In episode 356, Megan chats to Bita and Beata about leveraging your blog for new opportunities using podcasts.
We cover information about podcasting being an extension of your blog, this can be a way to grow and connect further with your audience, how audio inspires others because you connect better and how you should be looking toward further opportunities to grow out of this medium.
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Bio Bita is a 10 year veteran of blogging and content creation experience. Her first blog was in the DIY/Home improvement/crafting space. Her current project, Oven Hug, is a recipe site carrying out her passion for Modern Persian Food. Bita loves sharing her passion for Persian food with the world, however, found food blogging and all of the processes around blogging to be lonely work. That’s when she connected with her partner and podcast co-host, Beata Nazem Kelley! That’s right. Her name is also Beata AND she is also a food blogger, passionate about Persian food! They launched our podcast Modern Persian Food in the fall of 2000 and have over 80 weekly episodes published. Finding a like-minded creator has fueled Bita and given her so much inspiration in both the professional and personal life. Beata and Bita have recently had the opportunity to be involved with a Bay Area start-up (Dinner Bell). It is surreal to them that their dishes are now available to neighbors and family in the San Fransico peninsula/ the Bay Area.
- Listening to podcasts to keep growing and educating yourself is valuable while being a blogger
- Blogging burnout is real so connecting with another person and finding another creative outlet helps rejuvenate it.
- A podcast can bring you a broader audience.
- Define success for yourself and your goals as you work with someone so you have a realistic outcome to look towards.
- Metrics from podcasting and blogging are different. Set expectations for whatever project you’re working on when looking for traction.
- The longer you work together with someone, the better you get at it and then you find more things you grow into.
- Connect with your community and other bloggers within your niche’s topic.
- Sometimes your new project becomes the project you’re fully engaged with and end up growing because there’s value being offered through it.
- Collaborating with others grows friendships, business relationships and helps you grow personally.
- A partner helps you stay accountable.
- Find someone who can match your work ethic and compliments you in the right way.
- Stay consistent with your collaboration to keep motivated and moving foward.
Click for full script.
EBT356 – Bita and Beata
Bita Sue: Hi, this is Bita. This is also Beata. We’re from the Modern Persian Food Podcast, and you’re listening to Eat Block Talk with Megan.
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Megan Porta: Hello food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I am your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 356.
I have two awesome ladies with me today, Beata and Bita, and they are going to talk to us about leveraging your blog for new opportunities. Podcasts, co-hosts, and food bloggers Bita Arabian and Beata Nazem Kelley team up to share their unique approach to cooking and eating Persian food and how to incorporate the rich flavors and fresh ingredients into today’s modern lifestyles. Both Beata and Bita started creating content with their individual recipe sites then banded together in the fall of 2020 to launch the modern Persian food podcast.
A few of their milestones include broadcasting over 100 weekly podcasts consistently, making it to the Spruce Eats list of 11 podcasts you should be listening to. That’s amazing you guys. Making it to POPSUGAR.Food, Is that right? Did I say that right? Okay. And 10 cooking podcasts for chefs of any level list and ranking number two on that. Wow, that is so incredible. I love it. I love that you guys are here with me, and I love that you’re both named Beta. So I am gonna ask you about that in a minute. But first we wanna hear if you guys have fun facts to share.
Bita Sue: Awesome. I actually have a fun fact about my name. So my fun fact, I’m Beeta Arabian and I don’t have a middle name. I don’t have a real middle name. So I don’t know if you do Beeta? I think in fact that as a culture, you don’t always have a middle name. It’s like a first name and then your name or your married name if you change it. So I grew up in the Midwest and as a young girl, I wanna say I was like late elementary school or maybe early middle school, monogram sweaters were in style. That was with the three letters. I felt really left out and I made up a middle name for myself.
Megan Porta: What was your made up middle name?
Bita Sue: Sue.
Megan Porta: Nice. You went just plain jane.
Bita Sue: Sue. I think I probably thought the S looked really pretty, but then my brother and his best friend decided to just call me Bita Sue and he named his sailboat, he had a tiny little sailboat on Lake Lansing in Michigan, and he named his sailboat the Bita Sue.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s so cool. I love that. Okay, more about your name in a second here, but Beeta, what is your fun fact?
Beata: Hi everybody. This is Beeta Nazam Kelly, and my fun fact is that any time I go to a restaurant and they have chicken wings on the menu, that I definitely have to order them. I’m a little obsessed with chicken wings, so if it’s on the menu, I always get it. So that’s my little fun fact if you ever go out with me.
Megan Porta: Who has had the best chicken wings? Who is your favorite?
