In episode, Jenny Meier teaches us 3 ways to build a community on Substack and how to use the platform to network and increase our blog’s reach.

We cover information about how to get started on Substack and why it’s a great platform to build community and expand your reach and knowledge, and how embracing new writing platforms can enhance your skills and open doors to collaboration opportunities.

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

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Guest Details

Connect with Kitchen Skip
Website | Instagram | Substack

Bio Jenny founded Kitchen Skip in 2019 as a place to share easy dinner recipes with busy parents like herself. Almost 20 years earlier, Jenny had attended culinary school and spent years working in restaurants, cheese shops, and wine stores before she started developing recipes for food and wellness websites in 2009. Finally, in 2019 Jenny started her own food blog. She monetized with MediaVine at the end of 2021 and started her Substack newsletter in June of 2022.


  • Alternative to Email Newsletters: Substack makes it easy to send out newsletters to subscribers, helping you build a community around exclusive content.
  • Getting Started with Substack: It is simple to get started on Substack. Read other people’s newsletters to get an idea of how it works.
  • Discover Communities: Substack provides a platform for connecting with other writers and bloggers, fostering a sense of community and collaboration.
  • Benefits of Substack: Substack can help you improve your writing, marketing skills, and connect with like-minded individuals.
  • Networking Opportunities: Substack offers various networking avenues such as recommendations, discussion threads, and the Notes Feed for writers to promote their content and collaborate with others.
  • Additional Revenue Stream: By offering a paid subscription, you can generate extra income through your newsletters.
  • Start Simple, Learn by Doing: Starting with small steps and learning through experience is key to success on Substack and in any endeavor.

Resources Mentioned

Find out more about Substack

What are Substack notes, chats and threads?

Grow your newsletter on Substack

Substack for food writers

Food Blogger Pro episode #425 with Amy Palanjian – she uses both Substack and ConvertKit.


Click for full script.

EBT503 – Jenny Meier

Intro  00:00

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

We are most definitely living in a time when engaging with our audience is so imperative. And Jenny Meier brings such a great topic to the table that can allow us to do this. In 2022, she created a Substack newsletter to round out her blog. And this has given her a really good way to not only build community on Substack with followers, but also build a network with other writers and bloggers. Jenny Meier from the Kitchen Skip talks through tangible ways to build that community and build those connections through Substack. So you’re going to want to tune into this. This is a relatively new platform that isn’t super tapped into yet, so you can be on the forefront of this new venture. It is a great episode. I loved talking to Jenny and I think you’ll be really inspired by it. It is episode number 503, Sponsored by RankIQ.

Sponsor 01:33

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Megan Porta 03:02

Jenny founded Kitchen Skip in 2019 as a place to share easy dinner recipes with busy parents like herself. Almost 20 years earlier, Jenny had attended culinary school and spent years working in restaurants, cheese shops, and wine stores before she started developing recipes for food and wellness websites in 2009. Finally, in 2019, Jenny started her own food blog and she monetized with Mediavine at the end of 2021, then started her Substack newsletter in June of 2022.

Jenny, welcome to the podcast. How are you today?

Jenny Meier 03:35

I’m good. I’m so happy to be talking with you today.

Megan Porta 03:38

Yay. I’m so excited for you to be here. We’re going to talk about Substack, which I think is such a cool, new, relevant option for food bloggers to consider. But before we get into that, do you have a fun fact to share with us?

Jenny Meier 03:51

Sure. I live in Southern California, so we have really beautiful weather this time of year. It’s sunny and it’s 75 degrees, so I’m sure many people are envious of it, but I actually really miss cold wintery weather, and especially in December. It just does not feel like Christmas to me if it’s 75 degrees outside. So something I like to do is I’ll close all the shades in my front room to block out all the sun, and then I’ll put on the TV and I’ll go to a YouTube channel with like snow falling in the woods or like a cabin that you’re sitting in and it’s winter outside. And then I’ll sit and work on my couch and I feel like it’s winter, even though it’s not outside.

Megan Porta 04:31

Okay, Jenny, you have an open invitation to come visit me because I’m in the mecca of winter. I mean, we don’t have snow this year yet, which is weird. But yeah, seriously, come visit me anytime. It’s like the, we have this cozy fireplace and a hot tub. You are more than welcome to come and enjoy all of that with me in real, real life.

Jenny Meier 04:50

I think it’s really easy when you don’t live in that weather. You just sort of romanticize it. It just looks so cozy.

Megan Porta 04:58

It is cozy. Even when you do live in it. There are days when I’m like, I know most people hate this. Yeah. But I love that cozy feel. There’s something just so comfortable and yeah, inviting about that.

