In episode 315, Megan chats with Ann and Madeleine about their new app Spillt, a social media app that helps food bloggers gain exposure and increase their traffic and revenue by allowing them to save, share and review recipes online while gaining new followers.
We cover information about the app’s exciting features, including how it helps you increase site viewing time, click through rates in search results and revenue through ads. The social nature of the app incentivises users to leave reviews and ratings and because it syncs automatically with your site through a WordPress plugin, you don’t have to create any new content to grow on the app. Find out more about how it works in this episode!
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Bio Ann and Maddy Baum are sisters and co-founders of Spillt, a social recipe collection app developed with home cooks and recipe creators in mind. They’ve been working on the app since mid-2021, and have been talking to and learning from food bloggers at every step of the process – from concept to execution. Their goals are to streamline the consumer experience of saving/cooking from online recipes, while bringing bloggers more traffic, star ratings, and revenue opportunities.
- Spillt app is for both the consumer and the blogger.
- Spillt is a social app too.
- Spillt gives consumers a place to save a recipe, store a recipe and share a recipe, share a picture.
- Spillt keeps the recipe open, your phone won’t “sleep” while using it so the recipe instructions remain open as you’re preparing your dish.
- Users create a profile and then will be able to create custom collections of recipes, a way to organize their saved links.
- Bloggers can create a business profile as well as share what they’re making for dinner so their followers can see that content as well.
- Spillt offers consumers a way to rate a recipe that people will see as well the preparer can share how they prepared it with friends/family/on a newsfeed.
- Spillt offers bloggers a way to add those reviews back onto their website through the plugin.
- Spillt won’t impact page speed, it won’t interfere with the front of your blog.
Click for full transcript.
Maddy: Hi, this is Maddy and Ann Baum from Spillt and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
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Megan: Hello, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk the podcast for food bloggers, looking for the value and competence that will move the needle forward in their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I’m your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 315. Today, Maddy and Ann are here and they are going to talk to us about this new app they’ve created called the Spillt app and how it is a good opportunity for food bloggers. Ann and Maddy Baum are sisters and co-founders of Spillt, a social recipe collection app developed with home cooks and recipe creators in mind. They’ve been working on this since mid 2021 and have been talking to and learning from food bloggers at every step of the process, from concept to execution. Their goals are to streamline the consumer experience of saving and cooking from online recipes, while bringing bloggers more traffic, star ratings and revenue opportunities. Maddy and Ann, thank you so much for joining me today. How are you guys?
Ann: So excited to be here. Thank you, Megan.
Megan: Yeah, I’m excited too. I know nothing about your app, sadly, but I’m about to. So I’m really excited to learn more from you.
Megan: But before we get into that, tell us what your fun fact is. I know you have a collective one you wanted to share.
Maddy: Yeah, we love this fun fact. So early on during the pandemic, Ann and I were both living together and it was around April of 2020, and we found online a contest. The grand prize was to win a Peloton bike. The task was to create a peeps diorama with the marshmallow peeps that you get during Easter. We won the grand prize. So, we won a Peloton bike with our peeps diorama and we were very proud of it.
Megan: Okay. I need to see a picture of that. I have an image in my mind, but I’d like to see an actual image. Do you guys have a picture, please tell me you do.
Ann: Oh, a hundred percent. We get a lot of mileage out of the picture, so we’ll definitely send it after this.
Megan: Okay. I’m so curious what this looks like. Wow.
Maddy: There’s just some little peep sitting on the couches, working out at home, doing all the pandemic activities. So we had fun with it.
Megan: Oh my gosh. Well, can I put it in the show notes because I know everyone’s gonna be dying to see that too.
Maddy: Oh, absolutely.
Megan: Okay. Awesome. Well, Spillt is a new app you guys have created and it’s very new. I’m just eager to learn about it. What made you guys start the creation of this app and what gave you the idea in the first place?