Beata: Man, I love chicken wings. I love making them at home too. So these days, my favorite chicken wing, honestly, is the one that I make at home and I bake them at a high heat and then douse them with some with Frank’s Red Hot sauce, which I love. But there’s a place here, Kezar Pub in San Francisco, that has really delicious, perfectly fried wings with hot sauce. Of course, you. If you’re gonna go to the original Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, they have some delicious wings. So that’s a classic. But really these days, honestly, I love making them at home. I’ve been experimenting with dousing them with pomegranate molasses and adding some pistachios on top for a little Persian flare too.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh.
Bita Sue: Yeah. We talk about ’em in one of the episodes, there’s a Persian dish that has chicken, pomegranate molasses, walnuts, all ground up. So we came up, it was your inspiration Beata June, to make the Fessa Jung chicken wings as an appetizer.
Megan Porta: Oh, you guys are making me hungry.
Bita Sue: Didn’t you say that was your nickname? The chicken wing was your nickname?
Beata: It was, it goes back to my single days roaming Polk Street and there was a little pizza joint that also sold wings. I would go there like a few times a week and the guys didn’t know my name, but they just called me Chicken Wing.
Megan Porta: That’s so funny. Okay. That’s when you know you are a true chicken wing fan when that becomes your nickname.
Beata: Exactly. So that’s my fun fact.
Bita Sue: I gotta get you a t-shirt.
Megan Porta: Yes. You need a t-shirt, the chicken wing. That’s fun. Okay, so I can’t not recognize that you both are named Beeta and they’re spelled slightly differently. This is how you guys came together. So how did you meet and what is this connection with your names?
Bita Sue: Great question. So yeah, we found each other on social media. We had never met in person and we messaged, I think I maybe messaged you first, and I couldn’t believe it. First of all, growing up in the Midwest, I think that I had only heard of maybe one or two other Beeta’s ever. I thought it was the strangest, most different name. There wasn’t a huge Iranian community at that time in the part of Michigan where I grew up. I also lived in small towns in Indiana and so forth. Now that we are in California, it’s a different story, but I remember when I first found Beeta June on Instagram and I found out that she was a food blogger and she had a common passion for Persian food, I just knew I had to reach.
Megan Porta: So you reached out and then did you strike up an instant connection or how did it evolve?
Beata: Yeah, so Bita reached out to me and sometimes we’ll refer to each other as Beeta June, which is actually just like a Persian nicety that when we talk we include June as the name. So calling her Bita Dear essentially is what that translates to. But yeah, Bita June reached out to me and then we started following each other and we followed each other for a few months. Would comment on each other’s posts and pictures and have little conversations. But it was a few months later that Bita actually came to me with the idea of having a podcast together. What I had seen from her page and from our conversations was that we were totally on the same page with wanting to simplify Persian food and to really incorporate Persian flavors into our lives and to share that with others. So it came to me with the idea of having a podcast and it was really at the very early stages of the pandemic when our conversations about the podcast started.
So the timing was not the best. It’s not like I had a lot of free time at that time, because I have two small kids and we were doing Zoom online school and it was just a lot happening with all the playgrounds close and the world pretty much collapsing. But it was just such a good idea that I couldn’t say no. We started off and we started doing our research and as we spent more time getting to know each other, we fine tuned like what our commonalities were. That’s when we came up with a concept of modern Persian food because it was, we’re taking these ancient and really beautiful classic recipes and being able to adapt them into our modern lifestyles and what a modern family looks like today. So that’s like where we were able to pull together our real philosophies and bring them together and then start building a podcast around that.
Bita Sue: Yeah, we just recorded our hundredth episode last week.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. Congratulations.
Bita Sue: Thank you. It was like a party, It was so much fun and we went back and we remembered different special guests that we had and moments and we reflected all the way back to the very first one where I think I said what my real passion and mission is to have Persian food be something that people will incorporate into their weekly routines, it won’t be so foreign. What is this strange, spicy food? It’s really not that. It can be easy. You can grab the ingredients and you can make it. Tahdig is a crispy bottom of the pot delicacy that is basically a fried carb, but it’s so delicious and it’s iconic to our food. Instead of Taco Tuesday, maybe you have a Tahdig Tuesday. So that is really what I’m so super excited about is to start having people feel like they can make it at home. Seeing pop ups and restaurants and Persian food trucks and Taik trucks is so exciting and I think that is what drew us to together.
Megan Porta: Now. Okay. How do I differentiate between you guys? Do you want me to call you, I wanted to ask you each…
Bita Sue: Chicken wing?
Beata: Chicken wing and Bita Sue. That works.
Megan Porta: Oh my God.
Beata: I’ll go by anything.
Megan Porta: Bita Sue, I’ll call you that. Now your blog, which is Oven Hug. . Okay. Now, did you write and post about Persian food before you started the podcast?
