In episode 153 Megan shares excerpts from previous EBT guests who take a deep dive into the many ways food bloggers can monetize their businesses.
We cover information about working with brands, how to work as a contributor to another food blogger and learn secrets about how to make money from ebook sales!
- Our ebook called Conversations On Monetization will be released on cyber Monday, November 30th, 2020.
- After reading the book, you will have clarity about which monetization strategies are best for you and your business. Whether you are a new food blogger, looking for your very first revenue stream, or you are a seasoned pro wanting to diversify, this ebook is for you.
- Working with brands is an amazing way to have another revenue stream and to bring useful content to your audience.
- There are advertisers that want to put their ads on your blog and pay you for it. You deserve to get paid for this incredible content that you’re putting out there.
- Blogs have had contributors for a long time, but the reason behind why has changed. You can’t do everything and you can’t do it alone (so this is one option for bloggers).
- (Creating a cookbook is) Definitely something that anyone can do if they have the right mindset and desire.
- Custom products create brand awareness and build your brand identity. Custom products keep your brand in the hands of your followers and generate revenue.
- Life is about more than work. You need to work, you need money, you need to survive, but your life can be so much more than that. …so I leaned into that and started writing eBooks.
- The most important thing, period, on any journey is taking that first step. What people are looking for, the people who joined Chibo classes, they’re looking for you (food blogger) in your most raw and human form.
- If you shoot for restaurants, find out what’s unique about that restaurant and highlight it…If you can deliver that in a way, that’s not only showing the food, but showing the experience someone’s going to get when they walk in the door. If you can deliver that, the clients will love it.
- When you start blogging, I think a lot of people are trying to do it for free. I can look back now and say that’s a big mistake. If you were wanting to start a new career, become a dentist or anything, you would have to pay money to go to school and learn. Well, blogging is the same. I wish I had taken those courses earlier, they’re expensive, but they were totally worth it.
Further conversations on monetization!
Russ and Natalie Monson of Prepear join us in episode #125 about creating digital cookbooks as a Prepear contributor.
Click for full text.
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.
Eat Blog Talkers, hey, how are you guys? We have been working so hard behind the scenes of Eat Blog Talk to create a super valuable resource that is going to help you think through ways about how to monetize your food blog. Our ebook called Conversations On Monetization will be released on cyber Monday, November 30th, 2020. It relates to the compilation I’m sharing with you today because today we are also going to talk about monetization. Inside our ebook, we have compiled interviews from all of the Eat Blog Talk episodes so far, that dive into the topic of monetization and we put them together in a very easy to read format for you. This resource reveals that there are so many ways to monetize your food blog. More than you can imagine. Topic examples discussed in the book are creating digital and physical products, working with brands, putting display ads on your site, and so much more.
After reading the book, you will have clarity about which monetization strategies are best for you and your business. Whether you are a new food blogger, looking for your very first revenue stream, or you are a seasoned pro wanting to diversify, this ebook is for you. Go to eatblogtalk.com to get on the launch list for exclusive bonuses, as well as a huge discount on cyber Monday. If you are listening to this episode after the launch, that’s totally fine too. You are still going to want to grab a copy of the book. So go to eatblogtalk.com to do that. Inside the episode you’re about to listen to here today, I’m going to highlight a few favorite excerpts from some of my favorite Eat Blog Talk episodes that relate to monetization. So, kick your feet up and get ready to absorb the best of the best.
Again, if you want to hear more, be sure to grab the Conversations On Monetization ebook, because there’s so much more inside there. Also included in this compilation is a clip from an exclusive interview, that is not a part of our podcasts, but instead is exclusive to the ebook. So we’re going to give you a teeny tiny sneak peek inside of that episode.
First up is a clip from Alyssa Brantley. I love Alyssa. She’s always filled with such great information. She is from Everyday Maven. In episode number four, she talks extensively about working with brands. This was one of the first episodes ever published, and also one of the most value packed episodes ever recorded. If you haven’t yet listened to the original, go do it. In the meantime, here’s a valuable clip from Alyssa about how working with brands you love impacts your audience.