Jenny Meier 05:09

I know. Me too.

Megan Porta 05:11

All right, well I’ll keep you in mind for future Minnesota retreats.

Jenny Meier 05:14

I’ll accept an invitation. Yeah.

Megan Porta 05:16

Okay, sounds good. Okay, so we’re going to talk about Substack, but first would you give us a little background of your blog? Like when you started, what your niche is, just kinda a rundown on that.

Jenny Meier 05:28

Okay, sure. I’ve always worked in the food industry. I worked in restaurants. I worked in wine and cheese stores for a long time, and I always loved cooking and developing recipes, and I always loved writing. But this was, you know, back in like 2010, around then, starting a food blog didn’t seem like an obvious solution for those two things. And it didn’t seem like a way that I could make money. So I started freelancing and I wrote content for other food sites, and I developed recipes for other food sites. And it took me until 2019 where I finally got the courage to start my own blog. And by then there were so many food blogs and I kind of understood how I could get one started and possibly make money doing it. So I started my blog, like I said, in 2019. It’s called Kitchen Skip, and my focus is on easy dinner recipes for busy parents. And I had two little kids at the time, and I was like, even though I love cooking and I developed recipes, I found it so hard to get dinner on the table every night. So that’s what I decided to focus on for my blog. And then I was able to monetize with MediaVine at the very end of 2021. And then it wasn’t until last year that I actually finally started my newsletter with Substack.

Megan Porta 06:45

Okay. Yes. I love your history. Just like a not related question. Do you wish you could rewind and start your blog in 2010 when you kinda had that in your mind?

Jenny Meier 06:54

Well, you know, the thing is like between 2010 and 2019, I did have a couple of blogs that I tried to start, you know, but at the time I just, I didn’t, it was really like a learning period. I’d start one and I’d work on it for like six months, and then I just didn’t have the motivation to keep going. So I don’t know, I, I do wish I had started earlier and I’m envious of people who got started earlier, because I just think, God, I could have so much more content on my blog right now if I had started earlier. But I think it was really the right time for me in 2019. I was just ready and I was really excited and motivated so that it just felt really fun and exciting to post every week. And I was able to stick with it for the first time. So I think that was just the right time for me to start.

Megan Porta 07:42

Yeah, it sounds like 2010 wasn’t the good, wasn’t good timing for you. So yeah.

Jenny Meier 07:47

I just wasn’t ready. Looking back now, I can see that, you know?

Megan Porta 07:51

All right. So what caused you to think to think about Substack or think of an alternative way to reach a new audience? And how did Substack come onto your radar? because I think a lot of people even today don’t really even know what exists. So tell us how that’s went.

Jenny Meier 08:07

So for me, it was, I did not have a newsletter. And it was one of those things where I was like, I knew I was supposed to have a newsletter and I felt really guilty about like never having one, never gathering email addresses from people, but I just felt overwhelmed by how to start one. And I think like all the marketing strategies you hear about like sending a welcome sequence and setting all this stuff up felt really overwhelming to me. And Substack didn’t. It’s just, it’s very easy to get up and started on Substack. And for me it just felt like a more personal way to start sending a newsletter and less like a marketing tool that I was using. So that worked for me. And it was really fun to just start writing newsletters. It felt very casual. And then what’s also fun about Substack is you can subscribe to a bunch of other newsletters right away, so you kind of feel like you’re in this community of writers. And that for me was really helpful. I needed that motivation and it was really helpful to see what other people were putting in their newsletters and what they were writing. And so in that way it did not feel overwhelming. It just felt really fun to get started. And I think like if there are people who are curious about Substack, the best thing you can do is just to subscribe to some newsletters and start, start getting them. If you don’t have the Substack app on your phone, you can download that. And that’s a really great way to just sort of see what Substack is all about and just start reading other people’s newsletters and you’ll understand pretty quickly how it works. And I think why people like it so much.

Megan Porta 09:39

Now, is Substack app free?

Jenny Meier 09:41

Yeah, it is. It’s free. So if you are a person who subscribes to a Substack newsletter, you can just get the newsletter in your inbox, like a traditional newsletter or you can get the app. And then any newsletter you subscribe to on Substack will show up on the app for you. And so I just always go to the app on my phone and when I feel like reading newsletters, I’ll just scroll through the app and I can see all the newsletters I subscribe to and choose which ones I want to read at that moment. And then a lot of the things I’m going to talk about today, like there’s sort of a version of a social media feed and discussion threads and that sort of thing. And it’s really easiest to participate in all of those things if you have the app on your phone.