Bita Sue: Great question. My blogging journey has been long and twisty, curvy. I had one that was DIY home stuff many years ago. Fun kit. Don’t even go there. It has always been what I’m doing with my job. I was an art teacher, I was a school teacher. So I wanted to share those projects and then I found my way into nutrition and I was a health coach, so then I was sharing my recipes. So my site Oven Hug started out as being a much broader healthy food recipe site. Then I rebranded and through that rebranding process, honestly it was like soul searching. I had to really dig deep and find out what’s special and unique because I think that we all have something that sets us apart. If you think hard enough about it, there’s something that makes you uniquely you. By the way, side note, the meaning of the name Bita is unique. So yeah. So it’s been this whole coming of self for me, which is really deep. But yeah. So. I’ve been nicheing down and cleaning up the site and what started out to be just a little bit of Persian food has become more and more, and then it was like 50%, and now it’s more than 50%. So yeah, it’s mostly Persian food and oftentimes healthy.
Megan Porta: So really, the moral of the story is that you two were meant to be friends.
Megan Porta: Partners. I feel that, Oh my gosh, I had goosebumps when you said that Bita means unique. That’s so cool. Why am I getting teary?
Beata: Oh my God. Yay.
Bita Sue: It’s been like that. It’s been that way since our hundredth episode, and then it has been that way and we’ve had the opportunity to, since our first connections meet in person a number of times. Beata June, Chicken Wing is up in San Francisco. Bita Sue, I am in the Bay Area part-time and in Southern California here in Orange County the other part, so we’ll get to that. But we’ve had some opportunities to actually spend a whole 24 hours together working on something related to Persian food. So it’s been a really amazing journey.
Megan Porta: That is the coolest story ever. Okay. That trumps every other story, I feel like on this podcast.
Beata: Wow. That’s a big statement.
Megan Porta: So that kinda laid the groundwork for our conversation because we’re gonna talk a little bit about how to leverage your blog to create new opportunities and you guys have used podcasting as a way to do that. There are obviously other ways. There’s video, it’s an endless world of opportunities out there. So how did you guys decide on, I can’t remember which of you approached the other, Bita Sue, you approached Chicken Wing about,
Beata: Or just regular Beata versus Bita Sue maybe.
Megan Porta: Okay. about the podcast opportunity. What made you decide on that in the first place?
Bita Sue: I think I was listening to a lot of podcasts, including yours and many others. I tend to listen to podcasts that are related to the business that I’m in and to try to improve myself. It just seemed like an untapped territory, a really great way to reach more people since our subject is international. How cool to be able to really reach more people in this audio way. I was just really excited about it and to be totally honest, I have definitely gone through blogging burnout, where I just needed to step away from the kitchen a little bit and have some connection and this has really connected me, not only, with Beata, but with a greater community. But yeah, I think I just approached Beata at the time I was Beata June, she told you she has such young kids, mine are in college, and she’s like what’s the time commitment? I was like, Oh, we’ll just do a half hour podcast. So half an hour a week. The reality of it is it’s so much more than that.
Megan Porta: Yeah. On the surface, yeah, that’s all you put out into the world a week, but a lot goes in to lay the groundwork for that, right?
Bita Sue: As you well know.
Beata: I can chime in from my perspective as well. So my food blog Beats Eats. I’ve had it for a number of years, and it’s just a way for me to really be able to share some of those Persian recipes and some simplified versions of those. So how I look at it as like an extension, the podcast is really an extension of me being able to share these flavors with a broader audience. So I have my blog, but then the podcast is really that means where we can get a broader reach and have people be able to access the content in a way that works for them. Some people don’t have time to go to individual websites and to just learn about different recipes of different traditions or cultural things. So we have this as a podcast, as reaching a whole different group of people who may not come to the website to learn that information.
Megan Porta: I’m curious how that has gone. So I think I mentioned before we were recording that, or maybe I didn’t, I have had a lot of interviews today. I’m sorry. Maybe I mentioned this, maybe I didn’t. But I was talking earlier about just creating a group of foodie creators who are launching podcasts because I think it is so valuable, and I think people like you two understand that value. There’s immense value in sharing your voice with your people and then finding a new audience even. So I’m curious how that has gone for you, because a lot of the people in my group are very early on in their journey. Like I’m talking two, three months in and they’re like, where’s the traction? Where’s the people? So I just wanna share what you guys have found so far.
Bita Sue: I think it’s going so well. I think we’re doing really well, in terms of being still somewhat a new podcast. We’ve been broadcasting for two years. We’ve got a hundred episodes recorded, and success to me is when we get the email from the person that has made the recipes that has been inspired, and I think Beata June and I are on the same page is that, our goals are not necessarily. To boost our websites. Because we put both our recipes in our show notes, we put both our sites. So you know, we’re two different people with different sites. Maybe they don’t even use either one of our recipes. Maybe they are following something that they found on their own on YouTube or our conversation got them to talk to their aunt that they hadn’t talked to in six years, and now they’re all excited and connected with their culture. So I think we’re doing a little bit of a different thing because, so we do talk about recipes sometimes. We walk people through specific recipes, then we do something else. Sometimes we’ll do cultural spotlights where we’re talking about a cool, seasonally related holiday that has nothing to do with religion. That’s just a positive thing to incorporate into your life. So we have cultural spotlight episodes, and then we have expert special guests. So there’s all sorts of things that we’re bringing in. Super, super specific to our very niche audience. We’re the only Persian food podcast doing this.
