In episode 320, Megan chats with Izzah Cheema, founder of Tea for Turmeric, the largest Pakistani food blog, about why creating more content for your blog does not necessarily lead to growth.
We cover information about how you need to be choosy about what content you publish, why building EAT over time is valuable, be sure to be consistent in your quality content and why round ups are valuable.
Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.
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Connect with Tea for Turmeric
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Bio In late 2016, Izzah started Tea for Turmeric on a whim while her daughter was napping. Two years later, Tea for Turmeric was lucky to be a finalist for the Saveur Blog Awards in the Most Inspired Weeknight Dinners category. Since then, with the help of a small team of amazing people, it’s grown to millions of views a year. It is now one of the most popular Pakistani food blogs in the world.
- It’t not about quantity, it’s about quality content.
- Become knowledgeable about a topic and work to become the authority on it. (niche down)
- EAT is super important as competition increases in the food blogging space.
- Instead of touting your credentials in your About section, be sure to share your credentials throughout your post be weaving into your content for each recipe vs in a blurb about who you are.
- Don’t just add to the noise in the food blogging space. Always be adding value.
- Really be listening to your users wants and requests and then be sure to respond.
- Do the work no blogger wants to do.
- Round ups are a great way to market your content that you’ve already done all the work on and reshare with your readers.
- Solve a problem or make an impact in your niche. If you can’t find any search results on something, you need to become the expert on it.
- Being a blogger is not meant to be a one man show if you want to grow.
Click for full transcript.
Izzah Cheema: Hi, this is Izzah Cheema from Tea for Turmeric, and you’re listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
Sponsor: Hey, awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player. Go to Eat Blog Talk, scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave Eat Blog Talk a five star rating if you love this podcast and leave a great review this will only benefit this podcast. It adds value. I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay. Now onto the episode.
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’m your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 320. Today I have Izzah Chema here with me and she is going to tell us why she believes more content is not necessarily the answer to blog growth. Izzah is the founder of Tea for Turmeric, the largest Pakistani food blog. She shares tested and perfected Pakistani and South Asian recipes on the blog. With less than 100 recipes, her blog gets well over 350K visits per month or 2 million a year. Izzah honed in on growing while nicheing down and maintaining her loyal readership. Hello, Izzah. How are you today? I’m so happy to have you here.
Izzah Cheema: Good. Thank you so much for having me, Megan.
Megan Porta: Yes, it is great to talk to you and I love this topic. But before we get into it, we wanna hear what your fun fact is.
Izzah Cheema: Okay. My fun fact is that I started this blog while my daughter was napping. So I just saw a Pinterest, and remembered those pins that I think were sponsored by BlueHost, like how to start a blog in two easy steps or something. So that week I had decided to do something new every single day. I think maybe my daughter was six months and I was just bored or something. I saw that and I was like, today I’m gonna start a blog and I didn’t think much into it. I’m so glad I didn’t, because had I thought too much into it, I wouldn’t be here today.
Megan Porta: Sometimes overthinking just gets in the way of things. Yeah. I’m glad that you were inspired by it. I feel like we kind of bash on BlueHost a lot as a really terrible solution for web hosting. But at least they inspired you. I love that. They did something good.
Izzah Cheema: That’s why I started the blog. Yep.
Megan Porta: I am super excited about this chat, because I feel like for so long, we were just told, pump out more content. What’s the key to success? More content, over and over for years until very recently. Now it’s a totally different game, I would say within the last year or two. So we were all taking a little bit of a step back and saying, okay, wait, we don’t need to necessarily pump out more content. We need to pay attention to the content that we’re creating and give it extra love. So why do you believe Izzah, it is not a good strategy, just to pump out more content?