Megan Porta 10:22

So the app is good to get, start with just perusing through others. Maybe you can even find some food creators to just see what they’re doing.

Jenny Meier 10:33

Yeah, that’s what I did first. I got on Substack and I just subscribed to other food newsletters and started seeing what other people were writing. So that’s a really great way to start.

Megan Porta 10:42

Now you did this in place of creating an actual newsletter through like MailChimp or ConvertKit or anything like that. So this is your sole place for gathering email subscribers?

Jenny Meier 10:52

This is, yeah. And I know some people have it as like their sole newsletter, and then there’s some people who kind of use it in tandem with another marketing platform. So you could still send out newsletters using any other platform and then use Substack just sort of to supplement it. And I’ve seen people too, that use Substack as a place to sort of grow community and communicate with people in addition to their newsletter on another platform. So you can just do Substack or you can do Substack and something else.

Megan Porta 11:26

So you have options.

Jenny Meier 11:27

If you want to, you have options. Yeah. And I think likewise, probably, unlike a lot of food bloggers, I’m actually not on social media at all. Like I don’t post anything on Instagram or TikTok or anything. So for me, this is my version of social media as well. This is where I communicate with people and you know, some people are only using Substack instead of social media. And then there’s a lot of people who love social media have a huge following, and they use Substack just as another way to communicate with people.

Megan Porta 11:58

So interesting. And I think that will pique a lot of interest because I talk to food bloggers all the time who are like, I hate social media. I can’t stand it. I have to be on there, but I Right. Don’t want to be. So you’re saying you don’t have to be on there, right, Jenny?

Jenny Meier 12:12

Yeah, I mean, I’m not saying it’s the best option, it’s what I’ve done. Because I also, like, I just am not good at social media. I’m not interested in it. I think if I do start becoming active on social media, I’m going to need to hire someone to do that for me, which is what I’ve realized. So, and I may choose to do that at some point, but up until now I’ve just depended solely on Google and SEO to drive traffic to my blog. And that’s worked for me up until now where I’ve started. I think like a lot of bloggers, I’m starting to see a decline in traffic as Google’s having these different updates. So I, I feel really motivated now. Like I can’t just depend on SEO and Google anymore. I do need to have some other way of building a community and some other way of driving traffic to my blog. And if that’s not going to be social media, then it’s possible that Substack could be that thing for me. And that’s what my goal is for next year, just to lean a lot more into Substack, spend more time on it, and really try to develop a community and another source of income that I could depend on.

Megan Porta 13:17

Developing a community is so important, and I think it’s never been more important to do that. Those words are like, yes, I absolutely need to do that in 2024 and beyond. So this is such a relevant and timely discussion.

Jenny Meier 13:31

I’m not on social media like in a lot of ways. That’s great. But I do feel the lack of a community around my blog. I do sometimes feel like I’m just sending recipes out into like a black hole, you know, where you’re just sending them out there and hoping someone’s reading them.

Megan Porta 13:46

Oh, I feel that.

Jenny Meier 13:48

Yeah. And I just, I feel also as a writer and a creator, just a lack of colleagues, you know, like people I can talk to about what I’m doing and not just a community of people who like my blog, but a people, people who are also writers and you know, and I’ve have found that on Substack as well.

Megan Porta 14:07

Yeah. This is so great. So you have options or ideas for building community with subscribers, so people who follow you. And then you also have ideas for ways to network with other writers and bloggers like you talked about, right? So do you want to talk through your three ways to build community with your subscribers first?

Jenny Meier 14:27

Sure. I think like the easiest way is through reader comments. And what I like about Substack is they make it really easy to insert a link or a button into your newsletter that says like, leave a comment. So you can, like, I’ll ask a question like, Hey, I’m baking Russian tea cakes this week for the holidays, what are you baking? And then immediately below that there’s a button people can click on to leave a comment and comment on what they’re baking, or they can easily comment on anything that you write about in your newsletter. And I think for me, this turns the newsletter more into a two-way conversation, rather than just something you’re sending out to your readers every week. And then you may never hear anything back from anyone who received it. So they’ll go, I mean, this is why the Substack app is really good because if you’re on the app, it’s easiest to, there’s a little link for comments, like a comments section, so you can see comments a lot easier if you’re on the app and each, like I also have, so when you send out a Substack newsletter, you also have a Substack homepage. And so on my homepage you can, it has a list of all the past newsletters I’ve sent out. And if you click on a past newsletter at the very bottom there’s a little icon for comments and or a little link that says, see comments. And then you can see all the comments that people have left for one particular newsletter. Or you can, at the very bottom of every newsletter, there’s a little comments icon that you can click on and you can leave a comment about the newsletter.