Ann: Yeah, so like Maddy mentioned, we were both at home a bunch during the pandemic looking for creative exercises, but also just cooking a ton. At the time we were obviously not seeing our friends and family. We found ourselves just sharing recipes and we would be on these email chains. We would be texting them. There were all of these different ways that we were looking to learn what our friends and family were doing and cooking primarily. We were just kind of blown away by the lack of places to do that in a centralized way. So for us, it started as this consumer needs and we thought why isn’t there an easier way to just let my mom know I made this great pasta other than texting or emailing. From there, we started playing around with ways that we could do that as a consumer, but we knew from the beginning that it wasn’t just gonna be a consumer app. The bloggers who we followed, who were also at home and also producing all of this incredible content, it was really, really important that we build something that was great for them too. So from the very get go, we knew we wanted something better, but we started reaching out to bloggers and just learning from them. What works well when they share their recipes? Where are they sharing them? What is their life like? So that was kind of the origin of Spillt.
Megan: Do you guys have a history with blogging in any way or are you just home cooks?
Ann: Just home cooks. We are not bloggers. We really just enjoy blogs and we consume a lot of them. We get a lot of inspiration, but no, we’ve never been bloggers ourselves.
Megan: Okay. So you’re collaborating with bloggers, just learning what, what bloggers need and what they’re looking for, what can benefit their businesses. So what have you found on the blogger side? What elements are essential for going into your app?
Ann: Yeah, the keyword there that you used is businesses. I think one thing that we felt pretty strongly about, Maddy and I had both been working at a startup, we were selling to businesses and from the beginning, I think we’ve just always been impressed by the fact that these bloggers are running businesses with some who choose to prioritize revenue. Some that are more community focused, but really the common denominator that we heard and appreciated was how important it was for us to build something that can save them time and bring them value. So a blogger in our experience often has their own website where they monetize in some way, maybe through ads, maybe through affiliate links, through other ways. But at the end of the day, we have a ton of respect for traffic to a blogger’s site being really, really important. So for us, our initial product was hoping to play nicely with those sites that bloggers already have. We learned from bloggers that the majority are on WordPress, that are using certain plugins. So our hope is to integrate our app with those WordPress sites, with those plugins, to bring more traffic and bring more star ratings.
Megan: I would love to hear from both sides. So the consumer side and the creator side, what are people saying about the app? What are they loving about it? What makes it unique?
Maddy: Yeah. From the consumer side, we did a lot of research as we were having these initial ideas about what we wanted to build, about how people were saving recipes today. Just thinking about it, they’re crazy about the ways that we resort to saving links to recipes. People will have a notes app in their phone like a list of URLs. A spreadsheet for those that are a little bit more organized and screenshots in their phone that they have to scroll back from. So that was really kind of an eye opener to us. Hey, people need somewhere just to even put links to recipes. We have an initial beta that as of now we have a friends and family group testing out and people have just been so excited that they can actually come back to the recipes that they loved. Maybe I cooked one recipe two weeks ago and loved it, but forgot to save it anywhere. Now I actually know where to come back and get it.
Ann: The other big thing that people love is when you have a recipe open. So what Maddie’s kind of describing again, it’s like a bookmarks folder. We open the website, you still see all the ads, you still see the experience, but your phone doesn’t go to sleep. So when you’ve got chicken on your hands and your phone is locked and you know, you’ve got flour everywhere, we just find ourselves as consumers, that’s the most frustrating thing. So we love features like that. We think it is really, really important to just make what’s already a great site, more usable for a consumer.
Megan: Do you guys have a lot of creators on there currently? What are they saying they love about it?
Ann: Yeah. So we’ve got some initial creators who have started playing with it. We haven’t released the plugin quite yet. So that’s something that we’re hoping to do very, very shortly in the coming few weeks. We have a wait list that we can share with you in a link in the notes. But what creators are excited about, a couple different things. The star ratings in our app, we try to make them really highlighted. So for us, one of the big missing pieces was that Maddie might find a recipe that she loved. She might think about leaving a review, but maybe she doesn’t get to it. If she leaves a review, no, one’s really gonna see it other than a bunch of strangers on the internet. With what we’re creating, there’s a social network. So if Maddy finds a great recipe and rates it five stars and I follow Maddy, I can see that rating. So we’re trying to just create a lot more incentive for users to leave ratings. From the bloggers perspective, what they’re really excited about is again, because bloggers are really sophisticated businesses, they know that more ratings and higher ratings is great for their conversion. So we wanna be a new source of ratings for them. So bloggers are excited to see the ratings come through, seeing people using our app, leaving these ratings and understanding that eventually, when that plugin is installed, we can start to sync these ratings back to their site.