It’s definitely a complex topic. I think that working with brands is an amazing way to have another revenue stream and to bring useful content to your audience. And that’s how we really want to think about it, is like, what does this do for my audience? How is this of use? Am I helping them? Am I serving my audience? Am I showing them new ways to use these products? Am I showing them new products that make their life easier? So if you approach it from these long-term relationships, and what am I doing to serve the people who read my content, you’ll have a better path than just, I’m looking at this as a way to just bang out more money.
Next up is Megan Tenney from AdThrive. Her original episode was number 149, titled Run Display Ads On Your Blog Through Ad Management Companies. In this clip, she talks about why it’s beneficial to run ads on your blog and how it is a win, win, win situation.
One of the things is there’s just a lot of money to be made out there. So, advertisers over the years have learned how valuable digital real estate is. So there are advertisers that want to put their ads on your blog and pay you for it. So, there’s a good reason right there. I like to use a magazine as kind of an analogy. So, if you go to the store and you buy a magazine, you pay for it and you’re going to browse through it. You’re gonna read some articles and look at pictures and you’re definitely gonna see ads in there. Of course, that’s a major part of a magazine company’s revenue strategy, is they sell ads. A site on the internet is much the same way, but your readers aren’t actually paying, in most cases to access your site.
So they, for lack of a better term, they pay with their eyeballs. Especially these days, readers are used to this. You referenced starting way back in 2010. I think, back then there were, a lot of people were blogging as a hobby and ads were not as mainstream as they are today. So, as a reader scrolling the web, you’re expecting to come across ads. So I don’t think it’s something that’s very jarring anymore. You deserve to get paid for this incredible content that you’re putting out there. So digital advertising can really be a win, win, win. So your readers are getting this incredible content for free. Advertisers are using your space to build their brand, their brand awareness and reach potential customers. You’re getting this passive income for all this hard work that you’ve put in, in this really incredible content that you’re putting out there.
This clip is from Jessica Formicola, from Savory Experiments. Her original episode was number 087 on Eat Blog Talk. She talked about contributorships. Specifically in this excerpt, she talks about why bloggers are seeking or should be seeking, contributors for their blogs and why you might be a good fit for this.
I think that blogs have had contributors for a long time, but the reason behind why we’ve had contributors has changed. Likewise, why people want to contribute. But for me right now, my personal reason to add contributors was because as a business, you need to learn where to delegate things and where to take things on as your own, to grow. You can’t do everything and you can’t do it alone. For me, I needed content creation. I needed more backlinks. I wanted to grow my social media, but I also am passionate about giving back. I found myself doing a lot of blog coaching and blog mentoring. Let me also say, I’m not the biggest blog out there. I think that I’m doing well and I’m doing good for the food blogging industry, but I’m also not one of the mega huge blogs, but I have the time to be able to help coach and mentor people.
It was the smart business move for me to then also get something back in return for what I was giving out. As well as having more content creation, because I was having trouble keeping up with all of the SEO ideas that I needed to compete with other individuals online, because I have kids, and a life and I don’t work full time. So it made most sense to me to start adding contributors. I only started a couple of months ago, so it’s been interesting and it’s been a learning curve, but it’s going really well.
Next up is Jamielynn Nye from I Heart Naptime. In episode number 10, she takes us through every single step we need to go through in order to create a physical cookbook. In this excerpt, she talks about why writing a cookbook is fair game for any food blogger at any experience level.
I think it’s definitely fair game for any level. I know friends who have started or where their cookbook kind of launched them into their career as a blogger. Then I know bloggers who have been blogging 10 years and then decided to try a cookbook. I would say bloggers that have a bigger social following, have a little bit of an advantage to get a higher advance, mainly because the publishers will see that they already have a grown audience and they have potential to sell more copies of the book. But I think it’s definitely something that anyone can do if they have the right mindset and desire.