Izzah Cheema: So when I first started out, like you’re saying, I was almost embarrassed that I was producing such little content and you were supposed to be posting three times a week, at least. I was just not able to do that. I think in a way it was a blessing that I had my daughter when I started the blog. So she was six months old. Then a few years later I had my son and that was still while I had the blog. So I had a lot of time constraints. So I just couldn’t manage to put that much content out there if I was gonna be proud of that content. But as I went on, I started to notice that a lot of people had a lot more content than I did, but they didn’t have that many page views or just based on what I could tell their blog was particularly seeing more success than mine. So I, the more I looked into it, I realized, it’s not about just pumping out content. It’s about you saying the content that you’re producing, is it solving a problem? Is it adding to your library you can say of posts. I would say it was easier for me in a way that maybe would not be for some others, was that I was able to niche down since the very beginning. There weren’t that many Pakistani food blogs. That was just something that I did right off the bat. To be honest, I did start off not knowing that I should really focus on that. So I would do something like gluten free pancakes, just because I made them, like you’re saying, and I liked them or I developed the recipe and I liked it. But I realized that it’s not what my blog is gonna rank for. So if you’re producing content that your blog may not rank for, unless you’re doing it really strategically so you can signal to Google that you’re entering a new territory, there’s really no point in creating it. You can create it just for fun, which, sometimes I’ll do that. It’s like some, something that you just wanna share, you can go and share that. But is that gonna really contribute to the bottom line? I don’t think so.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s interesting. I’m curious. How long have you been blogging?
Izzah Cheema: So I’ve been vlogging for five years. and I have less than a hundred recipes and, well over 400 K views, like almost half a million you can say. This is where there are less than a hundred recipes.
Megan Porta: Wow. I think that is definitely an exception and that is amazing.
Izzah Cheema: Thank you.
Megan Porta: My numbers are so far skewed from yours. I had just about a thousand or maybe just over a thousand recipes. I was in that camp where I was like, okay, I need to just produce. I was creating so much content, never giving it a thought though, like what I was actually creating. My page views per month have been around what yours are like back when Pinterest was a thing. Yeah, I would occasionally reach a million page views a month, but that was like an, that was an anomaly for me. But now that Pinterest is no longer a thing, really so I’m around where you’re at, but it’s such a different story. It’s so interesting to see how your story has unfolded versus someone like me who did have that strategy in my mind to begin with. So if producing more content isn’t the answer, I would love to hear what you think is the answer. So can you move through just a couple of things that you feel like we should be doing? You mentioned niching down to start. What else is there?
Izzah Cheema: Yeah, so the first thing is everyone says niching down, but I like to think of it in terms of, if you go to a massive library and you have these different sections. You’ll have South Asian recipes. Then on top of that, you’ll have Pakistani recipes. So that is if you pull out that book, you know what recipes are gonna be inside that. So that’s basically how I think Google has it set up right now. So if you are producing spaghetti recipes, smoothie recipes, muffin recipes, where in that library, where would you go to find your content? So that’s one thing that I really tried to do very early on. I wove that into my branding. I knew that I have to, not just do Pakistani recipes, but South Asian, because the broader South Asian recipes are a stable strategy long term. Whereas Pakistani it’s still it’s very niche down. So there would be a cap that I could go to. To be honest, a lot of Pakistani recipes are South Asian recipes, it’s the same thing, but people just don’t know. They’re different, but they’re very similar. It’s North India and Punjab. That’s where I’m originally from, you can say. They’re very similar, so I can be authentic to my recipes and my culture while still broadening into the South Asian category.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That makes sense. Do you have any thoughts about E A T? I know that is something that Google really stresses. Getting that expertise, authority, and trust. It’s hard, I feel like. Food bloggers are constantly asking how do I increase my E A T? So what are your thoughts on all of that?
Izzah Cheema: As the competition increases, I feel like that’ll be even more important. One of the reasons is because when someone lands on your page, they’re most likely not gonna go to your About Me and see what your credentials are. They’re not gonna see how educated you are. They’re just looking at one page. So on that page, that’s where you have to show your expertise. Again, this was embarrassing to me in the beginning where I’ve tested this recipe 50 times. Later I learned that this is what adds value. I weaved that into my copy. Hey, I tried this with this and it didn’t work out. I’m very much a perfectionist about getting my recipes really good. Yeah. So I don’t hide that anymore. I tell the readers I tried this, this is how it worked. So I’m saving them work and that’s what’s building that credibility and that authority.
Megan Porta: I love that. So you’re not necessarily doing that through, like you said, you’re about page and like what you’ve accomplished necessarily, but instead putting it into the way that you treat your recipes and your posts and communicating that. Does that translate to Google? I know that would translate to a user, which I guess is the ultimate goal for Google. But do you feel like Google picks up on that?