Megan Porta: Okay. So it is interesting what you just said. You’re the only podcast focusing on that super niche\ niche. I think that there’s so much opportunity with food bloggers because of that. Because there are not many foodie podcasts right now, aside from the big names. So if you have even a mildly niche blog, you can go into podcasting owning the niche.
Bita Sue: Yes. So we were floored by that POPSUGAR.Food article. Like how we get ahead of Bobby FlaY and Sammy Nostra, who is a super famous Persian chef. It’s because I think. Because if you get in now, it is really untapped, especially if you have a niche.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh I so agree with that. I can see parallels between now and when blogging was getting started. Do you remember back in the day when people were like, What is a food blog? I have no idea what that is. Now it’s like the same thing with podcasting. Food bloggers are going, Why would I get into that? There’s no money to be made. Am I really going to connect with an audience? So I feel like just a gut feeling like now is the time to get into this. You guys did it. Good for you. So I would love to hear, Beata June, I would love to hear your perspective on how you feel like things have gone. How do you measure success with it and anything else you wanna share?
Beata: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s important to note that the metrics are a little bit different from downloads versus when people come to your website and if they click on an ad or how many page views that you have. So I think like going in, I think it should be, you should set expectations with yourself that you’re not gonna necessarily be, and if you’re used to getting a lot of traction on your website that you may not get that traction immediately on the podcast., but I think that the consistency, we have a new episode every Wednesday. So just having our listeners come to expect that there’s gonna be a new episode every week and to bring that information to them. Yeah, so the way that we are measuring success, it really depends. One way to measure success is what Bita Sue was saying about, one way that we can gauge our success is by our listener feedback. When they give us letters or send us notes and tell us how we have inspired them or inspired them learning more or creating recipes or connecting with their culture. I think it is like one of the main ways that we’re gauging success. We’re getting to 100 episodes. That’s a huge success for us, because it does show our consistency and our commitment to be able to do it. It is definitely a lot, as you do it, you get better at it. So that’s something that’s very helpful. But then as you get better at it, you realize that there’s so much more that you could be doing too. So there’s a lot of opportunity to grow. But yeah, also from a numbers standpoint, looking at the different platforms and we serve ours through, we use a program called Lipson to distribute the podcast. So looking at our numbers and checking out our downloads and just seeing,, it’s really interesting to deep dive into that sometimes, is to be like, Oh wait, I could tell we got a new listener because you’ll see that there’s people binge listening to it. You can say, Okay, someone in this one city or whatever has listened to all these episodes in a row. So just spreading the word. We’re at a point where you think, okay, a hundred episodes, like you guys like are seasoned veterans you know what you should be doing at this point. I think that it’s ultimately just like we’re still learning and still growing, and we’re hoping to push it to the next level of getting enough people listening that we can attract sponsors in the future and try to let that also be a way of getting more exposure. The blogs leading to the podcast. The podcast leading to maybe special events and just making new connections and who knows where eventually, where we’ll go and what we’ll end up doing. But just being open about it and seeing the numbers and trying to set goals and seeing okay, how can I make our, our first day of downloads, the first day of the episode comes out, what can we do to make that stronger and how can we maybe call back to previous episodes to get those numbers to come up and just building on the relationship with our listeners and when they listen to a bunch of episodes, that’s really awesome. That’s a metric for us too, that they wanted to listen to more than just one episode or that they every week are looking forward to it. So I think success is really how you wanna define it. We’re learning and adjusting that with every episode.
Megan Porta: It’s much like blogging, right? We don’t ever quite know how to define success, and we look to others and then we see others defining success through metrics and numbers and statistics. So then we feel like we have to do that. I feel like it’s the same thing where we have to find our own way to measure it. I love that you’re talking about people binge listening. That is huge. That has to make you feel so good and this is all worth it.
Beata: Yeah, absolutely. Then people, you know, when we’re out and we’re talking about it and people are super interested because as Bita said, there isn’t another Persian food podcast, first of all. Second of all, Persian cuisine and Persian culture is something that not a ton of people know about. So this is like an easy way, a non-intimidating way to learn a little bit more about a different culture without needing to actually do too much. You just gotta put your earbuds in and push play and you can spend 15, 20 minutes. Our episodes are not super long, so it’s easy to snack on the content to just learn a little bit and then you can say, Oh, okay, that’s an interesting perspective. Or, Oh, I never knew that, or maybe that’ll inspire me to go to the Persian restaurant I keep driving by that I haven’t had a chance to check out. Or I know this person I know is Persian and maybe I can have some commonality and common conversation with them. Or just learning about the world and all the delicious food it has to offer.