Barbara Hobart from homeplateswholesale.com joined me in episode 037. We talked about creating custom products people will devour. In this excerpt, she talks about how creating physical products will help you grow your brand as a food blogger.
The main thing is that custom products create brand awareness and build your brand identity. Custom products keep your brand in the hands of your followers and they can be used for other things other than just generating revenue. They can also be used for contests and giveaways. There’s nothing worse, that I see is that when somebody spends all this time and effort building their blog, and you get people to your blog, however you do your marketing, whether it’s through Instagram or Pinterest or Facebook or your email list, is you get them there, and then you’re sending them away to purchase products made by other companies. So here’s a really good example. Let’s say you do meal prep. So you have these great meal prep, recipes and ideas, and then everybody wants them. So they’re downloading that. Then you’re using an affiliate link for instance, to food storage containers, because they have to put their foods that they prepared in something. Then you’re sending them off to go buy Oxo food storage containers. So the only two people that are getting rich on this are Oxo and Amazon. So it’s really simple. If you want to create your own line of food storage containers, I can help you do that. There’s so many different ones to choose from. You could do glass or plastic or silicone or reusables, disposables. The thing that’s the most important, is to get your logo and your brand, on your product.
Jason Logsdon from Amazing Food Made Easy and also Makin’ Bacon, joined me in episode number 104. We talked about how to create foodie courses. In this excerpt, he talks about how the concept of starting really simple, can lead to a valuable course that you can deliver to your audience.
I highly recommend starting simple. So that simple spaghetti sauce that you think people are asking about. I would put together a really good article about creating simple spaghetti sauce and see what type of reaction there is to that. If you get a good reaction from your fans, then you can start growing it out a little bit more, maybe make some videos around it or turn it into a longer series. I’ve had a lot of amazing ideas that I spent a lot of time putting together, that no one cared about. That’s all wasted time. I’ve had more success when I’ve done things, basically the least amount of work that I could do to get something valuable out there. Then the ones that people are reacting to, I can start putting more time and energy into those as I grow them.
Kelly McNelis joined me in episode 107, and she talked extensively about how to create eBooks as a way to diversify your income. In this excerpt, she talks about the key to having really great ebook sales. I will let you listen to the audio clip to figure out what that key is. She also talks about how creating eBooks can be such an awesome form, a very lucrative, passive income.
I ended up saving money in the long run. So around that time, I ended up reading the book The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Farriss.
Yes, that’s a great one.
Really leaned into this idea of how I work. It was, life is about more than work. You need to work, you need money, you need to survive, but your life can be so much more than that. And for me, it is. So if you think about your work and what’s working, what’s generating money and how can I do more of that and how can I cut absolutely everything. That book inspired me to delete email from my phone. I would only check email maybe once a day or every other day on my computer. I mean really getting down to essentials of only the time, even posting on social media less, I made this conscious decision of, I don’t want to work 24/7. That’s not going to bring me happiness in my life. It’s just making me stressed out because I’m trying to take care of my kids. So I leaned into that and started writing eBooks. It was a long road from there. I mean, I didn’t know what I was doing at all at first.
How did you dive into your first ebook? So after you read the Four-Hour Workweek, which I love, love that book. I love the whole concept of it so much. I’m with you on that. So you just decided, okay, I’m going to do more of what can make me money so that I can work less and enjoy my loved ones. So how did you launch into that first ebook? Not knowing anything?
So I knew that what people loved the most, were those quick and easy freezer to Crock-Pot recipes. I had the idea, I would put together 10 recipes, 10 new recipes, that could be assembled that way. I packaged them into this PDF. I wrote it in Microsoft word. I had nutritional info. I had a grocery list. I had these cute little freezer labels that I designed. I had it in Microsoft Word, I exported it as a PDF. I designed a hideous cover. I don’t know how anyone let me do that. Why did you let me do that? But I designed it myself in Photoshop. I should’ve just used a photo of the food, but I didn’t. I created this text, icon thing.