Izzah Cheema: Yeah, I think over time it does. Because now I heard recently that Google’s even looking at reviews on your webpage. So it’s a slow burn, right? If you’re continuously doing that, you’re gonna build that authority over time. So an example is I just updated my Lassi recipe, it’s a drink, it’s a yogurt drink, South Asian. In that I mentioned, Hey, recently I had lassi in Lahar when I went on a trip. Little things like that, weave those into your post and they’ll show the reader, hey, you know what lassi’s supposed to taste like. Hey, I’m Punjabi. So lassi’s a Punjabi drink. I know what lassi’s supposed to taste like. Does that make sense?
Megan Porta: Yeah, I think that’s super smart. I don’t think I do that very well, but I’m curious if other bloggers do that and what they see as a result of that. If they see their expertise, authority and trust going up too. But I just love that it’s such a good perspective. Anything else with E A T that you feel like would be helpful for food bloggers to know?
Izzah Cheema: Another thing is and I think it goes hand in hand with E A T is not just adding to the noise, if that makes sense. Not just giving a recipe and saying, Hey, this is my grandma’s recipe or this is my husband’s favorite recipe. I think that’s a little bit overplayed and that doesn’t have the same impact as saying something like this is a chef recipe. Or this is a treasured recipe or contest winning recipe. There has to be, I think again, as the competition increases, there has to be something special about that recipe or that technique or something that solves a problem or makes the user’s life better in some way.
Megan Porta: We just absolutely have to be setting ourselves apart in some way in our content. I think this is exactly what you’re saying.
Izzah Cheema: Yeah, exactly. One hundred percent.
Megan Porta: So it sounds like you really comb through each blog post and you take your time with it and make sure that it has great quality. So talk about that. How do you specially treat each blog post that you write?
Izzah Cheema: The first thing I do, and this can go back to the initial point of quantity is not necessarily better than quality and that is that I try to contribute to the 80/20 rule, obviously. I try to contribute to 20% of the recipes that are gonna give me 80% of the traffic. You know how just about every blog has 20% of posts that give them 80% of the traffic? I try to add recipes to that 20%. While building expertise and so sometimes I know that I’m gonna have a recipe that’s gonna be not necessarily bringing up that much traffic, but I try to start with that in mind. What recipe can I give that’s gonna add to these top 20 posts. So that’s one of the things I do.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That was really well said. Then just to add to that, I’m just curious about how you treat each post as far as when you’re creating it. Do you, is there anything special you do? How much time do you spend on it? All of that.
Izzah Cheema: So what I do is I try to think of it in terms of, again, that library. If this is gonna be the only recipe for this I ever give, what problem should it solve? A lot of times that comes back to asking your audience or doing a survey and you’ll know what people need from that. So if there’s a kebab recipe, they want it to be soft from the inside. They don’t want it falling apart. They’ll answer these things for you. Then you can weave that into the recipe, into the copy. You can just make it so it’s solving exactly what the reader wants and basically becoming a mind reader. Then another thing I do is I have you could say like beta testers, how apps have beta testers? I have one person who’s a part of my team who I send a recipe to. She’s Pakistani as well. So I’ll send her the recipe when I’m done and she will test it and let me know what she thought, anything that can be improved. She’s in Canada so any ingredient that she didn’t have, things like that. I’ll just gather a lot of data in terms of what people need from this recipe and how I can deliver on that.
Megan Porta: Okay. Yeah. So you’re very thorough. How long would you say each blog post takes you to write or does it just depend?
Izzah Cheema: It definitely depends, but it takes me a long time. I struggle with that line between SEO and what I want to write and sometimes you don’t want to answer these tedious questions that Google wants you to answer. Yeah. But I try to do that in the most authentic way that I can without sounding like a robot. But basically I’d say it takes me eight to 10 hours.
Megan Porta: Oh, wow.
Izzah Cheema: Yeah. Yeah. Like I’ll really go into it and sometimes one of my recipes recently, I even had a table and I think that’s another thing that people can start doing more and more of is introducing data into. I have an engineering background. I dunno if you can tell. But that probably influences some of the way I do things. I pay a lot of attention to the analytics and the data and the science behind the way things are done, you can say.