Bita Sue: Yeah, somewhat of an underrepresented culture. I think I get the most fired. I love all of the feedback that we get, but I am especially amazed when we get someone that has, I always ask, Oh, do you have Iranian heritage? Are you married to someone or do you know someone? There’s one in particular who has been making, I think he’s made four or five, no connection, never been there 30 years ago or something like that, and just interested in history and has just found us and listens and is cooking the food. It’s incredible.
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Megan Porta: That’s a huge testament to what you guys are doing, right? He has no connection whatsoever, and he just loves what they’re talking about. That’s cool. That’s really cool.
Beata: Then like conversely, or like a different way to look at that too is we are finding that our audience is really like in an age range where they’re maybe finding their identity a little bit more and connecting to culture in a way that maybe growing up it was a little bit harder, you know, the world in politics can influence us as we grow up. So sometimes it’s hard to be confident in your heritage. So I feel maybe what we’re saying is resonating with our audience because we’re getting people who are looking for that connection who maybe haven’t, are getting to a point in their lives were okay, I think it’s okay to like who I am. To like where I’m from or have pride in your family and heritage and culture. A lot of people that you don’t know are that’s got older, tradition or, we talk about like holidays and traditions and things like that too and like our modern twists on like how we celebrate that and how we do it. I think that really helps people to be like, Okay, I don’t have to be this a hundred percent committed person in my culture to be able to celebrate the new year or The winter solstice or the different holidays and seasonal things that we do or respect and things like that. So we’re just trying to connect with people and say it’s okay to be who you are. But, also along the way, just like sharing just so many things about the food and things like that, that are just so unique and very different for a lot of people who haven’t been exposed to all those fresh herbs and the different flavors and the cooking techniques in some cases.
Bita Sue: That’s probably the majority of our listeners, as you described, connecting with your culture through food. That resonates with people. I can tell you that I don’t even really speak Farsi. I was born there, but I can mostly understand if you speak slowly, but I can’t speak and so now living in a community, where it’s a pretty big Iranian community, in the parts of California where I am, it’s almost like also not feeling like you fit in because I don’t speak Farsi, so it’s like I have been here for so many years that I’m not Iranian enough, I’m not American enough. But I can embrace the food, I can recreate the food, and I can share and talk and connect through food, which ultimately helps with my own identity. I think that resonates with a lot of people.
Megan Porta: This goes so much deeper. There’s so much depth to what you guys are doing, and I think that can be the case for anybody. That can be the case for any food blogger, foodie creator who wants to get into podcasting. . There’s not a metric you can say this is going to do this for your business. Sometimes you just have to start and see how it plays out and see the connections that you make and those deep things that you guys are getting to. Could you ever have predicted that when you first started? Probably not, right? You had to trust the process. You had to get started and just let it evolve.
Beata: Yeah, exactly.
Megan Porta: You guys mentioned connections and how that was a really important piece of this whole thing. Yeah, talk about that. Because I know that one of my favorite things about having a podcast is connecting with lovely people like you. Once you connect with someone that never goes away. I will have a connection with you guys forever now. There’s so many other people and there’s so many different ways that you can connect with people. So talk about that, how that’s been an important part of your process.
Beata: Yeah, I can talk about that. Just to preface when we’re talking about Persian versus Iran is we’re basically just using the terms interchangeably. So Iran is the name of the country, Persian is the general area, and then the language that they speak is Farsi. So if we’re using those terms, that’s what we’re referring to. But yeah, I definitely like connections. I mean like a platform like Instagram has enabled us to make so many connections. So first off, us connecting Bita and I connecting together, obviously a huge one. But also with people in the Persian community and other food and content creators of Persian food. What it really comes down to is just inspiration. Like getting inspiration from other people in the community. We inspire other people in our community and like we’ll have conversations with other food bloggers or other people putting out food content and it’s so great. We’ve definitely had different guests on the show who are like specialists in certain regions of Iran. So the cooking will vary if it’s like along the coast versus not, with north and south so it has lots of different flavors of the different parts of the country. So it’s been great to build connections with people who can teach us and come and teach our listeners about these different foods and the regional specialties. I think that like part of the community, our guests and also going to other events and things like that and being able to really showcase each other and support each other. Some of the guests that we’ve had on the show have just been people who have brands and that we really support and love their brand and so we bring them on the show so they can share the word. So I think that those types of connections are really key from just being able to have the blog brand, and also the podcast brand as ways that you’re sharing content with each other.