Megan Porta 15:57

Okay. So your newsletters are stored within the app, under your username.

Jenny Meier 16:01

Exactly. So I have like a web, it’s kitchen Skip, which is the name of my food blog. It’s And if you go to that page, it’s like my Substack homepage and you can see all my newsletters and comment on any of them and that sort of thing.

Megan Porta 16:17

Okay. So does this translate to blog traffic? Can you send people to your URLs?

Jenny Meier 16:24

Yes, that’s, and mostly that’s what I use my Substack newsletter for. I’ll feature one recipe or a couple recipes in the newsletter and they all link back to my blog. Okay. And then I also, in the past six months started a paid subscription and for my paid subscribers, they also get some recipes each month that aren’t on my blog. They’re just exclusive recipes that I only make for my Substack paid subscribers. And those type of recipes are the ones like I don’t think would get any traffic on my blog, you know, like there’s no way I could compete for them SEO-wise, or maybe it’s not really in my niche. So that’s, it’s kind of a fun way for those recipes you really want to create, but you don’t think they’re going to do well on your blog. You can share those with your readers on Substack, but also you can send, send people back to your blog to find recipes.

Megan Porta 17:17

Okay, that’s what I thought. And then how many newsletters do you send out to both unpaid and paid?

Jenny Meier 17:23

I send out a weekly newsletter every Thursday, and that’s my free newsletter. And then for my paid subscribers, they get two bonus newsletters every month. And I kind of vary what I include on those two bonus newsletters. Sometimes I’ll do just like a fun short recipe or like a dessert recipe. And sometimes I send out a meal plan, I’m kind of experimenting with sending out a meal plan once a month as an extra bonus. And then I also kind of delve into the other stuff. Like I don’t just talk about food, I talk about other things I’m interested like reading or cookbooks. So I might send out a newsletter every month that’s just about like what I’m reading that month. Like it has nothing to do with food, but it’s kind of a fun way to relate to people. And then my paid subscribers also get one additional recipe a month. So they get all the free newsletters, they get two bonus newsletters, and then they get one exclusive recipe a month as well.

Megan Porta 18:17

Wow, that’s a great idea.

Jenny Meier 18:18

So I think it’s something you kind of have to play around with. There are people on Substack who provide a lot of content for their paid subscribers, and there’s some people who, you know, send out less. I really had to find a balance of like what was realistic for me, like what I actually had time to send out each month. So that’s what I’m doing right now. I might like change that in the future, but that’s working for me right now.

Megan Porta 18:43

So your first point, just reader comments, really engaging with those and getting some engagement going with your subscribers. What are your other ways to build community with your subscribers?

Jenny Meier 18:54

There’s another way that you can communicate with people in between your newsletters and it’s called a discussion thread. And it’s really most, it’s easiest to participate in discussion threads if you have the app, and that’s how you’re reading your Substack newsletters. So a discussion thread is different than comments because it’s usually done for a shorter period of time and maybe live, so meaning like every Friday at 3:00 PM I could start a discussion thread and say, Hey, what’s everybody meal planning for next week? For the next hour I’ll be here answering your questions about meal planning. And so people can write in on the discussion thread and say like, here’s what I’m cooking, or I can share recipe ideas with them. And that will only be for like a spec from like three to four o’clock on Fridays. Or I saw another writer start a discussion thread just yesterday and he said, I’m on an airplane right now. I’m just going to be sitting here for an hour. Let’s have an ask me anything session for the next hour. Just you can ask me any question you want. So there’s a lot of different ways you can use it. I also saw some food writers on Substack get together and they hosted a discussion thread right before Thanksgiving and it was kind of like a Turkey hotline, you know, where you could write in for two hours and ask questions and they would answer them about what you were cooking for the Thanksgiving. So it’s a fun way to kind of communicate with people in more of a live fashion. And I’ve kind of been thinking about it lately as a way that you can establish yourself as an expert because people are, you’re hosting this discussion thread and people are writing into you, you know, as an expert on a specific topic. So kind, that’s how I’ve been thinking of using it the future. I actually have not done this yet, the discussion thread, but it’s something I’m going to start trying next year.

Megan Porta 20:42

And you could get so creative with that. There are so many different avenues that you could show up and talk through. Right. I mean, especially with food, I mean, you could talk about anything with food.