Megan Porta: So what do you analyze exactly?
Izzah Cheema: Again, I analyze the top 20. I ask my readers a lot, what they want in terms of what recipes they want. I’ll see, what, how much search volume that has. I can almost visualize myself ranking for a particular post before I even put it out there, if that makes sense. I know who’s ranking. This is before using Keysearch or before all this is when I just simply use Keywords Everywhere and I can just see how much the search volume is. I don’t necessarily need to see what Keysearch things that can rank for anything. I can just visualize where I would possibly rank.
Megan Porta: Okay. So just explain that.
Izzah Cheema: Okay. For example, biryani. Okay. It’s a very high volume keyword. For Keysearch, I couldn’t possibly rank on it. I don’t have the domain authority. If you look, the top ranking websites are very high domain authority, millions of views, Taste of Home, Food Network. Everyone’s competing for it. First of all, I’m one of the only Pakistani people giving it. Then if I were to really hone in on what people want from this recipe. If people kept asking me for a biryani recipe, but there are so many out there. So I can tell, okay, they want something that’s authentic. They want something that tastes like a restaurant, or they want something that tastes like a professional biryani, for example. They want it in a way that’s easy to follow. They don’t want vague things like cooking your rice 70%. So I can just listen to what they want and then provide, you can say a product, that responds to their needs. That will rank. Not a hundred percent of the time, not a hundred percent of the time, but a lot of times. Google takes in a lot of user signals. If the user is satisfied, eventually that’ll pay off.
Megan Porta: That is amazing. So just really high level listening is what you’re saying.
Izzah Cheema: Yes, definitely. Then responding to that need. It’s like if you were making any product, if you think of your blog post as a product or a solution, it has to solve a market need.
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One of my own strategies has been to create non-res posts that support my existing content in some way. I have a lot of sauce recipes on my site. So I’ve created this really valuable web of content that supports my sauce recipes. A few examples are: I’ve created marinara versus spaghetti sauce as an article. How to thicken spaghetti sauce. I interlink all of that content within my own blog and recipe posts and covering different angles about sauces helps to establish myself as a credible source of information on sauces. Inside RankIQ, you will get inspired by the keywords you find. You’ll come across topics you never even thought to write about yet that will be super valuable to your audience. Go to rankiq.com to sign up and check it out for yourself. Now let’s get back to the episode of food bloggers.
Megan Porta: That’s cool. Because forever we were not seeing our blogs as products or solutions. We were seeing them as recipe collections. That was it. We’re just like adding more to the collection, creating this giant cookbook online. But we’ve all seen that creating a solution to a really specific pain point is the answer for a lot of things, especially as the space gets more saturated. So I think this is a really smart way to go about creating content. Obviously it’s been working for you. Your page views are incredible.
Izzah Cheema: Thank you.
Megan Porta: Yeah. You’ve just honed in on something that really works. So what else do you recommend that we focus on if we want to not focus on creating more and more, more, but focus on getting more traction?
Izzah Cheema: Sometimes it comes back to doing the work that nobody wants to do. There are tedious things that they’re not fun glamorous things. So people don’t want to do that. So a lot of times we will have for example, this is before I was very good at figuring out how to niche down. So I got some Turkish coffee from the local store and I came home and I didn’t have an ibrick, which is the tool that you use to make Turkish coffee. So I started trying to make it in a saucepan and I Googled how to make Turkish coffee without an ibrik. Okay. There was nothing there. So later I got an ibrick, but I was like, Hey, this is obviously something that if I didn’t have the answer to it, a lot of people wouldn’t have the answer to it. So how can I figure out how to make this in a sauce pan and then put it out there so it can help others too. A lot of it comes down to doing the work that has not been done before. That could actually solve a problem that people are Googling.
Megan Porta: So taking content that is boring maybe, but is helpful and just doing it.
Izzah Cheema: Exactly. It doesn’t necessarily have to be boring. I think you should definitely solve problems that you’re interested in because if you’re not interested in, that’s gonna show through. There’s a lot of opportunity and there’s a lot of blog posts that I could do. But I don’t go for them because I know if my heart’s not in it, that’s not gonna translate to the page.
