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Episode 118: How To Create A Lot With Very Little with Kristen Wood

In episode 118 we talk with Kristen Wood, a food blogger who saw success in growing her blog when she began to use a lot of resources and put them into practice.

We cover information about many free options to create and support content creation, tips on how to grow your Pinterest audience organically and a reminder that gratitude is everything.

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


Guest Details

Connect with Moon and Spoon and Yum
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Bio Kristen is the voice behind MOON and spoon and yum, a gluten-free vegetarian food blog. In the last year Kristen has grown her blog from 30k monthly views to 250k monthly views all with very limited equipment, resources and expenses

Takeaways

  • Having limited resources forces you to use what you have and make things happen!
  • You can use free key research tools and photo editing software. There is lots of advice shared on Food Blogger Central that can be put to use as well.
  • If you’re feeling burned out and missing direction in your work, a roundup is useful to do. You can interact with other bloggers, get inspiration and help fill you up to get back on track with your own work.
  • Ask yourself as you’re beginning something – Is this task valuable to the blog, whether it’s Pinterest, SEO or Google traffic.
  • Look at your own most successful posts and use that concrete information to make a plan.
  • Generate new interest on Pinterest by creating new pins after improving old content to refresh your online presence.
  • Pin 2 pins per recipe – post one for a couple of days and then when those have posted, you can post the next one. Group boards work well for some accounts on Pinterest.
  • When reviewing your content, look at adding H2 headings and be sure you’re focused on writing for the user. Other great pieces to add to each post would be offering substitutions and tips, process shots and videos.
  • SEO help is free or very affordable with several websites. You can even search for coupons or specials to try a new program.
  • You can make your dreams come true! Be resourceful and spend less where you can so you can focus on growing and learning and then you’ll bring in a little more money. 
  • Start where you are with what you have and try to enjoy the process. The journey is very important.

Resources Mentioned

Eat Blog Talk and other assorted podcasts for learning a lot from others!

FBC Social Sharing and Blogger Round-Up Requests Facebook Groups (for adding your own links to round-ups and finding some for your own)

Keysearch keyword research tool or Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension

Pinterest Board Group Requests Facebook Group (for finding Pinterest boards to join or sharing a board of your own that you want others to join)

Big Scoots Hosting (fast + amazing support for migrating from Squarespace to WordPress)

Slickstream (love this paid plugin I recently installed –  great search function and improves clickthroughs to other pages)

Tailwind

Adobe Premiere Rush (video editing on both desktop and phone app)

Free photo editing: Polarr (https://editor.polarr.co/)

Ready For More?

Learning to create an editorial calendar and effectively using it is discussed in episode 102 with Megan Porta.

Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

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

Megan Porta:

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

Okay, food bloggers. Have you heard of Flodesk, the new big email marketing rage? This is an amazing new option for managing your email subscriber list. It is super easy to use and it comes with gorgeous, intuitive drag and drop templates. Flodesk does not charge based on number of subscribers, so your monthly rate will stay the same from month to month. Everyone pays $38 a month or use my affiliate link to get 50% off and pay only $19 a month. You guys, this is a fraction of the price of other email service providers, and you’ll be blown away by the beautiful and intuitive templates waiting for you inside. Visit eatblogtalk.com/resources to grab your link. Flodesk, the stunning new option for email marketing.

What’s up food bloggers! Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast made for you, food bloggers seeking value for your businesses and your lives. I have Kristen Wood with me today from moonandspoonandyum.com. We are going to talk about how to create a lot using very little. Kristin is the voice behind Moon and Spoon and Yum, a gluten-free vegetarian food blog. In the last year, Kristen has grown her blog from 30,000 monthly views to 250,000 monthly views, all with very limited equipment, resources and expenses. All right, Kristen, I think all of our ears are perked, and we’re excited to hear about your journey in the last year, but before we dig in, give us a fun fact about yourself.

Kristen Wood:

Hi Megan. I once sold some belongings and spent a year traveling through Central and South America solo. I would say that it is one of the greatest influences for my blog because spending that much time in open air markets and working with fresh ingredients daily just is just one of those experiences that I refer to often when creating in the kitchen.