Megan Porta: They’re not measurable. You can’t possibly measure that before you get started or even when you’re in it, it’s so immeasurable. I love hearing about the connections you guys have made. I have so many questions for you. Let’s see. I did wanna ask you, what is your favorite format of podcasts? So you mentioned that you did the different formats. What’s your favorite one to do? Is it interviews? Is it doing the cultural snippets? Also, what is your audience’s favorite?
Bita Sue: Ooh, such good questions.
Beata: I personally love it if I had to pick the two. I really do love all of it, the breadth of it. But the cultural spotlights are really interesting to me because I feel like it’s stuff that I may not have known previously. So it’s just really interesting for me to learn a lot of the things that I didn’t know. It’s just really interesting. Some of them are like really ancient traditions and different festivals, like ancient, historic festivals that people celebrate. So I love the cultural spotlights. I think that those are really fun. The other type of format that I really love is that sometimes we’ll just really focus on one single ingredient, and those are my favorite types of episodes. I would say that’s probably my number one, is that really just being able to take a simple ingredient. We have like episodes just on yogurt or my favorite one is onion. So we have a whole episode just talking about this one ingredient and the different ways and the role that it plays in Persian cooking. So I think those are my two top formats.
Bita Sue: It’s just funny because I was actually gonna say interviews with guests. It’s tagging on, I think about feeling part of the community and how we support each other. One that comes to mind is that we found out that there was a comedian who had his own TV show on the Food Network. He’s the first Iranian American to host a show, and he was the host of Raid the Fridge. So we were watching the show and cheering him on. Then we had him as a guest. Then one of his contestants, Wait until you hear this?
Beata: Oh my God, this is so funny.
Bita Sue: One of his contestants, wait for it…. Her name is Chef Beata.
Megan Porta: No way you guys, That is impossible.
Bita Sue: Yeah, and she lives close to here, so we were cheering her on. She was a contestant on the show. She won, so I was fully fangirling. I got to meet her in person here and she came here and was a guest sitting next to me.
Megan Porta: Oh my goodness.
Bita Sue: Yeah, it was like, it was an amazing experience. So this podcast has had so many examples of that type of experience for me, of connecting with real people and just supporting one another in a huge way. I love all of it. I really love all of it, but I think that being real in person and having guests and feeling a part of the community is my favorite part.
Megan Porta: I love that you round each other out and that you each have individual favorite parts, which is perfect. That’s why you do so well together, probably. Then, let’s see. I was gonna ask you something else about that. What about your blog content? How much are you individually working on your blogs and does your podcast content support your blog content, or not necessarily?
Bita Sue: That’s a good question. Yeah, that’s a good question. I have cut down significantly on working on my blog. I did all the things, like I’m big on Pinterest and I do all of the things, check the box – YouTube channel, SEO, cleanup, branding, all of it. But the thing I always lacked was consistency. So I’m currently still cleaning it up and working on backend SEO stuff and I’m not putting out quite as much content. I tend to put out new content related to the podcast because the majority of my focus is on the podcast now. Actually it’s great because it inspires me to make Persian dishes. So that’s where I am with the site. It is growing steadily, slowly and steady and I have a pretty decent reputation. I think that probably the biggest upward spike of my site is the newsletter. I have a nice newsletter following. But I can’t tell you for sure if it comes. I haven’t looked into it closely enough to see if it’s coming off the podcast or if it’s just from other places that I have traffic. So how about you Beata June?
Beata: Yeah. In all reality, my personal blog has definitely taken a back burner. The back burner that’s not not really working too well. I think that’s okay because I have the presence and I have my Instagram handle. We have the separate, the Modern Persian food brand one, and I have my personal Beats Eats one. I think that’s okay because it doesn’t mean that just because I’m a food blogger that I can’t go into these other areas. Honestly, what my blog serves is a collection of recipes that I like to share with people. I didn’t have the commitment or the backing for my blog for it to really be able to grow and blossom and be a resource that is really gonna bring so much value to everyone every time that they go. It’s okay, I’ll have recipes and things like that, but how I look at it, the blog versus the podcast is I can do more and I can help more people with the podcast than I can with the blog. In terms of growth, what I put into the podcast, I think can take us a lot further than what I put into the blog. In all reality, I don’t think my blog is not gonna win any awards but our podcast, I think is set to, we’ve been nominated for some awards. We’ve gotten these great accolades from some of the publications and stuff, so we’re on our way. So for me, right now, if I have only a certain amount of time, I wanna focus it on the podcast and grow that. I just think it has more momentum than what I would be able to do on the blog. So the blog now in that kind handle essentially will be a little bit more showing what I’m doing, what excites me in like in what I’m doing with my life versus the podcast. Okay, this is our weekly topic and this is what we’re gonna do. Although all on the podcast on air, you’ll learn way more about me and some of my personal life and all of those things than you would just by looking at the blog. But I think my resources now are almost entirely focusing on the podcast. Just because I’m just so excited about it. Also I don’t have a lot of time. So if I have time, I’m gonna work on the podcast and I love it. We’re doing something that we really love doing and we get to spend time together. Over the last handful of years that Beta and I have known each other, we’ve definitely become good friends and we talk a lot. So it’s good. And that’s where I’m focusing my attention these days.