Megan Porta: I have to admit that I’ve written some content that my heart was not in, but it’s done really well because it’s really helpful. I’m like, just push through this. It’s not something that I would write about just on any given day. Oh, I wanna write about the difference between spaghetti sauce and marinara sauce. No, that’s not interesting to me at all, but I knew that people were looking for that because I saw it in the RankIQ database. Nobody’s writing about this. So I did it and it did great. So sometimes you maybe do need to push through a little bit and just get those things out there that aren’t lighting you up.
Izzah Cheema: Oh. Yes. Don’t get me wrong. I recently did a post on coriander powder and I’m gonna do one now on cumin powder. That’s definitely not the most interesting and fun thing to write about in a blog post. But again, you’re right, if they’re solving that problem, if you can just bring yourself into it and your expertise and not just sound dry and dead on the inside, I think that’ll get you through those humps.
Megan Porta: Sometimes like with my sauce thing, I know a lot about it and it’s not like a passion, but I do know a lot about sauces. So it was fairly easy to write. It just wasn’t lighting me up. I also knew that it would be really helpful. So sometimes you can push through those things you don’t necessarily want to do.
Izzah Cheema: I have to make a little plug for Foodie Digital, Leanne. She’s one of the co-founders of Foodie Digital. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. The SEO company. So she always says that too. It’s like, sometimes you have to be smart and do those things that necessarily aren’t very exciting, but they’re gonna build your authority. Sometimes you just have to do SEO plays. Yeah. If that makes sense.
Megan Porta: If we wrote about things that lit us up all the time, every day, I don’t feel like that would be a super smart strategy. If you would do that and you’re wildly successful, let me know. I wanna know what you’re writing about. Yeah, sometimes you just have to get dirty and write about things that you know people wanna hear about.
Izzah Cheema: Yeah. That’s very true.
Megan Porta: So you talked about niching down and I loved how you talked through all of that and how you’ve done such a good job of that. What are your thoughts about people who are listening, who have a really, like a non niche? They’re just broad, but they’re intrigued by what you’re saying, and they maybe want to start niching down. Do you have any encouragement for them?
Izzah Cheema: Yeah, I’d say if there’s something that they’re interested in that they think that they want to know more about, because the more they learn along the way. If there’s something that they think that they could do long term, and there are so many underserved niches. It seems like they’re not, but again Google’s slowly gonna start prioritizing. So if you have a blog that has everything and they have smoothies, slowly they’re gonna be blogs that are just for smoothies. Then they’re gonna have a little bit of an edge over those blogs that are giving smoothies as well. Does that make sense? This is just my prediction. I’m not sure how it’s gonna actually turn out.
Megan Porta: I trust you.
Izzah Cheema: But do you understand what I’m saying though?
Megan Porta: I do. Yeah. I definitely do.
Izzah Cheema: I think there is just gonna be more of it going forward. Recently, Google started doing if you look up a high search keyword, like chocolate cake, for example, it’ll say gluten free chocolate cake, healthy cakes, coffee chocolate cakes. Chocolate birthday cakes. It’s just gonna, as the competition grows, it’s just gonna get even more categorized, is what I think.
Megan Porta: So the bottom line is that we should all create like 12 niche blogs based on all of our content that we have because, oh gosh, that’s gonna do better in the end honestly. I’ve thought about that. Just separating out my content and creating just a bunch of different blogs. I think that would do amazingly well, but it’s obviously a lot of work.
Izzah Cheema: Even one blog for me, it’s like with two kids.
Megan Porta: Oh, I know. It’s hard to think about that, but then you think if I had a handful of different blogs that did really well, it might be worth it. But yeah, that might be the direction we’re going as a food blogger community. We’ll see what happens. Time will tell. You said something in your notes about roundups. So what are your thoughts about roundups?
Izzah Cheema: So again, this is a way to market what you already have instead of necessarily creating new content. So one thing I have always done, and I’ve done this before it was a thing, was updating posts. That goes back to my obsessive perfectionism type thing. I would update a post and I would update the recipe a little bit and I would re advertise it or take new photos and re advertise it. So I think like roundups, they tie back into that. If people are Googling Pakistani dishes, for example. So I created a Roundup for Pakistani dishes and that will just advertise the recipes that I already have. That’s basically it. Anything that you think that you’re serving, just have a broad Roundup for that and post it. They do really well with Google. They do really well with your audience. Everyone likes round ups. So it’s a great one.