Megan:

Wow. So how long were you there?

Kristen:

I spent about three months in Costa Rica and then I traveled South from there through Panama to Columbia. Then I spent three months in Ecuador and three months in Peru. I rented a house and I just cooked in the house a lot. It was just something I had to do for myself and it’s worth it for me to sell things, to have those experiences.

Megan:

That’s really courageous of you to do that and tackle such a project on your own. That is totally something that speaks to me because I like to do those really big things. Even if people around me think, you are nuts. They’re worried about my safety. My dad is always worried about me no matter what. My brother is always calling me saying, you’re really freaking dad out. I don’t even have to travel around the world. Just let me live!

Kristen:

Yes, I’m big on life experiences and making most of my life here.

Megan:

So have you written about any of those experiences that you had?

Kristen:

No. I actually kind of regret not starting a blog then. It probably would have been enjoyable, but it didn’t really even occur to me.

Megan:

You should write a book or something because I’m sure you gathered tons of life experiences and food experiences and all sorts of things. Oh, great. I love that so much. So you’re here to talk about your growth in the past year and how you’ve made that happen using very little. I think this is very intriguing for food bloggers to hear, because we all love those stories. Instead, I spent 15 years and a million dollars to grow my business. We want to hear the stories that are like, Hey, I did this really quickly in a little amount of time with the little resources. So you’ve obviously figured out how to grow your blog quickly and it’s always impressive to see this. You found this growth by using little, which is awesome. So talk to us about how to get started with what we have and where we’re at.

Kristen:

I’m kind of a big believer that where there’s a will, there’s a way. So I just set my mind to it all. I’ve found that having limited resources forces you to be creative about things. It forces you to make things happen. So I actually saw it as an advantage at the time because I was really forced to just make things happen. However I had to. I started out with free photo-editing software, free keyword research tools. I just found everything I could, that was free. There’s a lot out there. You can just do a simple Google search for absolutely anything and find so much. I also found a lot of the Facebook groups; Food Blogger Central Facebook group, for instance, where you can just search SEO for instance, and find just a plethora of information. I think we’ve all heard about Casey, Markee, SEO guru. He gives out lots of information for free. So I just started paying attention to what people were saying. You can learn a lot from other food bloggers who share their own success stories and say, Hey, this works – niche down, you know, use WordPress, which I wish I had done that sooner.

Megan:

Oh, same. I’m with you.

Kristen:

I was kind of stubborn too, because it was a hard journey too. It was rocky because I made a lot of wrong decisions, starting out by starting on Weebly and Squarespace. I was stubborn and didn’t want to follow the crowd and just do my own thing. But, I’ve now learned that there’s something to be said for listening to what works for other people.

Megan:

Like you mentioned, there are a lot of really smart people out there contributing to the forums and the groups. If you just listen to what they’re saying, truly just stop and listen and realize that this is free, super valuable information. You can take away so much. That’s why podcasts are huge because, Oh my gosh, podcasts are free. You can listen to every single episode and probably use all of the information to take your business to a whole new level.

Kristen:

Oh, definitely. This podcast has helped me immensely as well. Definitely know it’s a big inspiration.

Megan:

I love that.

Kristen:

It’s a lot of work though. You have to apply what you’re learning.

Megan:

Exactly.

Kristen:

It’s a lot of work, I don’t want to leave that out.

Megan:

Right. You can’t just read the information or listen to the information and then just assume it’s going to magically absorb into your business. It’s not going to happen. You do actually have to do the work and you have to retain it. There was a time when I was like reading through the forums a couple of years ago and I was seeing it, but I really wasn’t absorbing it. I wasn’t truly getting it or I wasn’t wanting to do it or maybe both. Now I’m at a place where anything I see that’s valuable, especially if it’s free, like you said, I am going to take it. I’m going to truly just sit with it, learn it and apply it to my business. So you do have to do the work.