Oh that’s so funny. The things you do when you first start out and you look back and you think, Whoa, what was I thinking?
It’s mortifying, but also, you can’t wait. First of all, you can’t wait until you become an expert. You’ll never become an expert. You’ll never get there, if you don’t learn, you don’t grow. Really it was about the recipes. It wasn’t about the cover. I don’t think people bought it because of the cover anyway. So, I packaged them into this PDF and I remember being so excited about it, I put all this time into creating the recipes because I really obsess over my recipes. That’s probably why people have liked them over the years, that I’m saying, if you make these, if you spend this time freezing them, they’re going to be delicious. You’re going to love them. You’re not going to have flops. I remember I put it for sale on my website. I used the PayPal button. I’m not very tech savvy. So at the time I did this PayPal button and I just waited for all these sales to roll in. In reality, it was like crickets. Nothing!
Where is everyone?
I mean, I literally sold 12 copies the entire first year that I was selling. They were like my mom and dad or brother, friends, I don’t know. This was not an overnight success. I didn’t know what I was doing, obviously. So what happened, what made the difference is that fast forward and the next year I think we had sold, I don’t even know how many thousand copies of that same e-book. So what I had done and I had also launched the following year, I wrote a new book and I launched it. I remember I had a five day sale and ended up making $10,000 in a week. Which blew my mind, was epic, so surprising to me, but what made the difference wasn’t the ebook, it wasn’t that all of a sudden this new one was beautiful and had a beautiful cover. It was the same thing; it was a new ebook, and new recipes and a slightly better cover. But what was different is how I was selling it. I had learned how to actually market something. How to have a dedicated sale or a launch period. Maybe we’ll end up going into that in more detail. That was what really made all the difference. You can have a great book and have it not sell because you’re maybe just not selling it the right way.
Taylor Dawson from Chibo talked to me in episode number 144, and he discusses how to use cooking classes, specifically virtual cooking classes, to monetize your blog and reach your audience in a new way. In this excerpt, he talks about how to start hosting virtual cooking classes today, how it’s super easy to do it and get started and why your audience needs to interact with you in this way.
So there are a number of different ways you can start doing this on your own. If you wanted to just try it out, you could literally, an event bright and start selling tickets. Then, link that up to your Zoom account and start sending, basically the basics. Send people who sign up the recipe, tell them what time to show up and then deliver the content to them. If it’s of interest to them, we’ve done a lot of the groundwork there and we can probably simplify that process for them. So Chibo is taking on a limited number of new people before the end of the year. I think our goal was to bring on 50 people by the end of the year.
I think we’ve got something like five to 10 slots left. So we do have some availability before the end of the year. If they’re interested, they can reach out at Chi.bo/apply. The most important thing, period, on any journey is taking that first step. So I think personally, I think that this is a direction that the world is going in. I wouldn’t have invested the last 18 months of my life in it if I didn’t believe that it was the direction the world is going in. I think that merits getting started. There’s something about this that can be very nerve wracking for a lot of people. Because when we think about developing content, I think we expect that the content has to be perfect.
Then you add the anxiety about doing something live. What people are looking for, the people who joined Chibo classes, they’re looking for you in your most raw and human form. They’ve been following you and they trust you. They wouldn’t read your content if they didn’t. So you can take part in the fact that they just want to get to know you on a more personal level and what they’re looking for, a lot of times they won’t take the leap to doing one of your recipes unless they feel like you’re there with them guiding them. They will get an enormous amount of benefit out of actually being incentivized to do something along with you at the same time. They’re going to enjoy it a lot.
Next is Jena Carlin from Little Rusted Ladle, and she joined me in episode 112 to talk about Food Photography Beyond The Blog. In this excerpt, she talks about how to attract the clients you want, as well as how to make money by taking food photographs for restaurants.