Megan Porta: They do. Yeah. I thought for a while they were maybe phasing out, but they’re not. I’ve created so many roundups in the past year and they do great. Yeah, they do so well.
Izzah Cheema: Now I’ll get a lot of people saying, Hey, I found this through when I was searching for vegan curry recipes or something. So that’s a great way to advertise something where people wouldn’t necessarily be looking for it in the first place.
Megan Porta: It’s also a good way to give exposure to your friends like bloggers who have content that can be included in your roundups and back links to them too.
Izzah Cheema: Yeah. That’s one thing that I wasn’t sure about because I heard for a long time that you’re not supposed to just link out, just randomly link out if you’re not sure about the recipe.
Megan Porta: I’m not talking randomly. If I’m creating a Roundup about what to serve with lasagna, and I know my friend has a great garlic bread post, I will link to that. I don’t ever just randomly link out. But if it falls into the Roundup and I know and trust the blogger, then I will do it.
Izzah Cheema: I’ve actually seen some blogs that all they do is roundups and they’ll just round up different blogs. They’ll just go research what people are searching for in terms of what a category recipe and then round up that. Yeah, you’re right.
Megan Porta: There are a few blogs out there who I don’t think are authentic blogs. I’m not gonna say any names.
Izzah Cheema: Yeah. I feel like I know.
Megan Porta: Yeah. You probably know exactly what I’m talking about. I will not give this blog exposure because it makes me a little upset because they’re not a true food blog. But that’s all they do is roundups. Then they don’t link to your blog, they link to I believe it’s a Pinterest pin.
Izzah Cheema: I’ve seen that too.
Megan Porta: So that is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about authentically putting in the effort to find quality recipes from creators who put time into them. That’s what I’m talking about. Also to do what you’re saying, which is to market your existing content and round it out really well. As opposed to I’m just gonna throw a round up out there to get traction and traffic and that’s it. That is not okay, in my opinion. So I didn’t expect it to get controversial. Wow. But yeah, I guess they can be. So what are your thoughts about creating recipes or maybe recipe posts that are just amazing. Do you have any final thoughts? Just rounding out a post. Obviously you put a lot of thought and time into it, each post. The recipe and the post. But what are your thoughts about just making it something that stands out?
Izzah Cheema: I’ll be honest. Sometimes I don’t think I can make something stand out and then I will just shelve it or I’ll continue working on it over the years until I do think I can make it stand out. It either has to solve a problem. So like I said, I try to make it either solve a problem or it be something that like you’re saying, there’s no search results for what people are likely looking for. For example, I used to and I still do make my basmati rice in a rice cooker. This was something that I just thought, people are probably, this is so basic. Nobody’s gonna like it. Of course, on social media, it tanked, a lot of my posts do. But over time it became one of my most popular posts. It’s like people were Googling how to make basmati rice in a rice cooker. I try to make it fit into one of those two categories. It’s either an extraordinary blog post that has an impact. That’s not just gonna get a second of traffic. People are gonna pop out and never think about it again. But a blog post that’s gonna leave a subtle imprint on the user where the next time they see, oh, this is a Tea for Turmeric recipe, they’re more likely gonna click on it. I really like to think in terms of impact and the blog post has to create an impact. It has to be, at least a little bit better than all the other blog posts on the same topic. If not, it has to solve something. I like to think of Google as my boss in some ways, because yeah, Google needs the answer. So either answer all those people, and then obviously it has to fit inside your niche too. So sometimes I have leftover oatmeal and I wanna make muffins from that oatmeal, but I Googled gluten free leftover oatmeal muffins or something. I don’t know. See that’s the type of stuff people are Googling.
Megan Porta: Yes. Some people Google weird stuff.
Izzah Cheema: There was nothing there. There’s a content idea for whoever is gluten free, but I knew that, okay that’s not within my realm. Unless I want it to be, and that’s a whole different discussion.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Oh, I loved how you phrased that. Just creating a blog post that has impact and thinking through that beforehand, instead of just wildly putting things out there like we did for so long. So this is such a good new perspective. I think this is one of the up and coming news. I wouldn’t say a trend, but like a new philosophy for blogging if you want to be successful at food blogging, you’ve absolutely gotta adopt some of these things that you’re talking about if your goal is getting traffic. But if your goal is creating an online database of recipes for your family then totally different. But if you want to grow this as a business, we’ve gotta start thinking about some of these things. Do you have final thoughts for us Izzah? Is there anything that we missed, do you wanna be sure to leave us with?