Kristen:

Yes, definitely. I think it’s important to make sure you’re not wasting time and things that aren’t really bringing value to your business or your blog. It’s about learning what works. Then following that and keeping on doing it. If I find myself kind of mindlessly scrolling on social media, I stop. I’m like, wait a minute, this isn’t adding any value to anything I need to just, you know, get to work.

Megan:

Not just social media scrolling, but also the projects that you take on, because I used to take on projects that were, looking back, they were totally fruitless and lacking value. But at the time I don’t know what I was thinking, but I always wondered what I was thinking then? But I thought somehow that I was doing something good and productive and valuable, but I don’t know, how do you differentiate what’s valuable and what’s not? Especially if you’re not in that place where you say, I know exactly what to do that’s going to bring value. What if someone is just kind of on the fence, I don’t know, what’s going to bring value. What do you think about how people differentiate that or weed out the not valuable things?

Kristen:

I think that’s where paying attention to what other successful bloggers are doing, kind of helps a bit too. I think it’s important to see that you can always update all content. For instance, that’s something that’s always there that you can always work on. I feel like there’s always something to improve on your own website. You don’t necessarily have to start a new project. You can just go through things and update them and improve them and pay attention to what people are saying and what they’re saying works for them and kind of follow that if you’re lacking guidance. Also for me, one little thing that helps me is if I’m feeling really burned out and I just don’t really have any direction, then I do a Roundup post. I find that that’s something that kind of keeps things going. I actually find some inspiration just through doing that post. It’s nice to visit other blogs and interact with other bloggers and see what’s going on there. I actually find those to be some of my most successful posts as well.

Megan:

Oh, that’s great. That can also lead to inspiration for other projects, I found too. Going through my old content, like you mentioned is kind of a fallback for a lot of us because we have all that really old stuff just sitting around. I found that when I go through some of that stuff, I realize this is a topic I’d really like to write more on. So I think just doing one little thing can lead to other things that are valuable.

Kristen:

Yes. Or a lot of things.

Megan:

When you compile a Roundup post, do you use other people’s content mixed in with your own or do you do some that are just you?

Kristen:

I do. I just find that it’s a great way to network with other bloggers and sometimes they return the favor by including you one of their own Roundup posts and it’s a good way to visit other blogs. Sometimes you find inspiration and just how they format their posts or their photography, or how their blog looks like. You learn a lot just by doing that. It kind of helps open things back up if you’re kind of feeling stale.

Megan:

I always say that going to other blogs is really good for all of us because we get so stuck on our own blogs that it’s hard to venture out. So creating roundups is a really good way to force yourself out, to see what other people are doing. Not for comparison sake at all, but just to see what’s going on in the world of blogging. Maybe there’s like a different header or something that’s really cool. So I love when I forced myself to stop and go look at other people’s websites.

Kristen:

Yes. It’s nice to feel like you’re a reader for a little while.

Megan:

You feel more normal somehow. I’m a normal human, I am not a crazy blogger. So let’s talk about, you had in your notes about working smarter and not harder. I love that because we all can work so hard and we can get into that rut of just nonstop, go, go, go. So tell us some ways that we can work a little bit smarter instead of harder.

Kristen:

Well, I think we covered a little bit of it just as far as paying attention to what works for others and what works for yourself. I think it’s important to look at your own most successful posts and see what people are responding to. What is the format like? What are the images like? What are your Pinterest pins like? Your successful Pinterest pins and try to duplicate that and see what happens. It’s good to take that as a lead. I used to spend so much time like submitting my recipes to the recipe sharing sites, like Foodgawker and all these little tasks that really weren’t leading anywhere or doing a product review just for a product or not really valuing myself and not charging as much as I could have for sponsor posts that weren’t even going to bring me that much traffic anyways and just spinning my wheels. So I’ve just learned along the way that it’s important to step back and just ask if this task is valuable for the blog. Don’t spend your wheels working on things that aren’t really going to get you anywhere; focus on what really works, bringing in Google traffic, focus on SEO, focus on Pinterest and making lots of new pins.