Megan: Hmm, that sounds so cool. Okay. So you mentioned the plugin. I will get to that in just a minute, but first I would love it if you guys kinda talked through the app, just described it. I don’t have it in front of me. Do you know what I mean? Can you talk us through how it operates, maybe some shining features and all of that.
Ann: Definitely. So basically Spillt from a consumer perspective is a social app. So what I can do as a consumer is take a URL of a blog recipe and use a share extension or import it to the site and save it to a collection to my own profile. Kind of the way old school Pinterest worked with organizing and saving links and whatnot. So I’m able to have my own collection of recipes online. Then when I wanna come back to a recipe and click on one of those recipes in my profile, it’ll open up that recipe. Basically, it’s a web browser within our app. So that’s when we’re talking about making sure that we’re giving bloggers the traffic, we’re never redirecting away from the blog recipe. So that’s just my own personal use of saving and organizing my recipes. But then there’s a news feed. So I can see all of the recipes that my friends and followers are following. People are all saving and importing to the app too. Then from right there, I can save those links to my own profile as well.
Megan: Okay. Can you categorize recipes within the app? So like dinners, et cetera.
Maddy: Exactly. Yep. Custom collections we’re calling them and then the other piece of the newsfeed is the reviews. So after I cook something, I can leave a review that will show up in the newsfeed for all my friends and maybe upload a picture as well. So I can say, Hey, I love this recipe. Here’s the link to it automatically, but here’s some modifications I made and here’s a cool picture of it.
Megan: Wow, that sounds so awesome. I’m trying to think, like, I can think of a few platforms that are similar, but have you guys found anything that’s like what you’re doing?
Maddy: We haven’t. I think one of the things we learned early on is, we’re very big forms that kind of scrape the content and try to divert traffic. I think that sometimes that’s an approach that people take when they’re just thinking from the consumer angle. But what was important to us is thinking more about the ecosystem broadly and how important bloggers are to it. We wanted to make sure that the way we approached it was complimentary to how bloggers run their businesses today. So I think that that is really what we’re doing differently. We’re not scraping, we’re not trying to divert traffic. We’re actually trying to get you more traffic and longer traffic. More time spent on page because the phone doesn’t go to sleep. So I think all of those things were sort of novel in the way that we approached it.
Ann: That being said, we have heard, there are some platforms out there that just haven’t really gotten much traction from the consumer side. Like Whisk, for example, we definitely have heard a bit about, but haven’t been hearing much about it from the blogger side or even from the consumer side.
Megan: okay. Yeah, that helps. Then you mentioned the plugin, so the plugin is not yet ready. But you guys are working on it. How does the plugin integrate to all of this?
Maddy: Yeah, so basically what will happen is, I just, I described the consumer experience on the app. A blogger can come in right now, and a blogger that’s using WordPress and one particular recipe, the WordPress recipe card.
Ann: WordPress recipe maker, WPRM.
Maddy: WPRM. So right now we’re just working on that recipe card, but we’ll have more down the road. Basically, a blogger will come and install the Spillt plugin. What it’ll do is it’ll automatically create a profile for that blog on Spillt, where it’ll take all of the links to all of their recipes and organize them in a profile. So that way, if I happen to import one recipe from this blog, and I’m able to within Spillt, click on that blog and go visit their profile and see the rest of all their recipes. So they’re more discoverable within the platform. The other piece that the sync, the WordPress plugin will do is it’ll take any reviews that are left in Spillt and sync them back to their blog. So that’ll contribute to the star ratings, help with SEO is what we’ve heard and hopefully drive value that way.
Megan: Oh, okay. So any reviews left within the app go back to the blog?
Ann: Exactly we won’t be bypassing any steps that you have for posting reviews right now, because we know some negative reviews aren’t necessarily helpful or helpful. We hear a lot about that. So any steps that you have in place right now for posting ratings to your site will still respect those.
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Megan: This is so cool, you guys. I am super excited for you. I think that this is something that food bloggers are definitely gonna be interested in exploring. So is there anything else on the food blogger side that would peak their interests? Like you’ve mentioned quite a few things, but is there anything else we’re missing that is something really great about the app?