Izzah Cheema: I think one thing that I didn’t mention, didn’t really talk about was hiring out. I think it was a talk at Mediavine. This is before the pandemic and she said reinvest about 70% of your income. That really stuck with me. She said, you have to choose between, if you wanna build a business or build an income. So if you’re making this a long term thing, your take home pay shouldn’t be more than 30%. So what I’ve really been doing since the beginning is I really understood. I think there’s a term for it’s like how a medium matures and as blogs mature, we’re gonna learn that this is not something that one person can do. As soon as I could, I started reinvesting and hiring out as much as I could. Right now I have help with my photography, my videography, I have the recipe tester like I mentioned, my VA, I have Leanne with Fodie Digital, who I work with. So just get as much help as you can. This is not a one person thing. I think I heard this on Ad Thrive, someone said, you may be smarter than most people, but you’re not smarter than most people. I think it really is eye opening because there’s no way that any of us can do this alone from now on. That may have been the case 10 years ago, but now, unless you wanna be chronically burnt out and angry and not spending any time with your family, I don’t think any of us started this so we could be zombies.
Megan Porta: Yeah. My goal was not to live a life of burnout. That is for sure. But that’s unfortunately what happens when we do take on that ideal that we need to do it alone or that we can do it alone. I did that forever. I was like, but I can do this. I can do this. And then I would work nights and weekends around the clock. Then I would get to that point where I was burnt out and I would wonder why.
Izzah Cheema: Yeah, no, definitely. I’ve noticed that I think that probably is the reason why I’ve been able to be creatively fueled and always excited about the blog, even though it’s been five years just cause that I’ve always taken it slow pace and that’s allowed me to explore and nurture my interests and just have fun with it and not just be a drag.
Megan Porta: I love that we ended on this note because that’s such an important point that we don’t often say, and that is, this is not a job that is meant to be done alone. So keep that in mind as you move forward. You need to start giving away some tasks and you need to start investing in your business maybe a little bit more than you are. This is a reminder for me too, because I get in the rut too, where I’m like, I’ll just do it. I can do it. So why not? Yeah, I’ll just keep doing it. I just started outsourcing my podcast. By the time this airs, she will be producing and editing my podcast episodes. I held onto this task for so long. It’s been almost three years. I was like, but I can do it. I can edit, but I am so excited for the time that’s going to open up when I hand this off and I actually have time to explore other options and grow my business in new ways. That’s super exciting. Yeah, it’s an investment, but it’s in my opinion so worthwhile to do that.
Izzah Cheema: Yeah. It gives you space to think of new things and keep it exciting. There was a point where I knew and this was right after my son was born where I knew I can’t keep this up if I’m gonna do everything. How step by step photos are so important, I couldn’t do step by step photos in my photography and have two kids full time. Especially if there’s something that you’re not enjoying as much, if you’re not that good at something, just consider hiring it out and it may not work the first time around, but you just keep looking, keep trying.
Megan Porta: I am so loving this. Okay. Thank you so much, Izzah. This was such a great chat. I really appreciate everything you shared today, and I know food bloggers are going to love it as well. So thank you for your time.
Izzah Cheema: Thank you so much, Megan. I really enjoyed talking with you.
Megan Porta: Same. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?
Izzah Cheema: I’d say that to thine own self, be true. I know that it may seem out there, but the more you lean into who you are, that becomes your biggest asset, I think.
Megan Porta: Oh love that. Great way to end. Thank you so much, Izzah. We’ll put together a show notes page for you. So if you wanna go peek at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/teaforturmeric. Tell everyone where they can find you online and on social media.
Izzah Cheema: I’m just active in terms of socials on Instagram and that too semi active, I’ll say, but it’s Tea for Turmeric on there. Of course my website is teaforturmeric.com.
Megan Porta: Awesome. Thank you again, ISA for joining me and thank you for listening today. Food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
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