Megan:

The sub title of my blogging journey for the first eight years, which is really embarrassing, it should be doing a lot for very little because I did so much work. I talk about this all the time, but I was working all the time; nights, weekends, and really, I had nothing to show for it besides a really killer Pinterest following. Literally that was it. I had no traffic coming from Google. I had nothing else, no Facebook traffic, Instagram, I just started recently.

Kristen:

So easy to do that, I’ve been there.

Megan:

It’s really frustrating to look back, but at the same time I tell myself, that was my story for whatever reason, that was just my story. This is my story and I have to be okay with that, but it’s still kind of frustrating to just wrap my head around the fact that I did so much hard work and I don’t even know what I was working for. I think we’re in the same boat with that. We’ve had similar journeys and I know you were on Squarespace and I was too up until January of this year. I can tell you that I wish I would’ve never been there in the first place, but I too was really stubborn and I hung on and I don’t even really know why. If someone were to ask me why I wouldn’t have an answer, I was just like hanging on. I was really hopeful that I wouldn’t have to change platforms with 1000 recipes. It was just more of a hassle I think, but I’m so glad I changed and there’s such value in numbers. Everyone is on WordPress for a reason. It’s probably a good idea to be there too.

Kristen:

Oh yeah. Everything is just so much more efficient on WordPress. You know what it’s like, but on Squarespace I was entering codes manually and every post just took hours upon hours to get one post out and I don’t know why I was doing that.

Megan:

Well, they don’t have a recipe card. Manually putting in recipes and the people who are on Squarespace are going through such great lengths to get the proper markup, the schema. I don’t even think they have the proper markup even still, but there’s a multi-step process for creating a code to put on your site. And now, isn’t it just a dream?

Kristen:

No, I couldn’t even believe how quick and easy it was when I first entered a recipe into the recipe plugin.

Megan:

Same. And Yoast. We could probably have a whole separate discussion on that, but I’m with you. One of those things that you have to, you have to look at the bigger picture and understand that people are doing this for a reason and there are smarter ways to do things. You’re not going to get a big pat on the back for working harder, if it’s not smart work, if you’re not putting in mind power. Let’s talk about Pinterest. What has worked well for you in the past year to grow your Pinterest account?

Kristen:

Well, the whole creating new pins thing definitely works. I’m sure you’ve heard about that. I find when I take the time to create a bunch of pins that my traffic really goes up, but I don’t always put the time and energy into it that I need to.

Megan:

Yeah. It’s a lot of work.

Kristen:

I’d like to hire someone to do that eventually. But it does work, the more new pins you make, the more traffic that you’ll get. I find also pinning your videos. If you create video content to be helpful. I do about 50% of my own pins, 50% of other’s pins. I’ve always done that 50/50 thing with Pinterest. I have mixed feelings about Tailwind. The first time I tried Tailwind, my traffic tanked, so I stopped using it. I recently signed up for it again and it seems to be going okay, but I’m a little nervous about it. But I did it because I absolutely just need to schedule things out. I was spending too much time manually pinning and you can get a long way with manual pinning. It does work as well, but I find tribes to be really useful. That’s what I like most about Tailwind. I think that helps with getting your content out there initially.

Megan:

I think that’s what sells a lot of bloggers, is the tribe’s feature. It’s valuable to get those pins scheduled that you don’t have to think about. I’m kind of on the fence too right now about Tailwind. So I don’t know if I can contribute. I don’t want to say anything bad, but I’m just a little bit frustrated with it because it’s not cheap. I schedule my Instagram through there too. I think you pay double if you do that. So just recently I got billed for my annual billing cycle and wow, that that’s a really big chunk of money. So I’m kind of questioning that too. I’ve had it for quite a number of years, but I don’t know. I wanted to ask you about pins. So if you create a new pin, say for an old or a new post, how many of those do you create about weekly and how do you circulate those? Do you have a strategy for it?