Jenny Meier 20:51

Yeah, I think you could do, like I said, people can ask questions about holiday baking. You could just start a discussion thread about like, what is your biggest dinnertime challenge right now? And talk about that. And I like the idea that you could host a discussion thread with another food writer on Substack. So you could do it together with someone and you could both answer questions at the same time. That sounds really fun.

Megan Porta 21:14

Oh, that’s a great way to tap into other people’s audiences too, and hopefully gain some new traction.

Jenny Meier 21:21

There’s a lot of sharing of audiences that goes on, on Substack, and I find that, you know, a lot of writers there, it’s more of a collaborative rather than a competitive atmosphere. So that’s really nice.

Megan Porta 21:30

Okay, that’s cool. You’ll have to let me know once you do that, because I’m curious if you are invigorated by it or if you’re like, oh, it wasn’t for me.

Jenny Meier 21:39

Yeah, I will.

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Megan Porta 23:06

And then what is the last way to build community?

Jenny Meier 23:09

So the last thing you can do just to communicate with your subscribers is there’s something called a chat feed. And it’s basically like a social media feed where you can post photos. It looks a lot like scrolling through Facebook, but it’s only something that your subscribers can see and you can limit it, limit it so that only your paid subscribers see it, or all of your subscribers. And that’s actually something with the, the discussion threads as well. They can be open to all of your subscribers or you can limit it to just paid subscribers. So that can be an added perk that you offer if you have a paid subscription that people can participate in the discussion threads or they could see your chat feed if they’re a paid subscriber. And for me, especially since I’m not on social media, this is a place for me to just post photos of like what I’m doing on the weekend, or I’ll post like what I am cooking for dinner that night. Just really casual pictures about my life so that people can just get to know me better. Outside of the newsletter. Like today my kids are making gingerbread houses, so when they’re done, I’m going to take a picture of the gingerbread houses and I’ll put that on my chat feed.

Megan Porta 24:17

Oh, perfect. And this is ongoing, right? Like Facebook, once it’s there, it stays. It’s not like it disappears. Okay.

Jenny Meier 24:23

Yeah, it stays there and people can scroll through it and I like that you can control who sees it. So if you do want to keep things fairly private, you can just have your paid subscribers view what you’re posting.

Megan Porta 24:35

I didn’t know about the discussion thread and chat features, so that’s really cool. And then how much traction do you get from that? I mean, I don’t know how many Substack subscribers there are, so I don’t know if this translates to a lot of traction or if it’s like how worth it, I guess, is it?

Jenny Meier 24:52

You know, I think it’s kind of something people are figuring out in real time right now. And you get, just like any sort of social media, you’re going to get out of it what you put into it. So up until now I haven’t been super active in using these different ways to communicate. So I’m just starting to get into it. And it is something you have to keep up regularly. And I think it grows slowly over time. I have seen bumps, you know, like when other writers will mention my newsletter, then I do see like a little bump in subscriptions. And just like, sometimes you’ll start a discussion thread or ask a comment and like nobody comments, you know? So it’s, like you’re not always going to get a huge response, but then when you do get responses from people, it’s really great and it feels really good to kind of start building that community. But I think it does take time. There’s, you know, there’s people on Substack who have come to Substack already having a huge social media following. And I think for them it takes off really quickly. And then, you know, there’s other people like myself who I’m just starting at the very beginning building a community. And so I think it’s going to build slowly over time and you just have to be patient with it.

Megan Porta 26:04

As with anything else. Right? Yeah. Patience. It’s consistency.

Jenny Meier 26:08

Substack is great, but it’s not like you’re going to have overnight success e you know, you have to put time into it.

Megan Porta 26:13

Does this translate to, I mean, significant traffic for you and or monetization? I know you said that you have a paid subscription. Yeah. Is that like pennies? Are we talking like substantial dollars? What is that? I mean, you don’t have to tell me exactly, but.

Jenny Meier 26:30

Oh, that’s okay. I think in terms of like driving, so you know, there’s two ways. One way is I’m trying to drive traffic back to my food blog where I still earn the majority of my money. And that’s not, it’s not driving, my newsletters don’t drive a huge amount of traffic to my blog, but they do drive traffic and I think they just help in making people aware of my blog and more likely to go to my blog whenever they’re looking for a recipe. Just like any newsletter you would send out. And then in terms of the subscriptions, you know, I think for me it’s building slowly. Like I’ll say, I guess I started my paid subscription probably like eight months ago, and at the end of this year, I think I’ll have made somewhere between like four and $500 from paid subscriptions.

Megan Porta 27:16

No, it’s not nothing.