Maddy: Something we’ve heard from both food bloggers about just wanting to use the app as a consumer, but also from consumers, is that when a blogger creates a profile, they kind of have a dual profile. They have their blog presence profile on the app, but they also have this kind of personal profile where they’re able to save other blog recipes that they might be cooking because a blogger might not necessarily be cooking exclusively their recipes. So when within the app, a consumer is able to follow a blogger to get notifications anytime their blog publishes a new recipe. What you also are doing is as a consumer, when you follow that blog, you’re also following the blogger’s personal profile and seeing what recipes they’re cooking. So we’re just excited about this kind of personal connection that consumers are able to have with their bloggers from a recipe perspective as well.
Megan: Is there a limit to the number of recipes that you can save within the app?
Megan: Unlimited. I love it. That’s good because I was thinking if I were just to save all the recipes from my blog, that would take up a lot of space right there. So I can see where that might be something people were wondering. So what would be step one for bloggers interested in experiencing this both from a consumer and a creator standpoint. Where do they start?
Ann: So we really wanted to keep this really simple. That was the other thing we heard is we know that there are so many platforms out there competing for bloggers time. So our hope is that, again, this is not gonna be a task or a burden, but all it really takes is downloading and installing the app. Like Maddy said, just signing up as a consumer. It’s a really straightforward flow. You just put in your phone number and it creates an account for you. Then for eligible bloggers, installing the plugin on their WordPress, a couple other call outs. It’s just a backend plugin. So it’s not gonna add anything to your page load time. It’s not gonna interfere with anything on your website. It’s just something that does a little check in periodically and says, Hey, are there any new posts I should know about? Are there any new reviews that you wanna know about? Let’s just make sure that those get synced up. So nothing that should be a concern from the front end perspective.
Megan: I’m really glad you mentioned that. Yeah. Cause I was thinking that earlier and then I forgot to ask, so yeah. So not a page speed issue at all.
Ann: No, it’s just on the back end. So it’s really just kind of keeping your back end in sync with our back end whenever something changes there. So that’s something that we know is super important. Our hope for the long term though, is that we also heard from bloggers that they spend all this time responding to comments, managing their presence on different social media where it’s kind of hard to get more traffic just from that. You’re sort of just doing it for goodwill. Well, so our hope is that, you know, if bloggers do wanna be more involved and respond to reviews, you’re responding to your consumers in a place where they can view more pages of yours and give you more traffic, but that’s really all optional. That’s not something that we require from the beginning. Again, all we wanna do is make sure there’s a better and easier way for you to get these star ratings into your system. So if you just wanna set it and forget about it and not do anything, great. We hope we send you some star ratings and some longer time spent on page. But again, we really just wanna earn the blogger’s time. If they do choose to engage on our platform, we’d obviously be thrilled.
Megan: It sounds like there’s not a huge investment of time required for this. So I think it’s kind of a no brainer just to try it and see if it works. If you are getting a lot of star ratings and extra traffic, then that’s icing on the cake, right? So dig in and just see how it goes. I mean, it really doesn’t sound like it can hurt
Ann: That’s our hope. We really hope it helps in addition to not hurting.
Megan: Right. Right. So you mentioned eligible bloggers. Do you just mean bloggers who have the WPRM, the WordPress recipe maker? Or what else are you referring to with eligible?
Ann: Yes. So on WordPress, using WPR M we’re starting with just standard post objects, but we know that people have custom post types. So we’re looking into that pretty quickly as well. We’re also looking at integrating with other plugins as soon as we can. So again, hoping this will all move pretty quickly in the coming month or so, but the very first cohort that we can start to get up and running are WPRM users.
Maddy: Yeah. One quick thing on that too. So we’re allowing any bloggers to get on the app and use it. For consumers, it actually is going to be invite only. So anyone that signs up will get, I think we’re still determining how many invites, but we’re going to share invite codes with bloggers because that’s really who we’re excited about getting on the app initially. But from a consumer perspective, it will be invite only.
Megan: Okay. Perfect. Is there anything we’ve missed you guys? I feel like we’ve touched on a lot, but let me know if there’s something else you wanted to be sure to mention.