Kristen:

Well, starting out, when I create a post, I usually create two pins for the post. I attach one as hidden and I do interval pinning. I scheduled that one out with about two to five day interval time periods between pins. Then I start the second pin when that last pin ends, if that makes sense. When I’m updating old content, I create one or two pins each time I update an old post and schedule those out the same way. Then every day I try to just look at what’s bringing me traffic currently, what’s popular at the moment or in season. Then I create pins for those posts, just a few new pins each day for old posts, seem to be applicable to the time.

Megan:

Oh, that’s a great strategy. Have you ever tested with uploading directly to Pinterest as opposed to pinning from your website?

Kristen:

I do that. I do that currently. I do a mix of everything. I’ll upload some to Tailwind, some to Pinterest and pin directly from my site as well. I just try to mix it up. Then I also go in and manually pin from the app and manually pin from the desktop. I just try to be involved as an active user. I think Pinterest likes that. So I also pin to boards that aren’t even food related. I just keep a very active account.

Megan:

Do you find that any one method produces more traction?

Kristen:

For me, group boards seemed to work well for me. I know people have been on the fence about that kind of thing that maybe personal boards do better, but for me, group boards have always worked well for me, with a lot of followers and giving me a lot of traffic.

Megan:

Interesting. So your own group boards or others’ groups?

Kristen:

Joining others group boards. Yes. So I can also recommend joining the Facebook groups, I think it’s like Pinterest group board requests. There’s one. You can find lots of boards in your niche and also advertise your own boards. That’s a good way to get relevant pinners for your own boards and even gain followers that way as well, because when they join your board, they’re following that board as well.

Megan:

Have you noticed a huge increase in Pinterest likes since you’ve really grown your blog in the past year? How does that compare to other platforms? Have you seen one platform grow more than the other?

Kristen:

Pinterest has always been my strong game for some reason, from the very beginning. Pinterest used to be my biggest traffic driver, but once I started doing SEO, they’re kind of neck and neck now. But I don’t know what really got it off on the right foot, but it’s always just kind of been the easier platform for me. Maybe because it just fits because I’m a very visual person and I take lots of photos and I pin lots of photos. I don’t just pin the long pins. I also pin the photos from my posts. It’s something I’ve always been very active with. Facebook does all right for me, but Instagram, I don’t even know what to do there. It’s just slow growing. I like the platform, but I’m not gonna waste my time. I just stopped wasting my time on it too much because it doesn’t bring website traffic, I like it. I would like to get to 10,000 followers just so I can add the swipe up feature, that’d be handy. But outside of that, I don’t really do well.

Megan:

We have very similar journeys, so Pinterest for me too, I didn’t even try, but I just nailed it right away. I’m just a really visual person and I would experiment with a lot of different images and texts overlays, and it just clicked. Pinterest literally has paid for so much for my family because that was the majority of my traffic for many, many years. I feel the same way about Instagram. I like it. I love the platform, but I just cannot figure out how to grow my following. I mean, good Lord. It’s been so many years and it’s kind of embarrassing, but you know what? I like it for what it is. I love the stories feature. I love getting to know people there. I think there’s value in the community part of Instagram.

Kristen:

I enjoy interacting with other bloggers there.

Megan:

I’ve gotten to know quite a few bloggers there too. It’s not a web traffic driver and it definitely serves its purpose. So I am with you. I feel like you have to be in there a lot. It’s like a needy best friend. If you want me to give you love back, you have got to dedicate everything to me. But if you don’t do that, then you really don’t seem to gain much traction. I know there are those people that are magical and they can go in there and just wave their magic wands. And they have 10,000 followers all of a sudden, but that is not me.

Kristen:

What’s funny is I’m not actually a super social person. I think that might be part of it because I’m kind of a private person. I’m not interested in putting my entire life out there. I know that people really appeal to that. They really like that. So I think that’s part of why I haven’t grown as much as I would like.

Megan:

Yeah, that’s a good point because I go through seasons where I’m okay with it, I’m feeling good this week. Then I have weeks where there is no way I would say anything on Instagram this week. But then there are people who are just always okay with it and that’s fine. I mean, that’s great. But they seem to be the ones that really do find success there. So yeah, totally with you. So we talked about some of this a little bit, but give us other ways that you grew your blog. So you moved From Squarespace to WordPress. You just started listening in a little bit more and doing things that the really smart, successful people were doing. What else did you do on your blog to grow it? As far as workflow, anything within your posts? Share with us everything you know about that.