Jenny Meier 27:16

It’s not nothing. It’s not, you know, it’s definitely not anywhere close to my main source of income, but I do see a lot of potential to grow that over time. So I think there is a good opportunity to make another, to make income from it and not just depend on ads on your blog. And there are a lot of people on Substack who are making a full-time income. Oh, they have a lot of subscribers. They put out a lot of content. But I think it’s like you do have to have a lot of subscribers if it’s something that you want to be a substantial amount of income. because Most people, a subscription is usually around like $5 a month and people can just pay a year, you know, get a year subscription in one chunk, or they can pay the $5 a month. So you have to, you know, if you do the math on that, you have to have a lot of $5 subscriptions each month, right. To, you know, earn a substantial income.

Megan Porta 28:08

But if you have a huge community and it, you’ve invested time into it, into building it up, then it could be worth it.

Jenny Meier 28:16

Right. And I think just, you know, I think all of us know that we’re not supposed to put all our eggs in one basket and we’re, we should have these different sources of income, but sometimes it’s really hard to motivate yourself to do that. And I think being on Substack, knowing that I have people that are paying for content that I’m putting out, I have to put that content out every month. So for me it’s like I needed that to finally light a fire under me to be like, yes, I have to like really commit to this. People are depending on me. People are actually paying me money to send them a newsletter. I really have to send it out. And so I’ve really appreciated that motivation.

Megan Porta 28:55

That’s a good point. I didn’t think about that. It’s like an extra fire under you that just, right. Yeah. Probably really lights you up. You have to do it. You have to deliver because people are paying you money.

Jenny Meier 29:05

Right, exactly. And I know, you know, I think all of us want, like I said, we want to be doing all these other projects, but we’re also busy and we have so much work we’re already doing on our blogs that it is hard to start that other thing unless you really have, you’re really motivated and you have to do it.

Megan Porta 29:24

Okay. That’s all great. So great advice for building community with your subscribers. Now let’s move on to ways to network with other bloggers and or writers, because I think this is a really important piece of it too. So what do you have for that?

Jenny Meier 29:37

Yeah, this has been really fun because you just meet, I mean, there’s all sorts of writers. There’s writers writing on every single topic you can think of on Substack, but there’s also this sort of subcategory, there’s a lot of food writers on there. So I’ve myself, I’ve subscribed to a lot of food newsletters and I’ve, there’s a lot of big names out there. Like Smitten Kitchen has a newsletter that she sends out. So like people’s names that you’re immediately going to recognize from the food world. And then there’s like lots of other blogs that I’ve discovered that I didn’t know about because they have a Substack newsletter now. One thing you can do, it’s called recommendations and it’s pretty much exactly like a blog roll. Remember a long time ago? Oh yeah. People would have blog roll and they would just list other blogs. So you can, like, if you go to my Substack homepage, there’s a list of my recommendations. So it’s other Substack food newsletters that I like reading. And then hopefully other writers will feature you on their list of recommendations. So it’s a good way to just find other newsletters and have people discover your newsletter.

Megan Porta 30:39

So go to a trusted source and just see what their recommendations are.

Jenny Meier 30:46

Yeah. And Substack has a lot of, like, you can see your stats like on your own Substack dashboard when you go in so you can see who else is recommending you and how many people have come to your newsletter to subscribe because of other recommendations. So you can, it’s fun to like see how people are arriving at your newsletter.

Megan Porta 31:05

All right. What else do you have for networking with other entrepreneurs or bloggers?

Jenny Meier 31:11

They also said Substack also has basically what’s is a social media feed that’s just for Substack writers. And that’s open to everyone on the platform. So like earlier I talked about the chat feed, which is only for your own subscribers. The notes feed is for everybody on Substack, and it’s meant to help you discover everything that’s being published on Substack so you can see what other people are publishing. And it’s really encouraged on Substack to promote your own writing. So like when you put out a newsletter, you could post it on the notes feed and say, Hey, this is what I’m posting this week, check out my newsletter. And then you can also, if you read a newsletter that you like, you can post that on the notes feed and say like, Hey, check out Megan’s newsletter she wrote this week. I think it’s really great. And that’s encouraged as well. It’s been just like really nice to see writers promoting other writers. And that happens a lot on Substack. And this Notes Feed is a way that you can see that, see who’s helping to promote.

Megan Porta 32:10

Who have you made good connections with people through the Notes feed?