Megan Porta: And you’re adding value to the world. Not only are you guys, filling yourselves up, you are also putting value out to your listeners and to your audiences and bringing new people in, right? So it’s a win-win, win all around.
Beata: Yeah. That was one of the other things that we wanted to talk to everyone about, like bringing value to people in forms of collaborations with other brands. So we did a program with this other company that they were showcasing, they were a food delivery service and they were showcasing Persian food. So Bita was working with them pretty closely and developed a special menu that they were showcasing and then their chefs were making and distributing it. We built a really cool collaboration with them and that really brought so much value to the people that were actually ordering that food. Because one, it was like, making them aware of what Persian food is and what the tastes are. So they’re becoming aware and it was like surrounding the Persian New Year. So then we actually made a video with them that talked about what is Persian New Year and gave a little bit of that history. So we tried to provide value like that. Also the company itself. So we were providing value and helping their consumers by getting food delivered. Then they’re meeting their need of having to make dinner or whatever the case may be. But being able to bring those things to a broader audience. Being able to bring value and help people, help that company and also the community and being a good resource.
Megan Porta: That is awesome. So I am curious what you guys think about, and either of you can answer this, if somebody is listening and they are either burnt out, like you mentioned earlier, I think Bita Sue, you mentioned blogging burnout. It’s real. So this is kinda a way for you to shift your focus. So whether somebody has that blogging burnout or they just are looking for a new creative outlet, or they hear what you’re saying and really want to tune into a new audience in a new way through audio, what are your tips for them? How do they figure out what to talk about and any like first steps?
Bita Sue: I mean for me it’s been about finding what makes you uniquely you. So niching down. And then from there I always knew I needed a partner to stay accountable and to really do the work. I tend to do too many things at once and work and all the things. So I really wanted a partner in it to be able to stay accountable and consistent. So for me, that was the number one thing. Actually I had been looking for a partner for years and years so it didn’t pan out or make sense to partner on the blog. I know there’s people that do it that way, but I think it’s really something when you’re working with food and photography and recipes and so on, that you need to be in the same geographic area. That proved a little bit too hard for me to find someone, a like-minded person to be able to do that. So what’s been so amazing about this is that, Beata and I can be remote, during a pandemic and we can. From our separate locations we are both really hard workers and we put in the work. Which is another amazing thing is not only do we share the passion, but we both are really hard workers. That’s what it was for me, is just to keep trying to find a good partner, which I was blessed and fortunate to have done.
Beata: Thank you. Yeah, and I think just echoing what you’re said is like the consistency of hard working, consistency. We have an episode every week. There’s a lot that goes into it, on an ongoing basis. When you have the passion to do it, like you’re gonna do it. So I think that, yeah, being consistent and hard work is really what got us here.
Megan Porta: It’s so crazy because I’ve had a handful of interviews today and consistency has been the theme of every single interview. And we’ve talked about all different topics. So I think that carries through every project, every niche, every job, every passion. Especially in our world where everything is so saturated, right? There’s so many of us out there, food bloggers, especially. So the consistency piece is huge. So I love that you mentioned that. Any other tips you would give to people? Stay away from this, or this is a big lesson we learned, or we learned this the hard way, or anything like that?
Bita Sue: One thing I thought of is that we actually had several months where we were planning, and I don’t know if everyone would have this luxury, but we took our time before we launched to really try to understand the technology of it. I don’t know if that was just our personalities, but I don’t know. What would you say? We spent about maybe three months planning?
Beata: Yeah, so we spent a good amount of time setting everything up. We put together a business plan, and we did some insights. We were two people, so we came up with a partnership agreement and we had some of the kind of logistics that we had to do. Then, just the platform of how we wanted to serve the podcast. There’s a lot of little elements that kind of go into it that we were doing. What we had some advice that we had heard that we did, and I think it was a good thing to go on with was that we wrote down a bunch of topics. So we had heard that if you have 20 topics listed, then you know, that’s a good basis of okay, you can start a podcast. So we started writing and we were like, we had a ton of stuff. I was just so excited cause I’m, like even the single ingredients, I just felt like our topic list could be endless. So we were confident about it. But we actually recorded five episodes before we actually launched. So at launch, we still distributed them with our same weekly cadence, but we had them queued up and I thought that was really helpful because we got into a little bit of a routine with it before we had to really like, have that weekly deadline. So I would say if you’re interested in starting a podcast, think about the topic and think about what your first five episodes would look like. We actually hired an editor. We have hired an editor that we work with for every episode and he helps pull the extra, some of the parts of the podcast that can be streamlined out. So that’s a huge time saver for us because we’re not sitting there scrubbing the episode clean. That was actually a whole learning process too. We love our editor, we use this company. What we basically did, we put out a request or proposal basically. What we netted out was we had a bunch of really great candidates, but we were able to find a candidate who is into food a lot. He listens to a lot of podcasts and consumes a lot of food podcasts. So it was helpful to have someone who had the ear of our content. If I had a tech guy editing our food podcast, I don’t think that he would’ve been able to do as well of a job because our editor now is able to say, Okay, this is interesting. Or, Okay, I understand what you’re talking about when it comes to this food. So I thought that was really helpful. If anyone is looking for, to be in the same genre at least would be helpful.