Kristen:

I finally started incorporating proper headings and posts, breaking the posts down instead of just writing a little blurb. My posts used to be quite short. So I learned how to write more. Write more for the user. Think about the user, think about what questions they may have, including questions and answers, tips, and tricks, substitutions, including process shots, and starting to do video. All of those things really started to help things take off. I was hesitant about starting with video because my DSLR is quite old and it doesn’t have video capabilities and I put it off, but I finally just got started with my phone. It’s not the best quality, but you just got to get started.

Megan:

I love that you did that. I think that’s, that shows determination because a lot of people get hung up on that. I don’t have a great camera with video, so I can’t start it. That’s kind of an excuse people use, but you’ve got a phone and most phones produce really great videos. So I love that you did that.

Kristen:

Yeah. It made a big difference too.

Megan:

So how many videos did you do to start? Did you just start that a year ago or when did you start video and how aggressively did you pursue that?

Kristen:

I see it was only, probably about six months ago that I really started doing video. I just started with the current post I was working on and just set it up. I just ordered a cheap little iPhone tripod and set it up. Once I started doing it, I realized, .wow, this is way easier than I anticipated another one of those things where I think, why did I wait so long? I use the Premier Rush app. I think it’s 9.99 a month. It’s cheaper than some of the other video editing options out there. It’s a quick version of Premiere Pro that you can use on your phone or desktop. It has everything you need just for a food blogging video.

Megan:

That’s awesome.

Kristen:

It’s intuitive and I can do it on my phone rather quickly and I love it.

Megan:

Oh, I didn’t even know that that existed. Say the name of it again. I’m going to write it down.

Kristen:

Premiere Rush.

Megan:

That’s really good to know, but it sounds like you’re just like all over things that are at your fingertips, you don’t need to spend a million dollars for a brand new photo editing package, video editing package. The resources are there. Let’s use what’s affordable or what’s free. I love that perspective that you have because food blogging, as you know, can get really expensive. A lot of people that you ask their opinions on, there’ll be like, well, this really expensive DSLR, you need all the lighting, you need this massive lens. You can get so caught up in the money and the costs. So I love that you have that different approach to it that I think is really unique for the food blogging space.

Kristen:

Well, thank you. I think that there’s an audience for everyone. There’s room for everyone. You’ll find people that respond to what you’re doing.

Megan:

I totally agree. You mentioned earlier that you used a keyword research tool that was, did you say it was affordable or free?

Kristen:

I started out using the Keywords Everywhere, Chrome extension, and they only recently made it a paid extension. But it was free back when I was using it. It’s very useful. I think it’s still very affordable. I think you spend like $10 for a hundred thousand credits or something that lasts you months. So it’s still very affordable, but that worked great for me. I recently signed up for Keysearch. If you search around online, you can find discount codes for that for your plan. And I think I pay $11 a month for that right now.

Megan:

Oh my gosh. That’s so much cheaper than what I paid for SEMrush.

Kristen:

I’ve learned to just look for discount codes for anything I’m interested in too. I just searched, but yeah, I love Keysearch. I think it’s a great way to just type in an idea you have and find other ideas as well that lead you on this trail of finding good content to use.

Megan:

So let me ask you this. So in SEMrush, there’s this one feature that I just love so much. So it’s a content template, so I can type my post inside the template and it gives me all the information. So it tells me how I rank with SEO, how I rank with readability, how many words approximately I need within the post, which keywords I should include in my post. Is there anything like that that you’ve found that resembles what I just said or not?

Kristen:

No, not quite. I think Neil Patel has some tools. I know that people have mixed feelings about him and stuff.

Megan:

I love his content.

Kristen:

I have a few food blogging friends that use his Uber suggest and he has quite a few free tools out there that might do something similar.

Megan:

I use a lot of his other tools, but I haven’t seen anything like that, but I am now going to research that because he produces a lot of great stuff.