Jenny Meier 32:14

I have just started to, and I mean, I’ve made most of my connections on Substack just by subscribing to other people’s newsletters. And then I start commenting on their newsletter and, or like, another good way to like connect with people is to recommend their newsletter. So if I read one I like, I’ll recommend it. And then they’ll get a little note that says, Hey, Jenny recommended your newsletter. So it’s just a good way to open lines of communication with other writers. And yeah, it is really cool if someone recommends your newsletter, then you’re like, you want to go check out their newsletter? You know, so.

Megan Porta 32:47

Right. Yeah. Are there, have you found that there are a lot of bloggers and writers on Substack?

Jenny Meier 32:54

I mean, I think I’m finding more every day. I feel like there’s a lot of people who are just coming to Substack now and starting newsletters. So it’s definitely not something where you feel like, oh, I’ve like missed the opportunity to do this. I think it’s still sort of a new thing, but a lot of people are just newly starting on it and, and starting to use it.

Megan Porta 33:16

Yes. Definitely. I mean, I’ve only heard a few of you who have explored this and been brave enough to figure it out. So I do think it’s very new and it’s something worth exploring, which is kind of cool, right? Because we often, so often we’re like, oh, I miss the boat on that. Right. I’m too late on that. There’s, it’s too saturated now. I’ll try the next thing. So here you go, here’s the next thing.

Jenny Meier 33:38

Yeah. And I think just like I did, it’s like, it’s pretty low stakes if you start just sending out a free newsletter on Substack, you know? It’s like, just try it out and see how it goes for you. And if you really like it, just start a paid subscription. Or you can start one, but you can start it on your terms and offer like whatever you want to offer, whatever you feel like you can actually handle doing. So it’s, it’s pretty easy to start on it, you know, and just check it out.

Megan Porta 34:06

Start simple and go from there if you feel inspired.

Jenny Meier 34:09


Megan Porta 34:10

Yeah. So what is your last way to network with other bloggers and writers?

Jenny Meier 34:15

The last way is just kind of what I touched on when we were talking a few minutes ago, is just being able to easily collaborate with other writers. Something I want to do, start doing a lot more of next year is have reach out and ask other writers to contribute to my newsletter. Like one section that I include on my newsletter each week I talk about what I made for my family for dinner every night of the week. And so what I’d like to do is reach out to other food writers and say, Hey, can I feature you? And can you tell us what you made for dinner last week for your family? Or, I want to reach out to other food writers on Substack and say, Hey, can I feature one of your recipes in my newsletter? And then maybe I can feature one of my recipes in their newsletter. And I think there’s just a lot of ways that you can collaborate and get your content in front of the a new audience.

Megan Porta 35:04

Yeah. That’s creative and probably pays off too if you’re, if people are asking you for their advice, that’s valuable.

Jenny Meier 35:11

Right. I think so. And I think, like I mentioned before too, you can get together with another food writer and host a Q and A session. So you could do like a discussion thread. You and I could get together and be like, Hey, Megan and I are going to have this discussion thread about holiday baking. We’ll answer together. We’re going to answer any questions you have. And again, it’s like, so people that subscribe to your newsletter might join the thread, people who subscribe to my newsletter will join it. And then you get more eyes in front of your content, you kind of get to establish yourself as an expert. And then you just get to know other people who are on Substack and kind of figuring it out and just collaborate and work together.

Megan Porta 35:48

In a world where we just really need to focus on community and we know this and there’s this ever increasing importance put on this. I think this is so relevant and intriguing and I hope that others check it out. I don’t know. I think there, it’s a no brainer, like what you said earlier, start simple. Just send out a free newsletter, see what happens. And maybe it’ll grow, maybe it won’t.

Jenny Meier 36:13

Exactly. And I think, like I mentioned at the beginning, like if you just want to take one little step, just subscribe to some other Substack newsletters and start reading them and you’ll kind of, it’s just a great way to see what’s going on Substack. And then you can decide if it’s something you’re interested in or not, you know, and you can see other writers doing all this stuff I just talked about, like the comments and the discussion threads. If it all sounds like I don’t really fully understand it, just subscribe to a Substack newsletter or a few of them and you’ll start seeing how these things are being used alongside newsletters.

Megan Porta 36:48

Right. Let them be your guide kind of. Yeah. I was curious what your goals are with Substack in the next year, coming years?