Bita Sue: That was a process. We had to get to that trust point. That made me just think of in the initial stages, we used to scrub it ourselves and write the tick marks and take this out and make this part good because we didn’t know he could do it. Now we don’t even do that at all anymore. He takes it.
Beata: Yeah and makes it a compelling conversation. So if you have the means to hire an editor, I would say that would be a really big time saver.
Megan Porta: That was a huge step for me, in my podcast. It was very recently. It was ridiculous how long I went on doing it myself, and I published two episodes a week and it was a lot of work. So I do think there’s value in doing it yourself and knowing what’s involved in the process. So that if you do ever have to do it again, you can easily, but there came a point where I was like, this needs to get out of my hands and go into another person’s hands.
Beata: Just because you only have a certain amount of time. So if you’re editing the whole time, then it’s harder for you to outline future episodes or meet guests or whatever it is. However you wanna grow your business, if you are stuck doing some of the ongoing maintenance of it. It makes it a little bit harder. We’re in that right now. Like we’re, like, aside from editing, we’re pretty much doing everything else ourselves right now. But we’re just trying to figure that out too and figuring out how we can have people come in, bring value to us versus If I have to outline everything to give it to someone else, if it’s gonna take me as much time to tell someone else to do it versus me doing it myself. But I think those are all really great learnings that you get over time and see how you wanna spend your time.
Megan Porta: Exactly. It’s a journey, but it’s a really fun journey. I’ve, there are parts of it. I don’t love editing. There are parts of it that I don’t love, but for the most part, I am like, why didn’t I find this sooner? I love this side of my business. It is the best. I just adore it and I think you’re either going to love it or not. So give it a try, if you feel like it could round out your business and see which camp you fall into. Is there anything we’re missing, you guys? I feel like I literally could keep asking you questions forever, but I wanna respect your day. So let me know if there’s any final little bits that you just absolutely have to throw out to food bloggers listening.
Bita Sue: Just our quote. We have a quote.
Megan Porta: Go for it.
Beata: All right. Shall I read it? So this is a quote by Rumi, who is a Persian poet and scholar. We thought that it would be fun to bring in a Persian quote.
Megan Porta: Love it.
Beata: But he says really outstanding things. So this one that we thought would be relevant is, and that we love, is let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. So just go for it. Just believe and go, and you’ll learn. You’ll learn throughout the journey. In hindsight, you can see how those dots were connected, but really just try and just let yourself go and experience and do what you love to do.
Bita Sue: Go for it.
Megan Porta: Amazing, you two. That is so amazing. Okay. Is there any way we can support you? Then also a secondary question, are you looking for foodie guests? Do you have an application where people could apply to be on your show?
Beata: Yeah, I think that what people can do in the meantime if you want, is just go ahead and listen to an episode. So we’re on all the podcast apps and you just have to search Modern Persian Food and just give a listen and see if you like it. If you like it, if you wanna subscribe, that’s awesome so that you can listen on your own time or share it with a friend. We’re just trying to just spread the word and have that connection with people. So definitely check us out.
Bita Sue: Join us on our hundredth episode. Listen to our hundredth. It’s a lot of fun.
Megan Porta: Did you guys do anything special for your hundredth? Was it just a regular episode? Are you gonna share or do we have to listen to find out?
Bita Sue: Yeah, so we did our top 10 most memorable moments that was like a countdown.
Beata: Yeah, a countdown. And then also some cool things that we’re looking forward to. In terms of like future guests Yeah we’re always looking to meet new people and have conversations with them. So if someone’s interested or wants to contribute anything, definitely get in contact with us. Our Instagram page is Modern Persian Food and our website is modernpersianfood.com. So just reach out to us and we’d love to hear, and if you have any ideas, we love that too. So I guess just come connect with.
Megan Porta: Yes, everybody, go listen and subscribe, if you feel compelled. It was just such a pleasure to connect with you two, today. Thank you Bita and Beata.
Beata: Yeah, thank you so much, Megan. This was a lot of fun and your podcast is super valuable to us, so thank you for putting out all your episodes as well.
Megan Porta: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much.
Bita Sue: Thank you so much for having us.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see next time.
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