Kristen:

Yeah, he’s always coming out with new things.

Megan:

I know, he’s a super successful smart dude. So I’ll look into that. So as far as your blog, what else do you have? Is there anything else that you learned that you tapped into that just really helped you to grow?

Kristen:

I think for the longest time I worked on a lot of creative posts, just whatever I was inspired by. So actually giving some thought to the content I’m creating has helped a lot. What dietary guidelines does my audience follow? What do they want, what are they responding to? Just kind of going back to some of the basics as well, some of the classic recipes that have been done a million times, but your audience wants to see your version of that sometimes too. So I think just really giving more thought to what I’m creating. I still create what I want and I do keyword research around that, but I still do my wacky creative posts that I know no one’s going to be searching for, because I have to do that for myself. But just being more thoughtful, thinking to content creation.

Megan:

Going back to knowing your audience, I think this is something that I missed for a really long time. Now I’m finally to the point where I know who that person is and I’m creating for them. Yes, I can do the more wild wacky creative posts occasionally that just sing to me and nobody else. But for the most part, we need to create for our audience. So figuring out who that person is, is so important. You can think it’s an insignificant part of the whole journey, but it is so important.

Kristen:

It’s the most important part.

Megan:

I know, it seems so easy, but it’s not, I mean, unless you really have to be at the place where you get it. You can hear it a million times and be like, okay, okay. Okay. But you have to absorb that and really do need to know who your audience is. That is the key. It’s the basis for everything.

Kristen:

Exactly. Exactly.

Megan:

I feel like we’ve touched on a lot. So Pinterest we touched on, we touched on your blog and how you grew there, tapping into that audience. Let’s talk a little bit about blogging as a mom or a dad or parent, because that is a challenge for a lot of us, especially during the last handful of months. We’ve had to keep our businesses running. We have kids at home who were in school and who are no longer in school. So that is a big challenge. How do we keep growing our blogs and businesses if we have small kids around us?

Kristen:

Well, I’m definitely not perfect. It’s definitely a crazy experience working at home with kids around, but I try to view it from a gratitude perspective of being grateful that I can do this work at home and earn money at home and still spend time with my children. But every little thing I’ve done in my blog has been done with my kid in the background in one form or another, whether I was breastfeeding while writing a post, or they were sticking their hands in my shots, it’s important to try to include them in the places that you can include them. I include them when I’m baking something. They’re the best little taste testers, because they’re generally picky. If they liked something, I take that as the best compliment you can receive. You just have to let go when you need to let go, when they need your attention.

That’s the most important thing. I definitely put them first, they’re my kids, but you just have to learn to adapt with that. You have to learn to work in little spurts. For me, I stay up way too late. I have to, that’s the only way I can get stuff done. After they go to sleep, I stay up and I work and that’s when I get the bulk of my work done. For me it’s worth it. It’s a worthy sacrifice because I get to work from home, doing something I love and I get to spend time with them. So I stay up way too late and I incorporate them where I can, I would have to say.

Megan:

It’s a very smart strategy. I think we all need to find those times that just work and really tap into them and utilize them.

Kristen:

Yeah, make the most of them.

Megan:

Yeah, you do. I mean, literally if you’re a parent, you know, this, you’ve got to make the most of every minute that you can work, that is productive in any way.

Kristen:

That forces you to do what’s most useful for you.

Megan:

No, it’s not like don’t use that time to go write emails that you could write at a time when you’re not at 100%. So I’ve learned this too. It’s just when I have those times to look at my to-do list and I find those things that I need to be at full capacity for, and those are the things I need to do and I don’t let myself do anything else.

Kristen:

I do something similar.

Megan:

Wasting your time on things that don’t need your best is just completely worthless. But again, you have to live it in order to learn it and really absorb it.

Kristen:

Train yourself.

Megan:

You do. I love what you said about gratitude and just framing your life and your days with gratitude. Somehow that just helps, doesn’t it?

Kristen:

Yes, definitely. That applies to every part of life. At any time, in any way, I just try to pull back and count my blessings and I realize they’re always there, doing what I’m doing and I’m really lucky.

