to that point. After a lot of failure, as a food blogger, I finally got to a point where I looked at failure as an opportunity where at least I tried something, at least you’re putting something out, fail forward. Like you said, Jenny. Because without failure, we aren’t going to get anywhere.
You can’t worry about what others are going to think. When I turned to this side of my business from the Melrose Family of a lifestyle blog that wasn’t hitting a million page views, and thought I’m going to do this other side. I’m going to start teaching bloggers how to monetize and grow their sites. It was scary. It was, who am I to possibly think that I can do this? It was that total fear. I knew that if I didn’t and I didn’t reach out and know that it was definitely something people needed, then I was not going to be able to impact as many people as I possibly could. That for me is what it should be about. It should be about impacting as many people, making as many people’s lives, easier, better that we possibly can, so that if you can do that, don’t be afraid to put it out there and see what direction it’s going to go.
I know there were probably bloggers that I grew up with that were kind of like, well, who is she to be doing this and talking about this? But it was needed. And the way you find out if something is needed, is you listen. What are you being asked by friends, by family and by your people on your list. When I started my new side of my business, I didn’t have a list that was bloggers. I had a list that was moms, that wanted to make quick, easy recipes. So for me, I was getting asked constantly by other bloggers in Facebook groups about Jenny, how are you making all this money on sponsored content? You’re not that huge. You don’t have 10,000 followers on Instagram because even when I sold my blog, I did not have 10,000 followers on Instagram. How are you possibly able to make five figures in a month on sponsored content? That’s when I realized they need a step-by-step strategy. And I can do that. I am a teacher. It’s where my course Pitch Perfect Pro, which I’m most well-known in the blogging world for has come from. It was that complete strategy, step-by-step of how to pitch brands and make some long-term contracts in the end.
If we’re not careful, we don’t hear the things that people are saying to us. I think it might’ve been Sophia, who I know has been coached by you, Jenny, who told me: listen closely, and people are telling you stuff all the time. Maybe not directly, but indirectly. If someone is DM-ing you about something that you posted on Instagram repeatedly, that’s something they’re interested in. Really, truly listening to what people are trying to tell you, is so important. I loved what you said, make people’s lives better. And how do we do that? What is needed? Just listen. It’s so easy, right? But not.
And yes, just really just looking at it. And that’s where I will often task clients. When they first come to me, even for coaching, and I say to them, go to your friends and family, what do you do that’s different, that makes you unique. That makes you who you are, that they come to you for all the time.
That’s a great place to start. I love that. Go to your friends and family. If you yourself, can’t determine what you’re really good at and what makes you unique, ask them because they certainly know. They know you the best and then go from there. As far as relating it to your business, just start there.
Yes, we don’t have to over-complicate it and make it this impossible thing that they don’t talk to me on Instagram stories after we try it once, you have to teach them how to interact with you and engage with you. They will start to talk, but start with fans, friends, and family, they know you best.
To kind of go over what we’ve talked about. Building that raving audience. You have to listen, you have to lean in, you have to get to know them. You have to get to know what they want, what they’re wanting from you and just being consistent with engagement. There’s so many different avenues you can use to do that and delivering. It’ so simple, right? So let’s just all go out and do that today. But on paper, it is really simple, but kind of putting those pieces together, along with all of the other food blogging duties that we have to do is not, but just starting somewhere and tapping into your audience first. Figure out what you’re good at. I think that’s a great place to start. Is there anything that we’ve missed covering regarding building a raving audience that you wanted to discuss?
I think the one piece that I wanted to add, not necessarily about building that raving audience, but I think when you’re trying to really figure out what it is that you need to do, and the steps you need to take, find an accountability partner. Find someone that’s in your niche, or even outside of your niche, that understands the industry at least. It can’t be like a random best friend that doesn’t know anything about blogging. You can go back and forth. That is one thing that I did from the very beginning. If I never had an issue with reaching out to people that I saw doing things well and asking them questions and in return offering something, right. It can’t just be all about you getting your answers, but if you can offer them something in return, maybe it’s holding them accountable. Maybe it’s reviewing their ebook before they put it out, being an editor for them.
Maybe it’s helping do some social shares or commenting on their posts or something. But really start to create those relationships with other people in your industry so that you can have that accountability to get it done. And if you don’t have that, there’s so many Facebook groups. I have a free Facebook group, Influencer Entrepreneurs, it coordinates with the podcast. That you can request to access, to join, ask other bloggers and other blogging groups too. Hey, where do you go for an accountability partner? What are you doing in order to hit your goals? Have those conversations with people so that you can really start to move forward with your business.
That is amazing advice. I’ve never done accountability partners with food blogging, but I did one with podcasting when I started a few months ago. I’m telling you, there’s such a huge benefit in doing that because we bounce ideas off each other. And not only that, but when he poses me with a struggle that he’s having, it requires me to kind of do research. I want to be helpful to him. So then I learn too. We’re all learning different things that maybe wouldn’t have been on our radar otherwise. I think there’s huge power in that and doing an accountability program is something I actually want to do for Eat Blog Talk listeners too. So if anyone listening is interested in doing food blogging accountability, please send me an email and I will get you paired up with somebody. So I think there’s huge power in that and just a huge learning opportunity too.
I love that, Jenny, thank you. Well, our talk today was amazing. I am super pumped up, ready to go do a few things today on my computer, after chatting with you. I’m going to look up your conference. I will let you kind of go through those in a little bit and tell people where to find you. Thank you for sharing your amazing knowledge with us. I am so grateful that you took the time today. I know that food bloggers are going to find value in your insight and your words. So thank you, thank you.
Thank you so much for having me.
Before you go, do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to share with my listeners today?
This is going to seem kind of funny. When I was in high school, my senior quote was ‘always be looking behind me and smiling”. And to this day, I still live by that quote. I feel that every event that has happened in our past, whether it is tragic, whether it is happy, it has made us the person that we are today. So looking at those events that have happened in our lives and what we can learn from them and be able to move forward and know that it’s made us who we are today. It’s just a huge part of how I lived my life, so that I don’t dwell on the past.
That’s pretty amazing that that has followed you from high school and that you basically live that way now. So that’s incredible. I love that. Thank you for sharing that. So Jenny has a list of favorite resources relating to creating a raving audience, and those can be found on her show notes page at eatblogtalk.com/JennyMelrose. Jenny, tell my listeners the best place to find you online. And if you want to insert now anything that you want to talk about relating to your courses or your conference.
Absolutely. My podcast is Influencer Entrepreneurs with Jenny Melrose. You can find it on iTunes or your favorite listening device. If you go to Jennymelrose.com, you can find all of the different services that I offer as well as information about the conference, the masterminds that I run, as well as the coaching programs and also digital courses that I offer. And then if you ever have a question or if you’re listening into the podcast, especially if you’re listening right now, I’d love it if you took a screenshot and put it up on Instagram stories, you could tag me at J@enny_Melrose, as well as Megan at @EatBlogTalk. I will be sure to just send you back a message, thank you for sharing the podcast. But that honestly is the best place to be able to ask me a quick question is on Instagram stories. Actually this is kind of brand new information. In the next week or two, I will be launching my own app. You’ll be able to find it in iTunes, under Jenny Melrose, and you’ll be able to chat directly with me in that app as well as have everything right in one place, whether it is events or whether it is the podcast, as well as insider audio all in the same place.
Oh, an app. That’s such a great idea. Awesome. Well thank you for sharing all of that, Jenny, and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.
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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