Jenny Meier 36:57

Well, I think for next year, like I mentioned that I, with, I’ve really put all my time and energy into my food blog because that’s where I’ve been earning most of my money. But seeing that like traffic on that is not as reliable as it once was, and even has been declining the past couple months. For me, my goal is to grow, to actually spend more time and effort on Substack and know that that’s going to pay off in the long term and just try to get more paid subscribers. And then I just also, I mean, I guess I have a couple goals. I would like to get more paid subscribers. And then I also do want to just connect with more food bloggers and food writers, because I’m someone who’s like, because I wasn’t on social media, I haven’t really connected with a lot of other food bloggers, and I feel like I’m just like at home alone, you know what I mean? Like I said, I don’t have colleagues and you know, I listen to your podcast and I listen to other podcasts and you know, I’ll go on Food Blogger Pro on Facebook, but it’s like, I don’t really leave comments on there. So I’ve never really connected with other food bloggers or I felt like a little bit shy about just emailing someone out of the blue. And here on Substack, it just feels a lot easier to connect and send people messages. So I’m looking forward to doing that. And I think I’m just looking forward to also like, because I’m now sending out a weekly newsletter and all these other newsletters, it’s helping me just become a better writer and feel more confident about the craft of writing and connecting and also like marketing and you know, kind of realizing like, oh, I’m actually doing marketing. You know, that’s, yeah. In a fun way and not an intimidating way. So I think that’s my other goal is just to become a better writer and keep working on the craft and stay committed to sending out these newsletters.

Megan Porta 38:46

I love your goals and I love those kind of sideline benefits that you don’t necessarily anticipate, but that pop up like, oh, I’m getting better at writing, I’m getting better at marketing. I love it when that happens.

Jenny Meier 38:58

Yeah, I do too. Because I think like marketing always felt like, Ugh, I can’t do that. Yeah. And then as you start doing some of these things, you realize like, oh, this is marketing. Yes. But it’s fun.

Megan Porta 39:08

I know I had that same realization maybe last year. I don’t remember exactly when, but I’ve always had it in my mind. Like, I hate sales, I hate marketing. And then I had one day where I was like, Megan, you are marketing. You are a salesperson. I was like, oh my gosh.

Jenny Meier 39:23

Right. And you’re really good at it.

Megan Porta 39:26

I’m doing it.

Jenny Meier 39:27

I’ve learned from you so much.

Megan Porta 39:32

But yeah, that’s really cool and kind of one of the side benefits that you’ll see when you dig into something like Substack. So yeah, so cool. Is there anything we missed, Jenny, before we start saying goodbye on the topic of Substack?

Jenny Meier 39:44

I don’t think so. I mean, I would just say like if there are people listening right now that are on Substack, I would love to connect with them. Or if you know, people just want to subscribe to my newsletter, like I said, it’s a great way where you can just kind of see what I’m talking about today, what I’m actually doing. And I would love to connect with people that way as well. But mostly just like give it a try. I would say that’s like, because I kept reading about Substack and thinking about Substack and then I realized like I just needed to do it. Like, that’s. You just have to learn by doing it, you know? And the first newsletter letters I sent out weren’t great. I kind of look back at my first ones and I’m like, ugh, Those weren’t the best newsletters, but you get better over time and you really just have to start doing it to learn how to do it.

Megan Porta 40:31

Yeah. Oh gosh, yes. Everyone gets started. Take Jen’s advice, just check out some other people and see what they’re doing to get motivated and inspired. Right. Yeah. Yes. Well this was such a pleasure. Thank you so much for delivering all of this information on Substack and for inspiring us. Jenny. Yeah. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with today?

Jenny Meier 40:52

I do, and I’m realizing it’s kind of just what I was talking about a minute ago. I think what I have repeated to myself most often during like my whole blogging journey is just keep moving forward. I feel like it’s so easy to be discouraged and to feel like other people are doing more than you or better than you. And I think it’s okay to feel discouraged for a couple of days, but then you just have to pick up the work and like just keep moving forward. And even if it’s just baby steps, even if you’re just doing little things, if you keep moving forward, your little successes are going to build on each other and you will be successful. So I think that those are my, that’s my advice that’s kept me going all these years.

Megan Porta 41:34

Oh, it’s like the theme that we should all carry with us no matter what we’re working on. Those little steps they count, right?

Jenny Meier 41:40

Yeah, they do. They really do.

Megan Porta 41:42

Yeah. Awesome. I love this great way to end. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Jenny. If you want to go look at those, head to, tell everyone where they can find you, Jenny.

Jenny Meier 41:54

Well, like I said, since I’m not on social media, it’s pretty easy. You can just go to my website, which is and you can sign up for my newsletter from that website. Or if you want to check out my Substack homepage, it’s

Megan Porta 42:10

Everyone go check it out. And yeah, just thanks Jenny again for being here. And thank you for listening food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode. 

Outro 42:22

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

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