Megan:

I always think with this quarantine, I thought the whole time, okay. I could be one of those people who had to be going into work and what in the world would I do with my boys? Where would they be? Because my husband had to work too. I’ve tried to frame that as well. I am so grateful even if I got nothing done today on my to-do list, at least I’m here with them and I can do that and I can do what I’m loving, like you said, Kristin, and just enjoy what I’m producing.

Kristen:

Oh, definitely. And I think I shared this. I didn’t really share this on the podcast, but I started out with my blog and a studio apartment. We were in really tight quarters with our kids. We were really struggling financially and now we’ve been able to move to a larger place and I’m able to invest in the blog a little bit. I just share that so people feel inspired. They can take strides with this food blogging deal and that they can make their dreams come true.

Megan:

Aw, I love that there really are plentiful avenues and food blogging to make money. If you’re looking to do that, if you’re looking to increase your revenue in different ways. Even just helping other people produce videos or writing for other people. If you just sit and think a little bit, there are so many ways that you can bring in a little bit more.

Kristen:

Yes. I should add, even if you don’t have a lot of page views, you can still find companies that are willing to work with you on sponsored posts and stuff. Another thing I wanted to add is that don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them about working with people. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other bloggers and ask for help. It’s really a friendly community.

Megan:

I totally agree. Well, your blog growth is very inspiring. Your numbers say a lot. I mean, 30,000 page views a month to 250 monthly within a year is really great. It just seems like you’re finding those things that speak to you and you’re tapping into the right things. You’re working on the things that matter, that bring your business value and on not just one platform but different platforms. So I love that this is such a great story. Is there anything that you feel like we should talk about before we start saying goodbye, that would be beneficial or helpful for food bloggers who are just ready to take that next step and grow their traffic, whether it’s on their blog or social media. What advice do you have for them?

Kristen:

Just start where you are with what you have and try to enjoy the process. I think the journey is very important. I think you learn a lot along the way and not knowing how it will unfold is part of the fun. When you align with your passions and tap into your gut instincts, a certain kind of magic begins to happen.

Megan:

I feel like you and I would be very fast friends, Kristen, everything you say I’m like, okay. Yes, yes. Amen.

Kristen:

Likewise.

Megan:

This was so great. I just really appreciate being here today.

Kristen:

Thank you so much for having me.

Megan:

It was such a fun discussion and I’m really glad that you’ve seen such success in the past year. I wish that you have a million more visitors by next year, monthly. You’re going to have 3 million page views a month. Thank you again for being here. Before you go share with us either a favorite quote or words of inspiration that you have for food bloggers beyond what you’ve already shared.

Kristen:

I recently came across a quote by Marcus Aurelius that said, “confine yourself to the present.” I like that because I think that’s where a lot of the magic happens. I think if you concern yourself too much with the future and where you’re trying to go, that sometimes you kind of lose sight of what’s important and you have to live the journey. You have to go through all of the steps and learn things for yourself. For me, if I plan too far ahead with things, they don’t really work out the way I want them to. When I tap into what’s current, what’s working right now. What, what are people into right now? Just being present, being very present with the process, I think is really important.

Megan:

That applies to not just blogging, but just life, right? When you can be more in tune and more in touch with what is directly around you, I feel like the happier you are just the more successful you are. Everything good can come from that. But it’s so easy as a blogger to ask, where do I need to be in striving for that next thing or that next project? So to actually sit and make yourself be in the present is not easy, but it is so rewarding. If you can do that.

Kristen:

Yes. That’s very important.

Megan:

Thanks for sharing that. So we’re going to put together a show notes page for you, Kristen, and anyone who wants to go see that, can find it at eatblogtalk.com/Kristenwood. Kristen, tell my listeners the best place they can find you online?

Kristen:

At Moonspoonandyum.com. If you feel like giving me a visit on Instagram at Moon.Spoon.and.Yum with dots in between each word, I would appreciate that support there.

Megan:

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

Outro:

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


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Megan
Megan

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

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