Actually I really enjoy it. I hadn’t started with that but it turns out a dear client of mine, this is actually the first client I got when I started my blog. So this goes into creating the work that you love and then attracting the clients you want. So starting my blog, I was fortunate enough to get hired by a company that makes dog food. This is a family run business. So they were really drawn to the fact that I was using antique props and that my work told stories and that it was more than just a product shot. They’ve been a client of mine for years. Just this past year, they branched out and opened a restaurant. Because they’re so invested in the aesthetics of their brand, everything in that restaurant was beautiful and amazing.
When we went in there, we picked out different locations around the restaurant to utilize their cream city brick walls, and they’re their copper bar top. Some rustic window sills, we photographed all over the place. I just am so in love with the work that we did. So a lot of it shows the atmosphere. So I encourage you, if you do shoot for restaurants, find out what’s unique about that restaurant and highlight it because the clients are going to love you for that because they’re investing so much in their story and their brand. If you can deliver that in a way, that’s not only showing the food, but showing the experience someone’s going to get when they walk in the door. If you can deliver that, the clients will love it.
Yeah. It’s speaking their language. It’s right in their home. I love that. You just saw that too. You knew, we need to do this here. This is you. This is your message. They probably absolutely love you for that. How do you get into a restaurant? Is it the same way? Do you find them on social media? Email? What is a good way to start photographing for a restaurant?
I would, if it’s near to you, I would actually go to the restaurant a couple of times, first. So that you have that personal connection with them and know the ambiance and the feeling that they’re trying to portray. Get to know the brand, get to know the food. Then I would find, either the owner or a manager, find out who that is and either email them, or if they’re at the restaurant, walk up to them and start talking to them. The worst thing that’s going to happen is they say, no, we’re not interested, or we can’t afford this at this time. But it opens up a conversation. So even if they can’t afford it at that time, just make sure to tell your value and what you can deliver and why that’s important. Let them know that in the future, if they are interested to reach out to you or leave a business card in and stay active. If you are staying active with brands that you want to work for, show them. Not only email them, but also interact with them on Facebook or Instagram and show that you’re invested.
Next, I talked to Caroline Phelps from Pickled Plum, and this is the exclusive interview I teased at the beginning of this episode. She and I had a conversation that is going straight into our ebook and that will not be found on the podcast. So be sure to get the ebook, just to listen to those exclusive interviews that we did, because we do have a handful of them. Caroline and I talked about how to monetize your blog through other avenues, such as affiliate marketing and just looking beyond the numbers and traffic.
Inside this excerpt, she talks about why you should expect to be compensated for food blogging and why you should not expect to be doing it for free. Because as you know, food blogging is a lot of work. It requires a lot of our time and energy. It is a valid job and we work harder than probably most people we know. So you should absolutely expect to get paid for it.
One thing I want to say is, when you start blogging, I think a lot of people are trying to do it for free. I can look back now and say that’s a big mistake. I don’t know if you’ve read some of my posts, but I always say that’s a mistake because, if you weren’t wanting to start a new career, become a dentist or anything, you would have to pay money to go to school and learn. Well, blogging is the same. I think a lot of people think of blogging as well. It’s free, it’s easy, blah, blah, blah. Nope. First of all, it’s extremely difficult, right? Just like anything else, you have to learn how to do it. I wish somebody would have told me that in the beginning. I really wish somebody would’ve told me that. Because I did fall into that same trap in the beginning thinking, Oh wait, I could create recipes and make money. My God, that’s great. That’s easy. No, it’s not easy. I wish I had taken those courses earlier, they’re expensive, but they were totally worth it. It made me see different, it changed the way I started. I blog now and it made me fall in love with what I’m doing again, which is so important.
That is a wrap for this monetization compilation here for Eat Blog Talk. I hope you found value in this episode and I hope you’re motivated and ready to go out and monetize your amazing business and blog in new and incredible ways. Again, be sure to grab our Conversations On Monetization ebook, as it is going to help you dive way deeper into this topic. Before you know it you’ll be raking in the money from many different revenue streams. When you are sure to reach out and let us know, because we want to hear your success stories. Thank you so much for listening, food bloggers. I appreciate you so much. I will see you next time.
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