Ann: Yeah. I think one thing I did just wanna bring up quickly and a lot of bloggers, again, who are sophisticated businesses, ask this question, which is a really good one: how are we making money? I do think that that’s important to call out because we know that there are a lot of social media companies that approach this very differently. For us, the most important thing as we explore what the company looks like long term is we wanna build new ways for bloggers to make money. We wanna be a part of that. So for us, what’s really important is that we’re aligned with bloggers incentives and that we’re creating opportunities for them to better monetize their presences and that we can contribute to and be a part of that journey. I think that that’s something that’s just important to call out because we do know that, when those incentives are not always aligned, that that can make it really difficult. Then all of a sudden the blogger is participating in this kind of pay to play atmosphere. You don’t know when you’re gonna get traffic and you don’t know whether people are gonna actually even see your stuff. For us, I think what’s always been important, being on the bloggers team and saying, we’re only gonna make money if you’re making money. So how do we make that a better outcome for both of us? We’re not building that quite yet, but we have some ideas of ways that we think are creative to introduce new sources of passive income. We know that with the shifting landscape and third party cookies and advertising being a little bit up in the air right now, what we’ve kind of heard is that it’s been a great opportunity for a long time, but we don’t know what the future looks like and people wanna diversify. They wanna grow. So we wanna just help along that journey.
Megan: Well, I think you just made such a great case for it. That was so well said, I think. Yeah. Why not? I’m ready to dig in myself.
Ann: Thank you.
Megan: Yeah. Then I just wanted to point out that Spillt is spelled with two L’s. Just so if anyone’s looking up that I should have said that in the beginning, maybe I should go back and say that but it’s S P I L L T, which I think is such a cool spin on the word. I love it. How did you come up with the word, the name?
Maddy: Well, it’s funny that you that you brought up the two L’s because as of a month or so ago, we actually only had one L and people kept reading our name as a Split. So we were just having this kind of, oh my gosh, we need to do something about this right now. So we added another L. One kind of, not pillar, but one thing we really love is the idea of kind of embracing spills and just embracing the mess and just being real in how we kind of approach all of this and working together. So we really liked that Spillt kind of embodied that.
Megan: Yeah. Embracing the spills. I love that. That was well said too. I think that when I was looking at Spillt, I too was like, wait, is that an L? Then I had to like, look real. I have really bad eyesight. So it’s probably just me, but I actually love that it’s kind of a little unique. I was like, oh, that’s so cool. Yeah, it just starts making sense the more I was looking at it. So I think it’s very clever and cute.
Maddy: Thank you.
Megan: Yeah. Well, thanks. You guys. This was such a fun chat. Where are you located by the way? I have no idea where you are in the country.
Ann: We’re in Brooklyn, New York. We both are.
Megan: Okay. All right. How’s the east coast today?
Ann: You know, not, not too bad. We’re kind of getting into the summer weather a little bit, still enjoying spring. So it’s just nice to be able to be outside again.
Megan: I know, I hear you. I’m in Minneapolis. So we are finally just getting outside and it is so nice. I can’t even tell you how long winter was this year. Well, thank you so much for joining me. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to end with today?
Ann: It’s funny. One that just kept jumping to mind that I was trying to find the origins of really quickly that an old boss used to say. I think it’s from the Navy Seals maybe, which is kind of a funny thing now that I’m saying that out loud, but they used to say, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” I think that’s something that we’ve kind of taken a little bit seriously as we’ve been building this out. Because when we first started, we’re like, oh, let’s build a great app for consumers. Then we thought, you know, bloggers are really important. Let’s learn from them. I think we really wanna move quickly on this. We wanna grow. We’re a startup. Very familiar with Silicon valley culture and I’ve worked there and that’s not novel to us, but we wanna do this right. We wanna do this with the right people, with the right consumers starting out and in a way that is right for bloggers. So that’s something that has kind of just stood out to us is that every time we sort of took a step back and thought, you know, let’s think about this. Let’s talk to some bloggers, let’s hear what they think. We’ve just been so grateful for their feedback and so impressed by the amount that we’ve been able to learn. So we’re excited now where we are. We’re excited to get this in people’s hands, but again, we’re just really grateful for the process and for the journey.
Megan: That was such a great quote to end on. I love that. So we’ll put together a show notes page for you guys, and we are gonna put your peeps photo there. So I know you’re dying to see it. I am . You can go to eatblogtalk.com/spillt. So again, S P I L LT. Tell everyone where they can find you online, social media, everywhere possible.
Ann: So we are online at Spillt. Again, S P I L L T.co. Then on instagram spillt.app.
Megan: Awesome. Well, thank you guys so much for being here again, and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
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